Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

A new season in Babes Hole Spring Canyon

Posted in Northern Arizona & the Mogollon Rim by canyoneering on June 1, 2011

Babes Hole Spring Canyon, 3BII
approximately 4 miles
Coconino National Forest, tributary of Sycamore Canyon


The first Mogollon Rim canyon descent of the season is always special. It is more than descending those beautiful Coconino sandstone slots, more than being towered by the magnificent pine trees and more than breathing the crisp mountain air. That first descent represents another season and another year. Our lives change quickly, but outside a rare natural or manmade disaster, little changes year to year in this magical wilderness.

Babes Hole Spring Canyon was an easy and not terribly exciting technical descent, but the canyon was rather pleasant and the day wonderful as I was joined by my old friend and canyon partner John, and a first timer canyoneer and new friend, Steve. With a recent snow fall, the ground was saturated adding to the springs, resulting in a modest but steady flow through the entire canyon and crystal clear pools. A lethargic Bull Snake laid sprawled out on a rock in the narrows below a beautiful fluted rappel. It did not seem terribly interested or bothered as we moved all around trying to find the right angle to pull our rope that got temporarily stuck. Unlike our Bull Snake friend, a Mojave Green Rattlesnake was extremely irritated as we rock hopped past it. Hundreds of butterflies resembled multi-colored snow flurries and silver colored canyon frogs hopped abound.

My heart beat fast as we aggressively hiked up the Little LO Trail out of the canyon bottom. Feeling the burn I stopped to catch my breath. I tilted my head back and was mesmerized by a towering tree that had long past away. Just a few steps behind me Steve stopped and also stared  up at the magnificent form above us. He  poignantly remarked of the countless organisms that live within the old, dead tree. With that I smiled, took a moment more and continued up the trail.


One Response

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  1. Stephen Schwartz said, on June 2, 2011 at 11:51 am

    The snakes are interesting. I’ve passed lots of snakes on various trails. However, as soon as they see me they almost always take off. Apparently yours aren’t bothered by people.

    Once there was a black snake (or at least that’s what color it was), in the spring that was on the trail and wouldn’t move to let me pass. In fact, it picked up the front part of its body and proceeded to puff out its “cheeks” like a cobra! (I didn’t think other snakes could do that.) I had to convince it with a long stick that I wanted it to move. It must have had eggs/hatchlings near by.

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