After breakfast, Bert and I attempt to cut up the five-gallon plastic cache buckets into pieces with Bob's new knife to make them easier to carry out of the Canyon.  I am skeptical of our ability to do this with the tools on hand due to the thickness of the bucket's plastic walls.  We succeed, but we also break Bob's knife in the process.  We head out on the trail and slowly make our way up River.

Leaving Toltec Beach
11-2-2011 @ 7:25
Bruce and Bob
11-2-2011 @ 7:25
Looking down River
11-2-2011 @ 7:40

     I don't find any blooming flowers today, but there are still plenty of the usual desert type plants.

Barrel Cactus
11-2-2011 @ 7:39
Mormon Tea
11-2-2011 @ 7:44
Prickly Pear Cactus
11-2-2011 @ 7:51
11-2-2011 @ 7:54
Brittle Bush
11-2-2011 @ 7:55
Beehive Cactus
11-2-2011 @ 8:35

     We take a break in a large cavernous area.  Sometimes a picture of a reflection in a pool of water is better than the original.

Large break area
11-2-2011 @ 7:54
Large break area
11-2-2011 @ 7:54
Pool reflection
11-2-2011 @ 8:00

     Tom points out that the rocks below have fossilized bird tracks embedded in them, similar to ones on the Hermit Trail below Hermits Rest.

Fossilized bird tracks
11-2-2011 @ 8:15
Fossilized bird tracks
11-2-2011 @ 9:45

     There is a little bit of scrambling required as we gain altitude and get closer to the Tonto Trail.  A couple of areas force us to hand up our packs.

Ben climbing up
11-2-2011 @ 9:14
The trail below
11-2-2011 @ 9:15
The climb up
11-2-2011 @ 9:14

     Bob's hiking pants have seen better days.  We've all had to do a lot of sliding down rock ledges, so everyone's clothing has taken quite a beating.  Later today I loan him a pair of my camp shorts to cover up some gaping holes in his pants.

Bob's torn hiking pants
11-2-2011 @ 8:49
Bob's new shorts
11-2-2011 @ 4:43

     At one of the breaks, we find the bones from a small animal, possibly a deer.

Small deer bones
11-2-2011 @ 10:20
Small deer bones
11-2-2011 @ 10:20

     We finally reach the Tonto Trail and start making better time.  We pass Garnet Canyon and get a view of the Colorado River, which is still flowing a pretty green color.

Westward view
11-2-2011 @ 10:35
Colorado River
11-2-2011 @ 11:07
Century Plant
11-2-2011 @ 12:55

     Then a butte near Walthenberg Canyon comes into view.  It is named for John Waltenberg, a friend of William Wallace Bass.  For some unknown reason, the Board of Geographic Names continues to maintain its incorrect spelling.  Holy Grail Temple, on the north side of the River near Bass Rapids, is now in view also.  It was a very special place to Bass, and pursuant to his direction, his ashes were flown by airplane and scattered there after his death.

Butte near Walthenberg Canyon
11-2-2011 @ 1:01
Holy Grail Temple
11-2-2011 @ 1:40

     Late in the afternoon we arrive at Fiske Butte.  Bob and Bert study some materials and pictures Bob has brought showing this to be the approximate spot to start a descent into lower Copper Canyon and the old Bass mining camp.  We wait near the trail while Bert, Bob, and Tom explore below.  This does not look promising to many of us as the hike down there looks pretty rough.  In a while, they return and report finding the camp and water down the drainage. 

  Fiske Butte
11-2-2011 @ 2:30

     We leave the Tonto Trail and start down.  The going is indeed rough, but eventually we find a old trail and switchback our way down to the Bass mining camp.  Bob and Mark make their campsite on the floor of an old rock cabin.

Descending to Bass camp
11-2-2011 @ 3:15
Descending to Bass camp
11-2-2011 @ 3:23
Bass rock cabin
11-2-2011 @ 3:27

     There is a real treasure trove of old mining camp equipment here.  I'm amazed that Bass could get all this stuff down here.

Old stove and skull
11-2-2011 @ 3:27
Stove parts
11-2-2011 @ 3:27
Stove flue pipe
11-2-2011 @ 3:29
Barrel metal ring
11-2-2011 @ 3:29
Tin can
11-2-2011 @ 3:30
Frying pan
11-2-2011 @ 4:29

     The rest of us set up camp in the drainage.

Richard's camp spot
11-2-2011 @ 3:42
Bert's camp spot
11-2-2011 @ 3:44

     We head down the drainage to get water for the night and pass an old mine shaft.  I'm getting ready to filter water from a pool when Tom points out the Canyon Tree Frogs on the black rocks behind the pool (in the red circle).  The rock face is vertical, smooth, and slick, so I am surprised that the frogs can grip that surface.

Mine shaft
11-2-2011 @ 3:47
Water pool
11-2-2011 @ 3:49
Canyon Tree Frog
11-2-2011 @ 3:51

     Back at camp, I explore some and find another mine shaft and some copper ore.  It appears that the Park Service has recently erected a barricade at the entrance.  The welded angle iron looks brand new and has not rusted any.  Inside the mine shaft is a box that seems to be some kind of electronic surveillance device.  I wonder why they didn't place an entrance barricade at the other mine site.

Copper ore
11-2-2011 @ 4:06
Another mine shaft
11-2-2011 @ 4:08
Looking inside the mine
11-2-2011 @ 4:08

     We are all thankful for the research that Bob has done that helped us find this great mining camp.  I consider this to be one of the highlights of the hike.

    Tomorrow should be an easy day.  Our plan is to leave by a different route than we came in on and camp on the South Bass Trail between the Tonto and the River where we hope to find water.


Copyright Richard M. Perry, 2004-2024.  All rights reserved. This web site, its text, and pictures may not be copied without the express written consent of Richard M. Perry.