The description of the area sounds perfect. It is roughly a 12 mile hike through the canyon. I think I read that there is only a 400 foot elevation gain in the 12 miles, so it's basically flat, that's nice. It's through a beautiful canyon that is a wilderness protected area. There are a limited number of daily permits. I don't know what the weekends might be like, but each time we've been there on a weekday, we've encountered maybe 2 or 3 people all day. There are no established trails, although there are some areas that you can notice other hikers have followed a general path. The trip parallels the creek, then the canyon wall comes up and forces you into the water, to follow in the stream for a while, or sometimes to cross and walk on the other side for a while. The water is basically only ankle deep through the canyon.
We had 7 in our group - Myself, Suzanne, Keegan, Lynnora, Cindi, Tam, and Dale. The other group was Wes, Daryl, and Bernie. We had originally thought we'd meet pretty much in the middle of the canyon, but we started out at 8 instead of 7 as we had planned. I thought the other group might have even started earlier than 7. We also thought we would be hiking considerably slower than the other group, so in reality, I thought we'd come across the other group well before we reached the half way mark. There are no markings of any kind in the canyon, so we weren't confident we knew how far we had gone. I started to get nervous when we didn't see them by 11 or 12. There was no phone service once we started the drive toward the canyon. If the other group had any problems driving or hiking, we would never know. We started talking through ridiculous scenarios of hiking 12 miles to find there was no car on the other end. Actually Wes loaned us a GPS to walk with, but I couldn't imagine we were hiking as slow as we were so I thought for sure I was reading the numbers wrong. We finally ran into them at 12:30 or so, and stopped for a picnic. Here's what was hilarious. Our "girl group" had been e-mailing all week - what kind of pack are you carrying? What food are you taking? How about I bring chicken and you bring some rolls? I'll get the GPS, you bring a first aid kit, what kind of food would travel well? how will we keep the food cool? maybe a wrap would travel better than a sandwich etc etc. When we sat down with the men in the other group, they enjoyed sharing some of the Italian Pasta Salad and Rice Krispie Treats that Cindi brought but said they just grabbed a pocket knife, a slab of salami, a cube of cheese and a boiled egg as they were leaving the house that morning. (What?? you didn't coordinate who was bringing the napkins?? What is it with men?)
We all were wondering if we'd do this hike again. That evening none of us would definitely say yes. But once we rested and recovered a bit, I think we all might do it again if we had the chance. It is a lesser known, but beautiful spot in this great state of ours.