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We overshot the entrance to Fools Canyon a bit and found ourselves further up the river. Actually, the little trail that leads off into Fools Canyon is not the easiest to find and had it not been for the USGS topos and laptop I had in the back of the Jeep, I am not sure we would have found it. (What, you don't go off-roading with a 333 Mhz laptop?)
What makes Fools Canyon unique is the trail that goes through it will eventually (if you can get through) take you to Wagoner. From there, you can go to Minnehaha and then on to the Senator Highway, just north of where it runs into Crown King. So, we backtracked a bit and finally found the trail that lead off to Fools Canyon.
Fools Canyon is remarkably different than the river bed we had been running. Through the day, we had been in and out of the water constantly. The water flow in the Hassayampa River had been about 3 to 5 inches deep and about 10' wide....sometimes more, sometimes less through out the day. We stopped several times to cool off and the kids (and adults) found some deeper pools in the shade and enjoyed it a lot.
Once into Fools Canyon, everything gets a bit drier. The brush is not the bright green it was along the river, and you are once again reminded just how dangerous it can be should you find yourself here without water. Luckily, we are all seasoned desert travelers and there was plenty of water brought along.
We made good time in Fools Canyon, driving along the sandy wash that you first encounter after leaving the river. We zigzagged back and forth through the wash while it began to narrow and the dirt banks became rock walls. Oh yeah, we are getting into the real canyon for sure!
We rounded a corner and found ourselves confronted with some large boulders scattered through a much narrower section of the canyon. We stopped for lunch and make use of what little shade the rock walls offered. One vehicle went on ahead to see what lay beyond.
After lunch, I maneuvered over the boulders (bounced the skid plate once or twice) and got through without too much trouble. The vehicles that were still behind were going to have a difficult time getting over the rocks. It was certainly possible to do, but tow straps on the more stock vehicles would have been a requirements for sure. There would have been the possibility of rocker panel damage on the unlifted vehicles, and it was already mid-day. So we decided the the remainder of Fools Canyon would be left for another day and with more capable vehicles.
I took a couple of pictures of Lady playing along the wash after she had gone through the boulders. There was actually a reason for this one. I had never really checked to see if my Canyon City rear rack was going to decrease my departure angle. As it is now, my bumper will hit before the tire does, so that is fine for now.
Another rock and another pose for the camera. This one flexed the suspension pretty well. The passenger front is almost at full droop and the rear is at full compression. On the driver's side, the rear is quite extended, and the front is fairly well compressed.
Here is the same pose with a view from the front.
We headed back to the river by backtracking out of Fools Canyon (I wonder why they call it that?). After we regained the river, we headed out on another trail that finally connected us up to Constellation Road. We headed back towards Wickenburg.