12/10/13: The US Forest Service will be enforcing access restrictions to Tar Creek soon. TC is part of the Condor Sanctuary established as critical habitat to this endangered bird and other wildlife. Epic numbers of visitors, and the trash and graffiti they have left behind, has led to the acknowledgment by the Forest Service that access must be curtailed and enforced. For more information on the impending action visit: Tar Creek Closure.
Yesterday afternoon I hiked down canyon to the end of Tar Creek with Dave Rivas. The lower canyon is always a fun scramble with the all the falls, pools and stone formations. We descended to the bottom really quickly and we set up for a cold night a few feet from the edge of the falls. Firewood was plentiful which made the evening nicer. No kangaroo rat in my coffee this time. A sly Cheshire Cat's grin for a moon and a moderate breeze made things feel like late November.
The canyon below the Land of the Lost is bouldery, easy canyoneering kind of stuff. The first falls is about 80ft cascading into a series of slot pools terminating in one large pool which spills 120ft down to Devil's Gate (Sespe). Right across the way from our night site is the enormous wilderness mesa called Bear Heaven, an intriguing and imposing place. The night passed peacefully and in the AM, after coffee, we packed it up and headed back. We used the burly uphill for a little StairMaster training getting back to the truck in what must be a record. In the end, it turned out to be a perfect overnight. Dave even found Zero's dog bootie, which was lost on a previous trip.
Below are pictures from various points in the canyon.