A New Exploration in Spring Creek Canyon

I have hiked Spring Creek Canyon three previous times and had no intention of blogging about it again – until we hiked a whole new section. Traditionally we hike about three miles into the canyon until we reach a small dry falls which Abby is unable to scramble up. At this point we usually take turns climbing up and walking a couple hundred feet until we reach the large brush pile that blocks access. This time I almost didn’t bother to climb up and walk to the brush pile – its not a particularly scenic section of the canyon and Abby get anxious whenever one of us gets out of her sight here but there was a new addition: a log had been leaned against the pile of boulders making it possible to more or less walk up. Of course I had to test it (excellent placement, very sturdy) and once I was up I thought I’d walk around the bend to the blockage. Except it wasn’t there. I yelled back to Tom and kept going… and going. After 5 minutes or walking and scrambling there was no end in sight and so I returned to the dryfall and Tom and I handed Abby up so we could explore.

Less than a half mile in the canyon came to a surprise four way junction, all ways seeming passable, and we briefly checked out the side canyons before continuing on our route. At this point the vegetation thickened, maples crowding the waterway, and our pace slowed considerably as we began bushwacking. The next mile took us about 45 minutes of ducking, climbing over downed trees, and climbing up steep embankments in order to find our way around clogged sections of the wash though we kept going further as we were enjoying the red, peach, and yellow maple leaves and the towering canyon walls. Abby, who seemed to have no issue sliding under the dense, low-hanging vegetation happily ran up canyon returning only to check on our progress before scurrying off again.

We had taken the first part of the hike slow, savoring the familiar majesty of the sandstone and the beauty of the vegetation wedged in the canyon walls, and so despite the fact that we’d only gone a mile and half and hadn’t determined when and if the canyon opened up we agreed to turn back. Luckily, the return down canyon was an easier bushwack since we’d scouted the route and we made pretty good time.

We had all had a very enjoyable adventure but sadly our hike ended on a bad note. About a half mile from the trailhead Abby was off running around as usual when we thought we heard an odd noise from the distance. We called her multiple times and backtracked along the trail, listening for the sound of her tags for a few minutes, until her head suddenly emerged from the ravine next to the trail, half brown in dirt. She pulled herself up using her front legs as we walked towards her and once on the trail she hobbled a few steps and laid down, unable to straighten her back legs. We let her sit for a few minutes and then in an attempt to determine the severity and location of the injury cajoled her into standing and walking for about ten feet, whereupon she laid back down. We took turns carrying her back to the trailhead.

To put this in context, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen Abby misstep (with immediate recovery on the next paw down) and I have never seen her fall nevermind walk with her back legs bent and cocked out. So we really have no idea what happened, only a guess that she somehow fell into the ravine while chasing something, We were obviously pretty worried when this happened and she was in noticeable pain so we took her to the vet where it was determined she has a fracture in her pelvis. Luckily she should make a full recovery in a couple months but for now our hiking dog is a full-time lawn ornament. She was carried around most of the first week after the injury but now she’s already making progress and walking better, though in very limited doses.