Mad River

Back to the Hidden Canyon Part II


You have to up before you go down. On all my previous adventures at this site, I explored the inner canyon and largely avoided the expansive boulder-talus fields below the gorge. This time I brought my geologist buddy who was apparently not afraid of climbing through the cracks and caves of fractured, unstable sandstone…


Follow Me! This time we actually had a few hours to fully climb around the back side and see how deep we could climb into this rock. Before long he found the way in…


Just crawl into what looks like nothing only to find a space into a maze of boulders. I still think this is generally bad idea, and couldn’t stop thinking about earthquakes. Thats why its always good to have a crazy friend who will enable you to make bad choices… Jokes aside, before long we crawled our way into the secret places of the earth below the trees.


Climbing through the filtered light of the cave, we often had to chimney our way over deep fissures that appeared bottomless. It was no doubt impressive considering the upheaval that occurred here, the forces that created the canyon above and the ruble down below.

Eventually we made our way across the belly of the rock and emerged in a maze of fractures boulders at the far side.


Thanks to my fearless leader, I got to see one of my favorite nooks and crannies in a whole new way. Now all I need is a real camera, and maybe a real photographer to take better pictures of this place!


Back to the Hidden Canyon Part I

The Hidden Canyon, 2016~

Last year I returned to one of my all time favorite locations in the Middle Mad, tucked up in the Bear Creek watershed, a hidden cataclysm of rock. I originally happened upon this place while doing forestry work. This time I had finished my work in the area early and set out to specifically explore some more of this feature. Ill get more into that in Part II. For now, here are some of the previous images of the Hidden Chasm:

From 2013:


and from 2015:


Click here to see more from previous adventures




Earthflows are common in northern California’s coast range. These are generally very large, deep-seated landslides that slowly creep along, tugged by gravity. As rains saturate the soils, larges blocks can give way, sometimes to dramatic result. Another process common in these highly erodible soils is watercourse formation. In this picture, a creek jumped its channel after a small portion of this large slide complex activated. The creek used to flow directly to the left of the picture, behind the small Douglas-fir tree. I couldn’t help but notice as I was driving on a road below this a new creek draining across, which had deposited a few dump truck loads worth of sediment and gravels on tot he road. I hiked up to find a portion of the earthflow had dropped, blocking the creeks original path.

Another Year


Well, another rotation around the sun. I found myself very busy with life this year and could not find the time to post as much as I have in the past. Who knows what this new year will bring?! Happy New year to all my readers and may you find yourself in the beautiful, surprising and seldom traveled nooks and crannies of the world! Cheers~