4WD Adventures
4wd Adventures

Mountain Biking Adventures

Biking Adventures

Hiking Adventures

Hiking Adventures

Quick Trip Reports

Who are the Experience Arizona Adventurers?

Matt Marine

Matt Marine is an Arizona resident who loves exploring Arizona's wonderful outdoor adventures. To find out more about Matt, click the link below.

more ...


Cat-Dog is my faithful trail companion. Her real name is Cammie. Why do I call her Cat-Dog?

more ...


Sara Harelson

I’m Sara! I’m 21, a senior in college, and a journalism major.  I love to read, write, travel, and listen to music.  I’m always on to my next adventure.


See Intern Page for previous interns

Reaping the Rewards of an Arizona Hurricane -
Part II

By Matt Marine, with Jennifer Damato and Priscilla Bingham

Click here for Part I of the adventure

The Second Crossing

I looked back from where we’d just come from. Water rushed in white-and-brown torrents over the road, only partially concealing the rocks and boulders the hurricane’s flood had deposited in our path. The five of us congratulated ourselves for successfully navigating the first water crossing along Carr Canyon Road. Along with our new friends, Jennifer and Priscilla, Mike, Angel and I were attempting to reach Carr Canyon Falls in southeastern Arizona after hurricane Odile dropped four inches of rain in the Huachuca Mountains.

But the adventure wasn’t over yet. We still had at least one more crossing to go before we reached the bottom of the falls. We all climbed back into our vehicles and convoyed up the road. Not far from the first crossing, the road curved to the right and was once again overcome by the flood waters. We stopped to survey the road, or lack there of.

The second crossing appeared similar to the first except for a few details. One, the water seemed to be moving faster due to a slightly steeper descent. Two, the flood hadn’t deposited as much rock and debris along the road, which should make for a smoother crossing. Three, there was a five foot drop off/waterfall on the far side of the crossing. Unlike the first crossing, with no trees or cable to stop you, if your vehicle was taken sideways by the water it would flip over as it tumbled down the falls.

Although the second crossing seemed technically easier than the first, it scared me more due to the swiftness of the water and increased danger if you got into trouble.

Video: The Second Crossing

"Sierra Vista is full of beauty and adventure for those who seek it."
- Jennifer and Priscilla

Mike took off his shoes and waded into the flow, testing the power of the water. He was able to stand in the water to about the top of his ankles without any problem, giving us more confidence.

After their victory at the first crossing, Jennifer and Priscilla were not going to be stopped here. They climbed back into Jennifer’s Excursion and blasted across no problem. I went next, then Mike.

Once again, shouts of victory sounded over the rush of water. With no more crossings, we should now have a clear path to the falls. I looked up at the sky. Clouds and mist hid the mountains looming in front of us. Although it was only sprinkling down in the valley, if it was raining hard up in the mountains, the creek could swell and we’d be stranded.

Hiking to Carr Canyon Falls

I didn’t think it was a big risk and we followed Jennifer’s tracks up the dirt road toward the bottom of the falls. They were about 10 minutes ahead of us since we stopped to allow Mike to change from shorts to pants (he correctly thought it was going to be a wet ride from here on out).

After a few minutes, we reached the bridge that crossed the creek and Jennifer’s Excursion parked on the side of the road. We pulled in behind her, got out of the vehicles and immediately heard the crash of water coming down the mountainside. I peered up and in the distance I could barely see the falls as it came in and out of visibility behind thick clouds and mist.

Water crashed down a high rock face that made the main falls, while a second smaller falls feed it from above. I could also see a series of smaller falls and water slides working their way down the mountain to the bridge. The mountain was thick with wet, green vegetation and trees. This looked more like something from the Amazon forest than Arizona.

It was freakin’ awesome is a big understatement.

I put on my rain jacket with a thick polar fleece lining, grabbed my Canon T3i, tripod, Panasonic point-and-shoot and my little Panasonic camcorder and was ready to go. I left my waterproof GoPro in the Jeep. And since I expected a quick exploration trip, I didn’t pack any water. Two big mistakes.

We crossed the bridge and began climbing over boulders up to the first set of smaller waterfalls. The air was damp and thick with moisture, but not too hot. That is, unless you’re wearing a polar fleece lined rain jacket. After five minutes, I was sweating profusely under my jacket, so I took it off and tied it around my waist. I would put on and off my jacket throughout the rest of the day, depending on how much rain was coming down at the time. For now, it was just a light sprinkle, so it wasn’t too bad.

We found Jennifer and Priscilla near the first small falls. They showed us some of the best spots to take pictures from and we spent a few mintues trying to capture the magnificent scenery around us on our digital cameras. None of which really do it justice.

Afterwards, they told us they were going to hike to the bottom of the falls. I was still messing around with my camera and we wished them good luck as they headed off into the mist covered mountains above us.

Finished taking pictures from this spot, we had a decision to make. Continue to the bottom of the falls or turn around to go back to the Jeeps. I looked up at the falls. They seemed so far away, yet so close at the same time. Shouldn’t be too bad. Then I remembered none of us had water. I wasn’t too thirsty yet, but I know that I drink a lot of water during my adventures. Would I be able to make it all the way up and back with no water? Although the water splashing at our feet was clear, I really didn’t want to drink it.

“We going up or not?” Angel said, and from the tone of her voice, I knew what her vote was.

I looked back at the falls. I wasn’t going to turn back now. “We’re going up.”

“Yea!” my sister responded.

“Let’s do it,” Mike said.

The Bottom of the Falls

We began to hike up the hint of a trail that we had seen Jennifer and Priscilla take minutes before. The trail wound its way up the mountain on the left side of the stream. Every so often a short spur trail led to the stream itself, giving us closer and more spectacular views of the waterfalls the nearer we got.

About half way up, we stopped for a rest at an open spot and we heard a shout from high above us. Angel spotted them first, “There they are!” She pointed to the edge of a high cliff that led to one of the larger waterfalls/slides below the main falls. It took me a few moments, but then I saw them. Jennifer and Priscilla waving at us from a rocky outcropping. We waved back.

We were very lucky to see them at this point in our hike. The trail had gone from faint to almost non-existent. I traced a mental line from where they had just come from. It appeared we had to go a little further to our left (away form the falls) to get around the rocky outcropping.

"Once we started on foot, no obstacle was too big! We stopped every few feet to admire all the beauty that was around us. We lost the trail for a bit and ended up scaling a steep wall and getting poked by a hidden cactus."
- Jennifer and Priscilla

The trail was very hard to follow from this point to where we saw Jennifer and Priscilla. At times I know we were just bushwhacking through brush and trees, but we kept heading toward the prize. We did find some old ribbons people had tied to trees to help designate the trail, but even with these, it was difficult to keep on the right track.

We kept moving up and up the side of the mountain, stopping for short rests where we could. It wasn’t too difficult except that I was getting thirsty. My throat felt parched and it didn’t help that we were crossing small, clear streams and I watched Cat-dog drink from the cool water.

Then we reached the cliff’s edge we’d seen Jennifer and Priscilla at from below. From here, the roar of the main falls replaced my thirst for water with a sense of thrill at being so close. Above the crash of water, I heard voices above us. It was Jennifer and Priscilla on their way down. They said the falls were spectacular, told us where to go to view the top of the falls and continued their downward trek.

The trail was a little easier to follow here and we crested a small rise before getting our first up-close view of the falls. Wow! The cool water fell over the side of the cliff in long white sheets; the wind blew the flow sideways, making it appear as though it was a long bed sheet billowing in the breeze. At times, the top of the falls was shrouded in a thick blanket of clouds, then for a brief moment, the view would become crystal clear, making the scene around you look as though you’d gone from a TV with bad reception to Blueray quality in an instant.

I brought out my cameras and tried to take a few quick pictures, but water kept getting on my lenses. Even from about 100 feet away, the spray from the falls made it as though we were in a light rain. I put my rain jacket back on and headed down to the true bottom of the falls. The crash of water was so loud, I couldn’t hear my sister shouting at me from the spot I’d just left. From here, the spray was like being in a downpour and I was getting soaked. Again, I quickly brought out my camera, keeping the lens away from the spray as best I could to take some pictures. It was at this point that I wished I’d taken my waterproof GoPro with me. I couldn’t stay too long by the falls for fear my cameras would get wet even under the protection of my rain jacket, so I headed back before I was ready to go.

Once back with Mike and Angel, we made our way back down to the top of the small waterfall/slide we had seen on our way up. The sky was beginning to clear and we finally got an unobstructed view of the valley below us. It took our breath away. I decided that a spot on top of a rock that split the stream was the best place to take the picture. But this would take some fleet feet to get to. Anyone who knows me understands that I don’t have anything close to fleet feet.

- Matt

Video: Carr Canyon Falls

The climb over was only slightly terrifying. It was the jump back that made me think I was probably doing something stupid. Mike captured the moment of my triumph (though he may have been waiting to capture the moment of my stupidity).

I wanted to stay up there and explore all day, but I was thirsty and it was time for lunch. Since our food and water was back at the Jeeps, it was time to go. We began our trek down the mountain and I tried to imagine what the rest of the day had in store for us. I was sure it would be awesome, but I did not expect what we would find just minutes away.     

Part III - Coming Soon!

back to top

Full-Sized Pictures From the Trip

Carr Canyon Falls

Mike Crossing the creek

Mike testing the water

Priscilla in front of the falls

Jennifer by the falls

Carr Canyon Falls

Water drops

Carr Canyon Falls

Climbing up the canyon walls

Priscilla near the long waterslide

Carr Canyon Falls

Carr Canyon Falls

Mike crossing the creek

Mike Crossing the creek

Carr Canyon Falls

Angel by Carr Canyon Falls

Carr Canyon Falls



Cat-dog by the Carr Canyon Falls

Carr Canyon Falls

Carr Canyon Falls

At the bottom of the falls

Gives a sense of scale

Carr Canyon Falls

Mike, Angel and little Cat-dog

Me, doing my stupid jump trick

Carr Canyon Falls

Jennifer by the creek

Carr Canyon Falls

Carr Canyon Falls

Cat-dog surveying her domain

Carr Canyon Falls


Have you been on this adventure? What did you think? Comments and updates welcome by clicking here.

Member Comments

No member comments yet.

back to top