I returned to Fifteenmile creek in the sunlight, so that I could more fully enjoy it (see previous trip). I had two objectives: to use a pair of clippers to clear away some of the thorns and brush from the overgrown section of the trail, and to explore beyond the turnoff point I had reached last time.
I started early, and had the trail to myself. I made slow progress since there was a lot to chop down. I tried to do as thorough a job as I had the patience for. I could see that most of the brush had previously been trimmed about where I was cutting it: I wonder how many years it took the trail to grow in? Although it was not raining, everything was wet anyway. I think the canyon is so steep it rarely gets enough sun to dry out.
The trail is washed out, having cut into the side wall forming a cliff. The only way is down, across the creek, across again, and back up. The stream follows a yellow band of very slippery, smooth rock, making it hard to get any traction. I managed to fall step in over my ankle at the first crossing, soaking one shoe and sock. Oh well, press on.
Slowly I progressed up the trail, until suddenly I was at the turnoff. The way forward, after the immediate narrow V was passed, was along the stream bottom. I was able to put away the clippers — good thing since I had developed a painful blister on my ring finger. At first I tried to cross on the rocks, but after falling in a few times and getting thoroughly wet up to the knees I stopped trying and just stepped in the water when I needed to. The stream continued to flow over very slippery , very smoothly polished rock, and footing was often best in the stream bed itself.
We came to a series of waterfalls and narrow sections, what required a little scrambling. Danny needed help a few times, but overall he was very skilled at getting himself up the stream. Eventually we came to a waterfall that just looked impossible. Looking at the picture now it doesn’t look at all head, and it wouldn’t be if there was any traction on the smooth stone. I was able to backtrack a little ways and find a way up the hillside. I was tempted to try to descend back down to the stream bed above the falls, but time was running short and I needed to get back. So I continued on up the hill until I met the railroad bed trail. About half way up to the trail I ran across a little section that had been marked with orange flags. I could not figure out where it was heading, and did not succeed in following it very far. Maybe it was heading back the creek. Something to check out next time.