Trail Cafe: Trip report - Nahanni Day 9 - hike up side of Lafferty creek

Summary:

Title: Nahanni Day 9 - hike up side of Lafferty creek
Trip type: hiking
Summary: A day off canoeing down the Nahanni, with a short scramble up the side of the canyon wall, to a triple arch, and then to the mouth of a cave.
Author: M. Tanton
Date of Trip: Aug 2006
Country: Canada
Province: NWT
County/City/national park/etc: Nahanni National Park
Location Route: Lafferty Creek Canyon
Distance: Not Far. maybe 5-6km
Weather Conditions:Good
Directions to Set in or Trail head: See Nahanni Day 1
Directions to Set in or Trail head: Paddle down to Blackstone Landing
Partners: R. Barrrow, G. Watson
Group experience level: Experinced (hiking)
Author's Experience level: Experneced
Authors Trip Rating: Good
Author's Email: myrllinmungeatshawdotca (remove 'munge', convert 'at' and 'dot' accordingly

The Trip Report:

Another Sunny day.

We've made the decision to stay in camp. For once I'm up before Rich and Glen. I have time to see the rafting group run off through the rapids. One raft took a very easy line skirting the waves. The other more aggressive. The waves did seem to give a few big bounces. Unfortunately I did not have a camera.

Rich is soon up as well, we walk down to check out Lafferty Rapid. It does not look that big an issue, although bigger than in the accompanying photo. It is as with most of these rapids, concentrated on the outside bend of the river. It should be easy to avoid on the inside (river left). The guide the day before told us that the first wave is a canoe tipping diagonal wave, but other than that just a big set of waves.
Lafferty Rapid Lafferty Rapid


Rich after fording the side channel just across the river from Lafferty rapids Rich after fording the side channel just across the river from Lafferty rapids
There is an gravel bar island in the center of the river just across from the rapids, with a shallow channel between us and the island. We walk to the down stream end of the island, and decide to cross. I was wearing my day shoes, and did not want to get them wet, so I took them off to cross. The river is silty, and cold, makes placing footing treacherous, and uncomfortable. Should have brought my shoes. While we were out there the other canoe group left. I did not know how good they were, and was disappointed when they decided to completely avoid the rapids, taking the same side channel on river left that we were crossing. Oh well, I was hoping for a good picture.

Rich and I head back to Camp, munching on the wild onions on the way.

We debate what to do, I kind of want to head up the canyon again, and go much further this time. Glen prefers a hike/scramble up to the top of the plateau. This time Glen's plan gets the nod, although I'm sure well just be bush whacking through trees at the top, but who knows. Glen initially wants to get to the entrance of a cave up on the North side of Lafferty Creek. It looks absolutely treacherous. That gets dropped and we decide to walk up the canyon and pick a side at a point that looks interesting, and scramble up to the top of the canyon wall.

Several merged  pictues, showing the triple arch Several merged pictues, showing the triple arch
About a km or so up the canyon we decide to go to the right, There is what may be a cave up there. A scramble that for parts follows some kind of animal path, takes us to a triple arch. It's not really a cave, more like a crack that runs up at about 45 degrees to the plateau 30m or so away. It looks like it may get us to the top. Rich goes first, and makes it the farthest, eventually he gets to the decision point, where only one person can really get to. The call is made to abandon the assent by this path, it's become a steep climb, and Glen and I've had to dodge a couple rocks Rich has knocked down already.

View from under the arch View from under the arch
A real cave A real cave
We go back down to the cave entrance, and follow a goats trail around the base of the sheer cliff that rings the last 30m or so to the top. It takes us around a spur, and into a high level canyon. At the back of this canyon is a large cave entrance. Of course we head up to the head of the canyon to check it out. It is obviously a sheep (or goat?) cave, lots of scat around. The cave entrance is huge, but quickly becomes a small cave only a few dozen feet back. We do not enter, but hang out at the entrance and have lunch.
Close up of the floor of the cave. lots of goat poop Close up of the floor of the cave. lots of goat poop


Glen and I hiking down from Lafferty Canyon Glen and I hiking down from Lafferty Canyon
Heading back down, I manage to slip, and land pretty hard on my butt. Which is nothing new for me, unfortunately I had my sunglasses up on my hat, and I did not notice that they had fallen off. So the rest of the trip would be squinting into the sun, plus I now owe Rich new sunglasses, as they were loaners. There is still lots of time in the day, but Glen decides he's really not interested in the canyon, so back to camp he goes, and Rich and I head back up the creek bed. However, once we are at the 'dive in point' we also decide we are not that interested in getting to the upper reaches of the canyon.

We head back to camp and spend the rest of the day sitting reading books. We cooked up some popcorn... man was it good, but smelly. I'm surprised we did not see any bears after that.
Nother shot of the canoes, this time at laffety Cr. Nother shot of the canoes, this time at laffety Cr.


Gallery

Rich after fording the side channel just across the river from Lafferty rapids

start of hike up the East side of Laffety Canyon

Several merged pictues, showing the triple arch

A real cave

Close up of the floor of the cave. lots of goat poop

View from under the arch

Out on a spur while hiking down the side of Lafferty creek canyon

Glen and I hiking down from Lafferty Canyon

Nother shot of the canoes, this time at laffety Cr.

Lafferty Rapid


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Content Copyright M. Tanton 2006


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