After spending time admiring Margaret Lake from the bench, it was time to move on to Ipasha Lake. This theoretically simple hike turned out to be one of the most unpleasant hiking experiences imaginable. Whether we went high or low, we always found ourselves in high, dense willows, usually well over our heads. Sometimes it was so dense in them that our feet were not on the ground but on the willows instead. Sometimes, when our feet were on the ground, they sank into marshy terrain. At first it concerned me that we might be in real trouble if we surprised a grizzly in there, but then it occurred to me that we were making so much noise thrashing through those willows that no animal except a deaf one could possibly be surprised by us.
I began to consider proposing dropping to the stream and either walking through it or along its edge, but the willows got denser and denser closer to the stream and the ground got soggier and soggier. My wife was hating things enough already and I was worried she might call it quits, so I just pressed on, always attempting to find the easiest path through even if it was less direct.
Finally, close to the lake, things opened up quite a bit, and although it was still pretty soggy, we had visibility and much freer movement for the last few minutes to the lake's blessedly rocky shore.
It took us about an hour to travel that "easy" mile with not much elevation gain.
There are peaks in zion where the manzanita is so thick, it stops you dead in your tracks.
In desert terrains, any gully that has perennial streams may be choked with brush so think that you climb onto any less miserable terrain for surcease.
Andrew Rankine wrote:In Arizona cholla cactus can be quite a problem while bushwhacking. Particularly around Tucson, sometimes you have to find a route around gentle slopes and forests of cholla. Mountain biking, the problem becomes even worse... crashing in cholla does not end very well.
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