From where I stood, I could feel the thunderous roar of Greeter Falls under my feet. It was humbling.
I snapped a quick picture and we started the climb back up the spiral staircase in the dark.
The sky had been spitting rain all day. I’d only been in the Savage Gulf area twice and each time it had been cold and rainy. This trip proved no different. We spent the first 5 drizzly miles to Greeter splashing along a soaked trail, but by some miracle from above, the rain faded as we made our way back to the car.
We slipped out of our soaking clothes, into something dry and headed to grab some grub from one of the only spots in a 30 mile radius that was open past 7pm on a Saturday night.
As we sat down at a high top table, I heard the familiar time signature of Tool playing over the house speakers. Maynard’s voice in itself confirmed that Hanks Corner Grille, a little family owned restaurant, was alright by me. After a delicious burger and bacon and cheese covered tots, Hank himself swung by the table to chat. He informed us of the hostel he was building upstairs. The Goat Pen Hostel will be ready for service soon… we may even opt for a more luxurious stay the next time we are up in the area, but for the current trip… we resided in the back of Matty Fierce’s Rover. We made it through a Snake Handler and the first half of the The Hateful Eight before we killed the cabin lights and turned in for the night.
A little before 7am, the sun slipped through the fogged up windows. The slightest movement within my sleeping bag led to cold, crisp air infiltrating my warm Hyper Cat bag. The temp had dropped nearly 30 degrees overnight!
Surprisingly, the Savage Bed & Breakfast had a hearty menu. We shared a romantic, sunlit breakfast of Gatorade and a Cliff Bar… doing our best to delay the inevitable below freezing start.
It had been nearly 3 years since the last time I had roamed the Stone Door area and I was stoked about spending 20 or so miles exploring it again!
Sure, the overlooks along the canyon ridge line area beautiful, but the Savage Gulf’s real beauty lies within it’s stunning water features and suspension bridges. The clear, rushing waters can take even the most anxious souls and provide a sense of calmness.
We never come out to Savage for a hard push effort, and even if we did… the extremely technical, rocky terrain would be enough deterrent to move at a mindful pace.
We climbed up the the historic Stagecoach Road and connected with Collins Rim. Collins Rim winds along the canyon rim and has a few creek crossings to navigate. The cold wind was relentless along the rim and after a few miles, we were both real ready to drop down into the gulf. Eventually the rolling trail took a dive and we started descending down to Suter Falls.
We took a short, standing snack break at Suter and took in its roaring poetry.
We carried on lively conversation as we made our way down the Collins Gulf Trail. We ran into a few backpackers who warned us about 2 significant river crossings ahead. We weren’t too worried… because I don’t know if you know this about us… but we are parkour PROs.
The sun finally started to share it’s warmth by the time we started our return on the Connector Trail. We shed our gloves and buffs as we climbed back up towards Stone Door and took in the sites one last time before heading back towards the trail head.
Savage Gulf is a special place. Hopefully it won’t be another 3 years before I revisit!