When Karl Henry was a young explorer he had the good fortune to have Frank Hatch as his explorer leader. Frank was young and had a lot of experience in camping and hunting in the Sierra Madre Mountains. He also had an adventurous spirit and could inspire the boys to do something that had not been done before.

Karl came home full of enthusiasm and invited me to go with them on a raft trip down the Bavispe river beginning at Three Rivers and ending up in Huachinera Sonora. I had often thought of such a trip but had not quite made up my mind to do it. Now here was the opportunity to explore the fabled Bavispe river through the rugged Sierra Madre.

Frank invited me to come and talk to the boys about backpacking equipment and food and help make plans for the trip. I tried to impress upon the boys to take what they liked to eat but to try and get it in the lightest form possible.

We then went about the business of learning about rafts and decided that each boy or pair of boys should get their own raft so that it would be small enough for them to handle and carry if necessary. Karl and I went to El Paso and looked at the different sizes of rafts and decided on a good inflatable three man raft. It came complete with plastic paddles and we were all set to get ready for the awaited trip. We carefully made our check list and began to load our backpacks. Naoma constantly reminded us of things that we had not thought of and all of the family were helping us prepare for the great adventure.

One day Jenene came driving up the highway and just north of the school and saw a young man painfully limping along under the weight of a backpack piled high above his head. She stopped to talk to him, curious about him and his unusual presence here in Dublan. She found out that he was Kenneth Storm from Minnesota and was a student at the University there and had been fascinated by the writings of the early explorer Lumholt and had decided to follow his trail and wanderings on foot. That morning while he was swinging on his heavy backpack he had twisted his knee and it was giving him a lot of pain.

Jenene true to family tradition invited him home for a meal and to rest his painful knee. We all gathered around to hear his story and enthusiastic telling of the adventures of the great explorer Lumholt who had mentioned his travel through the Mormon Colonies on his way through into the Sierra Madre.

After a couple of days rest at our house Ken decided that his knee was getting worse and that he needed to return home and have it repaired before continuing on his journey. He asked if he could leave his backpack here and pick it up when he returned to resume his travels.

He took the train home and after about six weeks he returned eager to continue on the trail of Lumholt. His knee had been operated on and was repaired as he said, "As good as new".

We were full of preparations for our raft trip down the Bavispe. We told Ken about it and he said that he would like to go along. The trip was about ten days away and he said that it was just enough time to get as far as Madera and return by train in time to go with us on our adventure. I drew him a map of the way up through Cave Valley, Pacaheco, and Chuhuichupa and gave him names of people who would be able help him along the way.

Ken Storm came back on the train from Madera and spent Sunday with us and said he was ready to go with us on our River Trip.

Monday morning early we traveled in a ton truck to the Three Rivers bridge on the Bavispe River. We all eagerly unloaded our equipment and went to work inflating our rafts and loading all of our stuff in them. Karl and I put our backpacks down in the bottom of the rubber raft and pushed out into the river current and our journey was begun.

We were making good progress around the first bend at the Tarango ranch when we saw to our disgust that the bottom of the raft was awash with water and our backpacks were wet. We immediately pulled over to the bank and opened our packs and took everything out. We salvaged nearly everything except our Book of Mormon, which was ruined being soaked with water. We cut two poles and laid them across the top of the raft in the middle and put our backpacks on the poles where they would be high and dry for the rest of the trip.

We were making good progress and came down to Ojo Caliente and stopped to gather a big bunch of peppermint growing along the little stream that flowed out of the warm spring. We were behind all of the rest of the rafts so we hurried on down river taking advantage of the deep pools and good current. We came around a bend in time to see Harold Bowman reeling in a big Black Bass. Suddenly he threw down his pole and jumped into the deep pool to retrieve his broken line. He caught the line and was carefully pulling in the fish when the line broke again and his big prize was gone. I dug into my pack and gave him some good strong Nylon line and a lure to put on his pole. While we were thus engaged a Señor Grajeda came along driving some cattle up river to his ranch. I went over to visit with him and got acquainted with him. He told me that his ranch was just across the river and up the Taraises Creek about a kilometer away. He was very interested in our trip and wished us well and a safe trip.

As we paddled along a stretch of river that was about three feet deep we could see some large carp about thirty inches long gliding along with the raft looking curiously up at us. Karl tried to hit them with his paddle but of course they darted away only to return and glide along with us again. Karl got quite annoyed and tried to hit them again yelling, "go away fish"! We came into a stretch of river where the bottom was more covered with moss and debris. Here we noticed that for about a mile there were no fish. Even though the water was very clear and there were some nice deep pools we could not see any fish of any kind. I was puzzled and wondered why the fish avoided that stretch of river.

Coming around a bend into a beautiful deep pool against a towering cliff of rock, we received a reception committee of big black bass coming out to meet us curiously swimming around our raft. We pulled over to the bank and got out our fishing gear and Bass lures and cast them over near the cliff into the deep clear water. After a few casts we each caught a big one for our supper that evening. We soon caught up to the rest of the group who were waiting for us before going into camp for the night. We camped on a beautiful grassy bank with towering trees around making an ideal camp spot with plenty of wood and water. Karl and I had a good supper of Black Bass fillet, potatoes pearls and gravy to finish off with some delicious Peppermint Tea. Ken Storm came over to our camp and visited with us a while saying that this trip was a photographer's dream and that he had taken many beautiful shots. Our first day's journey was behind us and we soon went to sleep remembering that we still had many miles of river to traverse in order to meet the truck to pick us up on Saturday morning.

The next morning as we started out I saw that Russell and Lee Robinson had taken off their shirts and just had on short pants. I warned them that they would get sunburned, especially on their legs but they assured me that they didn't burn. That evening their legs were bright red and so painful that they could not put on their long pants. We could hear them groaning in their bed they were so burned that they could not sleep from the fiery pain. They really suffered all during the next three days.

When we started out that morning Kelly Jones and Dwight Wagner in their raft, Harold and Rhett Bowman in theirs, Russell and Lee Robinsn in theirs, and Marion Call and Phillip Belnap in theirs all took off as if competing for first place in the line of paddlers. Frank Hatch fell in behind them paddling easy to keep them in sight. Ken Storm was busy taking pictures but soon fell in behind Frank. Karl and I brought up the rear again since we had the biggest raft and did not go as fast. Soon after the river turned West we came to a stream that came into the main river which I had been watching for. I knew this must be the Nutria Creek coming into the Bavispe. We pulled over to the bank and Karl waited while I hurriedly went up the stream to explore the lower end of the Nutria. It soon became rather rugged confirming my findings of a few years earlier when I had come down the Nutria to see where it joined the Bavispe. I had turned back where the canyon became so rugged that I would have to travel in the water. After seeing what I wanted to see I hurried back to where Karl was waiting and we resumed our paddling down the river.

We soon came to where the canyon deepened and big rocks loomed up in the middle of the river completely blocking our passage accept for a tunnel through one big rock that was just wide enough for our raft to squeeze through rubbing on each side of the smooth walls of the tunnel. Just in the entrance of the tunnel I looked up and saw a birds nest on a ledge inside the tunnel. The water was deep here and we could not see the bottom.

That second day we made good time even though we had to pull our rafts through some shallow rocky places. That evening it clouded up and began to rain. Luckily we came onto some shallow caves in the side of the cliff near the river and found a nice dry place to camp and spend the night. Inside the caves we found some curious drawings where they had been preserved for probably over a thousand years. Ken storm took photos of each drawing and said he would study them when he got back to the University.

The next day was Wednesday and as we started on our journey again the river turned east in big bend for many miles. I became a little worried for fear that we would not make our destination by Saturday. As we traveled along it seemed that the current increased and we went through some narrow, shallow rapids which Karl and I enjoyed. We had decided not to get out and wade through as we had seen Russell and Lee do just in front of us. We just sat tight and went bobbing through with no problem. After that we didn't get out except when it was necessary to pull the raft where it was not deep enough to paddle.

Going east we came into a long stretch of river that was narrow with high cliffs of rock on each side. About fifty feet up on the cliffs we could see water marks that had been left when the river was in flood. Seeing how high that river could get we were grateful that we were traveling in the dry time of year and the river was low and no danger of flood.

Toward evening the river turned back West again and opened up into a wide valley. Here we found a high cropping of rock that divided the river in two. Up on the rock about 40 feet up we could see deposits of debris that the river had left when it was in flood.

Suddenly we came to a solid wall of rock with no visible passage for us or the water. Over on the right side of the river we could tell that the water was funneling down under the cliff. We rowed over to the left side where we could see a place where we could climb out of the boxed in river and pull our rafts up over the smooth rock that was about ten feet high above the water level on the upstream side. When we got on top of the rock we could see the water down about fifty feet on the other side. We finally found our precarious way down onto a sandy bank pulling of rafts after us. >From there it was easy to launch our rafts and get on our way again.

We came into a beautiful protected place where the group were already in camp and were happy to pull over and find just the right spot to set up our little camp. Harold and Rhett were swimming in a deep pool in the river. Harold was climbing high on a cliff and jumping off into the deep pool below. Ken hurried over with his camera and caught Harold in mid air as he jumped from the cliff about 40 feet up.

I looked over and saw Lee Robinson cleaning a big Black Bass. He commented that this was his first fish since he had not been able to catch any trout on any of the other trips we had made to Trout Creek or other streams. Karl and I had stopped earlier and we had our fish for our supper.

Thursday morning we traveled on down North West and the river canyon began to open up and we saw an occasional ranch house set back in the trees against the hill. About mid morning Karl and I came into a beautiful, deep pool and found Harold and Rhett sitting dejectedly on the bank. They said that they had rowed ahead and had decided to take a swim to cool off. They had pulled their raft up onto the bank out of the water and left it there while they swam. The hot sun hat heated the air in the raft until it exploded bursting a big hole in it. We talked it over and decided that we would put their useless raft in the bottom of ours and they would take their back packs and proceed on foot. I suggested that at times they would have easier going if they climbed to the top of the ridge and went along the top keeping the river in sight. They shouldered the packs and strode away saying, "we will see you tonight in camp".

That evening we chose to camp on a grassy bank covered with trees this bank seemed to be under an overhang of rock that came out over it about two hundred feet up. >From the bank where we were the rock swept back in a steep incline ending in a big dark cavern high up in the smooth mountain of rock. Just at dusk, while we were all busy around our little campfires, a big black cloud of bats came streaming out of the cave. This stream continued, it seemed to me, for about 20 minutes. I was filled with wonder at the thousands upon thousands of bats that must live in that deep cavern in that mountain of rock.

The next morning Ken Storm persuaded Harold to trade places with him since he, Ken wanted to go up high on the ridge with Rhett to get some good pictures of the scenery and the country. Ken and Rhett left their back packs with Harold and climbed out onto the high ridge where they took many pictures, some of the river like a tiny ribbon down in the deep canyon. In the pictures on the river one has to look very carefully to see the tiny rafts, just a speck of color on the ribbon of water in the deep canyon.

That day Karl and I had to work double because our paddles had gradually worn down from breaking bits of the plastic off when striking a rock or the bottom of the stream. That evening a weary bunch of paddlers faced our last night in camp. As if to raise our spirits we camped on a beautiful grassy cove with different kinds of trees around us. With plenty of wood and water we decided to prepare an exceptionally good meal and plenty of it. We had eaten our fill of fish so we concentrated on Potato Pearls and refried beans with two freeze dried meat meals thrown in. We invited Ken to come and eat with us for we knew he was very tired of soups, since that is all he had in his pack. As we were eating contentedly Marion Call came over looking very hungry so we let him finish up what was left.

The next morning as we worked our way along the river where the country began to open up and we new we were coming into the valley of Cóbora and Huachinera. We came to a temporary irrigation dam across the river and Karl and I lifted our raft to carry it over the dam. I guess we slipped or something because we punctured one of the compartments in our raft on one of the sharp sticks that were sticking up in the dam. To our relief we discovered that the other compartment was enough to float the raft without us in it. For the next hour we pulled our raft along the shallow sandy river until we came to the pick up truck that was waiting for us to take us back home. On the way back we met Herman Hatch who was coming back from Hermosillo with a load of grapes. He gave us grapes to eat on the way home. I remember how good those grapes tasted to a bunch of tired, hungry explorers. We had rafted down the Bavispe river and were content with that once in life time, wonderful experience.

As I put this in my journal I will include a page or two of photos that Ken Storm sent me and that I have as proof of this wild tale.