It was funny that we didn’t see any wildlife at all since the area seems a superhighway for it. I think it is because in that area we spent so much time looking at our feet for stable footing (and rattlesnakes). We did stumble on a very active bear den, minus the, what appeared to be, a pretty aggressive bear. But the whole area sends off a vibe of being watched. On the full moon we sat in the middle of the wash as it was lit up like day time. My son commented on how exposed we felt. We had both reviewed the 2010 pics linked to in this forum of the three cats at Middle Fork Jumpoff and also noted his claims that the Middle Fork Jumpoff makes the Mill Creek Jumpoff look like Poopout Hill. We agree with that and decided to abandon our attempt to get to the top. It just felt too risky and too far back in there. Apart from a few sketchy moves required, rockfall is a constant issue. I got tagged in the finger. Also from below, it’s clear that the fire burned right to the drop.
We did finally did succeed in making it down to the NF (and back up) above the falls via the west saddle. So cool. We traveled up river a ways, but both of us have a bad habit of telling ourselves “just one more corner,” and the it was our last day and the “mom clock” was ticking. But we both agree that just exploring up to Hell for Sure Falls and to the falls on the NF would be well worth the price of the hike in. We had gone to Hell for Sure Falls on a day hike a few weeks before.
Special thanks to Hikin’ Jim for the inspiration on going to Hell for Sure and his description of the approach (which we think we have refined, and will happily share what we’ve learned to anyone interested.)