I had this all done and then went to go check the spelling of phainopepla and lost the whole report. It was turning out pretty good too. So let me try again.
Sunday we packed up our vehicles, stopped by the Visitors Center and then drove 10 miles back up the 85 for our 4 mile drive to the Alamo Canyon TH. As we walked toward the ranch house we admired the desert all decked out in its green finery. The saguaros seemed particulary beautiful as were the teddy cholla. The wildflowers were limited except for lots of little yellow flowers of some sort and lots of small scorpion weed.
After enjoying the ruins of the ranch and group photos at the old pump, Wendy and I began boulder-hopping east up the mostly dry creek/wash. It was a fun trek as after/around each obstacle(s) we found a different kind of area whether it be a wider/narrower channel or more/less/different vegetation. What I particularly like is that most of the many bends are short and because of that, you are drawn to continually go see what's around the corner. Also, some of the bed rock was absolutely stunning in a couple areas; I think even Preston would be impressed. There was also this one place just out of the creek bed where we saw some really talllllll chain cholla trees;I'd say at least 15 feet. I was amazed.
It was funny though cuz as we are thinking we are kind of walking in less-traversed territory, we would find cairns. After going about 1.73 miles from the TH we turned around and headed back. Since earlier in the wash we had met a couple that had mentioned a trail above and as we approached a cairn in the middle of the drainage at about the 1.5 mile area, Wendy decided we should try the trail. We did a short climb out and south of the creek bed. If the trail started going too far up, we could always come back.
Well this turned out to be extremely rewarding as the views were great. Eventually we expected the trail to take us back to the creek but everytime we started going back down the trail would just keep going west. Once again we found some very interesting rock and the phainopeplas were dancing in and around us as well. We were absolutely delighted when we ended up at the corral, who knew?
I would suggest that if you want to do some more walking, take the path past the corral rather than going into the creek/wash. This cairned trail will take you back to the creek where you can continue up or down it.
A video at the ranch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zdNNVFTJ74&feature=channel