After returning home last weekend from my awesome trip to Aravaipa with Jon, I immediately got online and reserved my permit for this weekend. I can see why people like this place so much
It's been a long time since I've gone on a significant solo backpack trip and this was probably my most enjoyable yet.
I started hiking at 11:45AM and saw a group of Javelina before I even hit the creek. A great beginning! I hauled through the first couple miles (passing a group of ladies, the only people I would see the entire weekend) until I reached the infamous "Golden Bend" where I tried my hand at a photo once again. After failing, as was expected at this vortex of a photo spot, I slowed my clip down to a more reasonable pace. I had originally wanted to make it to Booger Canyon for camp, but realized if I was going to focus any attention on capturing the beauty of this lower canyon my planned campsite wouldn't happen, so I might as well just go with the flow. Fortunately, going with the flow and enjoying the scenery gave me the opportunity to see a few coatimundis scramble up the canyon.
Soon enough I found myself at Virgus Canyon, near which Jon and I camped last weekend. Excited that I still had a couple hours of daylight left, I forged on to see new ground. I made it almost a mile past Horse Camp Canyon when I saw the light on the cliffs start to warm up. Sunset Shot Fever promptly set in and I started to frantically scramble around looking for a scene. I'm never good when I scramble for photos and of course got nothing out of it (I have to relearn this lesson every trip I take). Fortunately, a tasty beverage
helped me relax as I set up my mediocre shot and I remembered how amazing of a time I was having. Not a soul for miles, canyon walls towering above me, standing ankle deep in a cold stream, 5 tough miles away from my truck and who knows how far from cell phone reception. Life was good
I found a quaint little campsite about a half mile past Horse Camp Canyon. Never having had a campfire on a solo backpack trip, I figured what the heck, I'll spoil myself. I lounged in front of that for the evening, enjoyed a couple of Lagunitas' best brews (Maximus IPA and Brown Shugga), ate some red beans and rice for dinner, and eventually turned into my sleeping bag, which was situated on top of a tarp and underneath nothing but stars. Life was still good.
The next morning I woke to a cold breeze and a runny nose, which is nothing out of the ordinary for me. A breakfast of leftover red beans and rice, a Cliff Bar and a 5 Hour Energy left me ready to brave the cold, and I hopped back into the creek. The next couple hours consisted of me being defeated by the light over and over again. Fortunately, the lesson I learned the previous evening stuck with me, and I just enjoyed the hike. While splashing through the less interesting last mile or so of my hike out I was lucky enough to see and hear a couple more coatimundis.
My last two weekends at Aravaipa were probably my two favorite backpacks this year. They were a good way to end my 2010 quest for fall colors. Next weekend I'm off to rekindle my obsession with the Superstitions. Oh how I love the desert