I think I definitely prefer the fall-colored Aravaipa. This was a trip put together by desertgirl
for arizonahikers.com. We lucked out with nearly perfect day time temps. I didn't find the water chilly. As always, this hike involves hiking in and out of the creek. Hiking this creek the first 5 miles or so has some nice flat areas and some tricky crossings on occasion. The deeper flow can be somewhat fast so you do need to pay attention from time to time. We stayed in the creek for the most part on Days One and Two but you can find a lot more land to hike on if you so choose.
We started out from the TH on time at 10:30 with 5 of our group... the collie, as one of our group called the lead man, got away from us pretty quickly and would try to get us the camping spot right across from Horse Camp Canyon (but he ended up at the spot just before that). The rest of us ambled our way along, stopping for some major tripod photo shoots with the favorite being the "golden bend". Elizabeth and her son caught us just before Virgus Canyon. Tom ended up getting us a different camp but in the end, despite it having less sun, it was the nicer camp as we were able to spread around plus the Fall color was better here.
After a slightly chilly nite, at around 10AM, four of us headed up the creek toward Booger Canyon. The collie stayed with us for about the first 1/2 mile and then we didn't see him again until we got back. We didn't even pass him on his way back which is surprising.
I was delighted to see that this part of the creek involved flat hiking
the entire way that we went except for our climb up into Horse Camp Canyon at the end of our trek this day. When the sun was out, it was simply glorious. I was the "grip" for this part of the hike but I was more than happy to assist the two photographers that were soaking up this rich photographic environment with their cameras. Among other things I learned that even when it seemed shaded in the canyon, there was actually reflective light coming off the far canyon wall. On occasion, you would feel a warm air current around you; that was really
The other thing I saw for the first time in my life was a cloud rainbow or infraction. I could see a yellow color in the clouds just above the canyon wall to the south. I thot maybe something was wrong with my eyes so I demanded the other two look. The clouds then became somewhat pink. I did get some pictures and it looks like you'll be able to see what I was talking about. It was mystical to me
We had a terrific walk as we ambled our way up the creek getting some excellent pictures including beautiful fall reflections in the water. We would say to each other, look here, look here, wow look at that or how about this! The great thing with having several sets of eyes is you get to see so much more
. We figured we got not too far from Paisano Canyon before finally having to turn around. We sat on a large rock in the creek and had a quick snack.
On the way back to camp we took some more photos, though the tripods only came out once. We think we spotted some maples way up toward the top of the canyon wall south of the creek. We got to Horse Camp Canyon and after a couple false starts we climbed up into the canyon (north side of the creek). It is best to not go around the flat side to enter the canyon but go right up the middle between the very large boulders. On my video, you can see where two of the hikers went into the canyon. We tried the left side but it's easier to go right up the middle. I think this is a very unique canyon with an unexpected environment; definitely worth a look-see. We only got to the bottom of the pour off where there is a deep pool (with more reflections) but there's much more to see including a cave above that pour off.
Anne and Cindy had made it to camp around 3 I think. We got back at 4:45. We had some dinner and later celebrated Anne's bday with some chocolates and butterscotch schnapps. After some good conversation and laughs most folks turned in at hiker's bedtime. The night time temps were a little brisk and in the mornings, we dealt with the canyon breeze that usually let up around 10.
Day Three it was back to the TH. Elizabeth and her son took out earlier than the rest of us. Around 10, we headed out with 3 of us planning a stop at Virgus while the others went on their way. Little did we realize that Virgus involved some serious boulder maneuvering so we opted, rather than take an extra hour, to head on down the trail. Virgus will have to wait another day. That's the great thing about Aravaipa, there is always a lot more to see.
On our way back, we encountered "snickety snake". This cute little guy entertained us for awhile. We also talked with a fellow measuring something, the BLM Ranger and we ran into Joel and Jonny. I was wondering why we didn't run into them on Saturday but it was because they didn't come until Sunday. After a short visit with them, we continued down the creek on a beautiful day. We took a few breaks here and there to rest and just enjoy the environs. If you don't have to why be in a hurry to leave THIS?
Our last hurrah was coming up the hill out of the creek. Last year this hill was very tough for me. It was 95 degrees and had been pretty hot the whole hike. I have to say I am embarrassed at how easy this hill was today. Of course, we had great temps and the pace of the hike had been quite leisurely but even so, the hill 'twas nothing compared to a year ago. Maybe coming out of the Grand Canyon had something to do with my ability to go up that hill so easily plus I've been backpacking and hiking so much more since then.
In fact I realized I have almost 400 miles on my boots. During the Blk Mesa Loop hike last month, Ambika and I had discussed it may be time to get new boots as I seemed to be slipping more than I should. What a year I've had! I can't imagine it getting any better than 2010. So let me take this opportunity to thank Kat, Wendy and Ambika for making this all possible as well as all the other folks I've had the pleasure to hike with or meet on the trail. And last but not least thanks to HAZ and all of you for making my life so much more fun to LIVE!
Videos (keep in mind, you could get a little dizzy as it's hard to walk in/along the creek and take videos):
Day One - heading toward our campsite just before Horse Camp Canyon http://www.youtube.com/embed/Sfib0bBoDKw
Day Two - Pt I from Horse Camp Canyon past Booger Canyon and back to Horse Camp Canyon http://www.youtube.com/embed/psbJQg7lQnM
Day Two - Horse Camp Canyon http://www.youtube.com/embed/iT4ZyjFI0wo
Day Three - Hike to the TH including "snickety snake" and ending with the Ray Open Pit Mine and the sunset we encountered on the 60 toward Phoenix http://www.youtube.com/embed/Yg6iH6XtT3U
Here are a couple people slide shows I created on Adobe Photoshop and one on Adobe Premiere Elements. The slides for both are pretty much the same, the music and layouts are different. Not that happy with either one of them for different reasons but I was tired of fiddling with them so they are what they are. However, they do give you a good sense of the hike as far as my photos of the hikers: