A very interesting hike would be an apt description for this day's trek. I have often been intrigued by the Goldfield Mountains but thought they were just running areas for ATV's and Jeeps, and as it turns out, I was right. I parked my truck at the Weavers Needle Vista parking area along the Apache Trail, just a short distance from First Water Road.
I got into my hiking gear, cleared the GPS and struck out, going North across Hwy 88 and into the dry wash. The immediate area was a series of horse trails, jeep/ATV tracks and some hikers boot prints. The wash was wide and ideal for walking with a mix of sand/gravel and stretches of solid rock. The Jeeps & ATV's seem to have little regard for the scenic area and are trying to climb every ledge and steep grade in sight (and it would only get worse further in)
I decided to stay off the Jeep/ATV trails and stay in the wash, which proved to be the exciting part of the hike. Soon I was in a very narrow canyon area which had a white solid rock base, cut deep in places by the erosion effects of the water. Holes in this rock were filled with standing water from the last rains but were useful as steps to descend to the lower levels. A length of Galvanized pipe ran for a long distance along the West side of the wash that at one time carried water to Tanks further down the wash.
It wasn't long before the wash widened with a continuous sand/gravel base and a lot of dense green foliage dominated the sides. Further up, the mountains provided outstanding scenery with a lot of Saguaro and stands of Cholla dotting the sides. Slot canyons had been formed by the streams entering the wash and I investigated some of them and found them to be very interesting. One of these canyons had a drill rod stuck in the rock above a 15 foot falls.
As I continued on, the jeep/ATV trail joined and left the wash at several places, so there was a lot of traffic that ran the wash rather than the trails. I was beginning to see more plastic water bottles, plastic ATV parts, even a rider's glove littered the wash. At one place I came across some doggie poo in a zip-lock baggie (When dog poo will dry up in a couple of Arizona days, why would someone put it into a zip-lock bag to preserve it for a thousand years?)
I continued down the wash enjoying the quiet (the Jeeps & ATV's weren't running today) and the scenery. There were a lot of birds around and they seemed to pay little attention to my presence. At places the sides of the canyon closed in with cliffs towering high above making for some beautiful stretches of the hike.
When my GPS told me I reached the 5 mile mark, I had now overlapped the Willow Creek to Saguaro Lake posted hike. Along the West side of the wash, another canyon was showing itself and looked pretty tempting, but I was running low on time and put this in my memory banks for a future hike (coordinates 33-deg 32.448, 111-deg 28.948)
. So I reluctantly made an about face and headed back up the wash.
When I got to the white rock area again, I had to climb up the rocks and in doing so, my new camera somehow slipped out if its bag and fell on the rocks, landing in the sand below.
I can't repeat what I said then,
but after retrieving my camera, the lens cover had come off and the optional ND (neutral density) filter was cracked across its face.
Now I know why I bought a $25 screw in lens filter, that fracture could have been my $400 camera's lens. Fortunately the camera still works and I was able to take some photos of fall foliage that still existed along the wash.
So I had an interesting day and an almost expensive lesson, but there's still hope for the regions within the Goldfield Mountains, if you can find the remote trails where the ATV's can't travel.