Another adventure outing into some new territory took me close to the White Canyon Wilderness with Hank and Eric. I got to see the North and South Buttes of the Gila that I had seen in pics and on MyTopo when I was trying to identify landmarks. And we got to drive on Cochran Road and see the Gila and see the Coke Ovens from afar and see the old Cochran town site.
Of course the highlight was the hike of the Slope. This place was a virtual wonderland. Eric had mapped out a route via Google earth and though we made one wrong turn, everything else went as smooth as silk. The wrong turn though, was quite cool because of water in the little slot canyon. Eric said he didn't see this water last week and that's when he realized we had overshot the initial turn to go up the Slope.
The reason you have to go up the Slope from here is the slot canyon has a pool of water and a dry waterfall that you can't get by. We checked that out before going up the Slope. Getting up the Slope is kind of an adventure too. I would have no idea where to go up but Eric had pre-hiked this early part of the route last week. You're really not sure what is going to greet you as you proceed up this steep part of the initial climb up the Slope.
I heard Hank go "wow" or something to that effect so I hustled a little faster. When I gained this top of the valley, we could start to see toward the White Canyon Wilderness with the Tower (Peak 3306) standing out along with Battle Axe and the Rincon
Eric pointed over to the next slope we would need to gain but before that we took a slight detour to the east where we got a good view of a dry waterfall that still had some water at its bottom. Next we headed south and then up to a higher part of the slope that had a couple small false summits. And like this type of gaining a little altitude, your views start opening up; the Slope was no exception even though we weren't very high. It was a bit breezy going up but other than that the temps couldn't have been any nicer.
Once we finally gained the high point of the Slope, we headed east again to the point on the southern part of the slope. This got a bit tricky at one point as you had to somehow get over a wide and tall gap. For Eric, it seems nothing as he has those really long legs, but for Hank and I, it took some maneuvering. By this time, Eric had already gone over on the other point across from us. He could still see us and offered up some suggestions as to how to get over the gap. Was it worth it
. The views down into the canyon were very cool with the colorful cliff walls.
I filmed and photographed as Eric tried to gain
the farthest tip of the other point. It got a bit tricky but he managed to get over this one area to the edge of the point. Now it was time to head back up the Slope. We would all eventually meet up and then hiked further west back to the high point where believe it or not, there was a benchmark. We thoroughly enjoyed walking on the very edge of the Slope and looking down and beyond it. We spotted some poppies and I even spotted a squirrel. Believe it or not, though I couldn't quite see the squirrel when it scooted under a rock, my zoom camera photo revealed I got a shot of him.
Next along our walk we spotted a rabbit which I got on film. We continued to walk toward South Butte until our walkway ended. We headed north to our exit route but not before stopping for lunch where we could take in the incredible views around us
. I've sure been loving my lunch spots lately. I can't wait until I get to enjoy lunch spots like these more than once a week.
We headed down the slope before heading back up and to the east. You are kind of in a valley of the Slope. To your left (north) is this totally cool rock formation that has a window at its east end. To your right is a slot canyon where we spotted this enormous dead juniper tree that had been growing right out of the side of the canyon. It looked like it had split a giant rock slab too.
As the day grew longer, the views into the White Canyon Wilderness became more clear and even more beautiful. You constantly find yourself looking that way and getting immersed
in all of the little peaks and colorful mountains.
It was also interesting that this path seems to also be the main air route; though you couldn't hear the aircraft, there were nearly non-stop contrails. Fortunately those contrails didn't interfere with our photographic task. One time we watched as an airplane was flying right in the path of a contrail and another time, there were two contrails side by side, one in light and one in shadow. Very
. Oh and later in the day, the wind was capturing the contrails and making very cool designs.
Soon we were already back at the TH and left the playground
. I do have to say that you do a lot of up and down jumping as you traverse around the Slope. Many times I would see the guys going one way that looked like more strain than was necessary so I would find an easier way
. The advantage in being at the tail is you can see where the other hikers are going and sometimes you can see a better way to get where they are.
But if you think our adventure is over for the day, oh contra ire
. See my Generic Trip Report and Photos. http://hikearizona.com/x.php?x=71316
Video 1 - The drive and first part of the hike including up a small section of a couple slot canyons: http://youtu.be/Gg7XyW1y7b4
Video 2 - Up the Donnelly Slope: http://youtu.be/-HAXBYDXgHE
Video 3 - Continuing on the Donnelly Slope: http://youtu.be/xWv1-ugL3kY
Video 4 - east end of southern part of Slope: http://youtu.be/SpPET4IpeO8
Video 5 - hike from east to western end of Slope: http://youtu.be/Oql5w3g6rvA
Video 6 - hike back to the Trailhead on the Slope: http://youtu.be/zQ7CjA0sj6c