A group of ten of us set out on the west side of Aravaipa on Saturday morning. We hiked about 3 or 4 miles up stream to a large overhang in the north cliff and set up camp. Some people in the group have been here before, which was good because the overhang is hard to see from the creek. I walked right by it. The overhang was big enough for all of us to set up our tents under, which was great because it started raining when we got there. Fortunately we quickly gathered enough dry firewood to keep us toasty warm throughout the night. The rain eventually turned to snow and we sat and watched it settle on the ledges high up on the cliff across the creek.
The next morning, Sunday, we pulled on our wet, cold boots, split into 3 different groups and headed out to explore some side canyons. Five of us went to Booger Canyon, about 1 and 1/2 miles upstream from our camp. At the mouth of the canyon, we watched 6 javelinas grazing on prickly pear cactus. I still can't fathom how they can eat those! The canyon itself was amazing. Water was flowing everywhere, and we discovered hidden waterfalls behind jumbles of boulders. We were entertained for hours. Once we got tired we headed back to camp, where some of our group already had the fire going. Home, sweet home!
Monday morning I was ordered to get out my binoculars immediately. We spotted some bighorn sheep high up on the cliffs about 1/2 mile from our camp. I got within a 1/4 mile of them and with the bino's could pick out the dominate ram. It was so cool. My first time seeing bighorn sheep!
After the excitement of the sheep died down, we packed up camp. The hike out was relatively uneventful. I was taking a lot of pictures, so I was waaay behind the main group. Towards the end of the hike, I became temporarily confused about where the hike ended. Nothing looked familiar to me. After a nerve-racking hour I made it out O.K. It turned out I just wasn't paying enough attention to my surroundings on the way in. What a rookie mistake! I was kinda embarrassed.
I would do this trip again in a heartbeat. I wish the BLM would allow longer stays in the canyon. Three days is not enough.