Kurt organized this trip and I was glad for the opportunity. I always learn something when I backpack with Kurt.
Early Friday we met and Kurt and I each drove to the East Aravaipa Trailhead past Klondyke. We saw some Coatis just before the TH but I don't think we got any photos. We took a brief side excursion and visited the Turkey Creek Ruins - no big whoop. Then we shouldered our backpacks and hiked about 3 miles to the corral by Hells Hole Canyon. I was pleasantly surprised by the Autumn colors in Aravaipa. We set up camp then Kurt led us up Deer Creek and Hells Hole Canyon. We stopped at the spring then proceeded up canyon until our progress was stopped by large chockstones. We headed back to camp for dinner and a lively time by the campfire. Catarina provided some entertainment with her "crunchy" lasagna and Happy Cocoa, then MoovyoAZ took over. He is funny and very entertaining. I have paid money to listen to comedians who aren't nearly as funny.
Saturday dawned with red skies. Temps in the low 40's. Randy and Craig headed back to the TH to explore Beer Canyon - an undocumented side canyon in Aravaipa. While the rest of us set out for Horse Camp Canyon. We saw a couple of deer and lots of birds. I kept going past Horse Camp Canyon to the west and through the Narrows. As I approached Hell's Half Acre Canyon I became concerned with the dark clouds moving in quickly from the southwest. I did not want to get caught in a flash flood in the Narrows so I did not push on to the West TH but turned back to camp. That's why my GPS route ends where it does. The rest of the group explored Horse Camp Canyon and Booger Canyon. Kurt reported that there are a lot of nice waterfalls in Booger Canyon. Another entertaining night by the campfire.
Saturday night and Sunday early morning it rained a little. Temps in the low 40's. Many different levels of backpacking experience on this trip, but everyone was well prepared. Lyle and Liz had Rainbow Tarptents. Maurice did well in his bivy and MSR E-wing. My MSR Hubba performed perfectly. We got started a little late and planned to explore Parson Canyon. I guess we all thought Parson Canyon was farther from Hell's Hole Canyon so we blasted right past it. All these back country skills but nobody read the map or stopped to ask directions. Catarina's Luna bars did not do their job and failed to add enough estrogen to this group
. We stopped and explored a small slot canyon to the north. Next thing we knew we were back to the East TH. We discussed going back to Parson Canyon but decided to head home. As we threw our backpacks into the trucks and prepared to leave the rains came again. At the intersection with US 70 I stopped and waited to make sure Kurt got out of the backcountry. We had a nice conversation with a local resident and learned some insights into why the East TH had been shut down for a few years.
We proceeded to Guayo's El Rey on Sullivan Street in Miami and had a great time with great food in the back room. Negra Modelo beer was popular.
Great time with a great group and hope to backpack with them again.
I've listed my distance as my GPS distance with a few extra miles for side canyon exploration. The AEG is a guess. I was up on trail then back in the water then back up on trail a lot and we did go up some side canyons so it's probably close.