Since Tracey doesn't have every day off like me, when she does have a free day she wants to average 10 miles. And since our hike yesterday in the White Canyon Wilderness only reached 9.9, I had to come up with something 'new, close, not as taxing as White Canyon and it had to be at least 10.1 miles. So I scanned through my previous trips and purposely tried to make a route take in as much new ground as possible. Knowing we may take a few shortcuts, I made a 10.6 mile route.
As it turned out, although we've both hiked/biked in the area a number of times, at least half of the hike would new to both of us. We'd add more climbing than planned, mostly up Coon Bluff ridge but almost as much with all the extra climbing up & down the banks along the Salt River.
The highlight of the trip was a bit of a downer at the same time... just as I mentioned to Tracey I'd seen an eagle out 'right around here' she spotted a Bald Eagle.
Only then did I realize I hadn't planned this as much of a 'photo-shoot hike' and only had my 4X zoom Olympus.
Although we were reasonably close to the eagle without much zoom there was little point. Making it even worse, there was a second Bald Eagle a couple trees over. Oh well... but it was still a cool sighting.
We would follow as close to the shoreline of the Salt River from the Coon Bluff Campground all the way around to the Foxtail Administrative Site just north of the Maricopa County Sheriff station before turning back south.
From the overlook above Foxtail, we spotted our sixth wild horse of the hike (so far, #1 and #6 were solo, #2-4 were together) walking in the shallow water. We would hike right past #2-4 a second time just south of the Salt River tubing parking lot.
When we reached Coon Bluff Road back at Bush Highway we still needed a bit more distance so we crossed the highway and followed meandering wild horse trails until we were south of where we parked then looped back. 10.3 miles!
Overall another perfect day for a hike!
Another down-side? After the hike I spent 30 minutes with a tweezers pulling the buckhorn spines out of our hiking boots... the penalty for following the meandering wild horse trails.
But wonder of wonders, that's where Tracey spotted a 2" potsherd.