I started my morning headed towards Rogers Trough to do White Mountain, but no vehicle is getting across Queen Creek right now and I saw first hand why. I pulled up behind a pickup who had a friend outside mulling over whether it was crossable. I kept thinking that there was no way that it was uncrossable and I even thought for a minute that the guy ahead of me might be being a little cautious and if he did not go, I was just going to go around him and try, but just then he went for it after his friend on the outside seemed to give him the thumbs up. He was done for as soon as he hit the water, his front end briefly went hood deep he lurched forward a little and then there he sat about bed deep in Queen Creek. I got out and said to his friend, "well I am not going this way," turned around and headed back to the 60 for a plan B.
I figured I could not go wrong with Miles trailhead for a plan B, although, it did cross my mind that even that road may be impassable due to the rock slides that always occur out there after a big rain. I got lucky and it was clear sailing to the TH. Every drainage was flowing along the road and it was very apparent from the start that the area had been hammered recently. I ended up stopping before Miles and went in Paradise Trail to do a variation of the Bull Basin loop, but with Government Hill and its long ridgeline as an off trail linking route between the two trails. Paradise was a tremendous start to the day. It was nearly impossible to keep your feet dry on the trail, the creek was raging and trailside was one cascade after another, topped off by the main attraction which is less than a mile in. From the flowing water of Paradise, it was across the snow dusted ridgeline to Government Hill for some fantastic views. In particular, the Ancha are in rare form and look more like a range in Colorado right now due to the amount of snow its holding. From Government Hill it was down to Bull Basin, more cascades, more water and then the rugged detour up Rock Creek Trail to view its falling water highlight.
It was impossible to stay dry going up Rock Creek, as it was just calming down from what looked to be a pretty intense little flash flood. The crossings were deep and fast, but all manageable. The horrible trail along the bench was probably worse anyways. Its a real shame the Forest Service decommissioned this trail, it was probably a good one in its day, now the falls are slowly becoming perhaps not worth the hassle. A couple stretches of the trail along the bench are becoming a tad brutal with acacia, deadfall and general overgrowth, during lower water this can be remedied through simply walking up the creek bed, however, that was not happening today. The hike back from the falls went much quicker, as I took up to wading more stretches of the creek when I could, rather than bushwhacking along its edge. Once I hit Bull Basin, it was a pretty quick hike back to the car and other than the fact that West Pinto looks nearly impossible to cross on foot right now, nothing overly exciting occurred.
A great plan B!