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Eagle Spring via Millsite Canyon, AZ
mini location map2012-12-09
50 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Eagle Spring via Millsite Canyon, AZ 
Eagle Spring via Millsite Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking3.10 Miles 930 AEG
Hiking3.10 Miles   3 Hrs   20 Mns   1.01 mph
930 ft AEG      15 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
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trixiec
When I was at the summit of Peak 3450 two days ago, an old pack road caught my attention as it headed from Millsite Canyon toward what appeared to be a large cave. This was enough to plan for a hike to the cave, and with Tracey having a day off this would be the 'on-trail' hike she so desired.

Again, the drive just to get to our trailhead near Rattlesnake Spring was way rougher than Tracey cared for, which was probably a harbinger of what the hike would turn out to be. :-$

As advertised, the first mile was some easy walking along a seldom-used road, although there were fresh horseshoe tracks that had to have been from yesterday because they were on top of the tire tracks from my Jeep two days before. As we approached the 'cave' I expected to find, it was obvious that shadows coupled with my point-of-view on the summit of Peak 3450 made it look like a cave when it was simply a natural rock overhang. Oh well, at least we saw a man-made stone wall heading up the west canyon wall... maybe we'll check it out on the return trip.

But now came the un-advertised part... when the road became a trail, and the trail became... nothing. Tracey was fine along the road, was still ok with the narrow trail, but when it came down to crashing through brush consisting of thorny and non-thorny varieties, well, she was not to enthused. But as usual, the moment I assured her it was up to her to say 'uncle' and we could turn back, nope, let's continue.

And so we did. By time we were closing in on Eagle Spring we were into serious bushwhack-mode, sometimes not knowing if the dead vegetation we stepped on would hold, or let us drop 6' down into a pool of water. Once we reached the spring, which was water dripping from a pipe into an old Boeing fuel drop-tank, Tracey was ready to call it a day. But as we were turning to go back, I noticed what looked like a clearing barely 25' farther. That was all it took to continue on, and we were glad we did... it was like our trip through Wood Canyon to White Canyon... awesome views all around! So we continued on up-canyon. This would pay off not only in great photos, but some boots-on-the-ground recon for my upcoming summit attempt of Peak 4618. I say attempt because even after driving farther up Millsite Canyon and looking up at it, I still have no idea what the last 110+ vertical feet look like. If they look anything like the eastern face, well it just ain't gonna happen.

After reaching the one and only flat area we stopped for a quick lunch of PB&J sandwiches before attempting to head down another route. Barely a few hundred feet that direction and we had enough, way too steep with loose terrain so we returned generally along the same route as the climb up. Because I had done some trimming along the way up the trip back down took much less time and soon we were back on the road.

As we approached Millsite Spring we had to make the decision whether to leave the road and head off through dense brush to cross the wash and climb up for a closer look at the stone wall we saw earlier. We're here, so why not? So we did just that. Based on how haphazard the wall was built and the fact there was rusty old barbed-wire woven into it we figured it was built late 1800's to early 1900's. Why, we have no idea because it doesn't go far enough to stop anything. Weirdly enough, there is another one like it farther into Millsite Canyon that again is only on a wide western slope of the canyon and doesn't continue far enough to block the way. :-k

Ok, cross back through the brush, across the wash, through brush on the other side and finally back on the road again. Tough as some of the hike was, it was well worth it!

Panorama video from our high point is here:
http://changephoenix.com/jpserver/web/public/file.php?id=310
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