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Old Safford-Morenci Trail - GET #13
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mini location map2014-03-13
29 by photographer avatarazdesertfather
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Old Safford-Morenci Trail - GET #13Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 13 2014
azdesertfather
Hiking17.01 Miles 3,484 AEG
Hiking17.01 Miles   6 Hrs   40 Mns   2.89 mph
3,484 ft AEG      47 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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fricknaley
JuanJaimeiii
After a few months off, we were back on the GET today. Incredible day! This segment is one that every Arizonan should do, whether hiking the GET or not!

Nick and I started out on the western end at 8:35am after doing a car swap in Safford with JJ. Never saw anyone else (other than JJ) out there all day, and saw virtually no wildlife...pretty much birds and lizards, and a garter snake. But the views are gorgeous. We did a little over 1,000 ft of gradual descent over 7 or so miles, going from desert with juniper and pine and then some nice canyon (almost slot canyon-like) before making our way to a BEA-U-tiful area around Bonita Creek, which in most places is less than knee deep and flowing well. There's and old abandoned rock building just before the creek, one wall is gone but the other three are still standing (not sure this history of it). Signs of lots of busy beavers are everywhere, with small trees chewed up at the base and fallen down into the creek.

After having read about Old Lady Gay's cabin that is located less than a half mile up Bonita Creek, it was something I had to see. Nick and I dropped our packs and jogged up there, and it was totally worth the trip. This cabin is well over a century old, and was restored by the BLM in 2006. A great big sign out there explains the history of the cabin and the area, going back to the days when the Morenci mine opened in 1873 and even before.

After having lunch back at the creek, we started making our way up the incline that started out gradual but ended up more steep at the end, a 3,000 ft incline over 4 1/2 miles. The first part on the other side of the creek, in Midnight Canyon, tremendous. even better canyon views than on the west side of the creek. In a couple of places, humongous chockstones rested overhead in the canyon the size of vehicles.

Once we left Midnight Canyon and started really ascending on 4WD road, there was a lot more exposure and it got toasty. A bit of a slog up that last couple of miles as the trail grew steeper, nice to get to the saddle and know you were downhill from there! Once you reach the top of the saddle, the next 1/2 mile is on San Carlos Reservation land before going back onto public lands. With good clouds overhead, a nice breeze, and downhill, the last few miles couldn't have been nicer.

We hit the eastern TH at 3:15pm and started driving out, driving by the gargantuan Morenci mine. Thankfully we didn't see it on this segment, but it will be unavoidable at the beginning of segment 14. The drive out just amazed us as we saw how MASSIVE this thing is. Morenci and Clifton is just other-worldly out there, I tell you.

Thanks guys for a great day back on the GET. Can't wait for the next installment!
Fauna
Fauna
Sonoran Whipsnake
Culture
Culture
Mining Equipment
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Midnight Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Few small pools left.
_____________________
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
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