for free!
show related photosets
East Verde River
37 Photosets

1,  2 
mini location map2014-03-15
57 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
photographer avatar
page 1   2   3   4
East Verde RiverPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 15 2014
Backpack44.40 Miles 11,372 AEG
Backpack44.40 Miles4 Days         
11,372 ft AEG
1st trip
The idea for this trek came from reading the blog of someone who found some pretty nice cliff-dwellings in area of the northwestern Maztzals called the Gorge, the details were vague and it was not clear whether they were found along the East Verde or in one of the side canyons leading into the Gorge. So I made a big loop in route manager utilizing Saddle Ridge Trail #14, the Gorge the East Verde, and Verde River Trail #11. I showed the loop to a couple of HAZers and was a little disappointed to find out someone had already pretty much did the same loop. I thought for a minute I had designed quite the unique off trail back-pack adventure, but of course somebody had already did it, no worries though I knew it would be a good rugged adventure, and I felt I was kind of overdue for one. Bob P joined me for most of day one.

The trip into the Gorge went smooth, I actually overshot my own route by a mile and half because I had hiked in so quick with Bob, I did not realize I was so close to where I wanted to turn-off by the time we split and I hiked another two miles before realizing I wanted to turn-off long ago.

Speaking of splitting, Bob seemed to have had a pretty ambitious route planned for entering the Gorge, so I thought best with dogs and a four day pack to stick to my route and meet him near L.P. Canyon. Bob went on to find a pristine set of petraglpyh, a full elk's head mount, and I got a much steeper and rockier descent into the Gorge. I only went back about six tenths of a mile before saying pumpkin it and taking the quickest route I could find into the sheer sides of the Gorge, rather than the gentle northern slopes of my intended route. In hindsight, I should have stuck with safer first route, as I nearly took Blanco out with a couple boulders that some how managed to find his five hole. I actually almost took Bob out with one as well, I think it was the heavy pack, I was not light on my feet at all..

Had a great time in the Gorge with Bob. We both really enjoyed the scenery in there, the sheer drops, tinkling water falls, deep pools, and mini oasis. Speaking of sheer drops, I was actually relieved to have Bob with me, I would have obviously had to navigate the drops in the canyon regardless, however, it was nice to have company. Bob actually led the way on most, and I cringed as the dogs confidently followed him along 10 inch wide paths a 100 or so feet above the canyon floor, lined with agave for good measure. However, these walks on the wild side were few and generally negated by a quick little "Yahtzee" trail or two that made travel down the Gorge not as horrible as I had thought it could be. I left Bob at Green Horn Canyon and continued down stream towards the East Verde where I almost immediately encountered one of my biggest fears, another huge water fall, we got through it and one more fine, but we were all very happy to be finally reaching camp along the East Verde. I was beat and the dogs were beat, day one ended up being a 14 mile day, with 8-9 of those miles being off trail, oh and I was wearing a four day pack..

I kind of changed my plans I intended to spend two nights along the East Verde, but after not finding the ruins, I decided to just push through to the Big Verde and plan something from a base camp there. The East Verde was beautiful, I started the morning off trying to stay dry and taking the steep out of the way bypasses the cattle take for the deeper spots, however, I think the law of diminishing returns quickly kicked in for me, and I decided they were too hard on the dogs, too over-grown half the time and annoying, so I just started plopping the pack on my head and wading through the river. This actually was a decent strategy in parts where it got thick I just took the water. Although, I learned quickly how a waste deep wade can turn into an arm-pit and neck deep wade. But it really was not that bad, reminded me of trout fishing back home. I camped early after hitting the Verde, I stayed in a really nice spot located in a side canyon off the Verde River Trail. The camp site was awesome and it became even more rewarding when the discovery of a piece of pottery led me to climb three levels of hills to find the largest Pueblo style site I have every found blindly. Just a really large compound with large sections of preserved walls and defined rooms, I have not seen anything that large or preserved outside of the Agua Fria monument area, so that helped alleviate the disappointment of not spotting in cliff-dwellings the previous two days.

The nights were all great, did no rain-fly for last two. The full moon almost literally made it hard to sleep it was so bright. I scaled back day three because Cup seemed a little stiff in the morning. But by scaled back I mean we only hiked the Verde River Trail to Dead man Mesa Trail to Fossil Creek then up to Hell's Hole via Hard Scrabble, then an off-trail cross country route back to the Verde River Trail where we took a nap at camp and went back out again after the temps cooled. Side note Hell's Hole was not that impressive, and I think we need to work on an official route for Dead man Mesa Trail, hike bot seems way off, I followed a well cairn path to Fossil Creek and it was considerably different than hike bot, and I find this is usually not the case?? Likewise, am I the only one who could not follow Dead man Mesa Trail once it hits the Fossil Creek area? I ended up just wading back and forth looking for something that resembled a trail, and think ultimately I just took a series of cattle trails. Hard Scrabble Creek was a bush whack and wet going up to Hell's Hole, so we climbed out there and just rode the contour lines back to the trail while stumbling across ruin sites and ravines that always looked much work at first glance. However, I considered it a success because we never had to drop back into the Fossil or Hard Scrabble Creek drainage's and I was done with creek walking for a while.

Our second hike of the day consisted of following the Verde River Trail past the confluence with the East Verde and towards High Water Trail, but I am not going to lie, I lost the trail after awhile and turned back, it can be tough to follow in spots. However, the parts where we were on trail were pretty cool, you go through a mesquite and hard wood forest that provides a a great canopy through a grassy stretch full of nice spots to camp and close to the river. But then I lost patience with trying to follow the trail and turned back. We actually went back up the East Verde River a little to find the fishing pole and case that I had found the day before, but also left along the trail. I cached that pole and case and will now only need a reel and line if I want to go fishing down there. I explored a few hills, dogs were showing signs of being beat, and it was warm out, so we headed back to camp.

I only did some modest exploring on way out, I went out to Ross' Tank to gain an idea of the canyons leading into the Gorge, and marveled at their depths and drop offs. Then I thought I wonder which one Bob climbed out of? Then the thought crossed my mind, maybe he is still climbing out of one.

Hike out was nice for training Blanco around cows, pretty much indifferent to them now. He was never really bad before, but occasionally he would run up to and startle them, not cool when they have horns. I swear the dogs smelled the car when we hit Twin Buttes Road because they found a second wind. I don't know why I felt I had to scale it back for Cup she finished stronger than ever. In the end the miles were not all that crazy for four days, but they were definitely rugged with about half of the total coming from off trail miles. I was also able to just get some nice chill time around the campsite, finally finishing my book on the English Civil War, so if anyone ever wants to discuss the underlying implications of the Presbyterian and Puritan led Parliament overthrowing the Catholic Monarchy and Charles I feel free to P.M. me. Finally, I did not find the set of ruins I was looking for, but it gives me an excuse to come back.
Gila Monster
2 archives
HAZ Member
799 Photosets

1 ... 35,  36,  37,  38,  39,  40  

end of page marker