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Verde River #11 - Twin Buttes to River
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12 by photographer avatarTough_Boots
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Verde River #11 - Twin Buttes to RiverCamp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Backpack avatar May 03 2014
Tough_Boots
Backpack22.40 Miles 4,236 AEG
Backpack22.40 Miles
4,236 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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This trip was nothing but a disaster. I headed out with Lily on Friday morning and arrived at the trailhead. It was warmer than I had expected but figured we would be fine (I should have listened to friendofthundergod who warned me it would be warm). Its not the most interesting hike but I hadn't been to this area and figured camping at the river would make it worth it.

There's pretty much no shade for the entire hike. If you find a stretch of shade longer than 15 feet, you're pretty lucky. I was letting Lily stop and take breaks and everything was fine. I let her cool her feet in a couple of the cow tanks along the way. She started struggling a bit about three miles from the river. I realized quickly that it wasn't the heat-- she'd gashed two of her pads pretty well. I hadn't been expecting that since we've done that kind of mileage on tougher terrain before.

I unfortunately didn't have too many choices about what to do. I didn't have enough water to dry camp and make it out the next day. Since I expected to only be pulling water from the river, I didn't bring my pump-- I had my steripen. Had I brought my pump, I could have camped above the river and pulled water from one of the cow tanks (pumped and chemically treated to be safe). We would have to make it down to the river.

Luckily, I had packed her boots just in case something happened. They were a life saver. She was still hurting, but we managed to make it down to the river with lots of breaks and a few stretches of me carrying her. At the river the bug situation was out of control--swarms of gnats. Some cowboys had taken the only nice camp spot in the area so I found a tolerable spot downstream with enough room to set up camp. I quickly went and pulled all the water I would need for the night and following day,made dinner, and then hid from the gnats with Lily inside the tent for the rest of the evening.

I had to figure out what my plan was for the next day. I already had a gimp dog and I didn't want heat to become an issue on the climb out. We would break camp by 6am and make the biggest climb while it was still cool. I expected a slow pace so I figured making it up to 5,000 ft by 10am and back to my truck by noon would be good goals.

I tried to go to bed early and set my alarm to be up in time. I woke up and packed quickly. I skipped breakfast to save time-- two Cliff bars would have to do for the hike out. Lily was moving pretty bad so I was worried at first but once I got her boots on, they seemed to offer her some help. With the sun still behind the ridge, we made pretty respectable time on our first climb. Lily would start slowing down pretty soon and needed lots of breaks. We made it back up to 5,000 ft just after 10am. This left us with about 4 miles but only 800 ft for the warmest part of the morning.

We made it back to my truck at about 11:45. I've never been so happy to be back to a trailhead. Lily passed out on my passenger seat pretty quickly. Lots of lessons learned on this one.
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