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Upper Santa Maria River etc., AZ
mini location map2014-09-20
43 by photographer avatarRedRoxx44
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Upper Santa Maria River etc., AZ 
Upper Santa Maria River etc., AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 20 2014
RedRoxx44
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1st trip
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A picture and brief write up from " Paddling Arizona" stimulated this trip. I had made a cursory survey years ago, took Fri off because of the driving logistics, picked up Brian and Charlie and headed out. We got into camp after some 4 wheeling and brief rockhounding. We spurned the beach/riverside camp due to mosquitoes and gnats which were ferocious. Another 4wd road and a nice camp in a high nitch. This short run of the Santa Maria goes through a rocky gorge and has some named obstacles for kayakers' at the appropriate water levels. I wasn't sure it was hikeable, but at the warm temps that water sure felt good.

We drove to within 50 feet of the river, going down a soft spot that took some work to get back up and parked in the mesquite. A short wash hike and we were at the river. Water was silty and warm. We mostly scrambled down the gorge, good sticky shoes a plus, one place required wading and I had to pack the cameras high in Brians and my pack as I had no waterproofing and managed to keep them dry. The canyon was messy with boulders and I must admit I would be impressed to see the boaters run this as a lot of it would be technical. It was very beautiful and we went to where it started to open up. The return involved keeping wet and hoping for clouds as it was pretty toasty and humid. We then drove out a couple of the local 4wd roads, getting out to look at the interesting rocks in the volcanic strata. We decided to camp on the local mesa top trying to avoid the private land. I didn't scout a steep part of the road; that had no recent vehicle tracks on it. I managed to get the Toyota sort of sideways near the top even using 4-lo and the rear locker. Fortunately the road had a good berm, I was able to back up a little and with Brian spotting got it up there.
We drove around to an incredible cattle tank as big as a lake, then camped in an idyllic area of healthy Ocotillo, flowers and palo verde. Walked around and looked at major scattered white quartz.
Next day drove yet another road which climbed to incredible views and was rough but well maintained. Getting hot, we left but as usual another great area to return to someday.
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