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Gun Creek - Photopoint #3, AZ
mini location map2015-05-21
60 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Gun Creek - Photopoint #3, AZ 
Gun Creek - Photopoint #3, AZ
Hiking avatar May 21 2015
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,145 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   5 Hrs   2 Mns   1.67 mph
1,145 ft AEG      15 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Today's hike was dictated by the need to take photos as a specific location on Gun Creek, providing an update of the riparian area for the Forest Service's Photopoint program, which is being administered in Tonto National Forest by the Friends of the Tonto NF volunteer organization. In particular, we would be seeking the Gun Creek 3 Photopoint location.

Since we would begin this hike right from our campsite we got an early start, expecting to reach the designated Photopoint[/i] (supposedly within 1.2 miles of our camp) within 30 minutes. So why did a one-hour round-trip hike take over 5 hours?
Well, let's see...
I had just found about the Photopoint program and the Friends of Tonto NF organization, and when I saw they needed photos taken from very close to where we had already planned to camp, I figured, why not start of my volunteering with Friends of the Tonto with a bang...
:gun: Gun Creek, that is...

So I contacted the folks at Friends of the Tonto to let them know of my interest. I was welcomed with open arms and was provided photos and information for the location I had in mind. Unfortunately, since my email automatically displays all photos, I didn't realize a pdf document (which included a 'treasure map' to the location) was also attached. Which meant all I had to go on for the location were the coordinates listed on the web page that showed all the Photopoint locations.

Little did I know that those coordinates were incorrect. Only after I got home did I realize that while the longitude was correct, the latitude was incorrect. When I entered the stated coords on Route Manager, the point was a few hundred feet to the side of a curve in Gun Creek. So, that's where we planned to hike to.

But once we reached that point, it was quite obvious it was NOT the correct location. Not only was the creek bed all loose rock instead of flat bedrock, but the canyon walls were way too high. So we continued downstream... and continued... and continued... ad infinitum. Ok, we're now almost 3 miles past the point and NOTHING looked even close to the photos we were provided. Even though they were last taken in 2009, the terrain we passed simply did not match.
And that's when we started thinking... looking closer at the provided photos, something looked vaguely familiar. Wow, that sure looks like what we saw late yesterday on our short 'Gun Creek wandering' hike just upstream of campsite. With that realization, we turned around for the long trek back. If it was like the 4 miles we spent in Turkey Creek yesterday it would have been ok, but the majority of this part of Gun Creek was rock and boulder-hopping. Ugh!
Ok, so what... I'll continue to take a series of upstream/downstream photos as we head back upstream. And to keep things a bit more interesting we returned taking a slightly different path to cover different ground, whether by a matter of feet or a few hundred feet. And we would find some interesting things we missed going the other direction.

Eventually we passed by our campsite and whadda'ya know... the Gun Creek 3 Photopoint was barely a hundred yards from where we entered the creek... 315 feet to be more precise. Ok, so now the job is to line up the upstream and downstream photos as close to those taken in 2009 as possible. I got it as close as possible, which was as good as it gets since the 2009 photos appeared to be stretched width-wise. But we got the job done...

One video:
Scenes along Gun Creek

BTW, if you're interesting more about the Friends of the Tonto organization, be sure to check them out. Just Google "Friends of the Tonto". (They are a very new organization still 'growing their wings' and they could really use our help, whether just a volunteer, a committee member or board member.
Canyon Tree Frog
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