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Eagle Creek - Painted Bluffs - GET #14
6 Photosets

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mini location map2015-08-01
28 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
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Eagle Creek - Painted Bluffs - GET #14Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 01 2015
friendofThundergod
Hiking25.30 Miles 2,970 AEG
Hiking25.30 Miles   10 Hrs   48 Mns   2.58 mph
2,970 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
azdesertfather
BiFrost
JuanJaimeiii
I took up azdesertfather on another offer to knock out a section of the little known Grand Enchantment Trail on Saturday. The plan involved a vehicle swap with JJ and another late night/early morning rocket ride across Arizona to a far away trailhead. After reading the description for the section and taking into consideration the very early start along with the long day ahead of us, I let JJ know that I was probably leaning towards sitting this one out and completing it in the Fall as a backpack. JJ replied by calling me a female body part (not the one that rhymes with Dolores), me not wanting to be labeled a cat, said I was down after all. I enlisted BiFrost to come along, as I thought he might be looking for something to do on Saturday after Mrs. BiFrost (slowandsteady) had agreed to watch Cup and Blanco. Might as well get that HAZ appreciation out right now, thanks again Kathy!

After a 0041 wake-up and 0200 departure from the valley, JJ somewhat to our chagrin and certainly to our amazement had us at our Morenci rendezvous location an hour early, 0500. No worries though, JJ used the extra time to work on an impromptu real estate deal and Karl and I watched in awe the early morning operations of what may be perhaps the busiest and most happening Circle K in all of Arizona. Dave arrived promptly at 0600 and we were off to our separate trailheads.

We started in ponderosa and finished in prickly pair. In between we had an amazing day of: wildlife viewing, a very cool pre-historic site, several contemporary but interesting ranching and mining sites, amazing scenery and some very unique natural settings. Our list of wildlife encounters included: a black tail, coati, wild horses and bighorn sheep. I was also able to lure JJ on a detour up the side of a steep hill to a set of bluffs in order to investigate a lead on some Anasazi pictographs and possible ruins. The prehistoric site quickly became perhaps the highlight of the day for myself and JJ. We spent a considerable amount of time up there investigating what we both agreed were some of the coolest glphys we had ever seen, due in large part because they were from the pictograph variety and full of color. There were also some very faint remains of what was most likely an impressive set of ruins at one time and signs of a once ambitious project undertaken by ranchers to utilize the two reliable springs that at one time were undoubtedly the lifeblood and primary reason behind the location of the prehistoric site. Some HAZ appreciation to Blisterfree for helping me pin down the location of this very rewarding site.

I do not want to overstate the beauty of this segment, but we all agreed it was a winner. In fact, I am pretty sure there is a return visit in the works for myself, Karl and most likely some other HAZers. That being said, this stretch of trail is probably not for everyone, it is rugged, remote, the route is not always clearly defined and the 60 or so creek crossings may be a little much for some people's liking. However, the area has tremendous potential for exploring and there are ample opportunities for reaching areas where one can find absolute solitude.

My day was capped off with a 5-10 minute photo shoot and viewing session of 8-10 Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep that were gracefully contouring along the high cliffs above Eagle Creek. I had stopped for a few minutes to remove some gravel from my boots and by chance spotted the well concealed herd in the cliffs high above the creek, it turned out being by far one of my more memorable wildlife viewing experiences.

Again I loved this place and most of us agreed its a very worthy destination, however, it is probably not for everyone, so do your due diligence before making the four hour commute. If after some research you decide that Eagle Creek is the place for you, then in the words of the great rapper Nelly, "go get yo' eagle on!"

We all got together at El Charo in Safford for a great meal, good times and sub par service afterwards. A Huge thanks to JJ who picked up the tab and to Karl for throwing down. Its strange, I told JJ and Karl the approximate salary of a social studies teacher in Phoenix and they would not let me buy another thing the whole day, I should have that conversation with more people!
Fauna
Fauna
Bighorn Sheep
Named place
Named place
Curve Spring Eagle Creek

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bear Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
flowing lightly in creek/wash with pools

dry Curve Spring Dry Dry
Could no find spring or spring area

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Knight Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Lower Cottonwood Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
flowing lightly in creek/wash with pools

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Pinto Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Full and dripping

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Upper Cottonwood Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
flowing lightly in creek/wash with pools

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Wood Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
flowing lightly in creek/wash with pools
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