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Eagle Creek - Painted Bluffs - GET #14
6 Photosets

mini location map2015-08-01
9 by photographer avatarazdesertfather
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Eagle Creek - Painted Bluffs - GET #14Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 01 2015
Hiking26.49 Miles 5,307 AEG
Hiking26.49 Miles   11 Hrs   46 Mns   2.52 mph
5,307 ft AEG   1 Hour   16 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
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The further JJ & I go on these GET treks, the longer our days are! This one turned out for me (from Tucson) to be a 20-hour adventure, leaving at 3am, meeting up with JJ in Clifton at 6am, and starting out on the trail at 6:50. I did this one alone today from the west, while JJ had some company hiking from the east.

The drive into this trailhead (which is the eastern trailhead for the Safford-Morenci Trail) is a really nice dirt road except for the last 2 miles and is easily passable by any car. The last 2 miles is bumpy but also was easily doable in a high clearance vehicle today (no 4WD needed). Just before making it to the trailhead, I turned off to check out the ruins of an ancient, abandoned adobe church. Its roof and back wall was missing, giving this haunting look out in the remote, open desert. Next to it was a sign about bighorn sheep in Eagle Creek, which I didn't see but Lee saw at the end of the day when they were coming out of the creek.

The trip started out with a little dirt road hiking. I lost a little bit of time shooting down the road and missing my turnoff, doing nearly a mile extra. OK, slow down, watch the GPS!! The road quickly descended into a 4WD road into Eagle Creek. It wound through Eagle Creek a long ways, going from side to side of the creek with multiple crossings. I thought this would make my time in the creek go a little quicker than it did, but multiple crossings all morning in water that was about a foot shy of my waist took its toll time wise. It definitely kept me nice and cool on a sunny morning, and the cliff walls were nice (reminded me in some ways of Aravaipa, a few segments earlier). There are horses out there in a spot near a ranch, which I didn't see, though I saw LOTS of cows!

Because most spots going through or on the banks of the creek have nothing resembling a trail to follow, it would be easy to miss someone also hiking out there. If someone isn't in the creek they oftentimes could be on either bank and in thick trees and bushes. I figured that was what had happened with meeting up with JJ and his crew, as I finished lunch and turned off of Eagle Creek and started up Knight Canyon. They had been delayed looking for the petroglyphs at Painted Bluffs however, so I ran into them then. Knowing I had lost some time in the creek that I hadn't counted on (and seeing the very real possibility of thunderstorms coming in the afternoon), I decided to pass on spending the time trying to also find them...from Lee's pictures they looked incredible though.

Once I started heading up Knight Canyon things started cooling off, and storm clouds covered the sun...nice. For probably an hour, lightning clapped to the north on the ridge behind me, and to the south on the ridge behind Red Mountain there was a strong rainstorm, but I only had light rain and a nice breeze. I did run into a diamondback rattler (pretty, yellow color). As I started up the canyon I also saw a sign marking the beginning of Pained Bluff Trail #13, which was pretty much non-existent for a ways until I climbed in elevation; it was an older sign, and had on it "Highway 666 - 9mi" which was renamed Highway 191 here 12 years ago.

Made it to the dirt road after a good bit of climbing, then some more climbing up the road and up a 1.5 mile stretch of US 191 before hitting Granville Campground, where I jumped in the jeep and started heading down. Was great to connect with the other guys for dinner in Safford, find out how their day went. (Thanks JJ!!) Good meeting you, bifrost, too!

Pulled off the road at Benson to wake up and grab some coffee, and made it home about 11pm.

JJ and I are now less than 38 miles for the New Mexico border! Not sure how far we will go after that due to the long drive, but we are definitely committed that far. Probably one more road trip, a couple of days out and we'll be there.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

dry Knight Canyon Dry Dry
Very limited number of pools, stagnant...mostly dry everywhere
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
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