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Pacheta Falls
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mini location map2007-08-04
29 by photographer avatarjoebartels
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Pacheta FallsAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 04 2007
Hiking0.75 Miles 120 AEG
Hiking0.75 Miles   2 Hrs      0.38 mph
120 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I'd been lightly pondering this trip for some time. Dave was out here last week after briefly mentioning the area. So I decided to go look for myself and cure the curiosity. He was concerned we'd have trouble getting there as 273 is closed. With a completely different route plotted out I wasn't overly concerned. Rachelle jumped in and did most of the driving as I'm not a big fan of driving. That alone was reason enough to go!

This was my first trip out deep into the reservation. Heading in I figured on extremely primitive roads such as to Cibecue or Grand Falls. If nothing else I was prepared for some serious trashola. It didn't turn out anything as I'd imagined. Thank goodness! The roads albeit an endless maze and despite the itty bitty signage didn't pose any serious issues. There are a few instances where trees are used as spray paint signage. At least it's all for instructional purposes and not just random graffiti. I'm happy to report I didn't see one house with a rusty fridge tied to the chimney. On the contrary the forest is hands down the healthiest I've seen in Arizona for such expanses. Talk about robust, this forest packs a punch. The tiny random meadows are rich in character. Moss dangles from limb to limb. Did I mention the creeks, rivers, lakes... sheeesh! Breath in, absorb, breath out.

[Deep crisp voice over accenting syllables]Imagine a forest without countless trashed out party zones one after another, you've entered... [more pause]the twilight zone

Armed with three Google map lists, a GPS loaded with waypoints, every map of the area I own, Dave's third grade cursive instructions that I swear included everything from Canada to the Florida Keys and an open mind we conquered the maze of roads with only two tiny hiccups. Once going the wrong way for about two miles we just felt it wasn't right and turned around on instinct. Another instance Google said to turn onto 55B. There was a sign but there wasn't really a road. Well there was the impression of a road from maybe ten to twenty years ago with tiny pine trees in the middle. We gave it a shot for a hundred yards or so then decided it'd be best to go with common sense and turn around. From this point we winged it and did pretty well. Only the final ~mile? was on an unmaintained road which was a serious mud bath. Almost disappointingly we found the destination and the puzzle was solved.

With storms building I made a quick decision to abort plan A (an exploration hike down Milk Creek) and go to plan B (get in, get out). From where we parked you could actually hear the falls. Not wanting such a quick reward I headed away through the forest. Of course the rim is right there so we didn't go far. Any trace of the sound of the falls had diminished and I was surprised that they didn't come into view. After negotiating one small section the falls came into view. It was perfect, picture perfect. The masses obviously didn't come out this far even though it wasn't very far away at maybe a quarter mile max. Each outcrop closer showed more signs of human usage. Then a trail-of-use came into play leading you down to the main event. After playing around, three hundred photos and two hours later, most in a light sprinkle, we'd absorbed enough.

Now what are the chances of having all this and passing one truck the entire time in the back country past Whiteriver on a SATURDAY and IN season for the hike. I'm not even kidding. One Ram truck from Colorado and that was it PERIOD! No atvs, no trucks carrying trailers loaded with atvs. No motorcycles or any muffler-less two cycle contraptions.

Both options for our second destination didn't pan out. Coming back it was pouring so I passed up on the Kinishba option. Then coming down into the Salt River Canyon I passed on Cibecue as the water was chocolate rapids due to all the rains. Starving and almost a day without eating we were disappointed again as Preston's favorite bean hut was closed for two weeks! It didn't matter, I'd do it all again.
Named place
Named place
Pacheta Creek Pacheta Waterfalls
- joe
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