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Black Hills Back Country Byway
7 Photosets

2022-04-13  
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mini location map2016-04-14
48 by photographer avatarrwstorm
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Black Hills Back Country BywayTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Scenic Drive
Scenic Drive
 no routes
1st trip
Linked   none no linked trail guides
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Next week I plan on camping at the Riverview Campground at the west end of the Gila Box RNCA east of Safford with AZLumberjack and my friend Paul. Neither has been to the Gila Box area before (in the case of Paul that is almost unbelievable to me :o ), so this should be fun. :) I decided to drive out to the area for an overview of things to do, plus for me, finally check out the 21 mile drive that I have been wanting to do for about 30 years. It also allowed me to take a look at the other campground option (Owl Creek) at the eastern portion of the Gila Box RNCA to decide which one I liked better (Riverview hands down).

I started by heading out of Tucson about 0530, hitting the Denny's in Benson for breakfast and to top off the tank, then stopping at Safford for a couple of Subway sandwiches to go, plus beverages/ice. My kind of day in the making. :D Then off to drive through the mining complex at Clifton/Morenci, before heading back down through Clifton for some photos and on to the turnoff for the Black Hills Byway.

I must say the BLM did a terrific job documenting the history along this drive...plenty of interpretive pullouts along the way to add to the enjoyment of this beautiful run through the Black Hills! The road is narrow and rough in places with plenty of curves and big dropoffs. The temptation for rubbernecking is great on this road, but it's best to pay attention to avoid being referred to in the past tense. :lol:

One of the other goals for this trip was to find an acceptable Mexican food restaurant for us to enjoy a meal at before heading home following next week's campout. After many years of stopping at Casa Manana, I finally have had enough of that place and its fairly bland food. They now charge extra for things that should come standard...the last straw. One thing that has long been a problem in Safford in my opinion is the lack of decent restaurants (not to mention reasonable lodging). I decided to give La Paloma another try over in Solomon (right by the turnoff to the Box anyway), and it came through. The salsa was just average, but the red chile and vibe of the place made me happy.

Glad I made the drive over, as now I know how to make next week's event just right. I will cut out the Black Hills drive portion, as it will just put too much of a time constraint on us. Clifton and the big pit...well that is a must! Paul and I have been there many times, but it will be a mind blower for Jack! (think jet dot com commercials :lol: )
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