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West Fork Black River Loop, AZ
mini location map2016-08-17
12 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
photographer avatar
West Fork Black River Loop, AZ 
West Fork Black River Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 17 2016
Hiking4.10 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking4.10 Miles   4 Hrs   18 Mns   0.95 mph
700 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was my last hiking day on this 4 night car camping trip to the White Mountains. This hike started at my campsite on FR402D on the south side of Burro Mountain and proceeded up FR402D to an old abandoned logging road which I followed west to the edge of a deep drainage. At that point I started following elk trails which led down into the bottom of the drainage, then followed an old fence marking the reservation boundary to the West Fork Black River. The area upstream from the reservation fence looked intriguing but that area of the Fort Apache Indian Reservation is closed to non-Indians so I headed downstream. The West Fork was just big enough at this point to make it difficult to cross without getting wet feet. The water was cold and clear and looked like good trout water but I didn't see any. The lack of trampled creek banks leads me to believe either the fishing isn't good here or it is prohibited. The forest and underbrush is thick in places along the creek but the elk have done an excellent job of providing a good trail. Small patches of meadow line the creek bank making it quite picturesque. Unfortunately it rained steadily throughout this part of the hike so I had to put the camera away and didn't get any pictures until reaching the large meadow at the north end of the Thompson Ranch property.

I stopped for lunch at the ranch boundary fence during a lull in the rain. I spotted another lone hiker about 200 yards away on the west bank of the river. The only other hiker I saw in three days. He was hiking off-trail and disappeared up a side drainage to the west. I hollered at him but he just kept going. Zooming in on him with the camera revealed a gray haired guy probably about my age. Just another old dude out wandering around in the forest. After lunch it started to rain again so I decided to start back for camp. A little used 4x4/ATV track led up the hill in the general direction of FR402D so I took the chance that it would lead me to the road which I could then follow back to camp. The 4x4 track ended up being a fairly direct route back to FR402D so I was soon back at camp.
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