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Grapevine Trail to Deep Creek Trail, AZ
mini location map2016-11-13
18 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Grapevine Trail to Deep Creek Trail, AZ 
Grapevine Trail to Deep Creek Trail, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 13 2016
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking7.40 Miles 1,869 AEG
Hiking7.40 Miles   7 Hrs   6 Mns   1.04 mph
1,869 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This was my second day of hiking on a 5 night car camping trip in Cherry Creek Canyon. The plan for this hike was to explore what appeared from the distance to be an old mining road which starts from the Grapevine Trail #135 and goes up Deep Creek Canyon towards McFadden Horse Mtn. The beginning section of this road is shown as a pack trail on the USGS McFadden Peak quad topo map and it also shows up on my Garmin Southwest 24k topo map. I had also seen the road bed from a distance where it traverses the south side of Deep Creek Canyon on previous hiking trips to this area. The 1985 "Mineral Investigation of the Sierra Ancha Wilderness and Salome Study Area" does not list any mines or prospects in Deep Creek Canyon so I suspect this road was more of a prospecting access road than a mining road.

The hike started down the Grapevine Trail from the north end near my campsite. After about 2.3 miles I started looking for the Deep Creek road but could not find it so ended up following the track shown on the gps map. According to this map the road had gone straight up the bottom of a shallow wash which I followed. There was no sign of an actual road bed until reaching the upper end of the wash where the map showed the road angling off to the northwest. From there the road bed was visible except for one brief disappearance as I followed it along the south side of the canyon. The Juniper Fire had cleared out what was probably a heavy brush covering making it fairly easy hiking but really did a number on the scenery. I hit my turn around time before reaching the road end but was well up into the canyon. Looking at my track on Google Earth I now see that my turn around point wasn't far from where the road angled down the south side of the canyon a short distance to the stream bed below where it most likely ends. Again there was no sign on GE of mining activity along this short section of road. So it was an interesting exploration into a canyon with some nice views of the cliffs above but no luck finding any old mines or Indian ruins.

On the way back I spooked some animals hidden by the trees and brush where the Grapevine trail crosses Deep Creek. From the clatter I could tell these were large hooved animals but they sounded too clumsy to be elk. I had been seeing fresh cattle hoof prints along the Grapevine trail for the last two days without spotting any. These range cattle can be as elusive as wild critters. As I proceeded along the trail a large red and white cow with very sharp horns suddenly appeared staring at me through an opening in the trees with her tail slightly raised like she was ready to charge. She was the leader of a small group of younger cattle who were hiding behind some bushes waiting for her to handle the situation. I'll admit to being a little frightened but after softly talking to her she lowered the tail and took a less offensive stance. Then the rest of her group came out of hiding and joined her to pose for a photo op. Sometimes the experience from being raised on a cattle ranch and rounding up range cattle in the sage brush covered hills of eastern Washington State can come in handy.
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