register help
show related photosets
Garfias-Hell-Gov Peak Loop, AZ
mini location map2017-01-20
6 by photographer avatarMountainMatt
photographer avatar
Garfias-Hell-Gov Peak Loop, AZ 
Garfias-Hell-Gov Peak Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 20 2017
Hiking11.97 Miles 2,262 AEG
Hiking11.97 Miles   7 Hrs   19 Mns   2.17 mph
2,262 ft AEG   1 Hour   48 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
1st trip
A fun and thrilling day out in the HC Wilderness!
I was doing my own re-creation of "El Jefe y El Águilas" 03/02/13 HC loop trek that I had to end a tad bit short due to lack of daylight but nonetheless it certainly was quite the little adventure...

The weather was absolutely beautiful while ascending Gov Peak with no rain and a picturesque surrounding of looming clouds, I rushed to the top with anticipation of getting my camera out as I saw the nearby Bradshaw Mountains covered in a fresh dusting of snow!
But of course with my luck as soon as a finished adding a new log to the summit jar and cracked open my brew I was soon enveloped in a thick layer of low hanging clouds which was followed with sparatic rainfall which actually turned into a mild sleet at some points.
[ youtube video ]
The Castle Hot Springs paradise and ranches were soon out of view and I was left with visibility of about 10-15 feet, it was at that time I made my way down Govs and was headed for the canyons.

About 1/4 Mike from Govs summit there is a beautiful flat saddle where I found a large herd of resting cattle and some of the best looking Teddy Bear Cholla that were all surrounded by vibrant green desert grass.
Even though it was still raining I couldn't help but take out my camera to snap a few quick photos of the unique storm scenery.

While walking making my way down the drainage that leads to HC Canyon and Garfias I found myself tracking fresh and definitive signs of a mountain kitty.
Not only was I finding new clear paw prints but I came across what I believe was my first kill cache, underneath a bush to the left of the wash was a recently killed javelina with its stomach eaten out, from everything I read about lion behavior that's a clear sign of thier kill.
Needless to say I head my head was on a swivel the next couple of miles and may have even quickened my step a little if you might imagine.

Upon reaching the Hell Canyon confluence I was greeted with a heavenly sight of a flowing cascades, fog and incredible cliffsides.
I wandered a bit up into HC Canyon but it was already 3:30 or so and steady rainfall prevented me going further.

Luckily Garfias Wash provided me with all the flowing water and slick rock cascades in which I had originally came for.
I was a kid in a candy store down-climbing 10-15 drops with flowing water and deep pools all around me.
After passing one of the more idyllic waterfalls it was at that point I had to take a picture regardless of the now pouring rainfall.
I found a cliff overhang to stay relatively dry while I set up my makeshift plans of using a bag cover and dry bag to cover my camera while I quickly ran out into the storm and set up for 10 minutes of tripod time in conditions I never should put my gear in.
Luckily I managed to keep my camera dry and captured a couple rare desert storm scenes in the process but it was at that point I realized I was well behind schedule and needed to boogie.

I rushed to make it to the Spring Valley Junction before nightfall and made as much ground as I could before it was time to bust out the headlamp.
The last hour was a soaking wet torrential downpour in which I was so very grateful for the ridiculously cairned trail that in any other situation I would find annoying.
In this case it was so helpful since the storm left my visibility to just a couple of feet and it was at that point I was just hoping my headlamp did not stop working due to being waterlogged as without simple technology I would have been screwed.
Granted I had my rainfly, backup headlamps and my phone but it's always a humbling experience being in the wilderness solo at night under harsh storm conditions.

Spring valley trail was a running creek the rest of the hike and upon getting back to my SUV and driving home I watched the desert flood with water as I could have used a scuba for my engine for some of the 2-3 foot deep washes I encountered the ride home.

Overall a memorable and awesome day exploring another new slice of Arizona Wilderness!
Cag Shot

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Four Tanks Canyon Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Garfias Wash Medium flow Medium flow
Water was flowing at a healthy clip 2 1/2 miles in from the Spring Valley Junction.
1 archive
HAZ Member
503 Photosets

1 ... 18,  19,  20,  21,  22,  23,  24 ... 26  
help comment issue

end of page marker