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Aravaipa Canyon
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mini location map2017-05-03
13 by photographer avatarcactuscat
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Aravaipa CanyonGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Canyoneering avatar May 03 2017
Canyoneering14.00 Miles 200 AEG
Canyoneering14.00 Miles2 Days         
200 ft AEG25 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Annual overnighter in Aravaipa - second time from the East side.
Aravaipa was the first place I ever backpacked, and I think it's the absolute perfect place to introduce someone to backpacking ... if a night or two there isn't for you, then backpacking probably isn't for you.
It's also the only place I keep returning to time after time - each time is different, and it's always magical!
I planned the trip for a couple weeks later this year than last, hoping for hotter weather, and it worked out great - I got in in between cold spells. I need air temps around the 90's in order to enjoy the cool water, rather than just tolerate it in lower temps.
From what I have observed, it seems as though at least half of the permits issued for entry from the East end go unused. There were 10 permits issued for the day I arrived, but only 2 signed in and one vehicle at trailhead.
I intended to use the same charming little campsite that I stayed in last April, right across the creek from the mouth of Booger Canyon. It was empty and waiting for me ... I did later discover an even nicer site also on creek left a few more minutes downstream that I may try next time - but the Booger site has served me quite well twice now.
I took an hour to rest, refuel, and set up camp, then explored up Booger Canyon for a few minutes. It looks awesome and rugged, and I would love to check it out further - but maybe not alone ...
Next I meandered downstream farther than I had been, for a half hour or so. The middle section of the canyon really is beautiful.
Back at camp I debated a bit then decided to go ahead and start a small fire - there was plenty of wood and I thought the smoke would discourage insects (though they weren't bad) and alert other animals that there was a human present tonight. Last time I camped here there was fresh bear scat close by.
Just as I was cleaning up after dinner, right before the daylight finished fading, I heard animals moving across the creek - noisier than deer and larger and more deliberate than coati's ... I stared hard into the trees at the mouth of Booger and soon saw a bear! I watched as the bear family took about 10 minutes to pass, flipping over rocks and searching for food as they went ... saw an adult and a cub, and heard one or two more. Despite the fact that they were only about 50 yards away and I had both fire and food, they didn't seem to notice or care that I was there. I am sure they knew ... the cub did look at me for a minute while I was taking video of it. This was only my second bear sighting ever, and it was pretty great - I didn't feel fear or much alarm ... just thrilled.
Bedtime rolled around soon, and it took awhile to get to sleep - listening to the sounds of the night and wondering if the Berenstain Bears would be coming back upstream on my side during their nightly rounds. Once I fell asleep on my brand new pad - more on that later - I slept great, just waking up cold at 3:30, donning my fleece, and then back to sleep for two more hours. Woke up for good at daybreak with the singing birds, and enjoyed a lovely morning around camp.
Took my time and enjoyed extended breaks at several nice campsites and swimming holes. I was really hoping to get lucky and catch a ride in the back of someone's truck from the 4wd trailhead back to my car at the 2wd trailhead, like I did last time - but it wasn't to be since there were no vehicles at Turkey Creek once I got there. I thought oh well, it's just another mile and a half trudge, and maybe I am meant to walk it because I will see something good. I did meet a very handsome gopher snake stretched out across the road, and I got to hike with a turkey. I came upon a group of them after following their tracks down the road for awhile, and while most of them scattered or ran way ahead, there was one that kept just running a little ways up then waiting for me to catch up before running ahead again ... even after it finally turned off into the woods and let me pass, I could still hear it calling for some distance. Very cute.
The drive home was uneventful except for some cows in the road - watch out for them.

Gear notes:
I am in love with my new NEMO Cosmo insulated sleeping pad! It's a tad heavier than my old Thermarest, but at 3.5 inches thick it is a dream to sleep on! The built in foot pump works perfectly - you can also inflate it with your hands by kneeling down and practicing your chest compressions on it - either way it inflates in a minute or less. The dump valve deflated it instantly.
The Mazama 2L hydration bladder I recently got in a Cairn box also passed the test. I like how wide the opening is, and the shape and profile fit better in my pack than my Camelbaks.
This was my first time using the Sawyer filter extensively, and I didn't love it. Using with a Smartwater bottle as a straw was unsatisfying - you have to suck too hard to get a good drink ... squeezing it from the bottle into the bladder wasn't ideal either. I actually used my back up chlorine tablets the second day instead - much simpler. I will probably stick to my Steripen and/or chlorine in the future.
I decided to hike in a long sleeved Columbia Ice shirt this time and I like that a lot - rather than short sleeves and sunscreen.

Overall another fantastic trip - I am so thankful that this is what I enjoy and that I am able to do it!
Cactuscat Pose
Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with pigeons.
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