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Deer Creek Trail #45
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mini location map2017-10-01
21 by photographer avatarKBKB
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page 1   2
 
Deer Creek Trail #45Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking8.27 Miles 1,010 AEG
Hiking8.27 Miles   4 Hrs   42 Mns   2.09 mph
1,010 ft AEG      45 Mns Break29 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked   none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My wife and I hiked out and back on back on Deer Creek Trail. Deer Creek had been a favorite of ours when our kids were young, but we hadn't done it in about three years. Back then, the windmill was still standing and when there was water, the kids enjoyed playing in it.

Last time we were out, in 2014, we lost the trail for a while meandering through the creek. This time was completely different. The trail was much better defined; there was very little doubt about which way to go. The only spot where we wondered about the direction momentarily was after we passed Davey Gowan's gravesite. There's some deadfall there; I had guessed - wrongly - that a path to the side went around it, but after following it for 20 feet or so, I realized that it didn't go anywhere.

There are sections of trail where vegetation along the sides is encroaching on the trail. I was happy that I had worn a long sleeve shirt and wished that I had also worn long pants. It's not (yet) that much of a heinous bushwhack, but there are just enough prickly plants overgrowing the trail now to be mildly annoying. It's not all like that, there are sections which have been pruned to be well clear of scratch vegetation.

We passed through three gates on our hike. I remember the first two from hiking there in the past, but did not remember the third. (Actually, the first gate had been taken off of it's hinges and was lying perhaps twenty feet away.) Anyway, that third gate was quite nice - it moves well and the chain ensuring closure of the gate needs to be merely lifted from the adjacent fencepost to allow it to open.

I don't remember the trail beyond (going out) that third gate either. We both thought that it seemed like a "new" section of trail. (But bear in mind that I hadn't hiked it in three years and, on our last visit, we might not have gone that far out.)

At around the four mile point, I came to a Mazatzal Wilderness sign. Perhaps a hundred yards past the sign, I came to an eroded gully. While I'm sure that the trail crosses the gully, it wasn't obvious where it continued on the other side. I saw two slight gaps in the vegetation, once of which is probably the continuation of the trail. Since I had left my wife to rest about half a mile back, I decided that this would be a good point to turn around.

Some of the foliage in the area is beginning to show some fall colors. Yellows (and greens) predominate, though there are occasional splashes of red. It might be even better in a few weeks. Despite the fall colors, we saw some flowers along the way. Not a lot, but enough to be interesting. Some of the scrub oak had fruit and we saw some berries too.

Near the beginning of the hike, I spotted an interesting looking spider with an egg sack on the bottom of a prickly pear cactus. I got a photo of it which I will post here.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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