|Stehr to Childs via Fossil-Verde, AZ|
|Stehr to Childs via Fossil-Verde, AZ|| |
Stehr to Childs via Fossil-Verde, AZ
|Hiking||13.25 Miles|| 13 Hrs 58 Mns ||1.40 mph|
|1,381 ft AEG|| 4 Hrs 32 Mns Break||25 LBS Pack|
|Well on paper this sounded like a great day trip but a few unexpected hiccups made this "day hike" a little longer than expected.
The shuttle was setup at Childs and we began our descent down to Fossil, along the way my dog found one of the freshest deer kills I have ever encountered, I could have cut off a piece of backstrap and cooked it right there!
We took a vegetation choked drainage from there on which I was not a fan of but once in the shaded cool creek bottom I was a happy camper.
But that did not last long as just downstream we cliffed out and had to bypass up and around one of the many sketchy cliffs of the day.
After some hearty bushwhacking we made it to the scenic narrow canyon area where I had turned around a few years ago, so the rest of Fossil down to the Hardscrabble confluence was all new ground for me.
I made 3 cracked pepper turkey and baby swiss sandwiches on whole wheat but I left them all in my truck so I had maybe 600 calories in me from food and maybe another 400 from beer, so ideally my body was definitely lacking proper nourishment on one of the more rugged hikes I've ever been apart of.
Joel, Chumley and I continued on at a hearty pace while losing sight of Jon and his inexperienced friend as we assumed they turned around and went back at some point since his buddy was in over his head.
After countless creek crossings and more bushwhacking we arrived at a scenic bend complete with great fall colors and a nice campsite and that is near where Joel stayed for photos and we split up.
I made a promise to Joel I would wait for him at the NE corner of the confluence of Fossil and Verde so we can hike back together in the dark from there.
Soon after Chumley and I split up as well and also where I encountered a pool with limited options for travel and after being frustrated of finding no good areas to cross I took a chest deep wade while carrying my dog and attempting to keep my pack full of camera gear somewhat above water.
I eventually made it to the cliff I was at a few years ago for sunset and wanted to recreate the photo I took but this time with fall colors.
I made it to the confluence just after dark and knowing how rough the terrain was behind my I knew it would be awhile until Joel reached me so I started a small fire and began to dry my wet clothes while waiting.
I told myself I would wait one hour for his arrival so when it came close to the hour mark I began to periodically shout Joel's name because the confluence is a wide but densely vegetated area so it would be easy to miss someone and after a few shouts I got a reply and soon saw the glimmer of a headlamp and we were then reunited.
Except Joel was the bearer of bad news, he notified me Jon and his friend were still back there and making there way down Fossil!
Knowing they would be moving slower than Joel we decided to wait a solid hour and fifteen minutes which would end at 8:15 and with still no sign of them we made the tough decision to get moving because we still had to get out of there ourselves and then work on a plan of help for them.
Joel made a very large rock formation that spelled out "Truck" just to give them some sort of info on our whereabouts and just as we left and began to make our first cliff bypass we heard a faint sound shouting "Joel"!
We shouted back and heard no reply for quite some time, we contemplated it could have been an echo after Joel sneezed and I may have been borderline delirious from fatigue and lack of food but I was certain It was Jon's voice and so was Joel.
Then we heard the yells again and soon saw two headlamps meandering down the creek, at last we were all reunited and then began to make the "easy" portion of the trek.
For whatever reason I kind of blocked out the numerous sketchy bypasses from my last visit and only remembered the good parts of the hike, well it turns out there was a lot more bad than good and we had quite a few obstacles to navigate in the dark.
To avoid the water we either had to climb a few hundred feet completely up and around the precipices or take them straight on making acrobatic moves clinging on to the skinny sections of cliff high above the water all while carrying a dog for most of the more technical spots.
I specifically remember a section that I had Payton in one hand, clinging on to the cliff with the other hand with the rumbling river below us and my dog literally stiffed armed the wall and almost sent her and I plunging down into the Verde!
After what seemed like forever we finally made it to the dirt roads at Child's at 12:45am and seeing the truck was the biggest sense of relief after a very long day!
Arrived at home at 3:30 am with a beaten up body, shredded hiking boots and one tired dog.
||Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Just a week or two early overall but still some nice patches of color to be found.