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mini location map2017-12-02
11 by photographer avatarMountainMatt
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Bonita CreekTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar Dec 02 2017
Backpack15.47 Miles 1,635 AEG
Backpack15.47 Miles1 Day   2 Hrs   44 Mns   
1,635 ft AEG55 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This has been a trip I've pondered about for a few years now and to finally make it happen under absolute perfect conditions was such a pleasure!
Car camped along the Gila River at Riverview Friday night and you will never find me at a developed campground but this one is a gem, incredibly clean, not many visitors and since they make the campsites so far apart we didn't even notice anyone was around.
I woke up for sunrise on Saturday and walked down to @SkyIslander17 castle rock formation along the river which was running very silty and murky but the color show made up for it.

From there we made the adventurous high clearance 4x4 drive to our starting point along Bonita.
Hit the marshland/ beaver damn area and had to get creative to find a way across but after that the travel was much easier with simple crossings and moderate bushwhacking.
The weather was downright dreamy the entire weekend, I've read triplogs of previous years on the same weekend with hikers wearing down coats and gloves so I felt spoiled to comfortably rock a tank top and shorts during the day.

We had a intimate javelina encounter that stood his ground due to the lack of options to move at first and just when he appeared to charge he veered to the right at the last second, needless to say I had to hold Payton back because she was ready for a fight.
After a few more miles we encountered a large group of whitetail as made our way to camp at the large open area at the confluence with Johnny Creek and Midnight Canyon.

After setting up an idyllic camp spot we made a quick trip up to Midnight and afterwards I took some photos for sunset along the creek while we watched the darkness creep in.
Although it did not stay dark for long as the supermoon illuminated the entire canyon to the point headlamps were not even needed that night.

Ate some luxury hobo meals, shared plenty of drinks and had a great nights rest in the riparian paradise.
I woke up for sunrise while Claire stayed asleep and I made a quick trip up the ruins to see how the views would be from up there but since the narrows had the better color display I found myself a mile and half downstream to where I felt the best part was.
While I was motionless composing a photo my dog noticed something in the water and I turned and saw a lone beaver gently making its way towards me and it hung out for a few minutes before diving underwater not to be seen again.

We had coffee and breakfast back at camp and then we both ventured upstream to check out the Old Lady Gay Cabin which is solid as a rock after the 2003 renovations.

Since there was no rush to leave we took our time to pack up camp and soaked in the blissful views and savored the entire hike out.
We even stopped at two little unique slot canyons on the way back that were well worth the short detour.
Besides the rancher that passed us once we were back at my truck on the road we did not see a soul the entire time we were out there, not even a sign of human life, no campfire rings, no trash just pure backcountry beauty the way it was meant to be experienced.

Between everything going perfectly to plan, the best foliage display of my year and enjoying it with great company made this one of my favorite overnighters to date.
Bonita Creek goes in my top ten for favorite places in AZ and I am already planning and thinking about next years trip!

Arizona Sycamore
Autumn - Color Foliage
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Extreme
Some of the best fall colors I've ever seen!
Jam packed with yellow, gold and the richest rust from top to bottom all along the creek bed.
Prime and healthy of color as it gets for this area!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bonita Creek Medium flow Medium flow

dry Johnny Creek Dry Dry

dry Lines Canyon Dry Dry

dry Midnight Canyon Dry Dry

dry Sycamore Canyon Dry Dry
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