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Salt River to Beeline Loop, AZ
mini location map2018-12-13
25 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Salt River to Beeline Loop, AZ 
Salt River to Beeline Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 13 2018
Hiking6.80 Miles 1,332 AEG
Hiking6.80 Miles   3 Hrs   41 Mns   1.89 mph
1,332 ft AEG      5 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The low water level was like an open invitation for another exploration on the 'other' side of the Salt River... so I accepted.
Beginning from the Salt River Tubing Exit I crossed the river in two steps. While I was able to stay on top of the rocks in a shallow rapids for the first part, it was slightly deeper for the second part so I had to get my boots wet. Thankfully, even after 230+ miles my mid-ankle boots are still waterproof so my feet stayed dry, although they felt pretty cool for the next mile or so.

Using Route Editor I had planned a route to follow a wide wash all the way over to the Beeline Highway then return along a long Peak 1774/Peak 1773 ridge and back down to the Salt River.

But as usual, that plan lasted all of 15 minutes... until I saw the steep slope and cliffs along the route to the summit of Peak 1773. Anytime I encounter an unknown slope I would much rather ascend than descend, so with the Topo showing an easier grade on the other end of the ridge I decided a steep ascent and easy descent now sure beat easy ascent and steep descent when I would likely be almost worn out.

Almost immediately I knew I made the right decision... I encountered and followed some deer tracks to a game trail which led me along a nice winding path until I was far enough to choose my own route. Now if I had been going down, I doubt I would have located the trail until near the bottom if at all. Sometimes you have luck, sometimes you make your own luck.
Ok, now on the ridge I expected a nice easy traverse... well it was to a certain degree, but it was pretty much all smooth river-rock from egg to softball size so I had to watch each and every step... I absolutely CANNOT fall if I am to keep my back recovery ahead of schedule.

Descending the other end of the ridge wasn't bad and soon I was off following a very ancient road which, although I had not mapped it, I believed would take me all the way to the Beeline. It did... up to the NF/State Hwy boundary anyway. From there I wandered west roughly parallel with the Beeline, hoping to stop for a break inside one of the massive culverts under the highway. That didn't happen because of the fence sporting 'No Trespassing' signs a few hundred yards from the highway.
Oh well, I'll just follow the remains of another old road and see where it takes me. I was already partway up Peak 1725 before I realized I'd have to retrace my route some distance if I were to follow the wash back to the Salt River. No sweat, after a quick glance at the Topo for the Peak 1725 ridge it appeared I'd have an easy descent on the Salt River end... appeared being the key word here.
While I could have taken an easier slope down to the sandy wash I had originally planned to follow, I hate sandy washes so I continued more directly to the Salt River, until I reached the edge of a 150-200' cliff.
Ok, let's see how far I must go to find a way down. The first three spots I thought held promise were far too steep and loose so I turned back, wondering if I'd have to go all the way back to drop down to the wash. And then I spotted deer tracks into what looked like another bad slope. But if a deer trail helped me at the beginning of the hike, why not try it again. It was NOT a fun descent among loose baby-head sized rocks, but the ground in between was just soft enough I could dig my poles in to arrest any slides.
I'm down safely!
And now, since I'm actually closer to where I crossed the Salt River, the rest was a breeze. Ok, so I had exercise care re-crossing of the Salt, but I was home free.
Speaking of free... when I still had an hour of hiking to go, the moment I caught the glint off the windshield of my 4Runner, I had a sinking feeling in my gut... uh, oh, I forgot to put my "America The Beautiful Senior Pass" on the dash!
But... since tubing season is over the FS probably doesn't check that often for passes here. That said, it's more likely I WILL remember next time... I hope! (If memory doesn't fail me gain)

Overall, a great day for hiking, some scenic views, but unfortunately no wildlife sightings of any kind, just the deer prints which twice came to my aid. I took no videos but more than enough photos to bore folks so I pared the photoset to 25.

With plenty of ground to cover nearby before reaching FS/Reservation border I'll be heading back out again soon.
(Now if Tracey either buys waterproof hiking boots or brings sandals for the crossing, I'll be dragging her out for some of it as well)
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Mount McDowell (Red Mountain)
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