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Horseshoe Dam Rd Side Track, AZ
mini location map2020-04-04
25 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Horseshoe Dam Rd Side Track, AZ 
Horseshoe Dam Rd Side Track, AZ
Hiking3.80 Miles 1,150 AEG
Hiking3.80 Miles
1,150 ft AEG
Linked   none no linked trail guides
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Decided to get away from the hordes for a hike so chose an off-trail trek from Horseshoe Dam Road. I always like to throw in a rock pile or two if possible so used the last 1.5 miles of a gps track borrowed from a 2014 triplog by @Hansenaz as a guide. [ photoset ] The starting point for this hike was about 1.5 miles past the end of pavement on the Horseshoe Dam Road. Warning signs have been posted that this section of road requires a 4x4 high clearance vehicle due to washouts and debris on the roads from flash floods. There were about 3 or 4 places in this 1.5 mile stretch of road that required high clearance due to flood damage.

The hike started out going up the sandy bottom of a dry creek bed. I hadn't gone far when a Gila Monster hissed at me from the side of the creek bed. He was nice enough to hang around for a photo shoot. This is only the second Gila Monster I've seen in 10 years of hiking in AZ so it was a real treat. A short distance past the monster encounter there was a trickle of water flowing in the "dry" creek bed for about 50 yards. I started up the hillside near where the water flow emerged from the sandy creek bottom and came across several pot sherds, the largest being about 2x3 inches. There was no evidence of a ruin in the immediate vicinity so perhaps somebody dropped a pot on their way back up the hill from the spring below.

There was a nice variety of wild flowers - the usual suspects for this time of year. The grass was also about 12 inches high and growing thick along the ridge top so I proceeded at a slow pace carefully scanning and listening for snakes - none made their presence known. As suspected there were some ancient rock piles on the top of a hill. I only found two rooms but there were a number of what appeared to be retaining walls around the edge of the hilltop. What was their purpose, maybe creating semi level spaces for small garden plots? I continued on up the ridge past rock pile hill to a higher hilltop where I stopped for a lunch time snack and to look for an alternate route back to the car. The return route I chose started out down the steep south facing slope of lunch break hill and was covered with wild flowers. My route then followed a short ridge top (no more rock piles :( ) before dropping down to a dry sandy creek bed. The sandy creek bottom was a pleasant stroll all the way back (1.4 miles) to the car. No people were encountered while hiking, a good thing in this time of pandemic social distancing. But there was heavy traffic on the Horseshoe Dam Road.

It was a good day - pleasantly warm sunny weather, good hilltop views, lots of wild flowers, an interesting rock pile, and a Gila Monster photo op.
 Named place
 Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Kentuck Mountain  Saint Clair Peak
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