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Deer Creek - Peeley - Gold Ridge, AZ
mini location map2020-04-24
13 by photographer avatarLJW
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Deer Creek - Peeley - Gold Ridge, AZ 
Deer Creek - Peeley - Gold Ridge, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 24 2020
Hiking24.07 Miles 4,809 AEG
Hiking24.07 Miles   9 Hrs   34 Mns   3.08 mph
4,809 ft AEG   1 Hour   45 Mns Break
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Really a Gold Ridge - Peeley - Deer Creek route but I wanted continuity with a hike I did in January when I wasn't able to get it all done counterclockwise. There are a few advantages to taking the loop clockwise. I think there's about 400ft less elevation gained. Maybe this is just a personal preference, but Gold Ridge is prettiest at sunrise as Deer Creek is in the light of day. DC is cooler than GR during the middle and later parts of the day, and obviously there's water all the way down. Gave it a second go, starting a quarter before 6am.

Gold Ridge is as usual in just about perfect shape. Good wildflower display on the lower and middle portions of trail. The deadfall has been cleared off the upper parts of the trail. Camp Grasshopper is clear for high clearance and good tires.

Saw the first people on the Divide Trail, a trio of backpackers. East slopes of Peeley the day started to feel warm. Cooled off under the pines on the north side and on the summit. Terrific visibility that turned hazier as increasing wind blew distant smoke around to the south. Plus the Phoenix haze that not even a state of emergency and stay at home orders can lift from the city.

Saw the second and last person on the day at the upper Deer Creek trailhead. Headed down the sharp grade and took a break at Gowan Camp. Good flow of water in Deer Creek and the wildflowers were constant. Water wasn't very cold and didn't help much cooling off. Trail has more deadfall than in January, and the grasses have grown in over the trail in parts. Route's easy to find, and there are regular cairns. Trail is noticeably warmer from the grave site to the trailhead.

Ended up around 90 degrees when I finished. The water and wildflower situation is at peak but probably on the way down, week or two to be worth much. There was a small brush fire at the Sycamore Creek turn off opposite the one to Four Peaks on the way back to Phoenix.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Heavy on Deer Creek, Gold Ridge, medium on the Peeley stretch.
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