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Boulder Creek via AZT#21 & FR 1452, AZ
mini location map2020-05-16
12 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Boulder Creek via AZT#21 & FR 1452, AZ 
Boulder Creek via AZT#21 & FR 1452, AZ
Hiking avatar May 16 2020
Hiking7.30 Miles 1,270 AEG
Hiking7.30 Miles   3 Hrs   38 Mns   2.01 mph
1,270 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Nearing the end of Tracey's 10-day respite from the daily COVID19 issues at the hospital she wanted to put in a few more miles of hiking. Nothing too long, nothing too far from home, just something on a trail, reasonably easy yet just enough scenery to make for a pleasant hike.

With the re-opening of the Tonto recreation sites everything along the Salt River would be a madhouse so that was out. Three weeks ago we hiked out-and-back on AZT #22 from Sunflower so we decided to go east, on AZT #21.

Due the number of vehicles at the Bushnell Tanks trailhead we expected to see at least a few hikers on AZT #21 but we would not encounter any hikers, nor see or hear anyone down below us along FR22/Sycamore Creek.

We began from old AZ 87 just around-the-corner from AZ 87, followed the somewhat nasty path down to the AZT itself before crossing through the tunnel under AZ 87. Within a hundred yards of exiting the tunnel we scared up a pair of deer which disappeared up and over the ridge so fast we barely got a look let alone a photo. After passing the AZT sign where the trail comes in from Bushnell TH we scanned ahead hoping for another encounter but we knew it was very unlikely.

We heard plenty of water flow on the descent to the crossing at Sycamore Creek and wondered if we may get wet... thinking back to our crossing last July when it was a challenge with what surely was less flow. Although there was more flow, right in front of us were just the right amount of dry rocks the crossing was easy enough... as long as we didn't miss one long step in the middle.

About 2.5 miles out Tracey thought she saw an animal off to the side. Taking a moment she thought coyote or fox, leaning toward fox. When it popped into sight again the pointy ears and bushy tail made it clear if was a fox. It started and stopped a few times, glancing at us, so of course I hesitated, photo? or video? When it appeared it was ready to take off for good I just held the shutter down snapping photos at 2/second until it stopped again, somewhat in the open, which is when I switched to video. Only one of the photos had a reasonable view of the fox but the video had a clear view. Unfortunately with barely 16 seconds before it ducked into the brush it's not worth posting,

Our senses heightened a bit, we scanned for more wildlife as we continued eastward. Upon reaching the old decommissioned Forest Road 1452 we decided to leave the AZT and follow the road toward a mine we had visited some seven years ago... a mine whose entrance was guarded by a rattlesnake. The first part of the road still had the semblance of a trail, thanks to the cows making their way down to Boulder Creek. When we reached a fork in the road, the upper leading to the mine and the lower to Boulder Creek, the sound of rushing water made the decision easy... head down to the creek!

There wasn't much of a the last few hundred feet to the creek so we had to be a bit creative to avoid the thorniest of the brush. But once at the creek it was but a minute or two and we had settled down on the bare rocks. A perfect spot! So peaceful and soothing we stayed for 10 minutes more than the usual 10. If it weren't for joints that demand movement to keep the pain level reasonable, we would have stayed for hours.

Other than the squawking from my left hip during the climb up from Boulder Creek, the return trip was unremarkable.

As expected the crowds were out along Bush Highway, and for the first time in a long time there were a dozen boats at the Pobrecito overflow lot, waiting for their turn on the lake. As many folks as were already out here at noon, we met a non-stop line of cars all the way back to Usery Pass Road. Sheesh! You'd think if they want a choice spot, or want to launch their boat they'd be out earlier. I guess not.
Gray Fox
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Boulder Creek
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