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Tortilla TH to Fish Creek Bridge, AZ
mini location map2020-09-27
20 by photographer avatarScottHika
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Tortilla TH to Fish Creek Bridge, AZ 
Tortilla TH to Fish Creek Bridge, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 27 2020
Hiking14.90 Miles 4,062 AEG
Hiking14.90 Miles   8 Hrs   28 Mns   1.85 mph
4,062 ft AEG      26 Mns Break14.75 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
This was not a standard hike so there is no "official" connected route. I haven’t been in here since before Woodbury fire so was interested in changes from that blaze. It’s a little warm yet (little over 100) but I decided to do the 15 mile trek. I packed 15 pounds mostly water. I use a gravity filter but was not sure I would find any usable H2O this time of year. I ended up not using it.

I started at Tortilla Trailhead at Apache 88 and hiked the Forest road 213 the 3+ miles down past Tortilla ranch. I have a SUV but it doesn't have the clearance to survive the first quarter mile. A notable change is that the large wooden gateway announcing entry to Tortilla Ranch is now partly burned down. The old Tortilla corral still has barbed wire and some burnt wooden fence posts. If you haven’t been to the Tortilla well in a few years, the windmill (by the start of Peter’s) is down and smashed to pieces.

A lot of cacti have been destroyed but not everything was torched. The catclaw has been reduced some but will no doubt return with a vengeance. I took JF to poke around the Miller site. The fire blazed pretty heavily in that area but a lot of invasive grass has grown back. I throw my socks away after hikes like this because of all the foxtails and other pricklers that I pick up. I always find new things, and also little pieces of this and that in the mine area (and leave them), and pay my respects to the old timers.

I took a no name canyon to Lost Dutchman, said hello to a few rattlesnakes, and dropped by a cave. The water situation is really dry in September, especially this year of record heat. Except for stagnant collections near a few springs, there was no water in lower Lost Dutch Canyon. I also saw no water in Fish Creek until about 3 miles up from the Bridge. I pocketed a few walnut size gold nuggets that I found in the dry bed, and then made my way past the emerging frog pools. A few small trickles appeared before disappearing entirely.

Fish Creek really is a beautiful canyon and there are no hints of fire here except scattered pieces of burnt driftwood that floated down from the upper canyons. If you don't like boulder hopping then don't come here. You need reasonably good route finding skills (and endurance) to navigate this area. Please do not overestimate your ability. The large trees and high cliffs were appreciated as they kept the sun off my back for a good stretch. I escaped the large boulders blocking the exit and looked up at the bridge. I think it's sad that this great passage is now abandoned to return to nature.
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Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Lost Dutch Spring Dripping Dripping
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

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