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Elusive Arch in the Goldfield Mountains, AZ
mini location map2021-03-01
7 by photographer avatarPeraltaPhil
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Elusive Arch in the Goldfield Mountains, AZ 
Elusive Arch in the Goldfield Mountains, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 01 2021
Hiking9.00 Miles
Hiking9.00 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.40 mph
      45 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I am not aware of the name of this particular arch in the Goldfield Mountains. It is at ground level. I call it "Elusive" Arch.

In June of 2017 I was part of a hiking group with this arch as its destination. Circumstances hindered me from reaching the arch. I stopped, as the trail ended, at a wash northwest; about a mile north of the Cottonwood Springs. A large cairn marked the spot. My intention was to return at a later date and find that arch.

Since then I had made numerous hikes in search of the "Elusive" Arch, without success. In my first attempt, I followed the exact route from June 2017, (no GPS). From the trailhead off FR1356, near MM202 on AZ88, I drove about 2 miles; then parked my Jeep Liberty at a pull-off. I hiked a wash north towards Cottonwood Springs and beyond. I passed a cement trough, corral, and a huge boulder mentioned, and pictured, in Ted Tenny's book. A three-tributary wash led me north to a trail heading northwest. This trail entered the wash and continued on the other side. It ended at the large cairn mentioned in the previous paragraph. From there I was hiking into the unknown. I explored the rock formations on the east side, to no avail. Time was a factor. I went home, arch-less.

My next few attempts had me driving on FR1356 and FR3512 to a parking area north of the corral near Cottonwood Springs.
The hiking time was reduced, but my searches were still without success. My vehicle did not enjoy all the driving, so I shortened my drive on FR1356 to one mile. There is a side road with a circle drive that has a trail heading west two miles to the Cottonwood Wash. I also used the trail leading west from the quarry parking area near MM203 on AZ88. That trail led through parts of Willow Springs Canyon, with all the winding slickrock trails. It took more than one hike to orient myself through all of that. But it was fun to explore. That trail led to the three-tributary wash earmarked with a large pointed rock cairn.

Most of my searches brought me to the wash and large cairn; the point at which I had stopped on the very first hike.
Even though I had not found the arch I was becoming comfortable hiking all the different trails leading to that cairn. I had concentrated all my efforts hiking north and east from that cairn. I had exhausted just about all the places where the arch was NOT so I made a strategic change. I surmised that I should follow the wash north, but then take the bend in the wash to the west.

It looked promising at first. As I was hiking north in the wash I saw cairns that I had not previously noticed. A well-defined trail led east on the south side of the wash. I took it. I knew the arch would be near a wash. After hiking a mile, with no arch sighting, I decided to turn back. The trail was leading me southwest, whereas, I was expecting to go northwest. This hike was taken on February 22, 2021; another search which ended arch-less. I would make one more try; a week later.
M "ARCH" 01, 2021 - A DAY to be REMEMBERED!!
My route would begin from the circle drive off a side road north of FR1356 about a mile from the gated trailhead near AZ88 MM202. Two trails fed off this parking area; one headed north and connected with the quarry route. I chose the east/west trail, for a 2-mile hike towards Cottonwood Springs Wash. Hiking up and down the first hill led to several wash crossings; not difficult. There is, however, a "slide-rule" incline to test one's balance. Shortly thereafter, I reached Cottonwood Springs Wash, and the first of several landmark cairns.

From there I hiked northwest to THE bend in the wash. This time I remained in the wash, hiked west, looked for and found a trial out of the wash; and headed north. I was confident in hiking the correct direction. Off to the west I hiked up an incline and discovered a window rock formation; a bonus. But I was looking for bigger game. I took some photos, before deciding what to do next.

After descending the hill I noticed that the trail continued north. Since I had come this far, I decided to see what I could see. Up ahead, in a grassy area to the west, on the other side, away from everything else on the other side, I saw a cairn. Then I saw bushes; next I saw a rock wall, and . . . BAM!! There it was - a . . .

W A L K - T H R O U H A R C H ! ! !

Praise the Lord! The "Elusive" Arch has been found!. And, it only took me three (3) years and eight (8) months.

That time was not wasted. I discovered many destinations from trails originating from various trailheads. Also, I stumbled upon three (3) other arches along my journeys.
As the great basketball coach from North Carolina use to say - "Never give up! Never, ever give up"!

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