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Goldfields: 3 arches many thorns and a coati, AZ
mini location map2022-01-30
10 by photographer avatarmikemcg
photographer avatar
 
Goldfields: 3 arches many thorns and a coati, AZ 
Goldfields: 3 arches many thorns and a coati, AZ
 
Hiking7.70 Miles 1,318 AEG
Hiking7.70 Miles   6 Hrs   53 Mns   1.60 mph
1,318 ft AEG   2 Hrs   5 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
It was perfect weather for a trek through the Goldfields. We picked out 3 arches that we haven't seen yet and loosely followed the route posted by @adilling on 1/10/21. We started at the Willow Springs trailhead and proceeded clockwise. Early on, we were caught up in conversation and views, so we missed two separate turns and had to backtrack each time. :doh:

We made our way to the Javelina Mine Trail, then followed a wash until we saw the Checkmate Arch (aka IQ arch) off in the distance at the top of an incline. We followed a use trail up to the top, but I caught 2 chollas in quick succession as we were climbing up (one in my shoe, one in my leg), and had to extract each one. We treaded carefully after that to avoid further cholla attacks. The arch was bigger than expected and there were some great views through it.

We climbed back down and made our way to a wash, which we followed to Rough N Ready Canyon, which we followed to the Anniversary Arch Trail, which was the nicest trail of the day. We climbed up the arch and hung out in the alcove there for a while, eating snacks and admiring the views. Some horseback riders came along the Anniversary Arch trail and took pictures of us up in "the eye of the dragon".

We headed to Quartz Crystal Arroyo trail and climbed up toward Helmet Rock. We thought we could reach the Golden Eye Arches from the west, but were thwarted by a deep chasm, so we made our way around and down into it. When we were at the bottom of the chasm, a large coatimundi appeared directly above us on the cliff - the first coati I've ever seen. Unfortunately I grabbed the bear spray instead of the camera, and the coati scurried out of sight before I could get a picture. We circled around to the Golden Eye Arches, and saw the same coatimundi again, but it ran behind some brush, so no picture. We climbed up and hung out underneath the Arches. We followed the Golden Eye Arch trail, which was full of thorny brush. I caught a third cholla in there but it was easily removed. We reached the Golden Eye Mine Trail and looped back to the trailhead.

We saw 8 people over the entire route: 1 hiker, 3 children who were operating little remote-control jeeps, and 4 horseback riders. Overall it was a beautiful, relaxing day, with opportunities to see some unique rock formations, play around some arches, and see our first coatimundi.
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