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Old Safford-Morenci Trail - GET #13
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mini location map2009-03-21
42 by photographer avatarwritelots
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Old Safford-Morenci Trail - GET #13Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 21 2009
writelots
Backpack19.00 Miles 2,500 AEG
Backpack19.00 Miles2 Days         
2,500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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te_wa
Went out with the Arizona Backpacking Club again for a fantastic backcountry adventure...My group hiked west to east, meeting the other group hiking in the opposite direction at Bonita Creek for a key-exchange. Worked like a charm, the added fun being that we had a whole new adventure waiting for us at the east trailhead!

The trail was easy to follow - in the few places that it was faint, we always found some (nearly worn out) taping. The east side is definitely more scenic, though the west side had some fun canyon experiences. There was no drinkable water except for Bonita Creek and Smith Spring (approx. 3/4 mile from the eastern trailhead), though some alge filled pools existed in both lower Midnight and Smith canyons. Even though the temps this weekend didn't get above 80, in the narrower parts of the canyon, the dark rocks reflected the heat back very effectively and made it feel much more like summer than it should have. I drank much more water than the temps would have indicated. This place would be a literal oven in the summer. However, the deciduous trees (particularly the hackberries) weren't totally leafed out yet in the upper canyons, and the grasses and wildflowers were only just starting to emerge from winter. This leads me to think that this would be a better fall hike than spring, just so you can enjoy the full riparian effect without baking yourself.

Other general impressions: lots of cattle dung, trail damage and general evidence put something of a damper on the hike as a whole, and definitely would impact camping outside of the Bonita Creek area. Prepare for loose, sharp rock the whole way - it's an ankle workout. The climb up to Bellmeyer Saddle from the road below was steep but never brutal, and the views made it all worth while.

Check out the photoset for a more detailed blow-by-blow. I thought this trail was a little under-documented photo wise, so I got a bit snap happy.
Named place
Named place
Bonita Creek
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