I planned to hike all of the BCT beginning of April but bailed after a long first day reaching the Gloriana trailhead just off I-17 and the Bumblebee exit (triplog
). Earlier this week with the upcoming cooler temperatures, my wife offered to drop me off where I left off to finish the trail.
We left home about 4:00 and headed up to Black Canyon City for the Friday Fish Fry at Chileens. We stopped at the Emery Henderson trailhead on the way where I cached a gallon of water. Fish and chips and beer really hit the spot.
After saying goodbye to my bride, I was on the trail about 5:25, earlier than I expected. The temperature was about perfect for walking; it was great to be on trail. I saw not a rattlesnake early on. Arrastre Creek wasn't flowing, but there were still large pools of water. Originally, I was hoping to reach and camp at Black Canyon Creek. It was still light when I got there so decided to continue on. The creek had good flow, so I took my shoes off and waded across. It finally started getting dark as I neared Soap Creek, so I pulled my headlamp out. Once at Soap Creek, set up camp a short distance up from the trail on the creek bed. There was a large moon and sleeping in the canyon sheltered me from it most of the night.
I set my alarm for 4:30 but didn't hear it and woke up at 5:00. I was on the trail at 5:30. I reached the first Agua Fria crossing and didn't see a spot to rock hop across, so I took my shoes off and waded. The water was ankle deep, so quite a lot less than the last time I tried to cross here. I continued on to the second crossing. Again, I took my shoes off and waded across. The river channel moved from the far bank some after the high flow this year, so that was interesting to see. I filled up my water before continuing.
When I reached the Little Pan Loop, I took the west side as I like it better than the east side. Probably because there's no road walking on the west. Not too far in I crossed a wash with a Mesquite tree providing shade, so I stopped and had lunch which consisted of a Complete Cookie, a Snickers bar, and a bottle of Gatorade; a nice quick 750 calories or so.
I reached the third Agua Fria crossing where I again took my shoes off and waded across. I kept them off as I drank a liter of water and filled my water to capacity. There were a few bottles of water cached at the Table Mesa trailhead. I thought about grabbing some, but I wasn't very far from where I filled up. It was also early enough in the day that I knew I would make it to Emery Henderson where I had water.
As usual for a Saturday, there was a lot of shooting going on in the Table Mesa area. I was happy when the popping faded away as I left the area.
I made it to Emery Henderson plenty of time before dark. I grabbed my water and went to a Ramada where I called my wife and ate dinner. I was close enough to home and had gone far enough, that I decided to spend the night. I knew the moon would be bright and being under the Ramada would help with sleeping.
I took my watch off to be able to hear the alarm, so I woke up at 4:30. It took me a bit longer to get out of camp dealing with water, etc., so I wasn't on trail until 5:15. Interestingly enough, I had to wait for traffic to cross New River Rd. There's nothing spectacular about BCT south of Emery Henderson except for the sunrises and wild burros. I was blessed with both.
From the end of the BCT (Carefree Hwy), I continued south on 51st Ave until Dove Valley Rd. Where I was not allowed to continue through the Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Co chip plant construction. After talking to the guards, I headed east on Dove Valley to 43rd Ave where I turned south. I crossed under the 303 through the construction of new on/off ramps, where I reached a chain-link fence blocking access to the south. Climbing over seemed risky as I figured I'd slip and rip my leg open and bleed out. I continued west along the fence where two gates were open for the construction. With that, I was easily able to cross the barb-wire fence, then head cross country to 51st Ave, cross the CAP canal, go through Deem Hills and made it home 10 of 11:00.
I packed pretty light for this. I had a polycro groundsheet and no shelter. I had my Thermarest XLite and down quilt. I wore a pair of running shorts and a long-sleeved button up shirt. Besides that, I had an extra pair of socks, a wind jacket and a fleece hoody. No stove, I cold soaked Saturday's dinner. I'm guessing my pack weighed about 17 lbs. at the start with all my food and a gallon of water. It should have weighed 17.5, but I forgot my Fritos.Wildflowers
This was a pleasant surprise. There were still lots of flowers blooming, even some poppies and some Blue Richards (why can't we write their real name?). The Lupine were all dry but fun to see.