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The Best Hikes in Gila - Safford BLM

110 Triplog Reviews in the Gila - Safford BLM
Most recent of 70 deeper Triplog Reviews
1.77 mi • 79 ft aeg
Wanted to escape the March crowds at Roper and go somewhere car-camping (to test out the platform bed) that wouldn't be crowded - that eliminated State and National Parks and popular Forest Service camps ... also wanted close/quick to get to and as warm as possible. Which led me to good old Riverview - I was not disappointed - only two other campers in the whole place! :y:
The wind was unrelenting. I was glad I had the camper bed to retreat to and read out of the wind between short hikes.
Two random black and white dogs ran thru my campsite and when they heard me calling them, they passed thru again - this time barking at me. Saw a camper hop in his truck and go retrieve them.
The bed worked out great! It was the best camp sleep ever - almost like my bed at home and I was blissfully comfortable, even with overnight lows 10 degrees lower than my normal tent-camping limit.
Thankfully I had a nice, wind-free morning and was able to enjoy a warming fire. Enjoyed all the little birdy visitors - especially the cactus wren calling from on top of my shade ramada ... the sound of his little feet as he ran back and forth from end to end :lol: !
90% sure I saw a badger on the drive home.
6 mi • 250 ft aeg
My first time ever in Gila Box at 48
It was a lot like when I was 47 ..... Awesome :y:
Completed the entire Cottonwood Trail and hit a little bit of everything else.
Ocotillos are leafy green, a few yellow flower bouquets along the roads, cottonwoods are mostly filled in.
The Mighty Gila was flowing good, Bonita Creek was gentle.
Saw a coati and several bighorns, but all were far across the river ](*,)
It was a good reward day!

Also want to wish RW a Happy B-Day ... Pisces Rock Arizona!
:D
2.5 mi • 100 ft aeg
With unseasonably cool temps hanging on and my higher elevation choices looking a bit chilly for my taste, I decided on a quick overnight at the Riverview Campground - first time I have stayed a night in the Gila Box.
Settled on site #9 in the completely empty campground. Gorgeous setting, nice facilities, and the river just a five minute walk below. Had just about the entire 23,000 acres of desert, river, and mountain all to myself - for just $5! Can't beat that.
8.17 mi • 3,100 ft aeg
Hell Hole Valley - Deer Creek
Had opportunity to hike with a diverse group of fine hikers, 10 including me, guys, gals, old and young. We hiked about 2.5 miles up east end of Aravaipa Canyon and setup our camp for nite. We hiked in and out of creek but water wasn't very cold. Got some snowflakes and light rain the first nite -- had some good bourbon, whatnot and warm grub to keep us from freezing. The next day we hiked 4 miles up Hell Hole Valley (canyon) along Deer Creek and back. A wonderful experience. That nite was clear but cold, more bourbon, whatnot and warm grub to keep us warm. Ice over everything next morning. Hiked backed out after warm breakfast on day 3.
3 mi • 100 ft aeg
Mine & Sabrina's 2nd run down the Gila River in 7 days.
First trip started off a little rough with a flip over launch, today's trip went much better, but we once again had a minor flip at launch ..... that entry into the river is a bit tricky!
The river seemed to be running a little stronger today than last week which made for a more sporting run over the rapids (II) and a bit of a quicker 3 mile time.
We had 3 spectators for today's trip who followed us along the river above, Thanks much Joyce, Lowell & Fernando!
Had as much fun as last week X2, Gila Box is starting to look fantastic with autumn colors & I never thought that river kayaking could become so addicting ..... perhaps a 3rd run next week :-k
:y:
3 mi • 100 ft aeg
:pk: ..... What an Adventure down that there Gila River!!!

First our kayak experience resume -
I have been kayaking lakes for a couple of years now, but never down a river.
My last minute add-on partner Sabrina had never kayaked before in her life. We gave her a 15 minute lesson the night before on Roper Lake and she picked up the mechanics of it well.
With that said, we headed to Gila Box for a go down the River Trail .....

We arrived first at the river put-in to drop off the kayaks and was greeted by Kelly who was out-n-about taking pictures. We talked for a bit before driving back up to the river take-out. Parked the truck then walked the 2 miles back to the put-in. Kelly joined us again for the launch after playing with the coatimundies in Bonita creek.
Then it was Go time ..... We picked a spot to enter that was a little bit of a concern due to the swift current, but I felt it was our safest choice. I pushed off first with Sabrina following. The current took me quickly away so I was unable to see what happened with her launch, and it wasn't good. I looked back to see her in a spin by the outer bank, then flipped over in the water, then being drug through the rapids ..... a very scary moment and terrible start to our trip!
I pulled aside to the bank and was able to reach her in the rapids and get her back to the shore. We then jogged downstream and recovered her kayak in the calm water beyond the rapids. Thinking our trip was over, I checked her November water soaked body over for injuries and asked her what she thought? She said "that was an incredible adrenaline rush and I want to continue". I thought "this girl is crazy tough, I love it, lets go" !!!

The rest of our paddle down was incredibly fun, we hit about 8 more sets of rapids (class II), took in all the awesome scenery around every bend of the river ..... high cliff walls, overhanging flora & the very interesting geology throughout. In only 1 short hour it was over as we pulled ashore at the take-out area. Kelly met up with us at the end to hear the story and show us the pics she got of our short journey.

Twas only a 3 mile/1 hour run down the Gila Box River Trail and I would normally never write a log like this for such a short trip, but this was a first time activity for me & my partner. I can't remember the last time I've had so much shock, adrenaline & FUN run through my body in only 1 hour ..... one of my most memorable trips of 2016!

We are now hooked and have already talked about running the other 20 miles of river that lies within Gila Box.

A couple of honorary partner credits -
AddSanz for letting us use her truck & kayak.
Kelly for being our lifeline & personal photographer.
Thanks Guys!
:D

Foliage
Cottonwoods are in the light/medium stages of yellow.
28 mi • 1,300 ft aeg
Did a 3 day backpacking trip in the canyon. Actually my third visit there. All my visits have been in October, but I think this year was the warmest of the three. Water level was as close as I can tell the same as it had been for the others. The main difference was the lack of animals. Last time I bet I saw 30 big horned sheep, this time not a one. Last time I had to hike through various groups of javelina totaling about 30 along the trail, this time not one in sight. I don't know if this was caused by the warmth or not. I did see two large families of coatimundi. I love watching them as they always seem to be having so much fun playing in the trees. There were several different types of birds, hawks, great blue herons, lots of song birds. Lots more people too. Last time there was only one person I saw in three days, this time it was nine. Granted nine people spread over an eleven mile span doesn't make it all too crowded.

The water was great. Cool, about 40 degrees I would guess. This time I was smart and wore a pair of gaiters!!! They are worth their weight in gold. Not once did I have any sand or gravel in by boots. I would never do this hike again without gaiters.

I camped near Horse Camp Canyon.

This was the first time I knew to check for Hell Hole Canyon. In fact that was a goal of this trip. Hell Hole is so misnamed, it is a fantastic place. So different from Aravaipa, but still beautiful in it's own way. I hit it about 9:30am and exited just before noon. I found that a lot of it's beauty was more visible without the sun being directly overhead. Early morning and probably late afternoon are the best times to see this place. It's a slot canyon, not a sandstone one like Antelope, but well worth a visit. After about a mile and a half in I hit a point that it felt like the temperature spiked a good 10 degrees within a few feet. And it kept raising from there on. The walls were getting shorter, must have been getting towards the end of the canyon. It wasn't nearly as nice to view either.

Figuring out the distance and AEG hiked is the hard part. My GPS said I hiked 35.04 miles in the 3 days. But looking at the track shows that I must have scaled a lot of vertical cliffs. With the satellite signals reflecting off the walls I know this number is ridiculous. The BLM map's numbers show it would have been a minimum of at least 20 miles. After playing in MapDex, BaseCamp, and Google Earth I figure 25 to 30 miles is probably about accurate. Seeing as a hike here is like a billiard ball bouncing off the rails, most of the distance covered is spent crossing the stream. Likewise most of the AEG encountered is climbing out of the stream a hundred times. The GPS came up with an ascent of 1529' and a descent of 2468'... From the topos it looks like the west entry into the stream is at about 2600', the entrance to Hell Hole is at 3100' and as far as I went into Hell Hole it gets up to about 3300'. Add in a few side trips and climbing out of the stream a hundred times, I guess I'd figure about 1300' is fair.
11 mi • 200 ft aeg
5am departure from Pima.
Very scenic drive into the East entrance during sunrise.
7am entrance into Aravaipa.
Downstream to Hell Hole Canyon and in up to the spring/hanging gardens.
Back upstream to Turkey Creek and a visit up to the cliff dwelling.
Overcast all day, water felt great, lots of greenery with hints of autumn to come.
Wildlife - 7 javelina (with young), 1 deer, 1 bobcat, 20 vultures, 2 hawks, 1 ring-neck snake, many creek fish, 1 heron, 10,000 caterpillars, 1000 butterflies, insects of all kinds & a very unpleasant amount of biting mosquitoes.
Solid 9 out of 10 trip (1 point deduction due to the mosquitoes).
:D
5.2 mi • 1,777 ft aeg
Yes, I'm a bit slow getting this posted... I've been working on Tracey's outside honey-do list, hoping to check everything off before it gets too hot. I don't mind hiking in the heat, but work... not so much.
:whistle:
Jason's triplog pretty well covered the high points of the hike so all I have to add is my agreement it was a fun day hiking with a new HAZ hiking partner.
:y:

RE: BearSafe water cache at the AZT#17 TH... Don't rely on it!
Even if you cache your own water and mark it for your own use, it very well may be empty when you arrive.
Oh yeah, if you empty a bottle, PLEASE crush it and take it with you!
5.2 mi • 1,777 ft aeg
A combo climb of Peak 3937 which was easy, and Peak 4202 which was pretty dang hard. The latter felt like real mountaineering. I had only one moment of doubt, the descent on Pk 4202 which required some serious Class 3 down climbing. There's also a pretty nasty chute that leads to the crux and toward the final summit push. I was OK climbing it but descending was a little hairy.

I made the trip with Cannondale Kid who was a GREAT hiking/climbing partner. His 4x4 skills are amazing. Surprisingly some parts which scare others in the Jeep, didn't even phase me a bit.

We cached some water in a bear vault along the Arizona Trail.

We met a AZT thru-hiker at the water cache area and that was pretty cool.

All in all, an amazing day!!!

Can't wait to get back out into this area again for more adventures.
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