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Willow Creek - Lower - 2 members in 1 triplog have rated this an average 2.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Jul 29 2012
nonot
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 Guides 93
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 Joined Nov 18 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Willow Creek - LowerPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Jul 29 2012
nonot
Backpack21.00 Miles 2,400 AEG
Backpack21.00 Miles2 Days   14 Hrs      
2,400 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break38 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Willow Creek was much like Leonard Canyon, so it wasn't a surprise that the canyon wasn't that great. I knew it would be dry when I crossed at Wiggins bridge. I was hoping for more water, but it wasn't meant to be. Lots of elk and elk sign though.

I didn't pick the best route down to the creek from the rim. However, I'm not sure there *is* a best route.

The first few miles were great, after that it got a bit sloggy and my spirit waned. The locust was much more prevalent in Willow than Leonard.

I was shocked when I hit ECC, how could they cause it to go dry?!?! I wanted to cry, but didn't - first, because I was more angry than sad, and second - because I couldn't waste the water. Luckily it had rained for part of the afternoon (and continued to drizzle as I stood there) and I hoped I'd find water in pockets in ECC. After about 1.4 miles of walking upstream, I decided it wasn't in the cards that I'd find any water in a pocket in ECC. Luckily shortly after I found a few tinajas. A half liter here, another half liter. My concern over water gradually faded. As it goes, right after finding the last tinaja which topped me off, I found a big pocket in ECC.

Found a great campsite and set up during a brief lapse in the weather. It started up again while I was making dinner and I huddled in the tent listening to the rain come down. It probably stopped raining sometime during the night but was raining again when I woke up at 6 AM. I got up again about 8, but napped until 9 waiting for things to dry out.

Went upstream (or should I say - up dry sandy wash :( ) in ECC to Wilkens Canyon. After a short jaunt up Wilkens it seemed like it would turn into a real thrash, so I took an elk trail up. I ended up doing some moves that elk can't do, but I continued to find elk sign, so they must bypass along a longer route. Got up top and hiked through the junipers. Was quite peaceful, and I spooked another big elk.

Saw a dozen shed antlers and half that many elk. Physical punishment dished out by the canyon wasn't too bad, locust bush is a lightweight compared to catclaw.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max West Fork Willow Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
A few water pockets where the creekbed was scoured really deep in the last flood - most are pretty poor looking and undesirable. No flow in the canyon.

dry Willow Creek Dry Dry
I don't recall seeing any pools below about the East/West Confluence. No flow in the canyon.
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