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Bonita Creek Watchable Wildlife Area - 2 members in 23 triplogs have rated this an average 4 ( 1 to 5 best )
1, 2  Next
23 triplogs
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23 Triplogs
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Mar 15 2021
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Cottonwood Trail - Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 15 2021
SkyIslander18
Hiking4.00 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles
250 ft AEG
 no routes
One of my hiking diet staples.
Did the complete Cottonwood Trail including a few off-trail paths down to the river. A few flowers here & there and the cottonwoods are filling in nicely, but the whole area still has that pre-spring look.
Sunset was watched in a van down by the river before leaving.
Will always be back ...
:D
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Mar 09 2020
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Black Hills Rockhound TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 09 2020
SkyIslander18
Hiking3.00 Miles 350 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles
350 ft AEG
 no routes
Off-trail across The Black Hills. Chased 10 deer ... cool!
Hiked around Riverview, Serna Cabin & the Watchable Platform at Gila Box.
Ended with a short one up Bonita Creek.
Sat on a perch over the Gila River for coffee & sunset.
Good trip today!
:D
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May 11 2019
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
 Routes 125
 Photos 20,380
 Triplogs 925

73 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Bonita CreekTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 11 2019
rwstorm
Hiking3.00 Miles
Hiking3.00 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Finally got out of town for my first camping trip of the year. :) Only one night, but it was worth it as I visited the neat riparian zone of the Gila Box east of Safford. More water this visit than any of my past (though very few) stops in the area. Before heading back to Tucson, I decided to get the sandals out of the truck and do some delightful slogging in and out of the water in Bonita Creek. Though I don't hike in water very much, I must admit the cool water sure felt pretty good on my feet. :D To be honest, most of the walking along the road was not in water, but I enjoyed the parts that were.
Flora
Flora
Pomegranate
Named place
Named place
Bonita Creek
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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2 archives
Apr 15 2019
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Cottonwood Trail - Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2019
SkyIslander18
Hiking3.50 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking3.50 Miles
200 ft AEG
 no routes
Sunshine
Castle Rock
River Views
Hammock
Bighorn Sheep
Wildflowers
Time well spent at the Box!
:D
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Dec 17 2018
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Bonita CreekTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 17 2018
SkyIslander18
Hiking3.00 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles
250 ft AEG
 no routes
Last visit (maybe) to Bonita for the fall colors before winter sets in.
Dropped down into the Orange Cliff Rd section for just a short one. Good colors, but Bonita is past peak up high now with lots of canyon bottom leaf litter. Found a great spot next to a beaver dam for a 3 hour hammock/sit camp.
Also made a few short visits to the wildlife platform, Spring Canyon, Gila River & the entrance overlooks.
Gila Box looks just Awesome right now ..... lots of gold color along the water ways!
No big wildlife spotted on this overcast, sprinkling day.
:D
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bonita Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Oct 29 2018
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 29 2018
SkyIslander18
Hiking3.50 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking3.50 Miles
300 ft AEG
 no routes
Wanted to get one more trip in at the Box before hunting season starts.
Payed for a site at Riverview CG to park and decide later on an overnight camp.
First up was a visit down to "Castle Rock" along the Gila River. Then a bit on the Cottonwood Trail ending at the Serna Cabin area. Went a bit up Bonita Creek then back down along the River Trail. Sunset was had at the Wildlife Platform before returning back to my campsite.
No big wildlife today, but lots of butterflies & dragonflies with still a good number of flowers left.
Gila was flowing strong, Bonita Creek was not.
Autumn colors 'bout 25% turning.
The weather was warm tonight so I opted out of a campfire/overnight stay and returned home.
Love Gila Box ..... wish I could live down there ..... I've asked ..... BLM said No ..... :pk:
:D
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bonita Creek Light flow Light flow
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Jul 11 2018
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Cottonwood Trail - Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2018
SkyIslander18
Hiking7.23 Miles 350 AEG
Hiking7.23 Miles
350 ft AEG
 no routes
TV & Mobile alert warnings all night that the Gila River at Solomon would rise 14 feet and be at flood status. Got up early and headed out to see it, it's quite a sight to see the Gila flooding!
Arrived at the entrance overlook to see the Gila flowing strong again, not quite at a flood status, but lots of chocolate milk flowing down that there river ..... definitely not a swimming day with that flow.
Made many river view stops on the drive in & out with several hikes starting on the Cottonwood Trail :next: Wildlife platform :next: Spring Canyon :next: Dry Canyon and many side trips.
Monsoon/overcast weather all day, rained on me half the time & the whole Box just looked Awesome today!
Wildlife - Grey fox, 2 javelina, many wind surfing vultures, millipedes, brown & black tarantulas.
:D
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Mar 16 2018
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Cottonwood Trail - Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2018
SkyIslander18
Hiking6.00 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles
250 ft AEG
 no routes
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
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bonita Creek Light flow Light flow
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Jan 31 2018
cactuscat
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 Routes 58
 Photos 2,526
 Triplogs 387

49 female
 Joined Oct 15 2002
 
Cottonwood Trail - Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 31 2018
cactuscat
Hiking3.44 Miles 387 AEG
Hiking3.44 Miles   2 Hrs   1 Min   1.81 mph
387 ft AEG      7 Mns Break
 
Outstanding!
This hike packs so much to see in just a few miles I love it.
Only two campers at Riverview - it's in great shape as usual.
Culture
Culture
Reference Mark

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bonita Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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2 archives
Nov 10 2017
outdoor_lover
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 Guides 7
 Routes 53
 Photos 12,949
 Triplogs 568

58 female
 Joined Aug 19 2011
 Scottsdale, AZ
Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 10 2017
outdoor_lover
Hiking6.00 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles
300 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Driving, Camping, Hiking, and Photographing in the Box... Tons of Wildlife and the Trees were just starting to turn. Got a Hat Trick of the Ring Tailers driving back to Camp the 2nd Night. It was Dark, of course... First a Raccoon running down the Road, then a Ring-tailed Cat crossing the Road and scaling a Vertical Cliff on the other Side, then a Lone Coatimundi.... Wouldn't see any of them while it was Light, but I spent several Hours watching a Herd of Bighorn Sheep with two Rams that were just starting to become Adversaries.... So Cool to watch those slight Interactions and the Leader's Angst about the Contender...

Chad joined me for some of it and we finished Catching Up on Life and News until the wee hours of the Morning on my last Night.

Photoset to come, probably next Year... :sweat:
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate

dry Baker Canyon Dry Dry
At Road Crossing

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bonita Creek Light flow Light flow

dry Dry Canyon Dry Dry
At Road Crossing

dry Spring Canyon Dry Dry
At Road Crossing
_____________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
May 17 2017
cactuscat
avatar

 Routes 58
 Photos 2,526
 Triplogs 387

49 female
 Joined Oct 15 2002
 
Cottonwood Trail - Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 17 2017
cactuscat
Hiking2.50 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles
100 ft AEG
 
Partners none no partners
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.
Fauna
Fauna
Cicada
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Mar 04 2017
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 04 2017
SkyIslander18
Hiking7.10 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking7.10 Miles
300 ft AEG
 no routes
Well ..... it's March so I guess it's time to start looking for wildflowers?
Was headed out to the Black Hills and made a split second decision at the turn sign to check out Gila Box instead which is much closer.
Didn't expect a lot today, boy was I wrong!
First the Gila river was running well above average, there were flowers everywhere on the drive in and along my hikes, Bonita Creek was flowing well and the whole area was much greener than expected ..... almost looked like summer up in there.
Hiked 2 separate sections of Bonita, the wildlife platform, a wee bit of the Cottonwood trail & ended on Bull pass road back to my vehicle completing a loop.
No coati or sheep spotted today, but I did see canyon ducks, butterflies, lizards, hawks, crows, fish & frogs.
:D
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bonita Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Dec 11 2016
SkyIslander18
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 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Bonita CreekTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 11 2016
SkyIslander18
Hiking9.00 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles
200 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners partners
PrestonSands
2nd trip out to Bonita in 5 days.

Preston picked me up after coming off of Mt Graham from his Sky Spotting gig at the LBT telescope.
I pitched Bonita to him as a must see right now and he agreed with the choice, off to Gila Box!
We hiked the out-n-back along Pipeline Road to the pumps.
Fantastic foliage colors, beautiful flowing creek, cliff walls, beaver dams, the pipeline, corals, homesteads, side canyon, cave & just awesome scenery throughout ..... this place is always a gem!
We did not encounter any of the bigger canyon wildlife today, but did see many coati & bear tracks in the road for half of the hike. After the hike, we drove down to the Gila river to check out the Serna cabin area and ended with the short out-n-back to the wildlife platform overlooking Bonita Creek.

Great trip with a Good friend ..... Thanks Preston!
:D
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Moderate to Substantial

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bonita Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Dec 11 2016
PrestonSands
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 Guides 169
 Routes 148
 Photos 5,600
 Triplogs 1,451

43 male
 Joined Apr 12 2004
 Oro Valley, AZ
Bonita CreekTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 11 2016
PrestonSands
Hiking9.00 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles
200 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners partners
SkyIslander18
Coming down to the Gila Valley, zombie-like after a long night staring at airplanes and lasers on top of Emerald Peak, I met up with Chad, and we began a day of adventure. I had only been to Bonita Creek once, ten years earlier, and even then, it had been a short hike. I was looking forward to a tour of Bonita Creek from someone who knows it well.

Parking on Pipeline Road, we began our journey along the gently flowing waters of Bonita Creek, and the suspended pipeline. A wide ribbon of orange and amber autumn foliage, hemmed in by cliff walls and massive cottonwood trees, filled the isolated canyon. Extensive beaver dams, whittled trees, bear tracks, and coatimundi footprints, all bore witness to wildlife surely lurking in the area, but unseen. The lush riparian tree cover gave way to desert vegetation upon arriving at the pipeline pumps, where we paused for a lunch break.

Our cameras were busy on the way back down the canyon, as the afternoon sun, low on the horizon, illuminated the colorful leaves. We checked out an old ranch site, buried in the trees, before making our way down to the restored rock house known as Serna Cabin. From the Bonita Creek wildlife platform, we were able to look down on the massive collection of beaver ponds below, where the Bonita Creek portion of our hike had ended. The sun was low in the sky when we arrived back in Safford, having enjoyed a full day in one of eastern Arizona's natural treasures.

Another fun adventure! Thank you my friend! :D
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
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Dec 07 2016
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Bonita CreekTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 07 2016
SkyIslander18
Hiking8.10 Miles 420 AEG
Hiking8.10 Miles
420 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Bonita Creek & Canyon in early December .......... Magnificent !!!
:D
Named place
Named place
Bonita Creek
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Moderate to Substantial

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bonita Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Nov 16 2016
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 16 2016
SkyIslander18
Hiking2.50 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles
250 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners partners
AddSanz
First drove down to the Gila Box River Trail put-in and dropped off our kayaks.
Then drove back to the take-out and parked the truck.
Me & Sabrina then hiked the Box road back with a side trip out to the wildlife platform before heading down to the put-in area where are kayaks were waiting.
AddSanz gets a partner credit for this one for letting us use her truck & kayak!
:D
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May 01 2016
rwstorm
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 Guides 1
 Routes 125
 Photos 20,380
 Triplogs 925

73 male
 Joined Feb 28 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Car Camping avatar May 01 2016
rwstorm
Car Camping
Car Camping
 no routes
Back to the area for the third week in a row.
After having plans altered the previous week due to very warm weather, I decided to go back and camp at Riverview and do the exploring up along Bonita Creek the next day. This was made possible thanks to a spring storm that ushered in some below normal temperatures. :D I left Tucson around noon Sunday, so as to beat any weekend problems. Stopped for a good Mexican food meal at La Paloma in Solomon, then headed in to do a little exploring and camp. Not many folks were encountered in the area, so it worked out well. Snooped around down by the Gila River near the campground, then drove a ways up the Rim Road and checked out a couple of places where you can drop down to Bonita Creek. By this time it was nearing sundown, so headed back and set up the tent. A mild pleasant evening was enjoyed. Well, except for the excruciating pain of a toothache (I determined later this was due to antibiotics I was taking at the time).
Fauna
Fauna
Beaver
Named place
Named place
Turtle Mountain
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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Apr 02 2016
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 02 2016
SkyIslander18
Hiking6.10 Miles 350 AEG
Hiking6.10 Miles
350 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Gila Box is looking April good!
Everything is greening up nicely.
Wildflowers are in and coming in.
A few cactus blooms with a lot more about to happen.
And good Gila River flow.
I mainly hiked the Cottonwood loop x2 with a couple side trips out to the rivers edge and 1 trip out to the Wildlife Watchable Platform that overlooks Bonita Creek. Quite a few vultures flying up & down the canyon on this visit.
I'll have to come back in a few weeks and camp, should be primo!
:D
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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Nov 28 2015
Charger55
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 Guides 4
 Photos 542
 Triplogs 545

41 male
 Joined Oct 19 2010
 Mesa, AZ
Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Car Camping avatar Nov 28 2015
Charger55
Car Camping3.50 Miles
Car Camping3.50 Miles1 Day         
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
The goal? Escape Black Friday and all its madness. The destination? The Gila Box. Previous triplogs led me to believe this is the time of year to see fall foliage by the river and, boy, were we not disappointed. My wife and I spent most of the afternoon on Friday wandering along the chocolate milk-colored river. Dinner was take out Mexican food from Safford followed by Nutella Smores. After the full moon put an end to our stargazing we turned in. Five blankets helped us stay warm and cozy on a chilly night.

The next morning we hiked the Cottonwood Trail. We hit up the cabin, the wildlife viewing area and whatever other points of interest seemed appealing. It was definitely a hike, but we treated it more like a leisurely stroll. We'll have to come back in the summer to see what kind of fun we can have in the river.

On the way home we made a brief stop at the Mormon Church Pueblo ruins in Superior. I've driven by this spot literally hundreds of times, but only recently found out about the ruins. I still don't know anything about this site or what's being done there, but it's always nice to explore another ruin site.
_____________________
"I've driven across deserts, driven by the irony, that only being shackled to the road could ever I be free"
- Frank Turner "The Road"
1 archive
Nov 18 2014
SkyIslander18
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 4,732
 Triplogs 1,829

51 male
 Joined Sep 29 2004
 Small Town USA
Cottonwood Trail - Gila Box RNCATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 18 2014
SkyIslander18
Hiking3.50 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking3.50 Miles
250 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners partners
AddSanz
Afternoon trip out to Gila Box with Addie.
The whole area is now starting to turn yellow, should look amazing in a few weeks.
We first walked out to the wildlife viewing platform over Bonita.
Then hiked the Cottonwood Trail counter-clockwise.
A quick trip down to the Gila River & Serna Cabin was made before completing the loop back up to the upper trail-head.
Thanks Addie, Thanks Gila Box, our afternoon was well spent!!!
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Cottonwoods & Sycamores are turning, especially along Bonita Creek.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bonita Creek Light flow Light flow
Bonita creek was flowing about average for this time of the year & the Gila River was a little above average with some good rapids along the bends.
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average hiking speed 1.81 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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