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Ellison Creek Cascades - 26 members in 50 triplogs have rated this an average 3.8 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Aug 28 2022
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42 female
 Joined Dec 24 2007
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 28 2022
LindaAnn
Hiking1.82 Miles 308 AEG
Hiking1.82 Miles   1 Hour   19 Mns   1.56 mph
308 ft AEG      9 Mns Break
 
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realm09
watermelonW
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Took the kids and puppy up to Ellison Creek Cascades for the dog’s first “hike”. Got started around 0800. Took our time, and the kids & dog played in the water as we got close to the cascade. Looks like the creek flooded sometime within the past couple of days—water, debris, and mud was pretty high. Easy walk, but everyone had fun. Didn’t see anyone else.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ellison Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Good flow, very silty.
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Jul 03 2022
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male
 Joined May 07 2019
 Tempe, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 03 2022
mikemcg
Hiking2.09 Miles 244 AEG
Hiking2.09 Miles   3 Hrs   27 Mns   1.10 mph
244 ft AEG   1 Hour   33 Mns Break
 
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I've seen numerous pics of Water Wheel Falls, and thought that it consisted of just that one waterfall with the log. I didn't know that there are 5 legit waterfalls along the 0.8 mile span, plus at least 9 cascades. It wasn't particularly crowded when we started. We stopped and played in each of the falls along the way. At the final falls, we played on the waterslide and practiced our backflips. We checked out the top of the falls, but stopped at the private property signs. While we were up there, the bottom of the falls became pretty crowded. On the way back, we checked out all the cascades in East Verde River (no other people there) and did some rock hopping.
There is one 20-foot waterfall at the end of a long canyon. The water is deep there, so I was treading water in the middle of the creek, holding my phone above my head, trying to get a good picture, but the phone fell into the water and sank. I was devastated. I returned to shore, borrowed a swim mask from a family that was passing by, and dove down to try to find the phone, but the water was too murky to see it. I returned the mask, and dove down again, feeling around with my hands among the rocks and sticks at the bottom of the creek. Finally I found it! After shaking out the water, it still worked! And the pictures were ok. Crisis averted.
Picked up some trash along the way, but there wasn't very much. Nowhere near as much as there was at Cibecue.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ellison Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Dec 27 2020
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33 female
 Joined Oct 04 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 27 2020
WaitingForRain
Hiking2.00 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles      58 Mns   2.07 mph
323 ft AEG
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I was... so confused when I realized that there was a way easier/safer/not as pretty way to get to the falls on Ellison creek rather than the Waterwheel Trail. If you are traveling with people who can't cross the stream/navigate all the slippery rocks- this is the way to go! Also, I think if the water is running too high this might be a great route to take to the falls. I had no idea this was here!
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Jun 06 2020
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43 male
 Joined Oct 01 2005
 Queen Creek, AZ
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 06 2020
adv_trev
Hiking1.75 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking1.75 Miles
323 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
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Lots of people! It was a nice day to swim in the cold water. We parked at second water, hiked down to the waterfall and hit the waterwheel parking lot in the way back making for a decent loop. The boys loves swimming here.
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Jun 18 2017
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40 female
 Joined Jun 23 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 18 2017
emilystardust
Hiking2.50 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles
100 ft AEG
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Apr 14 2017
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34 male
 Joined Oct 08 2011
 mesa
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 14 2017
kelraen
Hiking1.75 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking1.75 Miles
323 ft AEG
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Looking back to journeys a little over a year ago to Waterwheel Falls, Ellison Creek Cascade, and the East Verde River. Wish I could visit this area this year but hope the continued fire restrictions and area closures help!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ellison Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Aug 14 2016
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45 male
 Joined Jun 09 2009
 Mesa, AZ
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 14 2016
cw50must
Hiking2.20 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
323 ft AEG
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Last year after a camping trip we stopped at the Water Wheel day use area and decided to check things out. We hiked down to the confluence and even up Ellison creek a ways, but never found the famous Log.
Soon after we got back, I looked it up and realized how close we were that we decided some day to go back.
Last weekend we went back and we made it to the Log. :) We did it a little differently this time, we followed the directions on here starting at second crossing. On the way out to the falls, we hiked along the east verde and then along ellison creek. Lot's of water crossings here, both my girlfriend and I fell in at one point, so most of the hiking was done soaking wet. I was lucky that both my phone and Go Pro survived. I need something more grippy on the wet rocks than my "mandals" :) It was a fun day.
At the falls we hung out for quite a while. there was a good amount of people there, but not too much. I know someone who went the day before and said it was over crowded, we do most of our stuff on Sundays instead of Saturdays and I think that helps with the crowds.
On the way out, climbed up to the road and brought road/trail back to second crossing as noted here as the official route.

Something I noticed, we got there somewhat early and there was 2 cars in the second crossing parking lot. I expected it to be full when we left around noon, but there was still maybe only 5 cars there and some of those were fisherman there under the bridge. On the drive out the water wheel area was packed, cars were parked in the street on both sides, it was really crowded. I guess my point is that it seems like most people don't know about the second crossing area and it would be the preferred location to start/stop at.
Also, the parking fee is now $8, I think I read on here it had said $6, #inflation.

Video : https://youtube.com ... jXMw
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Jul 17 2016
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32 male
 Joined Mar 06 2016
 Salt River Valle
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 17 2016
arizona_water
Hiking2.06 Miles 381 AEG
Hiking2.06 Miles      36 Mns   3.86 mph
381 ft AEG      4 Mns Break
 
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Returning to the valley from the Rim Country on Sunday morning, we made a quick stop to see Ellison Creek. I picked this one on a whim, only seeing that it was close to Payson. I have never been here before, but I was not expecting much after hearing how popular this site can be. We were on a tight schedule and hiked to the cascade and back in under 40 minutes. Went for a little swim by the falls that are closest to the bridge. Busy, but worth it. And it was cool to see so many families out enjoying these wonderful water resources we have in AZ.
Also, just now actually looking at the topo and damn, how did I not see the confluence of Ellison and the East Verde?? Next time...

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ellison Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Jun 11 2016
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male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Water Wheel Falls HikePayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 11 2016
John9L
Hiking2.61 Miles 350 AEG
Hiking2.61 Miles
350 ft AEG
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clairebear
After hitting the Horton Derrick loop we drove over to Waterwheel to find a relatively packed trailhead. We luckily found a parking spot and then hiked next to the creek. There were lots of people but we didn’t mind. We continued on and made our way to the main swimming area with the cut log. We wanted to swim but there were way too many people so we sat back and enjoyed a beverage. From there we hit the dirt road that leads to the upper trailhead. We had to walk back roughly a mile on the road and this was a pain I don’t recommend. Once back at the jeep we packed up and returned to Phx. I’d like to hit this area again during the week when it’s not crowded.
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Apr 18 2016
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52 male
 Joined Jul 26 2008
 San Tan Valley,
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 18 2016
TheNaviG8R
Hiking2.20 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles
323 ft AEG
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1st trip
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Apr 11 2016
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male
 Joined Jan 24 2016
 Arizona
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 11 2016
MountainMatt
Hiking2.88 Miles 459 AEG
Hiking2.88 Miles   2 Hrs   48 Mns   1.03 mph
459 ft AEG
 
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After hiking Deer Creek earlier in the day and finishing around 1pm my plan was to head here for a photoshoot at dusk when I knew I would have the place to myself! Arrived at Second Crossing had a nice lunch and took a quick nap in my SUV listening to the pleasant flow of the East Verde. Started my walk at 4:45 and made my way to the first set of falls which was much larger than the photos I have seen made it look. Due to the fact I have no nuetral density filter I decided to photograph that one last since the sun was still prominent. Made me way to the confluence with Ellison Creek and I was blown away by the beauty of this entire area, it's a shame this place gets trashed and overcrowded, I filled my backpack with countless amounts of beer cans and trash while I was there. ](*,) I've always avoided this place because I always heard of how populated in can be but it was a blessing to have the whole place to myself! Went to the large cascade with the giant log but the falls that caught my attention the most was the dramatic drop just downstream from the confluence of the East Verde and Ellison where it's situated in that narrow canyon. This place is just a waterfall paradise, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire area, just the unique geology of that area makes all the water flow in such a captivating way! Another falls that caught my eye was Bridal Veil Falls or at least that's what I'm naming it since it's very fitting. It was great to finally visit this place and boy am I jealous of the houses that reside along Ellison Creek, think I may have a future dream home in mind!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ellison Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Apr 06 2015
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36 male
 Joined Mar 18 2015
 Payson, AZ
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 06 2015
The_N
Hiking1.75 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking1.75 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   0.70 mph
323 ft AEG
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Went for a morning hike/swim from the Water Wheel TH with accompanying 5yr old. We started in sweaters but it warmed up quickly (about 65 degrees) so we were able to jump into a few pools along the way. Had a quick snack at the falls after jumping off the log. Although we had the place all to ourselves, the weekend crowd left behind plenty of trash, so we filled our backpack with water bottles and beer cans on the way out.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Ellison Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
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Jul 02 2014
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male
 Joined May 01 2014
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Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 02 2014
azfamilyhike
Hiking2.30 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking2.30 Miles
323 ft AEG
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We just wanted to take Dre for a fun day so he could swim. There is a ton of construction going on at second crossing so you would need to park at third and walk back down to the trail head by the Verde or before second at the paved parking lot and hike in to the start of the water wheel hike.

We arrived at water wheel falls and there was know one there, that did not take long to change. We were invaded by a bunch of family's who had the same idea as us. Dre was happy because of all the kids that he plated with. After he had his fun we headed back and walked the East Verde and did a little exploring.

Had a blast found a nice little spot by the river with no one in sight :)
Culture
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[ checklist ] HAZ - Selfie
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Jun 28 2014
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48 male
 Joined Mar 31 2008
 Gilbert, AZ
East Verde RiverPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 28 2014
ssk44
Hiking0.50 Miles
Hiking0.50 Miles   2 Hrs      0.25 mph
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East Verde River at Houston Mesa 2nd Crossing

Last post for this season along the East Verde. Revisiting a special spot from last summer just downstream from 2nd crossing. One of my favorite waterfalls in the state. I just love how it moves and the surrounding setting is perfect. Nice place to hang out. Mornings are a little chilly but you'll have it all to yourself.


Eric
:D
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Aug 14 2013
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48 male
 Joined Mar 31 2008
 Gilbert, AZ
East Verde RiverPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Walk / Tour avatar Aug 14 2013
ssk44
Walk / Tour0.20 Miles
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East Verde River at Houston Mesa 2nd Crossing
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ISAIAH 6:2-3 / MATTHEW 11:28-30
Aug 04 2013
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49 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 04 2013
WilliamnWendi
Hiking1.75 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking1.75 Miles
323 ft AEG
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We wanted to get out of Phoenix to escape the heat and hopefully get in a swim. This hike fit the bill. Though we usually dislike crowded hikes, we knew from the Hike Description what we were in for. Got a little rain but not much. Enjoyed scenery, and the water. I even jumped off the log once and that was fun, the kids were definitely into it. Everybody seemed to get along without too much insanity. All in all, I think we might have to revisit this area again, especially since we missed the Wagon Wheel this time around, I should actually read the hike description for that next time so we don't miss it.
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Jul 13 2013
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44 female
 Joined Apr 21 2013
 Tucson, AZ
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 13 2013
agonzalez1112
Hiking1.75 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking1.75 Miles   2 Hrs      2.33 mph
323 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
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Dearbob
This was a pretty easy hike, especially on the way in. It was a bit difficult to find, if you are not familiar with the area. The first time we crossed the water was actually the 2nd river crossing and where we needed to park. We spent about 20 minutes at the wrong crossing, the third crossing, looking for the darn path. The first crossing must be dry. Look at the signs in the parking lots for the name of the crossing. When you cross the road and go up the path (very visible), you will reach the gate of the now closed road. Follow the road until you see a wide path (at least a few feet) with a trash can. Don't go down the smaller paths that look more like water run-offs. When you get down to the water, follow the river until you see the very big tree trunk with notches and names carved into it. That is where the pools are. The big pool is where I swam. It was cold for the first 10 seconds, then it felt wonderful.
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Jul 11 2013
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47 female
 Joined Apr 28 2013
 Tucson, AZ
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2013
Dearbob
Hiking1.75 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking1.75 Miles      45 Mns   2.33 mph
323 ft AEG10 LBS Pack
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agonzalez1112
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Jul 08 2013
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43 male
 Joined Oct 19 2010
 Mesa, AZ
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 08 2013
Charger55
Hiking1.75 Miles 323 AEG
Hiking1.75 Miles   1 Hour      1.75 mph
323 ft AEG
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My coworker Ben and I escaped to Payson for the day, where the sky was overcast, the breeze was gentle and the temps were in the double digits. We parked at the Water Wheel area and proceeded cross country, following some power lines to the cascades.

As we arrived at the waterfall, there was a large group getting ready to leave. Pretty soon it was just us and two teenaged boys who were doing backflips off the log. Ben joined in on the fun while I was blowing up a $3 Wal-Mart inner tube. The boys' dad was one of my heroes of the day. While the boys were playing, he was walking around picking up trash. My other hero was Ben, who stood guard with the inner tube while I did some awkward flops off the log. I get nervous when the water is so deep that I can't see the bottom. Having my own personal lifeguard was nice moral support.

On the way back we stuck to the water. Ellison Creek was warm and calm. The East Verde was cold and flowing quickly. We checked out the gorge before heading off to Tonto Natural Bridge. That looks like a fun spot to spend time at on a return trip.
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"I've driven across deserts, driven by the irony, that only being shackled to the road could ever I be free"
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Jun 01 2013
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59 female
 Joined Aug 19 2011
 Scottsdale, AZ
Ellison Creek CascadesPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 01 2013
outdoor_lover
Hiking2.50 Miles 325 AEG
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325 ft AEG8 LBS Pack
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desert_boonie
So Ken and I have been messaging back and forth about Canyoneering and Water Hikes...Turns out he's a big Water Hike/Swimming Fan, so the plans were on!!! :D

He's never been to Ellison and since I had unfinished Photography business there, it was a perfect choice!

We didn't leave quite at the Crack of Dawn, (ok, Ken might have :sweat: ) but I know I wanted to beat the Crowds that would be up there later, so we left pretty early...I haven't known Ken 30 minutes yet and I have the guts to ask him if it's ok if I pull over on the Highway, if the Eagles are there...He said he was fine with that and he instantly passed the Patience with Pam and her Camera test! :sl: The 3 minute stop, and 10 shots of Eagles, with traffic whizzing by, was soooo worth it!!! :y:

A little bit later, on the Beeline, we pass a HAZ Ride complete with Decal...Purdy Yellow Truck, but didn't get a look at the driver??? Anyone???

Get to the Ellison TH and get started with the Hike, Wading and Photos...I really love this area...Great Falls and Water!!! Last time I was here, late last Summer, my Camera (now my backup Camera), went into the drink!!! Deciding not to tempt fate, I brought that Camera with, on the Hike, instead of the new one... :scared: But, from the halfway point on, the views were new, from behind the Lens, as I couldn't take any more pictures last time...There was more Water than the last time and it was waaaayyyy colder!!! No Swimming here today, even as much as we both wanted to.... :)

We did the same Loop as I did last Summer...Going from the TH to the Cascades, then following Ellison back to the East Verde. Then down the East Verde to the Water Wheel...At the Water Wheel, we took a break and Ken started seeing Birds everywhere, including Swallows going into holes in a dead limb...Now I'm cursing about not having my better Camera, but took a few shots anyway...

We head back and just follow the East Verde around to just East of the TH and climb up to the Trail and back to the Escape...I think we may have seen a total of 3 people on the Hike... :y:

I decide to "test" Ken again, and ask if we can stop at the Water Wheel on the way out and I'm going to try to get some shots with the good Camera...He agrees and wins more Brownie Points... :lol: I think I almost had to wake him up when I was ready to get going again... :sl:

We got done with this Hike so early, which I suspected that we might, so headed on out to my backup plan... :D

I will indeed return to this area, as there is still unfinished business, but need to wait for the Water to warm up just a tad.... :sweat:

Really bad video from old Camera of Ken doing a balancing demo on the Log...Don't put it on Full Screen or the quality will be way worse. Ken stops about halfway, and bounces, you can't see it in the video, but that Log is actually bowing... :o That's when I start laughing...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRMjKuW-RJw
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 East Verde River - Source Medium flow Medium flow
At Ellison Creek confluence....

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ellison Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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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!"
average hiking speed 1.61 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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