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  • Writer's pictureKelsey

Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness: Day 2

It rained all night. ALL night. We woke up wondering how the first few hundred yards would be since we were down at the bottom of a canyon with UP being the only choice of direction no matter where we went.

My tires spun a bit getting onto the trail, but thankfully it was nice and rocky as we climbed switchbacks up the hill.

The first half mile from the bottom of the canyon to this view below is straight up some switchbacks. It felt similar to Colorado trails with the trail leaning towards the edge.

(Looking back from the top at the (slow) guys getting ready to leave camp)

We putted along and quickly got to the old bank and steam boilers for processing ore.

(Something about an old safe conjures images of bandits)

(All of the boilers tubes were cut out. We often see this because those tubes are easier to carry than the entire unit and can be re-purposed elsewhere.)

(Anything with rivets can date something to an earlier generation (1800's) than something that’s completely bolted together (1900's))

We had a lot of ground to cover so we hopped back in and headed on our way, unsure what we’ll find. My mind was racing wondering if we’d spend the day making progress in feet or not at all if we found a trail washout or mud pit. Just keep putting, just keep putting along.

The light was eerie, but beautiful.

The road started to have more and more water as side hills contributed to the flow. For the next couple miles the road was the river. Thankfully the footing was rock. Unfortunately, the river had washed away all of the sediment that fills in the gaps along the road so it was bouncy and rough going.

Certainly odd to see a 50's era refrigerator on this tough of a trail far from electrical wires, but it was as pretty as a fridge in nature can be.

This section of bedrock covered in lichen was mesmerizing.

(Easily the prettiest part of the day)

Not long after we had some nice sized step ups and down that were fairly difficult. Someone has taken the time to shave the rocks in this area to be more doable, but I’d still say it would take a truck on 32" tires and a bit of lift to do them without issue or scrapes.

We started to descend into Turkey Creek/Aravaipa Canyon and I remembered that I should take a couple pics!

The hole is right.... here!

K successfully senses that I might be taking her picture and avoids it with grace.

It’s hard to describe what a photo wont show. These cottonwoods were the biggest I’ve ever seen. They tower over the canyon at a scale that seems somehow warped. It makes you realize you must come back during spring.

About here I started to hear my friend Ben crackle through on the radio. Ben was in his Infiniti Qx4 that was on the last trip, but wisely we all decided this one would be a bit too much for the stock truck. He had come in via the dirt road to meet up with us, but we didn’t realize that would mean he had to do 10 to 15 river crossings along the way. This rain was making everything more interesting.

We added 2 more people and 2 dogs to our group and decided to go exploring for our New Years Eve camp.

This canyon is always beautiful, but what I’d never seen is the hundreds of little waterfalls that occur while it rains. They were everywhere.

We stopped off to check out these Native American Ruins. The entire canyon was water logged, but this Kiva and the ground around it was bone dry. I think they knew what they were doing when choosing a spot.

On to a nice spot to camp. We got a fire going despite the rain and popped a few bottles of champagne. It was a wild New Years Eve as you’d expect. (I was asleep by 10)

Onward to a hungover day 3 tomorrow...


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