Friday, April 23, 2010

Aravaipa Canyon 2010

Last year, Cindy and I hiked into Aravaipai Canyon from the West end. We decided to do it again this year. It was just about the same time of year. Last year we were pretty warm and we were both afraid it might be again. We got pretty dusty and dirty and saw both a very large snake and a javelina. This year, we had a sudden cold spell. So as we started this morning, we were afraid we were actually going to be cold. It's higher in elevation than Phoenix, plus you are in and out of the water all day.

This is what the area looks like, before you get to the trail head. It is really beautiful. All the brittle bush and desert marigolds were really bright yellow.

I don't know what got into me when I got dressed this morning, but I guess I decided it was really a bright blue day. I don't think Cindy was going to have any trouble keeping track of me.

Here we are at the trail head getting ready to head out. We had left Phoenix about 7AM and it was a 2 and 1/2 hour drive to the West end of the Canyon.

Heading down the hill towards the creek and water.

Penstomen and Desert Marigolds.

So last year, when we were coming back, we somehow missed the trail out. Not by a lot, but when you are ending a hike, you aren't really crazy about going a lot of extra steps. We decided to try and mark the way out a little better for us so we wouldn't miss it this time. We said "It's by the trees." Well that wasn't very bright as there are trees everywhere. This actually did work for us.

The first step in the water was a little cold, but it didn't seem to bad after that. We did leave our jackets on pretty much all day though. This was sort of interesting, there was some red orange algae growing on the grass just under the surface of the water along the edge where the sun shone. It looked like it was lined in red.

I thought this was a neat looking boulder.

Nice looking scenery.

First of several stops to empty sand and rocks out of our shoes.

Me the blue girl. Yes I know my legs are white. They don't ever tan.
Beautiful red orange penstomen.

We were a little better at finding some trails around and out of the water this year. There is still a fair amount of in and out, but not as much pure slogging through water as we did last year. It's flat, but the water, sand and distance still give you some good exercise.

A side canyon. I was looking at a map in a book I got tonight and I think it's Virgus Canyon. See the huge boulder wedged in it?

Some of the day it was pretty and sunny and some of the day, it was still pretty but cloudy. This is the start of the Narrows.

My feet in the water.

See the Saguaro coming out of the cliff at the top? This is where we saw a snake last year. It was too cold for snakes today. I'm glad.

Another shoe stop.

Storm clouds.

It briefly rained enough that we decided to try and shelter. We got sort of under a skimpy tree against the cliff side. Cindy looks freezing, but I think she was OK.

The rain.

And then the sun again.

We didn't see anybody most of the day. So this is the only photo of us together. That would be me in the blue. It's a wilderness area and they restrict entry by permit. We saw 4 people all day and they were always going the opposite direction than us, so it was pretty much our canyon.

Cindy hiking.

Me hiking.

A hop bush with pretty reddish pods.

Coming back out of the creek bed.

Beautiful Brittle Bush!
After looking at the maps in a couple of books I think we stopped at a little short of half way. I'm not positive though. It's 11 miles if you go from end to end. I think next time we should start on the west end, although it says you may need a high clearance vehicle there. And also it takes longer to drive to that end.
We are also thinking it would be fun to take some other folks with us and go late September or early October. There wouldn't be the pretty flowers, but it would still be nice. Who wants to go?
It's pretty flat hiking, but over lots of rocks, boulders, sand and water. I did do a nice face plant. Thank goodness I did in the middle of some soft decayed bark. I went down so fast, I couldn't even get my hands out to break my fall. It's a very good thing it wasn't in the water or on the rocks. I had my camera, watch and electronic car key with me, none of which should get wet. Cindy did a couple of graceful slides in the sand onto her backside, nothing quite as dramatic as my face plant.
So who's coming in the fall?


Cathy said...


Bandanamom said...

My plan for this summer is to try to hike at least 3 mornings a week before I take the kids to swim team (they start at 7 or 7:30) so if I can keep that up, sign me up for the fall. :)

Dana said...

absolutely beautiful!

Janet in MN said...

Looks absolutely beautiful...

Sarah said...