Avaraipa Canyon Hike

Like many of us, I’ve got some extra time on my hands lately, and figured I would use some of it for hiking. Mainly I’ve been hiking near my house on the less popular sections of trail that I know of, every once in a while though it’s nice to see some new scenery. Ararvaipa Canyon is a place I had heard of and seen some cool pics from, it was on a list of stuff to do, but not really a high priority. In looking for a different, long day hike to do, it came up. You need to have a permit to enter the wilderness area and they only allow 50 people per day to be there, good opportunity for social distancing!

I went to good ole’ recreation.gov and organized the permit, only $11.00 out the door! I got the last slot for April 9th, about a week and a half ahead of time. I’d recommend trying a to reserve a few weeks in advance, especially if you want to camp with a couple people, permits become available 13 weeks ahead of the entry date.

The night before I got all my stuff together, I took some extra things because it’s pretty isolated and I’d be by myself. I even threw in my stove and a Mountain House meal, if I was to get stranded a hot meal would be fantastic!

The next morning I got up pretty easily when my alarm went off at 4:45, made some coffee and was out the door. The drive there was about 2 1/2 hours. the last 45 minutes or so is past a lot of surface mines, sad to see the damage it does. The last time I was in this area was on a 100 mile bike ride, the hills here a big, and it sure was nice to be in the truck this time! After driving the 12 miles or so of dirt road, I hit the small trailhead. I loaded up, signed the trail register and off I went a little before 8 am.

The first part of the trial winds down through cactus and tall brush to get to the stream bed. I didn’t really know what to expect out of this hike, I knew I’d be walking in the water, but not how much, at about .3 miles in it was time to cross the stream for the first time, so I just waded on in and started the day of wet feet!

Early on I was trying to walk on the bank as much as possible, but there was a lot of bushwhacking and scrambling on rocks. At one point a was going up a loose rock section, noticed I was about 20 feet above the stream and a fall would entail some bouncing on rocks before landing in the water. Since I was alone, just walking in the stream seemed the safest, and this was my technique the rest of the day. A good positive of this, the best views down the canyon, and safety…

The views are pretty incredible once you get into the canyon, and I passed a number of great looking campsites. I definitely want to come back here for a night or two and be able to hike the entire canyon and explore a side canyon or two. I was moving pretty quickly to see as much of the main canyon as possible, the water was a really nice temperature and except for some deep pools that are easy to see in the crystal clear water, never more than knee deep.

Just shy of 7 miles I turned around, I didn’t want to feel like I was slogging my way back to the trail head, and by the time I got there I was glad to take the boots off! This is an incredible, unique backcountry place and I’m glad it has been preserved as a wilderness area!

Want you need to know to hike or backpack Aravaipa Canyon

You Must Have a Permit! – You can get one here!

It is a wilderness area and other rules! Check them out on the BLM Website.

Your feet will be wet all day, accept this fact and move on. I wore my regular hiking boots and it wasn’t too bad, just had to empty the pebbles out twice! I don’t think TEVAS or Chacos would be the way to go because rocks would get in all day long. Do you have a great shoe or boot for hiking in water for long periods of time? Let me know!

Photo of the Week 3/23/20

Four Peaks from McDowell Mountain Park

Pyramid – National – Gila Loop Hike

Went for a hike toady, I had the time to to a loop I have wanted to try for a while but just hadn’t done. It was great to be on the trails exploring some new stuff. Love the fact that this amazing area is in my backyard.

Wash your hands, stay safe and healthy, and be excellent to each other.

That is all.

National Trail
National Trail looking north on Phoenix Metro

Photo of the Week 3/02/20

A beautiful day today in Phoenix!

Siphon Draw-Flatiron Hike

I wanted to start 2020 out with an adventure. I was kicking around a number of things, but I also wanted to be able to spend a good part of the day hanging out with my wife, Staying around Phoenix was obviously the way to go. I had tried to hike Siphon Draw-Flatiron a few years ago, I got off trail above the draw and ended up on the ridge below the Flatiron, saw a snake 3 feet away and called it a day. New Year’s Day seemed like a great day to tick this one off the list!

I made a quick stop for coffee and then headed out for Lost Dutchman State Park about 7:30. I got there early enough that there were lots of parking spots (not the case when I was leaving).

Besides the general fun of hiking, I wanted to test out my new Garmin InReach Satellite Communicator. So far I really like it, but I still need to learn exactly how it works. Pretty sure I’d be happier learning everything close to home with some cell service, than in the middle of nowhere when you need to use it!

Threw on the hydration pack, started some tunes and away I went.

The trail climbs slowly for the first mile or so as you leave the state park and enter the Superstition Wilderness area. The first section is well developed trail that get s a lot of traffic. This is a pretty cool state park, the Superstitions are awesome and this park has great access, views and what looks like pretty cool campsites.

It gets really cool at about the 1.5 mile mark as you get to Siphon Draw. It’s like a huge rock half-pipe for a bit the leads to the big rock filled gully you’ll be scrambling up through for a while.

Siphon Draw

There are a few times you’re faced with a small scramble up an 8-10 ft section, but there are lots of footholds and solid rock to grab. If you take your time and check things out you can find a pretty easy way up, I saw a few people negotiating the toughest sections with full packs.

Once your’re past the toughest rock section the work is done and it’s just a quick stroll to the top of the Flatiron. It’s a really cool view of the whole valley, sweeping views of urban sprawl and also the Superstition Wilderness and Four Peaks. While it is a relatively challenging hike, it’s a very popular trail, when i was at the top of the Flatiron there were easily 15 other people up there as well.

I wanted to make it just a morning hike so I headed back down, but the are a few cool summits you could bag once you’ve gained that high ridge.

Looking down from Flatiron

This is not a hike where you end up blitzing your way down. There’s a lot of scrambling down rocks and loose dirt sections. There was a decent amount of moisture, and I have a overriding desire to do the Rock and Roll 1/2 Mary coming up so I was careful coming down, there were lots of chance to slip but it’s overall not bad

Coming down through Siphon Draw is just a s cool as going up, if you don’t feel like scrambling all the way to the top of the Flatiron, just hike to the draw, you won’t be disappointed.

Cruised on back the last little bit to the truck and headed home. if you head out here on a weekend or holiday, get there early! When I left at a little before 1pm the parking lots were packed and there was a 10 car line to get into the park.

I forgot to stop the Garmin Forerunner until I was driving on the highway. Props to both the Garmin and Strava folks for the trim activity function. I feel like we’ve all driven off with the tracker still on, or maybe it’s just me…

Overall it was a great hike and fun way t,o start the new year. From an InReach testing view point, I started the tracking, sent a preset message I was starting – but not the correct one for continued tracking. I also didn’t correctly send a rely message to a text from my dad. Fortunately I think I figured out both issues,

I want to be an expert with this thing before I really take it into the backcountry.

Sounds like I’ll need to go on some more hikes, terrible…

Happy New Year!

What cool things do you have planned for the new year?

Photo of the Week 11/11/19

Sedona is an amazing place