After last night’s unexpected bonfire with the people from Dudleyville, I awoke early in the morning to see that there was mist rising up from the wash. Putnam Spring is a warm spring, and it was hitting the cold air and making the wash look amazing!
Today’s walk was mostly on roads or in washes or on a road in a wash. There was no worries about navigation, and the walking was easy in Putnam Wash. After Putnam Spring, the walls of the wash closed in a bit and became more and more beautiful as I hiked east. I just love when anything grows from solid rock- like this saguaro who is wearing a silly hat and pointing the way:
Before long, I was at the San Pedro River, and I changed into my camp shoes to ford the ankle-deep San Pedro River. The river was a beautiful place, with sycamores just starting to leaf out.
After a refreshing ford of the San Pedro, I reached the Hwy 77 underpass and the end of my first segment of the Grand Enchantment Trail. I really didn’t want to walk on asphalt, so I chose to stay in Aravaipa wash instead of taking Aravaipa Road. It is a broad wash that is alternately sandy and rocky and at about the second mile of sinking into sand, I began to wonder if asphalt wouldn’t have been a wiser choice. It was just me and some cows in the wash, and I put on some music to pass the time.
It was getting warm, and the wash was really exposed, so put on my umbrella. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pics from this trip of my umbrella, but here’s one from another hike, so you get the idea:
After what seemed like forever, I reached the point where I was able to exit the wash onto Aravaipa Road, which is a dirt road in this area. The roadwalk wasn’t too bad, just a little warm and exposed. As I was starting to get hot and uncomfortable, a truck stopped to ask if I was ok. (I get that a lot, hiking by myself) The driver introduced himself as Langdon, and said he owned a ranch in the area. We chatted for a bit, and then he asked me if I would like a cold beer. This is what is known in the hiking community as “Trail Magic”. It’s a beautiful thing. I enjoyed the heck out of the frosty Tecate before hiking on.
The remainder of the road was very scenic, and not very heavily traveled on the day I was hiking. I passed by all sorts of ranches and farms before coming to the Brandenburg Ranger Station, on the side of beautiful Brandenburg Mtn.
After the ranger station, the road dipped back down to follow Aravaipa Creek and I crossed this one-lane “Bailey Bridge”
Finally, after a total of 16 miles for the day, I reached my car that had been dropped at the Aravaipa West Trailhead. Man, I cannot wait to go through Aravaipa Canyon on the Grand Enchantment Trail. It is called “The Grand Canyon of the Sonoran Desert” and the beautifully colored cliffs gave a preview of what is to come when I hike the next segment. I will be waiting for warmer temps to do that piece, however, because Aravaipa is considered a water hike. There is no trail, and you have to wade in the stream for a great deal of the time- much too cold for now, better saved for late spring.
I feel so lucky to be able to hike a new long-distance trail and had a great time on what was really a connector segment- I can’t wait to get into the numerous wilderness areas- Superstition, Aravaipa, Santa Teresas, Mount Graham, Gila, and many more on the Grand Enchantment Trail.
And now, for the “featured animal” from the Miller’s Wildlife Rehab Fundraiser- “Elfie” the elf owl, one of the Miller’s educational animals. The Miller’s are available to speak to groups that are interested in their educational programs. If you would like to have Elfie and his pals out for an educational program for your group in the Tucson area, please call (520) 743-0217.