Aravaipa Canyon

Deer Creek
Amazing rock formations in Deer Creek!

After checking out the Turkey Creek Cliff Dwelling, Randy dropped me off at the intersection of Turkey Creek and Aravaipa Creek. I had never hiked from the east end before, given its remoteness: Taking about 3x as much time to drive, does not leave much hiking time in a day if one is day hiking. I’d got a hotel in Thatcher the night before, and for this night as well, so I theoretically had maximum time. Except for not getting started until 11:00 a.m. Randy seemed skeptical I would go far, but I figured it was flat, so I should get at least as far as Deer Creek. I had already ditched the idea of bonus hike up the backside of The Chimney. (Some day …)

Aravaipa Creek was about calf high at its deepest, but the flow was strong enough to be visibly moving silt, and even pebbles as large as 1″ x 1/2″. (Which I had to constantly dig out of the Wal-Mart sandles I had purchased the afternoon before.)

The east end was very lush, with many wide, flat banks and good camping spots. I hiked some on the banks, but mostly in the creek, as I was under the impression there were not many trails (i.e. like the west side). The most common plant was something that look like 3 foot tall asparagus, which occured in dense groves.

I had hoped to take a quick peek up Parsons Canyon, but the brush was thick, and so I skipped it: I’d had enough of thick, stabby, brush the day before.

Deer Creek, on the other hand, was wide open. I mean it was narrow, but not obstructed. Other than some stained brown trickles, it was bone dry. The scenery on the other hand … 8O . I’m not joking when I say I just repeating “Wow” to myself all the way up the canyon — or at least as far as I went. I gotta go back, and start earlier, so I can go deeper. It looks like one may be able to turn it into a reasonably lengthed loop, providing there are no impassable falls. The canyon may look like it is boxing, but keep going, as that is just an optical illusion.

After a snack, I started heading back. I could tell my sandals — made by the finest in Chinese prison labor — were rubbing a raw spot on my middle right toe, but I trucked on, making much better time on the way back as it dawned on me how extensive the trails actually are. You may not see them, but they are there. I was shocked at my average speed. I definitely wasn’t doing that yesterday!

On the way in, I’d stopped at the Salazar Family Church, so on the way out, I checked out their cemetery. There’s actually two cemeteries there, plus some graves scattered outside the fenced areas.

I shot about 10 minutes of video, but editted it down to a more easily consumed 3 minutes. :-D

Distance: 9.37 mi.

AEG: 410 ft.

Time: 3h 17m

Hike Video

Church & Cemetery Video

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