Turkey Creek

October 19-22, 2017

Time for our annual backpack to Turkey Creek!

We got really lucky with the weather. A storm blew through on Thursday afternoon but left nothing but slightly damp roadways and a spectacular double rainbow. This is Thumb Butte near Duncan, Arizona.
It's 10 minutes faster via Silver City but we prefer the very scenic drive over Mule Creek Pass.
The Gila Mountains and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
The road was in terrible shape — the worst we've ever seen it. Since we didn't have enough high clearance 4WD vehicles, we left one car at the bottom and packed three people in the bed of one of the pickups.
The trail was also harder to follow than in past years. Most of the side canyons and Turkey Creek itself have been gouged out by severe flooding, and abundant monsoons the past few years made it easy for brush to take over the sketchy areas. But with a reasonable start and no wrong turns this time, we made it to the camping area in time to enjoy a good long soak before local sunset.
The lower pools were in great shape, and the water temperature was much warmer than normal. We estimate that the big pool below the waterfall was approximately 85°.
In years past we felt like we had to do another hike the next day. Not anymore. As Max said, "I'm going to spend the day soaking and eating." And so he did, most notably by fashioning a fish net from a hiking pole, head net and tree branch. He served the sauteed minnows with boiled cattail stalks and pizza. Fortunately his experiments in survivalism did not include distilling his own urine (at least not this time)!