East End Aravaipa Canyon

October 30-November 1, 2018

Continuing the "week of birthday," just one day after our trek to Turkey Creek, we headed for Aravaipa Canyon. I've lost track of how many times I've hiked this canyon — the roll call at right doesn't include leading trips with Mirasol clients a couple of times a year — but I never get tired of it. This trip was special for two reasons: it was the first time backpacking with our friend Ann H. — something we've been talking about for years — and it was our first time in five years hiking in from the east side.

On our last hike, we were discouraged to see the stream choked with watercress. This time, the water was gone, apparently erased by a flood that swept through the canyon in early September. That same flood uprooted giant trees and dropped them off downstream, and left a wide swath buried in several feet of mud.
We were surprised to find our favorite campsite at the mouth of Deer Creek intact — including the iconic leaaning Arizona sycamore — and watched over as always by "Guard Mouse Rock".
Of course the main attraction is Deer Creek Canyon, a fantastic slot with walls of "Hell Hole Conglomerate" soaring 1000 feet above the canyon floor.
The namesake arch in Deer Creek aka Hell Hole Canyon.

A spring bursts forth out of solid rock — we call it "The Moses Rock" — creating a lush oasis.

The canyon twists and turns for nearly five miles, becoming broader and flatter, opening up to the surrounding mesa.
Could you scramble up one of the side canyons to the mesa top? It certainly looks like it!

"The Grotto" was running nicely!

This photo reminds me of the "Total Perspective Vortex" from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, wherein the hapless victims are shown, for the merest instant, the whole infinity of creation, spanning over several trillion light years, with an insignificant dot saying "You Are Here".
Late afternoon light in Deer Creek Canyon.
A visit by the Ghost of Halloween Presents. Thanks to Ann and Dave and all our friends for the best week of birthday ever!