East End Aravaipa Canyon

March 27-30, 2021

So she did it! Our dear friend Ann H, who introduced us to Four Wheel Campers, finally bought her own rig, a 2013 Taco with a Fleet flatbed and many customizations. It's a beast, with a much higher profile and longer bed than our 2006 Taco/2015 Fleet.

Ann came home with Turtle Truck just a few days before friends Jeff and Julia invited us to join them for three days in Aravaipa Canyon. It was the perfect first joint outing!

Here's the weather in Silver City, the morning we left!

Now Turtle Truck and Taco Grande are "going out". Here they are camped at the mouth of Turkey Creek.

Jeff's cousin Hannah led a Passover seder that was alternately touching and hilarious. What a great place to celebrate, in a canyon by a creek under the dazzling full moon!

Next day we donned our packs and headed into the canyon. It was our first backpacking trip in more than a year. Now everyone had had at least one shot, so the plan was to distance on the trail and mask in camp.

We always see plenty of wildflowers in Arizona, no matter the season. We believe this is a scarlet monkey flower.

And iNaturalist has ID'd this as a western wallflower.

Those Arizona sycamores with their shimmering white bark and dayglo green leaves take my breath away! This one in particular required that we stop to pay tribute to the local deities.

Dennis wears these boots so he can hide in strawberry patches.

We found a lovely campsite near the mouth of Deer Creek Canyon. But we weren't alone. Apparently it was also preferred by a family of Cous Whitetail Deer, and they had no fear of humans.

Scarab beetle. It's okay to fall out of the trees onto my back, but you may not crawl down my shirt and make a stink until someone lets you out!

Day two we could not resist the opportunity to hike up Deer Creek Canyon, though we've made this trek more times than we can count. Patty says the ranchers call it "Hell Hole", because if the cattle got into this canyon, it was Hell getting them out!

The traditional lunch stop at Moses Rock.

Jeff and Julia.

Ann, Dennis and I continued on to "the showers", but the flow was much less than in years past. The canyon is drying up. There are puddles here and there, but no steady stream of water, and the vegetation is taking over.

And, just because I can, here's David, Rogil, Dennis and me enjoying the showers in May, 2008.

Hannah and Phil. Heading home after four glorious days in the wilderness.