Sunday, May 01, 2011

Cherry Creek Road

It wasn't hot in the valley on Saturday but I wanted to see something different, so I went east of Roosevelt Lake again. I wanted to check out Cherry Creek Road, and see how far along it I could drive. I was hoping to go hiking in someplace called Devil's Chasm, if I could find it, but that was a low priority.

Cherry Creek Road wanders into the distance.

Cherry Creek Road is a dirt road. Most of it that I drove on yesterday was in very good condition. Towards my turn-around point it got a little bumpy. Near the beginning were a couple a spots to unload ATVs. I'll have to bring the Ranger out there some time. Also, the road is in Tonto National Forest (I checked the map), but there are a lot of cows out there. I passed several corrals, and there are cattle guards across the road in several places. Maybe you can get away from the cows if you hike into the wilderness areas near there.

There are a lot of side roads. They are official roads with signs and numbers, but they don't show up on my maps. I'm guessing they go short distances to camp sites or something. I'll have to check some of them out in the future.

One of many side roads.

Some side roads go to ranch houses.

There were a few ATVs on the road. I think I saw about 4, which doesn't seem like many considering how nice the weather was.

A typical Arizona story; somebody was flying down the road at too high of a speed for the distance they could see ahead. They came around a corner, saw all this water, and slammed on the brakes. At least they stayed on the road.

Cherry Creek seems to have a lot of water flowing.

As the sun got lower, it got harder to see through all the bug guts on my windshield. I had been avoiding trying to clean them off because I was afraid they would just get smeared around and make a bigger mess. I finally decided that I had to try it, though. After a few squirts, the window was actually cleaner. Just then, a truck came hurrying up the hill towards me. The road was narrow and I moved over as far as I could. I glanced over as the truck zoomed past. Not only did the driver look perturbed at having to share his road, but his windshield was wet. At first, I thought that it was an amazing coincidence that we had decided to clean our windshields at the same time. Then I rounded the corner and saw that the road crossed Cherry Creek again. His windshield was wet because he had hit the water going at least 25 mph. I wish I had been there a few seconds earlier.

On the other side of that crossing, the condition of the road deteriorated. I had to slow down quite a bit. The road also climbed quite a bit above Cherry Creek. This area reminded me of being in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park. That is, until the cows mooed.

Reminds me of the Chisos Mountains.

Not too far beyond that last picture, the road heads a short distance up a side canyon. It enters a beautiful, dark, wooded area. It looked like the ideal campsite, if you're going to camp right next to a road. I wanted to take pictures but there were people camped there. I was moving slowly along and when I glanced ahead, I saw that I was headed down a steep section of road that got steeper before it crossed a creek. If I had to come back this way, I didn't think I could make it up that steep part with wet tires. I tried to back up but a tire spun. I locked the axle and made a little progress, but the road curved and the truck doesn't like to turn with the axle locked. I spun the tires some more. What a noob. By now the campers were talking about what was happening down on the road. A young man stood on a rock and offered some advice. He said his Taco would easily make it up that slope with the axle locked, so I didn't have anything to worry about and I should go for it. I told him I would try it some other time. I should have asked it they minded if I took pictures of the campsite while we were talking, but I was too embarrassed about spinning my tires to think of that. Only noobs and teenagers spin their tires.

The good thing about having turned back is that it's going to bug me until I go back, so I'll go back sooner rather than later. I'll start at the other end of Cherry Creek Road next time.

On the way back, I decided to check out one of the side roads. It was rough, so it was slow-going. Also, it slowly got steeper until I just couldn't make forward progress. I had to back up a long way before I could turn around. My neck still hurts. Sometimes I think about getting a 4-wheel drive truck, but my Taco is just getting broken in. It doesn't even have 150,000 miles on it yet.

This is 2906.

I was driving back at sunset, again.

Click below to see all of the pictures.


No comments: