Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Another one checked off

Along Apache Trail, between Mesquite Flat (which is a short distance east of Tortilla Flat) and Fish Creek Hill, there are a lot of narrow canyons. Every time I drive past them I think, "I should check those out some time." I finally started doing that.

There seems to be a bug in Picasa web albums that won't let me link to the picture I wanted to put here, so this will have to do.

I thought I was going to be following a canyon on one side of the road, but the first thing I did was cross under the road. It was a long culvert; 80 or 90 steps. There was a lot of high-schoolish babble on the sides that I might have taken the time to read if I wasn't worried that my GPS logger might croak without a signal. On the other side, I could tell that I wasn't too far from one of the spots where I would glance over as I drove by and wonder what the bottom of that canyon looked like. It turns out that the bottom was very rocky and had lots of plants and lots of the plants had thorns.

Here's an easy stretch.

Some spots required a little climbing. Just a little.

This gives you an idea of the narrowness. You can also see that it wouldn't be easy to drop into this canyon just anywhere.

I pushed and clambered for a long time. The clambering isn't so bad, but I don't like pushing through plants for several reasons. First, I might pick up bugs (like ticks). Second, Arizona plants are covered in dust and when you push through them you create a dust cloud. Third, some of them HURT. At one point I decided I was tired of getting scratched up and got my multitool out to cut some catclaw out of the way. It isn't the best tool for cutting branches, so I stood there cutting and getting scratched anyway for a while. I finally decided I had cut enough and pushed through and discovered I had missed a major catclaw branch. I gingerly held it out of the way as I worked my way through and had to change hands on it as I went by. That's when it grabbed me. I lost more flesh in that one spot that on all the rest of the hike combined. Then I came to something that made it all worthwhile.

A Canyon Treefrog.

Anybody from one of those soggy places like the Texas coast probably thinks that seeing a frog is no big deal, but I can count on one hand the number of frogs I've seen in Arizona in the past 9 years. I've seen almost as many Gila monsters as frogs. I took lots of pictures of that frog.

I didn't make it quite to the spot I wanted to get to in that canyon, but I had seen (and felt) enough. When I got back to the culvert, I decided to take a different wash upstream. It was much easier.

Much easier walking.

There was water flowing through the other wash so I had to take lots of pictures of puddles.

I'm going to have to explore that second wash further. I also saw some other directions I could check out. I'll keep myself busy in that area for a while. Click below for all the pictures.


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