Thursday, February 14, 2013

New discoveries, just around the corner

This past weekend, I had planned to hike up to the arches I had seen the previous weekend. When I left the house on Saturday, it was overcast and gloomy and I could see rain falling here and there and it was cold (well, about 50) and breezy. I wouldn't like any pictures I took in such weather and I would have to keep moving to keep warm. I talked myself out of hiking before I had driven 4 miles. I kept driving east, wondering where I would wind up. The first place I stopped was just west of Superior. I saw a dirt road heading south and decided it needed exploring. After driving about a quarter mile, though, it crossed Queen Creek. There was actually water in Queen Creek and the bed looked very muddy and slippery. I'm sure Skid would have enjoyed some excitement that afternoon but I didn't want to have to call him out there to pull me out of the mud. I headed back towards 60 and turned east at an intriguing sign.

Why would a sign point to wagon tracks? Is it really wagon tracks or a town called Wagon Tracks?

As I drove along, I came to some tire tracks through some mud. Surely that isn't it. I kept going and, sure enough, there were wagon tracks. In stone. Deep wagon tracks.

The tracks have cut almost 2 feet into the stone in places.

Notice the holes down the middle.

I did some Googling last week and found out that the tracks were made by wagon loads of silver ore coming from mines to the north to a mill at Queen Creek, in what used to be the town of Pinal. The holes down the middle were made by the mules pulling the wagons. Allegedly they always walked in the same footprints.

Well, that was interesting. Before I knew it, I was back on the road and headed toward White Canyon Wilderness. The road goes right by the entrance to the wilderness but I had never driven on that road before because I thought it was too steep for me to be able to drive out. I knew that wouldn't be a problem now, though. So I drove a couple of miles further along that road and discovered that there is lots of fantastic scenery back there. Too bad it was so gloomy.

The wind wasn't blowing as much the next day, though the temperature was about the same. The sun was out, and there were small, fluffy clouds. I loaded up the Ranger and Sweetums, Emily, and I headed back out there.

A large parking / staging area has been built just off of Hwy 177. There were only two other vehicles there when we arrived. Nice view from the staging area.

One of my favorite views. We'll be circling around that peak on the left.

At the high point along the road, there are beautiful views all around.

Looking another direction from the high point. The trail you see halfway up that slope on the left is the Grand Enchantment Trial.

Emily got out to run around when we stopped at the high point in the road. She did not want to stop running around. Can't blame her. She convinced us that she's probably still too young for such adventures. She fell asleep a few minutes after we got moving again.

I saw at least 3 places out there that I'm going to have to try to hike to. A couple of them are rugged (scenic) looking canyons. The third is a hollowed out spot on a cliff face. There's a trail going up to it, so maybe there's something interesting up there. Even if there isn't, it will be a nice hike.

Notice the trail going across to that "cave" in the cliff face.

Wandering around aimlessly can result in some interesting finds sometimes. Click below to see all of the pictures.



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