Aravaipa Ambling, 2013
Exploring Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness from the West entrance to Horse Camp Canyon

with Kathleen Jones
Camera: Panasonic zs19

September 22-24, 2013

by Rob Jones

(Text © copyright by Rob Jones; Photos © copyright by Rob Jones)
Aravaipa Amble - in The Canyon - Day 2
Aravaipa Amble - in The Canyon - Day 2
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Aravaipa Amble - morning glow - Day 2
Aravaipa Amble - morning glow - Day 2
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Aravaipa Amble - flood racoon - Day 2
Aravaipa Amble - flood racoon - Day 2
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Aravaipa Amble - near Horse Camp Canyon - Day 2
Aravaipa Amble - near Horse Camp Canyon - Day 2
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Movie of ambling Aravaipa, Day 3 - 5.3mb
Movie of ambling Aravaipa, Day 3 - 5.3mb
(Click the image to see the short video - 6mb)

      Photos are scattered throughout this report.
      Keep scrolling.

Summary: This is a report about an exploratory backpack into Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness. We hiked as far as Horse Camp Canyon, leaving the rest of the Canyon for another exploration.

ERM - Energy Required Miles. A mile is added for every 500' elevation gain or loss. It's a very serviceable method of estimating energy required miles.

Total trip - (per my GPS) of 12.5 miles, ERM of about 15

Map- aravaipa, 2013; 12.5 miles
Map- aravaipa, 2013; 12.5 miles; shows some possible camps
(Click the image to see the map)

for a full-resolution map, click here. Caution - do not use this map or gps track for navigating the route.

Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness - West entrance to Horse Camp Canyon -- Right Click (then save this file: "save link as..." in most browsers) on this Download link to get the GPX file from my GPS - you can then open it in your mapping software. Note - that's a Right Click on this link. You will get the track for your software shown in the map above.

      Prelim: Brandenburg Dribble. To the West entrance of Aravaipa Canyon.
      Again with the mosquitoes and blown-in sky dribble. Kathleen and I are in our full moon camp near the Brandenburg Ranger Station, 3 miles from the West TH to Aravaipa Canyon BLM Wilderness. We're camping without a tent and with a pile blanket rather than a sleeping bag, and I don't get much sleep because of the bugs and the heat and the dribble. It was a hot drive down from the plateau, taking much longer than predicted - partly because of road construction.
      BLM Wilderness? One might ask, is this an oxymoron? Sort of like a tea-party patriot? The tea-terrorists are, of course, famous for transporting all the wealth to the wealthy elite and for saying "no!" to helping others. Like all terrorists, they take innocents hostage to force what they cannot get via election. Very patriotic. A rump faction of the gop? The BLM is sometimes called the "Bureau of Leasing and Mining," and one has difficulty associating the BLM with wilderness. Yet, the BLM administers a good amount of our public land that should be instant wilderness. In Utah, wilderness volunteers have identified nearly 9 million acres of BLM land deserving of instant wilderness designation. Arizona has a bunch too. Well, the chances of preserving the wild character of these lands is remote. As is the chance that tea-terrorists will actually do something patriotic, like fairly tax the rich and do some nation building in the USA.
      We've wondered about hiking the Aravaipa since reading something Ed Abbey, a Ranger at Aravaipa in the '70s and famed writer of Desert Solitaire said “It is among the few places in Arizona with a permanent stream of water and in popular estimation one of the most beautiful. I am giving away no secrets here: Aravaipa Canyon has long been well known to hikers, campers, horsemen, and hunters from the nearby cities.’’

Aravaipa Ambling, Prelim

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      Day 1: Alluvial Aravaipa Ambling. To near Painted Cave Canyon. 3.2 miles (after a retreat from the gorge). Camp at 2670'
      Cool rain water courses off my hat and down the back of my neck, continuing down to my neoprene socks. Kathleen and I are pressed against one of the towering volcanic walls of a narrow gorge, yet find little shelter from the surprise morning storm. Argh. Our early morning march up Aravaipa is cut short by a 9 a.m. thunderstorm. Wow, it's really raining, hard. We're not enchanted with the prospect of another flood - we're already slogging through stream-side mud and milk chocolate water from a Friday flood (2 days ago). Alluvial (made up of or found in the materials that are left by the water of rivers, floods, etc.). Noting how the flood rearranged the flotsam and bent the willows and horsetails, we consider going farther into the narrow gorge we just entered when the T-storm pounced.
      So, we retreat to a camp we saw below and think about options. We get comfortable and set-up camp, then nap through two storms, then while away the afternoon in Canyon time, beneath much appreciated and stately Cottonwood trees. It's a comfy camp, on a bench above the stream, with a ledge of bedrock just the right height for sitting and lounging, and arched over by sheltering trees. Lovely.
      We're also practicing our alum treatment of the muddy, turbid water. We take the simple approach and start with 4/5 teaspoon of alum in our 10-liter collapsible bucket, which is carefully hung from a stout tree root, which protrudes from a fallen tree. Stir madly for a minute or two, then let sit for an hour. The particles of mud and silt begin to flocculate (clump together), and the swirl at first looks like a cross section of our galaxy before the particles drop out of suspension, too heavy to keep orbiting. Then, we line-up containers and carefully fill them in a continuous pour, so that the flocculated materials are not disturbed until we've extracted much of the water. See this link for a more thorough explanation of alum treatment of turbid water - pdf file.
      It's peaceful, and Canyon time stretches a bit longer. We had planned to camp near Horse Camp Canyon, but believe we made the right decision to change plans given the erratic weather. I'm imagining that ambling Aravaipa will be easier tomorrow.

Movie of ambling Aravaipa, Day 2 - 5.1mb
Movie of ambling Aravaipa, Day 2 - 5.1mb
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Aravaipa Ambling, Day 1

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      Day 2: Galloping Horse. To Horse Camp Canyon and back. 7.1 miles, ERM = 9.0. Camp at 2670'
      It's a relative gallop along the broad flood-formed sand and river rock bench near Horse Camp Canyon. We've found a few of these overland routes along the way, yet the remainder of the trek is a bit tedious wade and occasional thrash. Stark contrasts abound. Above, buffy volcanic cliffs - like the tuft (?) holding Ojo de Cabello (arch) in the Superstition Mountains - dotted with Saguaro and other prickly desert plants, while we wade cool water beneath Desert Willow, Cottonwoods, and Sycamore. Glorious.
      It's quite hot above, yet cooler in the riparian zone, especially in the shade of towering walls or big trees. The stream level is lower than yesterday and the water quality is improving to murky turbid from milk chocolate shake consistency. A flock of Blue-wing Teal, a Great Blue Heron, a White-tail Deer, a Cottontail Rabbit, and a few frogs is what we see today. And, a 6-person ACE (American Conservation Experience, founded in Flagstaff) crew from Tucson - here to get the invasive perch out of Horse Camp Canyon Spring.
      It's five hours of hiking and two good breaks and we're back in comfy camp to bathe on warmed polished rock before dinner and another cool night. The alum treatment has worked well, and we have clear water for dinner and drinks.

Aravaipa Ambling, Day 2

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      Day 3: Torrid Temps. Through the land born of fire, Phoenix. 2.2 miles (12.5 total trip miles, ERM of about 15).
      Another cerulean sky and a JND (just noticeable difference) more clarity to Aravaipa Creek greets us this morning. Quartz intrusions sparkle in the early angle sunlight. As quiet as an evangelical in a whore house, yet certainly of higher value to the Eaarth (Bill McKibben spelling), an Eared Owl rows silently past as we eat our oatmeal. A few minutes later, a group of scouts clamber upstream, as silently as a republican getting the next energy legislation written by big oil, loudly proclaiming climate change is a myth while denying aid to starving children and storm-wrecked lower and middle income people, except where there is all religion and no government, as in Haiti. It's insanit-tea.
      We enjoy the walk out in a clearing Aravaipa Creek, beneath big shade trees. Even with the plentiful shade, it's growing hot as we approach the West TH, now on land managed by the Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy’s 9,000-acre Aravaipa Canyon Preserve includes lands at both the East and West ends of the canyon as well as preserve lands, mixed in with public land, on the canyon’s south rim.
      As we dump cool water stored in the car over our heads, change clothes, and head for home, we recall that Abbey said it well: “We have earned enough memories, stored enough mental-emotional images in our heads, from one brief day in Aravaipa Canyon, to enrich the urban days to come.’’
      We experience torrid temperatures as we escape from the land of congestion and haboob, Phoenix, born of fire, and feeling like it today, and journey back to the land of P-Pines and cool nights. It's over 100F as we pass through Phoenix.

USGS gauge data - shows flash flood
USGS gauge data - shows flash flood that occurred just before this hike
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Aravaipa Ambling, Day 3

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Suggestions: Of course, wear wading shoes. Shoes that give decent support (you don't want a sprained ankle in the Aravaipa). Check the USGS stream gauge prior to leaving home - flows of 10 cfs (cubic feet a second) or less present good hiking. Search for "usgs streamflow aravaipa" if the below link does not work. The USGS, another example of how tea-terrorists are right, government does nothing for us (not). Take and use two hiking poles - they provide stability and allow you to probe for possible deep holes when the water is murky. Take alum and a collapsible bucket and know how to use them (see text). You will also want a way to purify water. If using a water filter, I suggest attaching a pre-filter with replaceable filter elements. Take a good camera and a decent map. You need a permit for day hiking or camping (maximum is two nights), which you obtain from the BLM. It's best to use the BLM on-line advance permit system to reserve your spot.

Geology (BLM): On the West end of the canyon, between Virgus and Hell's Half Acre canyons, the creek cuts through a dark red porphyry (rock containing crystal structures). This rock is considered part of the Pinal Schist group which originated in the Precambrian Era. It is older and harder that the other formations and may be why the stream has cut a narrower channel in this area.
      The cavernous, buff-and-brown colored walls you see as you walk through the canyon from the east are composed of Hell Hole Conglomerate, which extends to Parson's Canyon on the south wall and Hell Hole Canyon on the north wall. From here and continuing west, the Galiuro Volcanics begin and shape Paisano Canyon, and from Booger to Horse Camp Canyon. This mid-portion of the canyon displays impressive red, orange, and gray walls with columns towering over 1,000 feet.

Aravaipa Ambling, Scenic Toilets

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BLM map of the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness - includes approximate mileages to major canyons, pdf file.

Map- aravaipa, 2013; 12.5 miles
Map- aravaipa, 2013; 12.5 miles; shows some possible camps
(Click the image to see the map)

for a full-resolution map, click here. Caution - do not use this map or gps track for navigating the route.

Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness - West entrance to Horse Camp Canyon -- Right Click (then save this file: "save link as..." in most browsers) on this Download link to get the GPX file from my GPS - you can then open it in your mapping software. Note - that's a Right Click on this link. You will get the track for your software shown in the map above.


Click here for a pdf file of the Aravaipa Ambling article in the Arizona Daily Sun (1.4mb); January 7, 2014

Click here for a jpg file of the Aravaipa Ambling article in the Arizona Daily Sun (1.3mb); January 7, 2014

BLM site about Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness - includes how to reserve a hike.

USGS gauge (stream flow) for Aravaipa. Search for "usgs streamflow aravaipa" if the link does not work.

Geohydrology Assessment of the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness - includes hydrology report - US Fish & Wildlife Service, pdf file, 13mb.

Click here to see Alum Water treatment of turbid water - pdf file - written by John Ladd while we were hiking The Escalante Route in the Grand Canyon.

Scenic Toilets of Inner Earth.

Wealth inequality in America, thanks to tea-terrorists for making this more and more unequal

Previous WV Reports About the Area

Superstition Wilderness Backpack, Redux, Gila Surprise - Peralta TH to Miner’s Needle to LaBarge canyon and box to Charle bois Spring to Black Top Mesa loop to Terrapin Trail March 24-27, 2011

Superstition Wilderness Backpack: "T" is for Tortoise (2010)

Chiricahua Cavalcade: Chiricahua National Monument and Portal Porting, Big Loop in the NM, Chiricahua Natural Bridge, Arch hunting near Portal (2008)

Organ Pipe Cactus NM, you Ajo: A Sonoran Solstice Saturnalia, 2008

Super Superstition #2: Crosscut Trail, Weaver's Needle loop, Boulder Trail 103, & Second Water Trail (2007)

Superstition Wilderness 2006: Hewitt Canyon Elephant Arch, Superstition Sunsets, Dutchman Trail to the Eye of the Horse (Ojo de Caballo; Aylors) Arch, Miners Needle Loop (2006)

More Truth Than Joke:

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

"Reality has a distinctly liberal bias." Stephen Colbert

tea party idiots
tea party idiots, tea-terrorists, insani-tea
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Rump Faction of the gop !
Rump Faction of the gop !
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Face it, church and state are no longer separated. Religion can’t be off limits anymore. It’s not just time to expose the crazy in the GOP, it’s time to expose the fact that personal belief isn’t sacrosanct. Evangelical Christianity is a curse to America. It’s time to say so. It's a shameful thing to be crazy on purpose. The government lockout/shutdown (October 1 - 13, 2013) is the naked face of nutty religion exposed. Certainly, like all gop activities, this hurt the middle class and poor a lot more than the wealthy elite. How come airports were open while veterans went without? $$$$ + crazy
      Believers have been folded into one deadly destructive, economy-threatening entity by the Republicans. It’s time to stop being any less forcefully truth-telling about religion than we are about politics. They are one and the same. The shutdown is a slow motion religious extremist attack on America being carried out by those living in the netherworld of apocalyptic fantasy.

listen, religionists
listen, religionists
(Click the image for the full article - read down)

Carter tells religionists
Carter tells religionists
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corporate welfare yes, no help for starving children
corporate welfare yes, no help for starving children
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kindness and the gop
kindness and the gop
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another religious activity brought to you by the gop
another religious activity brought to you by the gop
(Click the image for the full-size image)

More truth than joke - part 1

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More truth than joke - part 2

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More truth than joke - part 3

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Link to below Onion article (click here).

Scientists: 'Look, One-Third Of The Human Race Has To Die For Civilization To Be Sustainable, So How Do We Want To Do This?'
      26 Jan. 2012 | ISSUE 48•04

      Scientists say at least 2 billion dead bodies will be burned and converted into fossil fuels.
      WASHINGTON—Saying there's no way around it at this point, a coalition of scientists announced Thursday that one-third of the world population must die to prevent wide-scale depletion of the planet's resources—and that humankind needs to figure out immediately how it wants to go about killing off more than 2 billion members of its species.
      Representing multiple fields of study, including ecology, agriculture, biology, and economics, the researchers told reporters that facts are facts: Humanity has far exceeded its sustainable population size, so either one in three humans can choose how they want to die themselves, or there can be some sort of government-mandated liquidation program—but either way, people have to start dying.
      And soon, the scientists confirmed.
      "I'm just going to level with you—the earth's carrying capacity will no longer be able to keep up with population growth, and civilization will end unless large swaths of human beings are killed, so the question is: How do we want to do this?" Cambridge University ecologist Dr. Edwin Peters said. "Do we want to give everyone a number and implement a death lottery system? Incinerate the nation's children? Kill off an entire race of people? Give everyone a shotgun and let them sort it out themselves?"
      "Completely up to you," he added, explaining he and his colleagues were "open to whatever." "Unfortunately, we are well past the point of controlling overpopulation through education, birth control, and the empowerment of women. In fact, we should probably kill 300 million women right off the bat."
      Because the world's population may double by the end of the century, an outcome that would lead to a considerable decrease in the availability of food, land, and water, researchers said that, bottom line, it would be helpful if a lot of people chose to die willingly, the advantage being that these volunteers could decide for themselves whether they wished to die slowly, quickly, painfully, or peacefully.
      Additionally, the scientists noted that in order to stop the destruction of global environmental systems in heavily populated regions, there's no avoiding the reality that half the world's progeny will have to be sterilized.
      "The longer we wait, the higher the number of people who will have to die, so we might as well just get it over with," said Dr. Chelsea Klepper, head of agricultural studies at Purdue Univer­sity, and the leading proponent of a worldwide death day in which 2.3 billion people would kill themselves en masse at the exact same time. "At this point, it's merely a question of coordination. If we can get the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Beijing, India, Europe, and Latin America to voluntarily off themselves at 6 p.m. EST on June 1, we can kill the people that need to be killed and the planet can finally start renewing its resources."
      Thus far, humanity has been presented with a great variety of death options, among them, poisoning the world's water supply with cadmium, picking one person per household to be killed in the privacy of his or her home, mass beheadings, and gathering 2.3 billion people all in one place and obliterating them with a single hydrogen bomb.
      Sources confirmed that if a death solution is not in place by Mar. 31, the U.N., in the interest of preserving the human race, will mobilize its peacekeeping forces and gun down as many people as necessary.
      "I don't care how it happens, but a ton of Africans have to go, because by 2025, there's no way that continent will be able to feed itself," said Dr. Henry Craig of the Population Research Institute. "And by my estimation, three babies have to die for every septuagenarian, because their longer life expectancy means babies have the potential to release far more greenhouse gases going forward."
      While the majority of the world's populace reportedly understands this is the only option left to save civilization, not all members of the human race are eager to die.
      "I personally would rather live, but taking the long view, I can see how ensuring the survival of humanity is best," said Norwich, CT resident and father of three Jason Atkins. "I guess if we were to do it over again, it would make sense to do a better job conserving the earth's finite resources."
      "Hopefully, the people who remain on the planet will use the mass slaughter of their friends and loved ones as an incentive to be more responsible going forward," he added.

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