Judy writes “Grand Enchantment Trail – Segment 8, Santa Teresa Wilderness
4 1/2 to 5 hr drive from Phoenix to E. Aravaipa, once you get to Klondyke Rd & US 70 its 34 dirt miles to Aravaipa Natural Conservancy East entrance. Hiking partner was Sirena Dufault from Tucson, she invited me on this segment & was more than happy to accommodate. Now since I look at the map going from Apache Junction to Albq, NM, I have completed most of the mileage to this point & hooked on the GET, & would like to find someone to help complete the remaining with me.
Day 1 Trees were just starting to bud out so made it wonderful to see spring in action, birds migrating, tadpoles, frogs, many toads & Gila monster sunning himself. Past residence creating iron characters out of old machinery, the Detroit dinosaur we could not go by with out taking pictures. Salazar church closed except for week-ends. Beware of waypoint 08100 & 08110 on your GPS you need to zoom in about 50 ft or it will over lap, plus the road had been graded just hrs before getting there & was a burm in front. The article that Brett (Blisterfree) the founder of GET mentioned on Seg 8, plan on a 10% error, hated to start it off right from the beginning on such a silly mistake, but not complaining about a total mile, & was water where we camped.
Day 2 we hiked on a 4 WD rd for 3.2 miles, even though roads are not my favorite the wildflowers were beautiful & was climbing so the scenery was scenic. If you are following the GET website info, don’t miss the turn 50ft after passing the gate, only a cairn in high weeds, yep missed this turn only by a small ways but we would of missed the Gila Monster!
You follow a bench trail in & out of drainages, all were running with h2o, including Reef Tank. I would prefer to get my water out of the creeks vs. the dirt tank if possible. Blisterfree did an excellent job on the description for this area; read it carefully will save a lot of time. Hold Out canyon is breath taking, take time to scout this area out. It’s much like the Wilderness of the Rocks by Mt Lennon & the mts by Wilcox, Az. We camped about a mile down farther, above a flowing creek; great shadows both A.M. & P.M. The reading materials describes whimsical names as Zorro, Great Wide Face & Shamoo, we came up with dozens more names for this bouldery area. Black Rock was also another ahh moment when we looked up for the 1st view. Again keep reading the material, GPS & maps in hand at all times. Pink ribbons maybe on ground, nubs or a small cairn in the weeds, beware of cat claw in much of the area. Near the confluence (pick any ravine you want)we saw our share of tracks- Bear, Mt lion, Bob Cat, Deer etc in this small area. We got a good laugh down the creek, we came across the largest print we ever saw, elk, deer? We even took a picture of the print! After another bend we realized we were back in grazing territory again it was cow! After a few more boulder hopping & many creek crossings we made camp by a lovely Pinion Pine in the middle of the trail. Discussion was made whether to put the food bag in the lonely tree that wasn’t high enough to do much good. (Bear tracts was still on our minds) It was left that Az bears weren’t as smart as Yosemite or YellowstoneYogi bears. So went to bed with our Pot, jug & hiking sticks to bang on.
Day 3 As we past the ranch we met a friendly pit bull that I named Butterscotch, so we both got our doggie fix before adventuring on up the Mt, it was pretty much just finding our way in tall grass, & cactus, up to the cress where we found cell site near waypt 08320, cross to the other side of the fence here to make your way to the next waypt. (do not go thru the gate, this is where I cracked the face of my cell phone when I bellied under the fence) WE came to the junction a wooden signpost on the ground, Kane Springs to left & our Trail 66 to the right. We went to the tank to fill up & take a rest break, I would say if you have enough water keep hiking . We stopped at 24.6 in the reading material even though we had gone 29.6 miles, it was 7pm & wanted to locate the attractive camp spot but never really found it, but was happy to find good spring water. A place to lay our heads, a 2,500ft climb made it a harder, longer day, but the scenery of the mts, Safford & Mt Graham was worth while.
4-10 Our last day we started out at 7:30a.m to make our 2 mile climb to 7,250ft to the over look Hold Out Canyon where we were 2 days before, it literally makes a horseshoe trail. The path now was truly a trail so made hiking easier not to mention once we got to the top it was mostly down hill from there. WE had a delightful 1 hr break at waypt 08505 near a 30 ft waterfall, lots of Cottonwood & Sycamore. After leaving our rest spot once again we hit an old 4 wd road, it was a break from concentrating on GPS, maps, reading material, & bushwhacking. We were glad to see my jeep, total mileage 40, a great adventure in our own backyard, now a 5 hr drive home.
Things that came in handy:
New Gps Garmin Vista hcx, GET reading material for this section, maps, ( thegrandenchantmenttrail.org ) hiking poles, long pants, long sleeve shirt, cut off 1 gal water jug,(for a basin) my new tarptent-Moment.
What did not work for me
New Osprey Backpack,hurt lower back, maybe to much weight for a light belt it had.
FYI before doing this section of GET check with Blisterfree, or GET website as a portion has been closed.