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West Clear Creek Part I

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A couple weekends back, I had a chance to visit a nice secluded place out in Arizona.

There is not too much info online on how to exactly get there. In fact, I had to email a guy to get specific directions which is always fun to trust a complete stranger who gives you directions to the middle of nowhere. We left San Diego on Friday afternoon and drove all night to the trailhead. It seems like 90% of my adventures begin by camping out at the trailhead the night before…but this was different. Three minutes into the treacherous dirt/rock/gravel/rock/tree invested trail, I honestly thought my truck was not going to make the return trip. Driving in at night made all the rocks look enormous and hard to navigate through. And thanks to this road, my rear bumper is now crooked.

Anyway, we got to the trailhead at the edge of the canyon and got ready for bed around midnight. The next day was going to be fun but I at the moment I was too burned out from being up since 4AM and driving 8 hours. I slept in the bed of my truck while my friends slept in their tents.

I woke up at 5AM and took this picture.

Then I went back to sleep.

Then I woke up at 7AM and took this picture.

Then I got out of bed.

The views were amazing! We quickly ate breakfast, packed up and headed out.

My poor truck…I shall return for you…because I have to.

The hike down

This is a beautiful entrance to the canyon. We made it!

This is where we took a lunch break. We also took time to inflate our tubes for the multiple narrows crossing ahead of us. The adventure ahead of us included about a dozen or so swims (a few being nearly a hundred yards or more), some bouldering, a group which included a girl who did not know how to swim, and a guy who literally packed a 80LB+ backpack and therefore walked very slowly. Each time we swam or floated across sections, it took foreverr……

Anyway, here are some pictures to make you jealous:

My pink floatie. I purchased it because there was a hot chick on the cover…

I know right?… I feel so embarrassed…not. Thanks Walmart.

200 yard swim

After swimming a few of these sections, it started getting cold. I learned how to “Lizard” myself on rocks to warm myself up…no pictures were taken of this for good reason.

To be honest, about an hour into the hike I was getting frustrated at the speed which we were traveling. But this only lasted a few minutes. I realized that as the group leader I was responsible for everybody being okay and enjoying the trip. And while my goal was to get to the campsite as fast as possible to enjoy the surroundings, I could take in all of the beauty around me as I waited for the others. Not a bad place to learn patience.

We also randomly bumped into this guy who was fly fishing…

We got there after many hours of hiking. But the campsite was awesome thanks to a couple of groups who moved their stuff to share some space with us.

The hanging gardens and springs!

One of our neighbors caught some trout and offered some to us. Good stuff!

Then we got hungry and started cooking as well… sausages, mashed potatoes, grilled zucchini… and some Johnny Walker to keep us warm for the night!

Crap. My socks caught on fire while trying to dry them out…

The day was a lot of fun. My friend LS brought some LED lights and put them around the tents which was pretty rad. I’ve never done that before and this was obviously something a female mind would contribute to the mood of the campsite.

Alas, my eyeballs were extremely tired and I fell asleep immediately. The day was super fun and wet and cold but I had an amazing time. It was funny to hear my buddy JT moaning all night because he decided to hike the entire day shirtless while I highly recommended that he didn’t do to prevent sunburn, bug bites and poison ivy to which he got all three… and by funny I really mean annoying, but I guess that’s what ear plugs are for.


Written by jonewantsm3

June 6, 2013 at 1:00 am

Posted in Adventures

One Response

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  1. Hey, great post and photos. I lived in SD for 3 years and did the AZ to SD drive a lot. I’m thinking of backpacking to the hanging gardens next week. Did you go in from the Bull Pen area or another spot? If I gave you my e-mail would you be willing to send me the directions to your start point? I’d appreciate it a lot! Hope to hear from you, thanks!

    Alex Applebee

    June 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm

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