Monday, February 22, 2016

Lunch by the Gila River.


Last year when we were here we went to four different places on the Gila River. I saw on the map that there was another road that went to the river that we didn't try. Yesterday I decided to try it.

The ride.

After getting gas in the Jeep, we left Coolidge around 9:30. We headed east on Coolidge Avenue to Hwy 79.

When we got to 79 we crossed the highway and continued east on Cactus Forest Road. As it turned out this road was a dead end. Oh, oh a col-d-sac already, so early in the trip.

It has been a year since we were here last so I am a little fuzzy on where the roads go. I remembered driving on this road before but forgot that we had to make a turn on Diffen Road to get to Florence /Kelvin Road, which is the road we wanted.
We back tracked to 79 and turned north and followed 79 to the turn off for Florence /Kelvin Road where we turned east.

Whitlow Ranch Road.

We followed this road for a couple miles until we came to Whitlow Ranch Road where we turned north. This road starts out as a wide graded road but after a few miles becomes a narrow trail.

The scenery along the road is great with lots of large Saguaro's and other cactus bordering the road.

Patti got a picture of a Desert Woodpecker on the top of one of the Saguaros.

We continued along the trail enjoying the scenery.

The River Trail.

As we got closer to the river we found an even smaller trail going to the east so we turned onto it.
The trail was really tight with a lot of brush rubbing on both sides of the jeep and several very low tree tunnels.

I think this trail is mostly used by ATV's because it was really tight.

Lunch on the River side.

After wandering around for a while we finally broke out of the brush and found the Gila River.
Where we came to the river was a nice green flat with great views.

These rocks are across from us, south of the river.

Here is the view up stream.

Down stream is not quite as spectacular.

 We got here at noon so we broke out the chairs and the lunch box and sat down to have lunch and a selfie.

The Diversion Dam.

After lunch we got back on the narrow trail and headed west.
As we got near the intersection with the main trail we took a turnoff to the right and after a short distance we came to what is called the Diversion Dam. The Diversion Dam takes water from the river and "diverts' it into a canal.
Last year we saw this dam from the other side of the river and took some pictures of it. Then, the river was a lot higher and water was going over the dam as well as some being diverted to the canal.
This time since the river is pretty low all the water is being diverted.

We left the dam and wandered around the area for a while. Patti got a picture of some Poppies

and an interesting picture of the end of a Saguaros arm.

Are we lost?

Eventually we got back on the main trail and followed it west through a gate. We came to a spot where there was a very steep sandy hill that dropped down to the side of the canal. I didn't know if this was the right trail and since we were alone didn't feel comfortable about going down the steep sand hill incase we had to come back up it so we turned around and headed back the way we came. At the gate we came upon a guy and his wife on an ATV. We stopped to ask them if this was the trail that went to the highway and they said it was so we followed them back down the steep hill and along the canal.

We drove along the canal and passed this apparatus. I don't know what it is for but it looks cool.

Just past here we crossed a bridge and got on a paved road that took us to down town Florence.

It was a fun ride.

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