The group showed up at our place a little after 9:00.
We left the park and stopped at the Circle K to fueled up.
From there we headed for highway 79 just north of Florence AZ.
We drove north on 79.
In the distance we could see the Superstition Mountains.
When we got to Florence Junction we turned east on highway 60.
The Brittle Bush has begun to bloom along the highway.
along with other wild flowers.
These are Arizona Poppies.
After going through the small town of Superior the highway goes through Queen Creek Canyon…
Across Queen Creek Bridge…
and through Queen Creek Tunnel.
The canyon is very scenic.
Hackberry Creek Trail.
A couple miles after leaving the canyon we turned right on the Oak Flat Campground exit. We followed the paved road past the operating Magma Mine.
We pulled off the road to air down a little past where the pavement ends.
The trail is pretty easy at the beginning.
It goes into a beautiful canyon with some interesting rock formations.
After going through the first canyon the trail climbs and gets a little narrower and rougher.
We drop into a small valley, cross a small stream, and up another hill.
At the bottom of the next canyon we see a nice large pond and across the valley we can see the trail that we will be coming back on.
While going down into this valley, you can see traces of the trail that we will be on going through a beautiful canyon.
At the bottom of this hill we make a hard right turn, go through a stream…
and start up the canyon.
All around us we see beautiful rock formations…
Some of the rocks take fantastic shapes.
The Going Gets Rougher.
The trail starts getting a little rougher going through this canyon.
Bird nests in the cactus.
We pass this Staghorn Cholla with two bird nests in it.
I guess the spines on the Cholla must help keep out the snakes.
We come to this boulder with ‘Dead End’ written on it.
I am not sure what that is about as the trail we are following makes a loop through the mountains.
Big Rocks In The Trail.
Past this rock we encounter the first stretch of large boulders in the trail.
This is the first spot on the trail that requires a spotter.
After getting through this spot we are treated to more fantastical formation.
Frank calls a halt for lunch at this nice green flat.
The Trail Goes On.
After lunch we continue up the trail.
Once at the top of this climb…
we cross another green flat…
with small ponds.
The trail is a bit rutted going through this area of soft dirt.
The Trail Improves For a While.
After going through the rutted area the trail gets a lot smoother.
The trail goes around the mountains and heads north.
We drive along enjoying the improved trail conditions and the views.
A Good Decision.
We came to a split in the trail where ‘according to our guide book’ the right hand trail is extremely difficult. We decide to take the less difficult route.
When we came to where the extreme trail joins the one we are on, looking back up the trail, we decide that we made the right decision.
Rocks and Flowers.
We continue along the trail enjoying views of rocks…
More Rough Stuff.
We travel along bouncing over the rocks unaware that the worst spot on the trail is still before us.
We look in the guide book and it warns of a steep hill with ledges and loose boulders.
What’s a few boulders to us?
We get to the bottom of the hill and it doesn’t look good.
The other jeeps in the group have both front and rear differential lockers. Which means that in a pinch they can have all four wheels pulling them.
First one to try the hill is Frank.
The place where his jeep is in the picture below is the hardest part as there are several ledges to climb and there is a lot of loose rock and dirt which makes getting traction difficult even with front and rear lockers.
Eventually they make it to the top and Frank walks back down to the trouble spot to spot for the next jeep.
Next it’s Johnie’s turn.
With some spotting help from Frank and a bit of work Johnie gets through the roughest spot and makes it to the top.
Denis goes next.
Denis also runs into trouble but with some spotting help from Frank he eventually makes it through.
We follow behind Denis watching his jeep struggle to the top.
Right now I am not very confident in my Jeep with only rear lockers, being able to make it to the top without a tow strap assist.
I want to avoid that as it will be a bit humiliating. Denis really wants to tow me so I will have to sign his tow strap if he has to pull me. It’s a game he likes to play.
After a lot of a struggle and almost accepting a tow, I tried one more time and with some expert spotting by Denis we made it to the top without a tow strap assist.
Yay Snoopy!!! I love this jeep.
Unfortunately we don’t have any pictures of us making the climb but here is a fair representation of the difficulty of the climb.
The rest of the trail was relatively easy and after a while we came back to the valley with the nice pond where we started the loop around the mountain.
We drove through the valley and up the trail on the other side.
We drove over the hill through the first valley to the beginning of the trail.
On the way in we we passed these drilling rigs but we didn’t take any pictures of them then. On the way out Patti took a couple of pictures.
I have no Idea what they were drilling for but I think it had some thing to do with the Magma Mining operations.
Just past the drill rigs we hit the black top. We stopped at Oak Flat C.G. to air up and then headed west on Highway 60.
The group took a couple of turnouts going through the canyon to get pictures.
Natures Rock Garden
No one does it better.
We made it home around 4:00.
What a beautiful trip!
To top it all off we were treated to another Beautiful Arizona sunset.