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West Clear Creek #17 Day Hike
West Clear Creek Wilderness
April 2, 2022
by Rodney Baba

Eighteen hikers met early Saturday morning for a hike up West Clear Creek.

group
Trailblazers ready to hike. [photo by Rod]
back: Neil, Barbara, Mark, Heather, Laurie, Martha, Billie, Terri, Robbi, Stan, Julie, Tamar, Anna, Tom, Li
front:  Rod, Terry, Diane

As we strolled east along the Bull Pen Road, we began with our traditional parade of hikers.

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Parade of Hikers. [photos by Rod]

The road was initially shaded by huge Sycamores and Cottonwoods forming a green tunnel.

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Green tunnel. [photos by Rod]

The road opened onto a broad chaparral shelf that runs parallel to the creek.

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Trailblazers on the road. [photos by Rod]

A little way from the trailhead, we passed an old stone farmhouse.

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Old stone farmhouse. [photos by Li]

About a mile from the trailhead, we reached a trail marker and turned down a short drop that led to the creek and our first photo op.

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Dropping down to the creek. [photos by Rod]

We paused temporarily to enjoy the peaceful sound of flowing water and the stunning scenery.

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At the creek. [photos by Rod]
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Hikers. [photo by Tom]
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Hikers. [photo by Li]

After a short distance, we came to the first stream crossing. We paused as some hikers switched to water shoes. The water was waist deep and we strung a rope across for the group to grab. Nobody drowned but 3 people elected not to cross and returned to the trailhead.

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Hey! Wrong Way! [photo by Rod]
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First Crossing. Rod holding rope across deepest section of stream. [photos by Li]

We traveled parallel to the creek through a lush riparian habitat of Sycamores, Fremont Cottonwoods, Arizona Walnut and Arizona Ash trees. We pass large snags of tangled branches and see patches carpeted by grapevines and wild blackberry. After a short distance, we cross the creek a second time and continue parallel to the creek bed.

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Watching Follow the Leader. [photos by Rod]
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Billie travels her own path. [photos by Li]
Li
Watch out your phone! [photo by Tom]
Tom
Whacha doing Tom? [photos by Li]
Heather
Our Trailblazer Secretary enjoys a moment away from email. [photo by Li]
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Happy Hikers enjoying a stroll through nature. [photos by Rod]
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Water flowing. [photo by Li]

Just before the third crossing, we took a break in a shady glade next to the creek. Mark and Barbara turned around at this point.

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Taking a break. [photos by Rod]

After the third crossing, we paused while some hikers changed from their water shoes back to their hiking shoes.

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Changing shoes. [photo by Rod]

The group started a gradual climb up to a ridge several hundred feet above the north side of the creek. The landscape changed from riparian to chaparral with scrub oak, mesquite, holly, and juniper. The cacti are blooming with magenta, yellow, and orange cup-shape flowers.

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Climbing up. [photo by Rod]

We stopped frequently to admire views of the canyon and across to the stunning red rock cliffs.

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Red rock cliffs. [photos by Rod]

After descending back down the side of the canyon we reached the creek at the 5-mile point. We stopped for lunch at a shady area next to the fourth crossing.

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Fourth crossing. [photos by Rod]

After lunch, we climbed up the canyon side and headed back to the trailhead.

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Back to the trailhead. [photos by Rod]

We became very experienced at crossing.

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Crossing the water. [photo by Li]
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View from the Creek. [photo by Li]
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Crossing the water. [photos by Rod]

I paused for a moment to enjoy nature.

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Nature. [photo by Rod]
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Billie and Neil with a scenic backdrop. [photo by Li]
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First crossing. [photos by Li]
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Thanks to Tom for anchoring one end of the rope. [photos by Li]
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Not bad looking for two bridgeheads! [photos by Li]
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated April 6, 2022