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RiverCat Journal : Apache Trail and Fish Creek Canyon

Posted by on March 22, 2013

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Current Venue:  Tempe, AZ (Phoenix Area)
Campground: Tempe Travel Trailer Villa
Visiting : Fish Creek Canyon on Apache Trail

toilet en route to fish creek canyon

Bring Your Own TP!

Despite my determination to do some serious hiking into the mysterious rain-forest-in-the-desert-canyons of Fish Creek to find my critters, my wildlife scavenger hunt came to an abrupt halt yesterday when it was determined by my companion that the trail was simply too perilous.  I’m not pointing fingers or naming names…

fish creek canyon, jim melvin


But in all honesty the short trail just to get into the canyon was quite an adventure in itself.  In fact, you first have to scale a few rocks to get up to this cave, a terrific spot…

fish creek canyon, cave

And then brave a steep descent on loose rock to get down into the canyon…

fish creek canyon, beach

fish creek canyon, stream

Breathtaking, no doubt!  But the only way to get deeper in the canyon and see all the natural wonders I’d been reading about was to cross the creek and scale a large boulder which, to my own admission, can be quite tricky if you’re carrying bags.  I certainly wouldn’t ask someone to do it that’s not comfortable – I’m going to save this adventure for another day.

Of course, about halfway back up to the cave, a swimmer yells, “Tarantula!”

I scurried back down, crossed the creek, and up the boulder — only to discover that large arachnid had scurried under one of numerous piles of leaves on the hillside, probably into his burrow.  So close. 

Switching gears from hiking to sightseeing was not difficult, of course — I love seeing what’s around the next bend!  And that’s what me and Jim did all day.  Lots and lots of bends…

fish creek canyon, jeep

fish creek canyon, apache trail

The Apache Trail is 22 miles of unpaved roads and hairpins, much of it fit for only one vehicle.  From what I’m told, these roads may never be improved for fear too many tourists would flock up here and run each other off the cliffs.

The colors and vistas were spectacular, and around each bend you’d see something just as interesting as the last.  The hours of driving and mini-hikes absolutely flew by.  And I did see wildlife…

bird near fish creek canyon

And spotted the most perfect tent-site ever at Three-Mile Wash…


This little beach is nestled in a canyon next to the aqua-colored water of the Salt River.  What made it almost surreal was the  misplaced-looking island (not pictured) with desert flora on it.  I can’t imagine sunsets or full moons in this spot.  In fact, me and Jim seemingly lost our minds for quite awhile daydreaming-out-loud what it would be like to pitch a tent down there!  I determined that if my latest cat-adoption effort works out, that this is exactly how I’m going to celebrate.

After 22 miles and several hours of bone-jarring “off-road” action, we found pavement near Roosevelt Dam, which stands at over 350 feet tall…

To our amazement, what started out as a little journey “up the hill” and back, put us about 80 miles from Phoenix somehow!  To me, it barely seemed possible.  The Superstition Mountains have always been somewhat of an illusion to me.  What looks like a tiny mountain range with one ominous peak is actually better than 50 miles across and I-don’t-know-how-many miles long.  The Superstitions are also full of wonder and beauty that I never would have suspected.  It’s a shame that I haven’t been here before now.

I will be back.

But today I got to do it with Jimbo.  And I never ever get tired of talking to this guy!  He sees everything with his eyes wide open, much like myself.   I hope we’ll run into each other lots over the next few years so we can do it again…

4 Responses to RiverCat Journal : Apache Trail and Fish Creek Canyon

  1. Sandie

    So sorry you didn’t get to see your wildlife (at least the ones you’re on the hunt for). But it’s hard not to have a good time out there in the desert mountains.

  2. RiverCat

    Oh I had a great time!

  3. Donna K

    You too are fearless!! Read about your adventures on Jim’s blog – nice to get your perspective too. Why do you want to see a tarantula? When I worked at the bank, a fella used to come in with what he called his “pet” tarantula. Scared the tellers to death. I finally told him to keep it out of the bank. I’ve heard it said that tarantulas are soft and gentle but I don’t think I want to find out personally LOL!! I’m a big chicken!

  4. RiverCat

    They are supposed to be very passive. Although, if you do upset one I understand those fangs can impose a mean bite. I dunno…I’ve been here several months and have heard of scorpions, tarantulas, and gila monsters – just ready to see them I guess…

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