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Ben Avery Trail Day Hike
Eagletail Mountains Wilderness
February 18, 2012
by Ted Tenny, Bill Zimmermann
Bill and Ted’s
  GPS Map 
Randy, Bill, Michael, Jim, Eileen, Chuck

Seven sagacious Trailblazers set out from the Ben Avery Trailhead on a sunny winter morning. We followed the trail past Courthouse Rock and down into a wash, then took a shortcut trail in and out of washes to re-connect with the main trail.

After another mile we arrived at the petroglyphs, where everyone climbed around taking pictures. With nearby Indian Spring providing reliable water, the ancient inhabitants could stay long enough to practice their artistic talents. The desert climate has preserved their art gallery.

art art
Go high, go low for the finest petroglyphs.
This petroglyph coolly represents sunglasses.
Ocotillo sprouts from an outcropping of quartz.
Lizard is well camouflaged.
Metates recall the ancient inhabitants.

“Natural Arch” the map says in two places, about a mile from the trail on either side. Let’s go exploring! No one could see the east Natural Arch, but the western arch was visible with the map showing a primitive road leading in that direction. So five explorers decided to follow the road and then bushwhack the rest of the way.

Rows of rocks lead to a colorful butte.

With my right foot recovering from plantar fasciitis, I figured I’d better go easy and walk back on the main trail rather than bushwhack over to the arch. On the way I saw both Natural Arches for the first time, and many other sights.

Arriving at the trailhead before the others, I had time to relax, call my wife, and rest in the shade until they returned.

The west Natural Arch is double.
Sun shines through the east Natural Arch.
A great stone tugboat makes waves.
The crown of Courthouse Rock gets mighty steep.

Bill’s Report

Explorers of the western Natural Arch. [photo by Bill]

After Jim left the group early (another engagement) and Ted headed back (foot issue), five of us set out to reach the double arch to the west. Michael and Randy did their off trail adventure by staying mostly in the washes.

Bill, Eileen and Chuck used the straight-line theorem (shortest path is straight line). Well we earned the art of UP and DOWN wash crossing. All washes were dry.

Chuck Bill
Chuck and Bill navigate the high country. [photos by Eileen]

We did not make it to the arch as we reached our 2:00 PM turnaround time. Randy joined us on the return trip, roller coaster style. Hooting as we walked, we connected with Michael. After finding Michael, Randy and Chuck joined him trail walking.

Bill and Eileen, no way. We continued on a beeline to Courthouse Rock, turning a 200 foot hike into 1250 feet.

Eileen scouts the Indian Spring area. [photo by Bill]

Thanks to Michael Humphrey for leading this fine hike!

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated September 29, 2018