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Ben Avery Natural Arch Day Hike
Eagletail Mountains
March 23, 2013
by Ted Tenny
  GPS Map 

Michael Humphrey led the Ben Avery Trail hike for the second year, finding an excellent route from the petroglyphs to the western Natural Arch. We followed a wash upstream to a place where it splits, then took the left branch most of the way on up.

Arizona Trailblazers on the March to the Arch.
The western Natural Arch in the Eagletail Mountains is watching you.
hikers hikers
Trailblazers visit both windows of the arch.
Inspiring views begin as soon as we get underway.

“Ted made it look easy,” they said as I climbed up some boulders on the way to the arch.

I got plenty of pictures, and although the batteries ran out on my GPS, it didn’t happen until the hike was almost over. The pictures and GPS track will definitely improve my write-up of the Ben Avery Trail in Footloose from Phoenix, which is nearing completion.

All 13 of the Trailblazers who started the hike chose to go to the arch. In the beginning we hiked the traditional Ben Avery Trail through a scenic canyon and out into the high country.

Hikers re-convene on trail in the canyon.

Everyone took their own approach to exploring the petroglyphs. Some walked up on the left side, some on the right side, while others climbed all the way to the top.

Some of the petroglyphs are on the other side of the canyon.
Ajay leads an inspection tour of the ancient rock art.

After inspecting the ancient rock art, many of the hikers walked on downstream to Indian Spring and beyond. I stayed near the butte to take pictures of the rock formations and native vegetation.

It turns out there are more petroglyphs on the other side of the wash. A fellow outside our group was taking pictures of them while I munched an apple and a Power Bar.

How’s the view from up there?

Eventually the others came back and stopped for their lunch break.

The rocks in the wash to the north looked interesting. Something had caught my eye, so I walked over and looked around. It was chalcedony, a precious stone of Heaven (Revelation 21:19).

Ted finds chalcedony embedded in the rocks.
rocks rocks
rocks rocks

Soon we all started walking northwest, up the wash. Everyone made it to the western Natural Arch. After exploring the arch we started down the way we came, contouring our way down to an arroyo east of the arch, crossing it, and then making our way toward Courthouse Rock.

At one point I got separated from the group, but stayed in radio contact and easily found my way over to the trail. A major cairn marks the route.

Bright colors of the Eagletail Mountains cheer us on our way back to the trail.

Yanis and Vanessa joined me in the canyon. We had a good time spotting wildlife, real and stone-sculpted, on Courthouse Rock on our way back to the trailhead.

Bighorn sheep graze on Courthouse Rock.
Smiling stone lizard looks skyward.

After dropping off my passengers at 43rd & McDowell, I didn’t get home until 9:00 PM. On the way home I stopped for dinner at the Chinese buffet and had crab legs and then for dessert, green tea ice cream.

This hike is described in  Footloose from Phoenix, by Ted Tenny, pages 26-32.
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updated September 29, 2018