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Ben Avery Trail Day Hike
Eagletail Mountain Wilderness
April 4, 2009
by Ted Tenny
  GPS Map 
Trailblazers admire the historic petroglyphs.

You never know what to expect for April weather in Arizona. But how about a perfect day for hiking? Nine Trailblazers start from the Ben Avery Trailhead on a cool, sunny morning with a mild breeze.

The trail follows an intricate desert wash.
Hikers confer as we approach the pass.

The trail was once a Jeep road. It starts southwest and takes us by Courthouse Rock, a massive monolith standing as a sentinel on the aggraded desert plains.

Just past the rock we enter a sandy wash which serves as our trail for the next mile. The wash is fenced off at one point, with a makeshift trail going uphill as hikers have tried to go around.

There are some spring flowers in the wash. Gradually the trail takes us out onto high ground, with a sweeping view in all directions.

The trail turns south. Ray, our hike leader, has studied the map and assures us that we’re going the right direction.

Wildlife is evident out here in the open country. Several mule deer were watching us as we went by Courthouse Rock. Now a horned toad catches our attention in the bushes beside the trail.

The horned toad, actually a lizard, is an endangered species. We take a picture and then give him the right of way as we continue on our hike.

Natural camouflage helps a horned toad hide in the bushes.
rock rock
The petroglyphs overlook a colorful and inspiring place in the wilderness.
If we could talk to the artist, what would he say?

The rocks are fascinating. But then we look up and see artwork made by Indians many centuries ago. A side trail takes us up for a closer look.

The symbolism of these drawings meant a lot to the folks who lived here. But their meaning was lost when the site was deserted, long before European explorers arrived. We can only wonder.

Ocotillos and lichens brighten our return to the trailhead.

There’s a spring across from the petroglyphs, with lots of green vegetation. We continue downstream where we find a shaded lunch spot with dark boulders serving as benches.

Our return walk is uneventful but colorful and pleasant.

Thanks to Handlebar Ray for leading such a delightful spring hike!

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