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matt@expaz

Trail Report - Sheep Bridge (Centrail Az)

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I know some people who ran FR 18 on 10/13 and it must have changed quite a bit. Not for stock now. Too bad because I was thinking about wandering over there some time in the near future.

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I know some people who ran FR 18 on 10/13 and it must have changed quite a bit. Not for stock now. Too bad because I was thinking about wandering over there some time in the near future.

 

FR18 is a side road off of FR269. FR269 takes you to Sheeps Bridge.

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10-4 on that. We already covered that I think. I was just giving the info I heard on FR 18.

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I went to the bridge twice in June (I know - I know not the best time of year) and it was sweet!!! There weren't many other people out there except for one old coot living at the bridge in his pop-up camper. !!!!

 

The Tonto had just bladed the last ten miles (FSR 269) from Tangle Creek down to the bridge itself. But since it was only dozed and not graded you had to go very slow and there was that unique experience of riding on the dozer tracks and pitching up and down for 10 miles. A long 10 miles because it took me over an hour to go that distance in. Coming back was easier (uphill instead of down) and shorter.

 

From the FSR 24/269 jct it was about an hour or so to the Tonto/AF boundary and then another 45 mins or so to I-17.

 

IF you go that way there are some really nice side trips. There is "the big hill" which I call the "Tangle Creek switchbacks" which has an awesome view at the top. First up after that is FSR 44, a nice loop road off the North side of FSR 269. It is supposed to be a fun 4x4 road. It's on my list to maintain but I haven't gotten that far yet.

 

Oh yeah, after the disaster of the Gladiator I have transferred my volunteer services to the Tonto and the Bloody Basin area is my new "home."

 

There are 3 old cabins in the area, one of which is on the National Historic Register.

 

Another NEAT (not hard) road is FSR 677 a dual-forest road that starts in the Tonto and ends up on the Verde Hill Road in the PNF. I call it the back way to Dugas. You end up (going North) dropping into a totally pristine riparian area. And Dugas looks like something from the 1880's. Still inhabited to be kind! It's an easy out to I-17 from there.

 

Then there is my current assignment, FSR 481 and the Brooklyn Peak Switchbacks. FSR 481 runs open to vehicles -LESS than 110" WB and 60" TRACK (wheel to wheel) - to the base of the switchbacks. You need to google earth the switchbacks as they are something else! Unfortunately there is a minor GAPING washout at the base which precludes vehicles from further travel. I have a plan to repair that washout but it's way down on my list after I get all the other trails on my assignment done.

 

FSR 481 hosts the old stone cabin and mine ruins as well.

 

Then there is FSR 14 which goes to the Brooklyn Mine. I haven't seen it yet but the pictures on the internets are AWESOME!

 

Note: the AF Monument assigns a "9" or a "9" + "0" to Tonto Roads. Hence Tonto Road 269 is 9269 on the AF, and Tonto Road 14 is 9014 on the AF.

 

Speaking of, FSR 481 floats right by some awesome Native ruins. FSR 14 (AF 9014) also runs up on Perry Mesa (Not Perry Mason!) where there are more remains. There are also some in the area of the Brooklyn Mine.

 

The AF is loaded with exhibits but the BLM is real cagey about not telling anyone exactly where they area. Except Pueblo La Plata, which is the "sacrificial lamb" and easily found on the www. There are about a brazillion petroglyphs on the AF but I haven't had time to situate them yet. (I've only been on this assignment since July!).

 

None of these roads are really hard 4x4s except for maybe FSR 44. However there is a lot to see and the neat thing is hardly anyone goes there. Of course now that I have made this post I am sure to find a Wendys and a Motel 6 out there next week.

 

For obvious reasons I will not give directions to any of these sites on the web..... The native ruins are easy prey to looting. The cabins are remarkably well preserved and seem to be falling off of publication on newer FS maps. In most other locales, they would have been totally trashed by now!

 

See ya later......

 

 

P.S. The are does have more ants and wasps per square mile than I have ever seen in my life.

 

Double P.S. Beware the unbridged Agua Fria crossing. In heavy rains in can become impassable.

 

Triple P.S. All road conditions to the Sheep Bridge were "as is" before our extremely robust monsoon season!

 

 

 

Would you be willing to PM me some of the spots where you found the ruins? the wife and I would love to see them.

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I don't know how the pm feature works here. Guess I can kinda figure it out. I have been working on FSR 44 since December and have seen a few jeeps come through. One guy was looking for FSR 1981. Well that road goes right off 44. Turns out he was looking for Turret Peak. 1981 is the road that goes to Turret. That's where one of the last big Native/Anglo battles was fought in this state. I don't know what shape 1981 is in. Probably pretty primitive.

 

Anyway, that got me to thinking that there are probably some nice Native ruins in the area. My ranger contact told me the Tonto is littered with them; so it's not just an Agua Fria thing. In fact, the biggest trove of Native ruins I have found so far are actually on the Tonto.

 

FSR 44 also goes through two really nice riparian areas that (until last week) were still flowing. They survived the Cave Creek fire pretty well.

 

Every one who visits the area should def learn Turret Peak, It can be seen all the way from I-17. Have to climb it when the weather gets cool. It's over 5100' tall.

 

---->>>> Area is LOADED with mountain lions and an occasional bear.

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