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Mt. Graham Trip July 2015 Picture Thread

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We just got back from an adventurous weekend exploring Mt. Graham and the surrounding areas. Here's a picture to get this thread started, please go ahead and post your pictures from the trip in this thread!



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Meet up at Taylor Freeze:





Airing down for some time on the mountain:




George on the fire lookout:




View from the lookout (stitched together a little bit buggy):




Fred Merrick was a painter, at least that's what his tombstone says. We dropped by and payed our respects.






Fueling up Saturday, getting ready to head for Gila Box and Mt. Graham:




Heading for Gila Box:










A coil spring decided to unseat and gave us some downtime. I used it to get artsy with a few pictures:







Heading up Mt. Graham, we passed through some clouds.




At the top of Graham:








While exploring a road on the top of the mountain, I got hung up on a rock. Kristoffer had to pull me out. I took this picture giggling as the theme of Jaws was playing in the back of my head "Duh dun duh dun"




The clouds started to clear as we made our way down the mountain sunday:




Smurftruck drives into the abyss:



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George's friend.




Two inches wider and I could have fallen asleep in this.







The mighty Gila. Flowing better than I expected.




Who picked this road?




And who picked this road?




Gunner finally lead us to the Promised Land Campground.




Bad picture, but this is a severe case of OCD.


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Hmm, I thought that the dash cam had corrupted the card again, it appears not. Once I finish pulling data (the whole card is being pulled!), I'll post up some pictures (and video hopefully) from it!

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TheKSmith, the Bradywgn71's and George and me met in Peridot, AZ and took a short side trip to Coolidge Dam at San Carlos Lake on the way to the meet-up with the rest of the group:






Beautiful sculpture work on this old dam:




Pennies and dimes on the eagle's head and wings:




Smurftruck meets Hope & Lafawndah for the first time (edited the bradywgn71 GC's name!):




After the meet-up in Pima, AZ we went slightly northwest to Tripp Canyon Road and then up onto the back side of Mt. Graham to camp the first night.


Ominous clouds over the mountains we are about to ascend:






Along the way we stopped at a grave site as mentioned above. As I got out of the truck I saw a horned toad that was scuttling under the truck. George quickly scooped him up, fearing he would try to take refuge under our tires, and relocated him. First horned toad I've seen in a very long time! This picture was taken by Mrs. Gunner:




G & Marcus talking about horned toads?




We found a great place to camp, and set up real quick fearing it might start to rain any minute. It didn't though, so we took a ride to the end of the road on this end of the mountain.




The views were amazing:




Near the top we parked and hiked a short (steep) distance to a lookout tower. There was a block building (care-taker cottage?) where we found a tire swing among other interesting things.




Such as this ginormous dandelion:




K in the tire swing;




Marcus in the tire swing:




We noticed that the tire swing had been there so long that the tree is growing around the ropes it hangs on:




Steps up the tower were steep:




Hanging out at the bottom of the tower. Check out the amazing view in the background:




We ended up having a great time at camp, no rain at all! In the morning we loaded up and back-tracked through Pima, AZ and a short distance past Safford, AZ to the south where we visited Gila Box National Riparian Conservation Area where we had lunch next to the Gila River, and then on to Bonita Creek for a scenic drive.


Lunch next to the Gila River:






An old truck had flopped off the road that leads to Bonita Creek:




Clouds make beautiful pictures:




Bonita Creek:




This curious pipeline runs the entire length of Bonita Creek (as far as we got, anyway) suspended above the ground on the cliff wall:




Here it passes between the cliff wall and a split in the wall:




On a side note, as we went up Bonita Creek, Derek saw a pack of coatimundi after one darted in front of his Jeep. Being in the rear, I seriously doubted that I would see them, but amazingly, when we passed the same spot, one of them ran across the road in front of us. Naturally, my camera wasn't fast enough, but the image was burned in my mind.


The trail that snakes up Bonita Creek became more rocky and finally waned out. After Derek put his spring back in place, we turned around and back-tracked to Safford, where we stopped for a few provisions and then headed up the main paved road to Mt. Graham. We watched clouds and lightning all along the way, and naturally expected the worst!




Tailgunner view:




Road climbs fast, that's Safford:




As we made our way toward the top of the mountain we noticed that every camping area was full and filling up! Near the mid-point, we went into a non-improved camping area to look around, but there wasn't enough room for the group, so we decided we'd head for the very top of the mountain - taking note along the way of camp sites that could accommodate us in case we couldn't find anything better.


At the very end of the road at the top, Kristoffer lead us on a lesser trail which looped back to the main road. We hoped to find a cool camp spot there, but instead we found a beautiful grove of trees, several beautiful meadows, a couple yucky mud holes, and one very off-camber washout.




With Gunner & Bradywgn scouting ahead for a camp site, we made it back to the main trail just as they radioed to us that they'd secured one we'd all agreed on the upward pass to be desirable. We made camp by 5:30 and prepared for rain, but again we were lucky and only got a couple of drops.


In the morning on Sunday we broke camp and made our way back down the mountain in small groups. It was really cool to drive through the clouds as they blew up along the mountain side.








On a second side note, we saw yet another coatimundi on our way down! Again, my camera was not at the ready, although this one stopped and looked me in the face before darting off as I tried to get my camera ready. Doh! But at least now I can say that I've seen them in the wild.


As we descended clouds were rising off the ground down below and it was a really beautiful sight:




Thanks to TheKSmith for putting together a very fun sightseeing and adventuresome weekend! We really had a great time!


All the pictures I uploaded may be seen here: https://picasaweb.google.com/116271806008662880915/MountGrahamWithOffroadPassport#

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Cool pics guys. Thanks for sharing… ;)

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Somehow, just perfectly I have about 90% of the dash cam footage from this weekend. Is there any particular spot anyone wants to see? If so I can compile a video or take some screenshots and post em' up.


Here's a few pics I have pulled:


Cam crossing Bonita Creek:




Lining up to head out:



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Somehow, just perfectly I have about 90% of the dash cam footage from this weekend. Is there any particular spot anyone wants to see? If so I can compile a video or take some screenshots and post em' up.


Put up what you think is good stuff.



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Looks like I missed a great exploration! Looks like fun!

smiles, ladybug

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Thanks for the pictures! Looks like it was a fun trip.

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