The following pics are from a exploratory camping trip to a wilderness area near Alpine, AZ, we have nicknamed "Black Rapids". I have to say we were a bit disappointed "at first" and almost decided to turn around and look for another place to camp at because everything looked so dry, dusty, and well kinda dead. At such a high altitude, I expected things to be a lot greener, especially since it is monsoon season. I waited in the Blue Goose at the trail head (pic below) with the dogs, while Don went on a short exploratory hike of the area.
Our dogs were panting from the long trip, so I made sure they got plenty of water, before looking at maps to see if there were any other places we might want to try. After about 45 minutes, Don got back, and told me that he found a great place to camp in a little green valley about 1/2 mile in. He said I would be surprised at how nice the area was. So we unloaded the Blue Goose, grabbed our backpacks, and began packing things in.
After passing a rather huge and ancient looking tree that dwarfed all others in the area, we rounded a hill and came to a large dry valley. I looked at Don like you got to be kidding me? He pointed at a little green area sitting between 2 hills, and told me that was just the entrance to this "lush" valley he supposedly had found. I have to admit, looking at the dry terrain around me, I had my doubts....
Poor trees - they look so parched.
We followed a stream that ran between the two hills, and found that it opened up into a beautiful green little valley.
Proof you should never judge a book by it's cover. The lush valley Don found turned out to be a real jewel of a campsite. Don has a real knack for finding such places, and I should never have doubted him.
Even though the hills were dry, we did find a nice shady area to pitch our tent, with great views of green marshes, fed by several quick flowing streams. Absolutely love our dome tent - so roomy!
On one of my first hikes in the area I decided to head back towards the trail head and investigate the strange looking hoodoos we passed the previous day.
Spotted this little guy sunning himself on some rocks near the base of one of the hoodoos!
Our nickname for this camping spot came from one of several dark looking streams we found in the area. The best thing about this camping spot was that it was pretty secluded, and we spotted only a couple hikers during our stay. Will be posting more about this interesting area in the near future!