Sunday, November 23, 2008

No Boulders.

I had the great idea to go to another bouldering spot today, Queen Creek Canyon. I had read some about it on an online climbing forum. The Phoenix Bouldering Comp is held here. I thought it would be a great time for us to hike around the canyon and get on some rocks. My initial instinct was to ask around the local REI about the area but I had failed to get this done. We loaded the kids and headed east on Arizona highway 60
We pulled off into a campground called Oak Flats and found it to be barren desert floor populated with a robust Hispanic family. A hiker came out of the desert and Traci politely implored of the location of any hiking trails or rock climbing areas. The hiker had just wandered through the area for his first time ever and couldn't find any trails to follow. I gently probed the Hispanic family, interrupting a rousing game of horseshoes and had the same answer, no trails or climbing that we know of. The females were perched in lawn chairs on a small rise of rock. The older males were tossing horseshoes while a charcoal grill flamed in the fore distance. There were ten children of various ages chasing each other around the camp site. They looked like they were having a great family outing and were pleasant.

We had driven the mine road past the camp on our initial foray into the area and had seen several cars parked along the side of the road at little turn out gravel areas. Traci humored me and agreed to investigate these areas for evidence of rock climbing fortunes. We parked, exited the vehicle and began walking toward what was clearly a canyon. There appeared to be a makeshift broken line of gravel I would call a trail and began to present this option to Traci to explore a little of the canyon. Traci, looking down about 6-9 feet into the canyon had visions of her precious children careening their bloodied bodies off the rock onto the canyon floor crying "mommy why did you let him do this to us?" We couldn't find it and Traci had her mother brain going in high gear so there was not the option of "looking" for the awesomely challenging bouldering routes.

The time was passing quickly, someone called out a need for a potty break and we headed back to Superior, Arizona. At the western edge of town was The Buckboard Restaurant home of the world's smallest museum and we struck into the joint. We were seated, those of us needing went to use the facilities, and we ordered lunch. We ate hamburgers, Sophia a grilled cheese, french fries all around. Traci and I fought for Shane's side of ranch to dip our rise into. Shane would then charge us a french fry for each dip into the salad dressing. The meal was forty dollars. I asked the hostess if she knew of any good rock climbing. She said people would park on the side of the road on the little gravel lot just beyond the tunnel and somehow they got onto the rocks. She said she had never done it herself but has seen several cars parked there and several people on the rocks.

We left the restaurant, drove through the tunnel and parked the car. Bellies were full, bladders were empty and it was time to get into this canyon. I poked around the edge of the parking lot and saw a small trail heading into the canyon. Traci muttered a slight disapproval but I was already heading down the trail with at least one child on tow. The trail looked more frightful than it was unsafe and we arrived intact on the canyon floor. We ended up hiking through the floor of the canyon and had a great time. The area is strewn with various sized rocks to climb over throughout the bed of the creek. This creek bed is mostly shades of grey while the canyon walls are red littered with deciduous trees, cacti and various weeds. It was colorful.
As I wrote this Sophia cranked her poor little head on the conrner of the coffee table and instantly developed a bright purple knot. Poor Sophie! So the next few pics we send she will probably look like the survivor of a brawl.

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