We departed staging area about 9:20 heading to Dugas, AZ. It was a bit chilly with bright sun. The group consisted of 8 vehicles. ( A little disappointing as this was a club. ) Thank you to those that did come along.
As we increased in altitude the road turned into a trail and then into a trail with a lot of rocks and boulders to navigate around. At approximately 6300′ we were at the edge of the Verde mesa looking down toward the river. We would have to traverse a steep rocky, winding train down to the river. The decent was approximately 3700′. One more item, snow was on the trail especially the North faces of the mountain.
We made it safely down 2/3rds of the way and took a lunch break at intersection of FS 68E and 57 . Did I mention rocks on the trail? Foreword on to the spring after lunch.
The views of the river as we descended were amazing.
We finely came to flat terrain and the old abandoned ranch. (Years ago I had made this trip and the ranch house was occupied. The now dilapidated stone house was still standing but had been vandalized over the years)
This is where my disappointment set in. We were less 1/3 of a mile from the Spring and found the gate to the old parking area LOCKED. (Big Lock). We were stopped dead in our tracks. While most of us explored the old ranch building and ground a couple of our group hiked to the Springs. Apparently it was crowded. Access is much easier from the other side of the river.
Disappointed about the springs, we began our trek back up the mountain and back to the staging area. Although we only logged about 55 miles this trip seemed much longer. The terrain had every think to do with that.
We all had a good however and enjoyed the fellowship, scenery, weather and the adventure.