On the Trail: Vulture Mine Trail

It has been a very long time since we jumped in the Jeep and headed out to find a rocky and dusty trail to leave the worries and frustrations of everyday life behind for a few hours.  We decided on the Vulture Mine Trail near Morristown, AZ.  We packed the Jeep with water, soda, a picnic and our cameras.

We followed the directions in the trail book Guide to Arizona Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails, by Charles Wells and Matt Peterson.  We never leave home without it.   The trail starts after driving across the Hassayampa River bed, which was dry today.   This area has quite a bit of off road activity and many different trails that intersect each other.    We noticed the trails had been marked, which made it very convenient.  We went on trail, 9054, 9071, 9050, 9052, 9053 and back to 9054.   We made lots of notes in our trail book.

This trail took us through beautiful and very rugged mountains, as well as going through many washes.  At times we would drive more than a mile in the wash.  All were dry today, but it is apparent how much water runs through these washes during the monsoons by the debris in the bushes and trees.   The trail book noted an old stone building.  Not much left of it at this point, except the walls.  It was interesting to see the wood that was used for the window headers.  Another point of interest was a survey marker in the middle of a wash.  I am always fascinated when we find these out in the middle of nowhere.

What we noticed today was how the birds would utilize the cholla cactus for nests.  If you can envision building your house in a tangle of barbed wire, with a small entrance only you can make it through, then you can imagine the safety these cactuses provide the wildlife.

The temperature reached 105 today in the area.  Despite the heat, we enjoyed a great picnic, sitting under the shade of a palo verde tree.   It was very quiet, and we had the entire trail to ourselves.  Neither one of us discussed our work today.  Our adventures seem to remind us that there is so much to see and enjoy.   This trail was rated a moderate, and we had no trouble on the rocky and rutted roads.  Sam put it into 4-wheel drive to keep the tires from slipping on gravel as we climbed some steep hills.  Otherwise we would not have needed it.  The trail was around 15 miles long, and took us 3 hours with a 20 minute lunch stop and picture taking. We did get some pinstriping on the Jeep today, which was unavoidable going through the washes with overgrown vegetation.  It was worth it!


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