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February 12-13: Gila Box Riparian

What a difference two days and nights of quiet and solitude make - especially off-grid! We hiked and oohed and ahhed our way along and above the Gila River at Gila Box Riparian National Conversation Area. If we are fortunate enough to be able to make this trip again, we plan on returning to the Gila, and for a longer stay.

It was hard to know where to rest the eyes with so many astonishing views.

Our entertainment in the late afternoon was watching what may have been Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep or desert bighorn sheep scrambling along what appeared to be a cliffside, just above the 200-foot vertical drop of the canyon wall. An occasional small rock slide made me grimace, as I waited for one of the seven sheep to plummet to their deaths. Of course, they did not because they are in their natural environment.

On the left, the 200-foot sheer cliff and little white dots (sheep). The other two pics are close-ups of these intrepid beasts.

Thirteen dispersed campsites make up the campground. Ours was one of two sites occupied, making for a completely peaceful stay.

A few mile trail loops around the campground and along the Gila canyon. Views abound in all directions.

Rested and re-invigorated, we head to Cave Creek Regional Park, a Maricopa County park north of Phoenix. Civilization, here we come.

A gorgeous sunset after a stormy afternoon graced our campground.

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