Continuing our exploration of the Wing Trail from the previous week, four of us set out to hike in from the opposite end, beginning at the mouth of Trail Canyon and turning around at Joe Spring. Alan and I were the only ones who made both trips, with Wade and Shayne joining us this day. It was a very cold eight-mile motorcycle ride from Woodside to the mouth of Trail Canyon, and after parking the bikes it took several minutes for some of my fingers to regain feeling.
The steep canyon walls held the sunlight at bay for the first portion of the hike and, despite the effort of hiking, it took me a long time to warm up. We passed up the mouth of Little Park Wash and encountered a dryfall that had a short constructed trail that bypassed it. A cairn above the watercourse caught our attention and Wade climbed up to inspect it, finding a mining claim from 1932 stashed in a tobacco tin.
Farther up Trail Canyon were more dryfalls with a constructed trail going around them. We reached a series of constructed switchbacks that led above the canyon to Joe Spring. There we found many things of interest. A 155-foot-long trough was in disrepair. Near the trough was the remains of a bighorn sheep what was likely a mountain lion kill. It had been picked clean, and a short distance away were the sheaths of its horns. The spot where Joe Spring was supposed to be was dry, with no recent signs of water. On a ledge among some boulders were some chunks of red mineral that I assumed was red ochre, but I’ve never actually seen red ochre before so I’m uncertain what it really was.
We stopped for lunch near some ledges below Joe Spring, and there I found one of the most perfect arrowheads I’ve ever seen in the wild. It was nicely formed, fully intact, and its edges were finely serrated. After lunch we headed back down the canyon, making a side trip out of the drainage near the confluence with Little Park Wash to visit a stone cabin. The cabin was my favorite point of interest on the trip. Its walls were dry-stacked but expertly formed. The roof consisted of wooden beams with flat stones and dirt overhead. Inside was a stone bench and shelves built into the walls. The cabin seemed so out of place on the bench above the canyon, but obviously it was important to whoever built it.
We continued the hike down the canyon as the sun once again retreated. Reunited with our motorcycles, the group checked out the crossing of the Price River just downstream from Trail Canyon–it was a lot rougher than the last time I had seen it a couple of years earlier. We also made a few stops on the way back toward Woodside to look at rock art and the views in the canyon. Our total hiking distance was about 9.5 miles, still leaving a big chunk of the Wing Trail in the middle left to be explored.
Though I tried not to show it, it was a somewhat emotional day for me. Exactly ten years earlier I’d had an unpleasant experience just a few miles away. Though I still get the creeps around there, I felt empowered being able to roam freely in the area this time without having to worry about being molested.
Photo Gallery: Trail Canyon to Joe Spring
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