Oh how we needed this trip.  We had no agenda other than to head for the trees and get out of this god-forsaken heat bowl of a desert that somebody decided to build a town on top of, then had to make concrete rivers to import actual water in to make sure all the gravel in people's yards still yielded every thorned plant on the earth.  Does it really take us till we're old and grizzled by the seasonless heat to figure out that Phoenix is physically and mentally unbearable and to head for the hills where the lower 3/4 of the thermometer is actually used?  I swear Desert landscaping has got to be the biggest oxymoron since a pretty ugly bitter sweet 12-ounce pound cake.  But I'll shut up because the trip finally did pan out after 6 weeks of annoying hold ups, and we were able to break free and head north.

We did the 2 Jeep thing again, good old yellow and pewter, and let the trees provide the green.  We knew it could rain up where we were headed, but that was about it.  We didn't know where we would be going or where we would end up, but we had the GPS and a 3' x 4' topo map (6" equaled a full mile) I made on the poster printer at work.  We decided to pursue a quadrangle with the edge points at Star Valley, Tonto Village, and Pyeatt Draw.  We figured we'd try to take every road marked Jeep trail or any other path that we found.  This was the first real test out with my Garmin Ique, and it worked like a charm.

The terrain was a great change of pace from just rocks, and offered everything to dirt, clay, mud, water, and rock.  Throw in the camping and the caving, and you might have a taste of the complete off-road pyramid. 

We ended up hitting Schoolhouse canyon first.  We found a nice backyard sized water hole for the Jeeps to swim, in but sadly it wasn't quite deep enough to really try out the snorkels.  But that didn't stop Dana from driving up in it as deep as she could, or Jared from seeing how fast he could take it and how large of a water explosion he could hide his Jeep in.  If you're wondering, they both left their doors on for the trip, had on Bikini tops, and Dana had on her wind jammer as well, so the water didn't come in too much.

We moved on, driving mostly in and out of the dirt canyon.  It got pretty tight and twisty in some spots and sometimes it had to be crossed straight across, fully testing departure angles as the drivers stared almost directly at the ground through their front windshield and their rear bumpers gouging the loose dirt as they leveled out.  4Low was necessary at a few spots on this trail because of traction, steepness, and, traction and steepness.

We headed right at the fork, taking another Jeep Trail along a low wash area and stopped to pose the Jeeps with the girls and trees.  Back in the wash, we took another right fork to connect with Lion Spring Draw, where the trail shot up and out providing a good view of the lookout tower, and bypassing part of the creek that had eaten away the passage below.  It brought us back down eventually and we rode the draw out to the main road concluding our first trail system of the day.