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Thread: Tonto Creek Overnight 6-14-13

  1. #1

    camping Tonto Creek Overnight 6-14-13

    Man I've been spending a lot of time on this creek apparently.

    A girl trip was going down this Fri-Sat, so I really needed to put a man trip together. Not too far and definitely next to/involving water. I was able to rustle up Jonathan and Steve with a "Hey I'm not sure where we are going yet, but pack camping gear and a tube."

    I played around on the maps, looking at other ways into Tonto Creek. I thought I had a good lead, a probably doable 2wd road out, and then a possible quarter mile hike to get us to some water that could have a suitable beach on it to camp. I figured once we had set up everything, we could go up stream the first day and then downstream the second. I wanted a new uncharted area with the possibility of meeting up with where Noel and I stopped coming the other way on another trip

    I played a half day at work and then met Jonathan so someone else could drive for a change. We loaded up his 2wd Frontier and I got out the maps.
    The planning paid off and we were able to drive and hike to the place I wanted us to be. Google Earth came through too and the tree stand looked as good on the ground as it did on aerial. Jonathan found a great nestled in area and then we tubed upstream.

    This was another one of those, "Woah, we are totally on the middle of nowhere," feeling trips. I knew if we kept going we'd end up meeting up where Paul and I crossed back on this trip: but now what was in between.

    I've been out to Tonto a bit and still somehow did not know there were catfish down there. The carp are numbered aplenty but never had I seen a cat. They hide and swim around with the carp, but sure enough we started spotting them in deeper shady areas. We had no gear but we figured we could man about and see what happened. After getting our form down and practicing on a carp, I went for the biggest catfish Jonathan and Steve could find. He was hard to hold on to but low and behold we now had a 18" cat to figure out to do with. I yanked out a shoelace and strung him to my bag. For much of the return hike/tube (for the fish, it was more a leashed swim) back to camp we talked about how we could skin him with no piers between us.

    We ended up putting a carabiner through his jaw and then tried making an augur hole in his skin to have somewhere to loop through to peel his skin back. That didn't work so I had to use a pocket knife to cut its skin from the meat which took a while. He filleted easy enough and you know we cooked him up for dinner and at the whole thing. Good times.

    When it was time for bed, Steve and Jonathan realized there were spiders literally everywhere (and a few lightning bugs). I had brought a hammock just in case the trees panned out. The spiders didn't bite at all, so they got used to them and we all slept pretty awesomely with the loud rapids to lull us the night through.

    Saturday we went down stream. There were lots of pools to swim and places creek walking or rock hopping was necessary. We got dive bombed by what looked like 200 cliff swallows protecting their numerous mud nests. We scared up a lot of ducks, and one momma with 8 ducklings. We found some good jump off places, some 12", some 25" deep.

    We checked out a few mines along the way and at one point I climbed up a dry waterfall on the side of the canyon to see what I could see and I got attacked by hornets. They hit fast and I only felt two stinging pain spots to know to move faster. I slid down the falls and dove in as soon as I saw water. I lost my hat up there but I'm happy with that decision. My welts grew big on my temple and the back of my shoulder.

    Anyway, we made it to where Noel and I had from the other direction and we went further for them to check out the box's canyon walls. We paused after and napped for a bit then turned around and headed back to camp.

    It was a great trip.

    I only brought the cell phone and a crappy little digital I inherited in the marriage so:

    Steve's pad

    Jonathan making his flat nestled foundation


    Friday afternoon

    Wide open

    Step one, can I catch a fish by hand?

    Step 2, can we get one worth eating?

    Step 3, can we get the meat out and skinless?

    Saturday typical view


    We had some cloud cover for about 45% of the day and a nice breeze

    Rapids play

    Getting back in

    Mining cable

    Not a tiring view

    The Box
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Awesome! Love the hammock.. Looks like a great/relaxing time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Glendale, AZ


    Very cool.

    I've never tried to skin a catfish. Usually I just clean all the slimy crap off it, gut it, and cook the sucker. Carps are another story...
    2009 4-door JK - 85% daily driver, 15% hunting vehicle, 100% fun!

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  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndchance View Post
    Very cool.

    I've never tried to skin a catfish. Usually I just clean all the slimy crap off it, gut it, and cook the sucker.
    Vice grips in the mouth, cut his skin around his collar, and vice grip his skin down like you're pulling off his clothes. Skin makes them all fishy.

    Oh, and half my face is all puffy from the stings
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  5. #5


    Sting report: My sunglasses don't fit and my wife calls me her half Asian husband now

    It's weird but the day of the sting, after the initial hour, there was no swelling. I'm definitely allergic.
    I know it was a swarm, just not what kind. My brain took over getting me down the waterfall that I don't know how I got down. I remember seeing two things still flying around me as I dove in the water.

    Oh also, Jonathan's dry sack had a hole in it so my phone is getting the rice bowl treatment.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by Skatchkins View Post
    Oh also, Jonathan's sack had a hole in it.
    That had to hurt.
    Touch the cow. Do it NOW!

  7. #7



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    Disclaimably quotastic
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Peoria AZ


    Chicks in Hollywood pay a lot of money to look like that. Enjoy it, your hot.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Glendale, AZ


    What a great trip and write up! Love the true "lets go explore" trips. Not a bad way to spend the weekend. :-)
    The Dusty Gnome / White Collar Publishing
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