May 6, 2011
Spending the night in the backcountry at Apache lake is your typical Cinco de Mayo, but it is an ahsum way.
I split from work at 2:00 and was on the water at 4:30, as I left my car at Crabtree Wash (with Tonto Pass).
The humidity in the valley was literally 2% and the temps were over 100 degrees, but the lake felt slightly more cool, and the bump in humidity actually felt good with the breeze.
I was a little fatigue from busy work week, and paddling a loaded down kayak into the wind was not killing my thrill of being on water again.
As I made my way west along the north shore, I had my eyes peeled for bighorn sheep, but I finally saw some ewes way up on the cliffs above. The ones I spotted were just before Alder Creek wash. My video footage was pretty shaky due to the length I was throwing my zoom lense and tad bit of chop in the water.
I pulled into Alder Creek wash, and was surprised how low the water was. Obviously, I knew it was down lower than normal before I got there, but it was down to the muck deep in the wash. I wasn't sure where I was gonna park it for the night, but in the was wash was out of the question due to the mud and bugs.
Plan B was to head out to peninsula at the entrance of Alder Creek Bay. I found some suitable bivy spots, and parked it here for the night. By this time, it was 7:00 and I knew the sun was gonna be down about 20 minutes later. I scurried to unload my stuff and get my tent set up. A fire wasn't necessary, but I opted for one to add a little light to the situation. With the humidity so low and everything tinder, I definitely used some discretion and selected a pit down on the shore. The beers by fire certainly tasted yummy.
I had a close encounter with bobcat on Pinal Mt. last weekend, so just as a precaution against a bigger cat I brought small bottle of pepper spray. It was nice getting away from the all the white noise of the city, and it was neato hearing the sounds of everything zooming around me. The fish were jumping all night. I didn't know Apache Lake was know for its big hooters, cuz the owls were hootin'-and-a-hollerin' all night.
I rolled over around 4:30, a noticed the shooting stars I was seeing was switching to dawn. I got up about 5:00 to set up a camera for time lapse. I kinda wish I started later and let it go longer, but vid turned out 'just okay'. Definitely not worth the missed sack time.
I rolled outta camp about 7:00 and slowly made my way down to Horse Mesa Dam. The only real wildlife were some vultures kicking it on the shore. On my way back up the lake, I spotted the bighorns again, but they were even higher up than before.
I really took my time heading back up the lake, but I wrapped up my trip at 12:00.
No real new exploring, or a huge amount of miles(about 14 or so), but just a good time on the lake.
Here is little video of my trip:
And here is an interactive Google Earth map of the area: