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Box Canyon to the Coke Ovens

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We took another stab at reaching the Coke Ovens today. This is about the umpteenth attempt for me. One time we took the easy way and saw them from across the river at Cochran. That however is just the consolation prize. I want to stand right beside them. Another time (Pre-Green Monster) I hiked through Box Canyon and maybe got about halfway before pooping out. And on another ill fated excursion I tried going in on Battle Axe road but was snowed out. Okay it was mostly rain but there were a couple snowflakes that day.

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So today was the day! We invited friends to ride along. (And to Push if needed) Another jeep led us through most of the Narrows in the canyon. It wasn’t doing so great. (On our way back out it was parked with a broken axle.) The green monster conquered that part with ease. It was a beautiful day. Not too much other traffic either except for a couple groups of ATV’s and a red jeep. This back country is fabulous. My memory from flying over it on Google Earth was spot on too. Will wonders never cease?

So for once I wasn’t even remotely lost. We stopped for lunch by the pond which is about dried up. That red jeep went past. I watched it go up the next hill. The driver got out and looked things over. Then he drove over a big boulder about as tall as his jeep. Okay I can do that! My passengers took my suggestion to walk. Smart people. I think a couple of my wheels went air-born but I crawled over it. (coming back down hill was even more fun)Then our road turned into polished slick rock with ledges and boulders. Things were pretty rough for my back seat passengers. We were sooo close now. The Gila River was just over the next hill. Those coke ovens are right next to the river. Then we topped a rise and looked down. Nothing but really steep polished rock with ledges that probably would stand my jeep on its nose and everything sloped toward the side where the canyon dropped away. That red jeep must have made it because he wasn’t down in that canyon. However I still have some common sense. This was turn around time for me.

Someday I might actually get to the coke ovens but it won’t be over this road. Maybe I’ll swim the river. Maybe I’ll just try to get to Martinez cabin instead. So many trails out here to choose from.

Will was here 2/28/2014



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