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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Camping at the Gila Box

At the end of September we had a "Birthday Weekend" -basically the weekend closest to the family member's birthday is set aside for an adventure.  Our oldest wanted to go camping, fishing, and soak in a hot spring.  Since the closest hot springs are near Safford, we headed up that way for our short weekend trip.  I'd wanted to go check out the Gila Box, so we went to the Riverview Campground to spend a night under the stars.  We left a little late, and it was an hour or so after dark by the time we got there.  Along the way we saw a rattlesnake crawling across the road.  We drove in and discovered that we had the whole campground to ourselves.  We picked a site, set up camp, then went to bed.  There was a small possibility of rain, so we put the rainfly on, fortunately because there were a few sprinkles during the night. 
We woke up, ate breakfast, and opened presents.  Then we went down to the river and discovered that it was high and muddy- not a good combination for fishing.  So we drove over to Bonita Creek and the Serna Cabin.  The Serna Cabin was a line cabin for ranchers, but for a few years it was permanently occupied.  There's a small interpretive sign nearby.   Bonita Creek wasn't much- more like a trickle.  We wandered down to the Gila River, saw a few raccoon tracks in the mud, then decided there were better places to go with young kids.  Normally it would have been fun to stay, but heavy rain earlier in the week had made the banks muddy and the river high and fast.  You can do float trips through the Gila Box, and it looks like a fun trip to do if you time it right.
Here's a view of the lower Gila Box from a bluff overlooking the river.  It's a beautiful area, and quite surprising that it was as secluded and lonesome as it was. 
We stopped at the boat take out at the west end of the Gila Box to see if there was a better fishing hole, but it just wasn't our day.  We packed up and headed for Roper Lake for some fishing and hot springs.

Nearest City: Safford, AZ
Location: N° W°
Time Needed:
Kid Friendly:
Additional Info: BLM website for the Riverview Campground

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