Sunday, October 31, 2010

Black Canyon Revisited-Gila National Forest

I went back to Black Canyon. The trail situation is still a little murky.The fence is cut now where it enters private property, and the gate is open on the other end where it exits. The "alternate" trails that went up the hillside don't appear used anymore, and yet there is nothing positively indicating,by way of sign, that this is indeed the right course of action(crossing the private section). It probably takes all of 2 minutes or less to cross and re-enter Forest Service land, and yet I'm watching the house,which appears now to be occupied as indicated by the smoke emitting from the chimney, and feeling a bit anxious as I imagine some potential confrontation for that entire 120 seconds. But onto better things. It was cold and very damp still at ten when I arrived. The water was low and the stream bed heavily silted with, I assume, ash from last years Aspen fire. The fish were still there,perhaps a little harder to catch, a dozen or so,all Gilas from about 7 to 10 inches , with one a bit larger and one a bit smaller.The amount of silt stirred up on each release was a bit disturbing. Only sporadic sunshine throughout the day kept it from ever getting warm , which was good and bad. The fall color was at its peak in the canyon with boxelder, oak, grapevine, willow, cottonwood and even a few aspens providing the display. The Gila trout seemed a little duller colored, but still wonderfully willing to take old fashioned dries.This stream is still too open and too wide for it's own good in the lower reaches above the road. I walked about four miles in to perhaps a mile below the confluence with Aspen Canyon, but I'd really like to backpack in and see what the fishing is like further upstream.

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