The Magic of the Thompson Trail
The Thomspon Trail was really one of the prettiest trails we’d hiked in long time and I was admittedly giddy for most of our walk. There are few areas of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest left untouched by the 2011 Wallow Fire but though the area through which the Thompson Trail crosses is no exception, the deeper timbered canyons escaped at least some of the damage, and still feature mature fir and spruce. And y’all know how much I love big trees. The newly-green grass, rocky outcroppings, small meadows, and the tumbling water of course made it all the better. Suffice it to say, there was a lot of picture-taking.
Following the West Fork of the Black River, the trail looses a mere 450 feet over 5 miles making it an easy, pleasant stroll down the canyon. Like our previous hikes and explorations in the area we were entirely alone, which helped us settle into an relaxed pace as we coasted downriver, enjoying the beautiful scenery and the bubbling of the river. We stopped multiple times just to sit and watch the water flowing, luxuriating in the quiet. It was actually a perfect hike – except for the fact that Abby had to roll in dead elk pelt. Twice. But even that wasn’t a problem after we chucked her into the river, splashing the offending area to make sure she got sufficiently rinsed.
Other than the gorgeous scenery the trail notably included two concrete fish barriers about a half mile from the trailhead, in place to prevent non-native species from swimming upstream and competing with the Apache Trout. And within the splash zone of the falling water of the second barrier were even beautifully iced-over blades of grass that I just couldn’t get enough of. No pun intended, but it was kind of icing on the cake.
And if the day couldn’t get any better, we had a small herd of elk cross in front of us on the drive home! Apparently elk are an actual traffic hazard around here since the local populations are thriving, but I saw the ladies in plenty of time and not only had time to safely stop the truck, but capture them on camera.