Day three takes me 10 miles west on the Tonto to Monument Creek. Long, but mostly level. But not straight. You have to hike north toward the river to go around a series of ridges
(the first is The Battleship), and then south to go around side canyons (the first is Horn Creek). You can't drink from Horn as the water is radioactive from a Unranium mine up on the ridge.
As I saw yesterday, the views on the Tonto are amazing. Plus (unlike the corridor) it's very quiet.
I saw only 12 people today, and 1/2 of those were on the campground, not on the trail. If I get in trouble, there won't be anyone around to help.
I continued looping around ridges and side canyons. I this is Dana Bute just before salt creek.
It's another creek you can't drink from, this time due to too much salt. The creek was barely a trickle anyway.
Then you get to Monument Creek (tonight's campsite). It's named for this giant (200 ft?) rock pillar right by the campground. The descent into Monument is a bitch.
It's steep, deep, and rocky, and the trail is hard to follow. Plus I had crazy winds here. Setting up the tent was hard and after it was up, everything was covered in red dust.
Just a few yards down stream from the camp site, Monument creek goes through a narrow slot canyon. Here the creek is below the sandstone and in the billion year
old metamorphic rocks that make up the base of the canyon (lots of rose granite). It was fun splashing in the water as it went through the narrow slot.
But again, finding the trail that went back to the campground was a pain. I was just about ready to hike back up the slot when I found the little cairn marking the trail.