October 25, 2017
There is no one Querencia Arroyo hike. The geography is so complex that one could do dozens and not cross paths with any done before. The place is only 6 or 7 miles from Highway 550, but one would not know it. Most of this land is untravelled. I have never seen any footprints in the area other than on the dirt road that ends the hike.
A land of the ancients, it is the Southernmost arm of the Colorado Plateau with flora only seen 200 or more miles North yet they thrive here. A land of the Cretaceous Era of 65 million or more years ago. Gizzard stones from the guts of dinosaurs are not uncommon as are the fossils of crinoids. Then there are the traces of ancient peoples who occupied this land as their ancestors nearby still do.
The difficulty is part of the attraction. The arroyo itself is a cut bank of up to 20 feet deep and sheer through most of it’s length. It is choked with tamarisk with patches of quicksand. There are multiple tributaries so despite great effort it is hard to avoid. One crosses it and goes out of their way to get around it, but they do not travel through it.
We were Jon Blakey, Nancy King, and myself. We travelled 9.72 miles, climbed 929 feet, and our hike took 5 hours and 18 minutes.