Wade Norton

Trail Reviews: 1900 points
Questions Answered: 0 points

My Profile

Off-Road Experience:
6+ years
Off-Road Style:
Dirt Roads/Backroads
My Garage:
  • 2017 Ford F-350 (Stock lift, 34" tires)
Been off-road most of my life. In my youth I purchased my first CJ5 and since then have owned 5 Jeep’s, 2 FJ40s, numerous 4x4 trucks and even a Porsche Cayenne (for winter driving while living in Chicago). We enjoy exploring the back country. We especially like rock art, ruins and historic places.

My Garage (1)

2017 Ford F-350

Lift Size: Stock
Tire Size: 34"

My Trail Reviews (3)

(within last 6 months)
Bloody Basin Road (03/10/2021)
The Verde River Sheep Bridge Anyone who knows me, knows that I love chasing archaeology in the surrounding areas. That would include ghost towns, mining towns, indigenous peoples ruins, rock art and much more. Yesterday while exploring we found a very cool hot springs resort way out in the middle of the desert. Upon returning, We did some Google searches and found the nightly rate at that spa was $2000 per couple per night. That’s a little too steep for a spring fed mineral bath. So the next best thing, go find our own natural Hot Springs. After a little research we decided we were going to head up the mountain to find the natural hot spring in the area of the sheep’s bridge. Because we had a definite destination we traveled right on by the many indigenous peoples ruins in the area. Can I say, the area in and around Agua Fria national Monument is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to go four wheeling. The road was in good condition but extremely rocky, which made for a very slow commute. It was about a 38 mile dirt road that took us just under three hours. But it was so worth it. What a cool place to see and with amazing history. Verde River Sheep Bridge is a historic suspension bridge spanning the Verde River about 30 miles north of Carefree, Arizona. It is found at the end of the 36 mile long Bloody Basin Road from I-17 or about 30 miles north of Carefree. The area surrounding the Verde River, which includes much of Bloody Basin, is lush and was a favorable location for grazing animals. In 1926, under permit from the U.S. Forest Service, sheep herders began using the area as they moved sheep between winter grazing areas in the south and summer grazing areas in the north. There was a problem however. The Verde River was a formidable obstacle and while swimming sheep across the river, it was not uncommon to lose a few sheep at each crossing. An early solution to this problem was a pontoon bridge built at Red Creek, about 6 miles north of the current Sheep Bridge. A suspension bridge was later built and used for about 3 years at Tangle Creek. This worked, but the bridge would have to be disassembled and reassembled each time a herder wanted to cross since flash flooding could sweep the bridge away. A more permanent solution was needed The Flagstaff Sheep Company, which owned around 11,000 head of sheep, decided to construct a permanent bridge over the Verde at the current site. A road to the site was built in 1943 and construction began immediately. Because construction took place during WWII, supplies were limited and the bridge was largely built out of surplus materials from the area. The cables on the bridge were brought from old mine tramways at the Bluebell and Golden Turkey Mine to the west. The bridge was completed in 1944 for a cost of $7,277. The supports were originally built out of wood and later reinforced with concrete.Sheep Bridge was used by sheep herders until 1978. The bridge sat for 10 years and was weakened from years of use followed by years of flooding. In 1988, the old bridge was disassembled and the current bridge was built by the Forest Service in 1989. Portions of the old bridge remain today on the west banks of the Verde. The bridge today is primarily used by curious travelers and those hiking into the Mazatzal Wilderness to the east. Combined with other historical stops in the area, it makes for an interesting day of exploring. The walkway spans over 400’ across the Verde River which flows year ‘round. Exploring each bank you can find large anchor points where the steel cables are sturdily affixed to the rock. Numerous foundations (including a hot spring) can be found on the west banks of the Verde and mark the former homestead of sheep herders when the bridge was in use. Enjoy exploring the area and the opportunity to look back into a unique part of Arizona’s ranching.
Castle Hot Springs (03/09/2021)
Nice trip to Castle Springs and beyond. This road is in great shape and can easily traversed with the family sedan. To make the trip worthwhile be sure to read the history of the hot springs. Awesome story.
Champie Road (03/09/2021)
Beautiful scenery. Fun history of the area. Such as the fact that John F Kennedy stayed in the nearby hit springs for 90 days recovering from wounds from WWII Fun drive.