|Hiking||10.60 Miles|| 2 Hrs || ||5.30 mph|
|2,700 ft AEG|| || || |
Hells Hole Trail - Salome Wilderness
I decided on this hike based on the idea of an overnight mission with the possibility of catching some trout and camping at an altitude where I wouldn't freeze at night. It was Tuesday so I figured I might have the place to myself. I had not been to the Sierra Ancha's before and was looking forward to exploring Workman creek. I had an idea that I might find trout further downstream from the main road that had been washed down a little further. I left Gilbert around 6:00AM and headed toward Globe. I beat the sunrise! If your not familiar with what I'm taking about, just make sure you get to Globe before the sun comes up or you'll see what I mean. Once I turned off on 88 north and then on 288 I only passed a handful of cars. Once I crossed over the Salt river, I passed only 1 truck before arriving at the Reynolds creek trailhead. I enjoyed the drive uphill working my way into the Ancha's. It is a beautiful drive.
At the trailhead it was 31 degrees when I started hiking at 9:15AM but there wasn't much snow and the forecast was for warmer temps and no precipitation. The first 1/2 mile was a gradual climb through pine forest and I saw a camouflaged tent back through the trees, maybe a hunters hideout? After about a mile and a half I noticed a ranch to the left with a couple of buildings. I also noticed that I had been steadily losing altitude. I left the pines and the next 1/2 mile or so dropped right down into Workman creek. Here there was a potential campsite and a nice sized creek. I would guess that there is always water here. I filled my water bottles and had a snack before moving on. Upstream was the ranch, downstream the creek entered what looked like a tight canyon. The trail crossed the creek and promptly entered the Salome Wilderness. The next mile or so was all uphill through more pine forest. The trail then leveled out and there was the junction with Boyer Cabin trail. I would say that I had about 2 or 2.5 miles to go, but my mileage seemed to vary a bit from the trail signs posted. I kept to the right and continued through the scrubby trees and prickly pear cactuses that had snow on them. As I made my way in a more northerly direction I began to see the opposite side of the deep canyon I was about to enter. Either way, the last mile and half were all downhill for sure. Again, nothing to steep, just a lot of switchbacks. I could here the creek way before I could see it. All in all I only used my hands 1 or 2 times the whole way. It was nothing like the Point trail at WCC by comparison, more like the Maxwell trail maybe. I arrived 1:00PM.
The reward for the hike was spectacular. Workman creek was flowing nicely and I spotted two trout in the first pool I glanced into. There were maybe 3 good camping spots there at the end of the trail. That's something to keep in mind if the parking lot at Reynolds creek is full, but I had the whole thing to myself. I picked the middle spot since it had the best fire ring and someone left a frying pan for me to use. That had me wondering about trout again? By the way, I left your frying pan and grate that was tied up in the tree. I used both but left them for the next person, thanks. After lunch and setting up camp I set up my fly rod and snuck up on those two trout I spotted earlier. On the first cast into the pool I hooked and landed a nice 12 inch rainbow. This fish was full of scuds and very healthy. I also caught 3 more trout but they were less than 6 inches long. I believe these were stream bred rainbows as they looked just like the ones I caught in WCC.
The night was chilly but I had a good fire. The moon was bright and the stars were out in force. The next morning it got a little cloudy and windy so I decided to hike out after breakfast. All in all this was a great spot to camp. There were at least 3 level campsites with room for about 6 tents all together. Firewood was plentiful and I'll bet water is always there. I'll be back for sure. The hike out is uphill to start and it's a long steady uphill that just doesn't seem to stop. It took me a little over 2 hours to make it back to the crossing of Workman creek by the ranch. From there I took my time and made it back to the truck in about another 2 hours. The uphill sections are longer going back.