|Algonquin / Horsethief / 201 Loop, AZ|| || |
|Hiking||15.25 Miles|| 9 Hrs 55 Mns || ||1.71 mph|
|4,300 ft AEG|| 1 Hour Break||16 LBS Pack|| |
The Algonquin Trail #225 has been on my "To Do" list for quite some time now. I kept putting it off because I thought the entire trail looked like the Southern TH. I had nightmares of head high Cats Claw and climbing over 100's of burned fallen trees. Today was the day and decided to make it a loop and pull in a couple of other little traveled trails up there (Horse Thief Canyon #30 & Recreation Trail #201).
First of all, the road to Crown King was in the best shape I have ever seen it. This made the 25 miles of driving off of I-17 much more pleasant than in the past. We hit the TH at a smidge after 7am and were the first car there. I'd always read the stories of how painful the drop down the Algonquin Trail to Poland Creek was (More importantly, the trek back up). It was not as bad as expected. Poland creek was running nicely and surprisingly, Horse Thief creek was even nicer. There were a few spots on the way to the Horse Thief / Algonquin intersection, where the trail was thin, but following the trail and Cats Claw was not bad at all. The trip up Horse Thief as well was not bad, but finding the Recreation 201 trail would be near impossible with out GPS. If you are doing it with out GPS, hang a right up the hill at the Castle Creek wilderness sign and follow the fence line. That will get you close and you should cross the faint trail in spots. It's only a short 1.6 miles on this until you reach FR52.
From this point you have a 2.2 mile road slog. Something to cover your mouth would be handy on this section because of the smattering of car, quad, and motorcycle traffic. The road is quite dusty.
Now you turn on the Algonquin Trail again to start the hike back. This section is 6 miles and drops from 6,900' to 4,400' into Poland Creek. This part of the hike reminds me of the Wilderness of Rocks trail down in Tucson.
If you do this loop, it is suggested to do it Clockwise. The Algonquin Trail drops about 2,000' in 2 miles and is steep and loose in spots. I would not want to climb up this.
On the feared climb out of Poland Creek to the trailhead we saw a Black-tailed buzzworm sunning himself in the middle of the trail. We waited a bit and talked to another hiker that had just come back from the Big Dipper. The hike up was nothing like what I'd feared. It really was not bad at all.
I'm glad to have this one knocked off my list. The Creeks and the Cabin area were way cool, as well as the ruggedness of this little traveled area. This is a very nice hike, in temps 25 degrees cooler than the valley. Thanks to Joe for joining me on this one. Whine factor today was in full force.
||Wildflowers Observation Moderate
|“Celebrate your success and stand strong when adversity hits, for when the storm clouds come in, |
the Eagles soar while the small birds take cover.” Unknown
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain."