Bruce has picked all the hikes for as long as I can remember and asked me to take the honors. Considering he has a long streak of winners I was a tad weary. So I used the In Season
map to see what was available. I checked out one hike in the Prescott NF then another. Then I started plotting routes from what was posted. I used an incredible tool suggested by Grasshopper called Send to Route MGR
. About 20 seconds later I had a rough draft of this Mingus Route. I saved and sent the link to Bruce expecting him to tell me I'm crazy and to keep on looking... low and behold he said yes! This almost brought tears of joy. So I went back into "Route Manager" and filled in the road connecting gaps and turned the rough draft into a day hike.
Listed above as Linked
(hint: in order too, while in edit they can be dragged to order of preference)
My previous experience on Mingus was a couple memorable trips.
View Point Trail #106
- 14 years ago, the newbie phase still in full... swing
Black Canyon Trail #114
- I bombed on this one 6 years ago on a hot mid October day getting off trail.
This hike is only 1.5 hrs from the north valley so we got a decent start time with some decent sleep. The forecast was for something around a 50% chance of rain so I brought the extra gear. Long story short, unexpected phenomenal weather equaled phenomenal day!
Heading up #114 the sour taste I had for this canyon gave way to "oh it's kind of interesting". We found where I took a sucker trail about 2.15 miles in last time and kept on cruising. Actually I was dragging pretty bad about 2 hours in. I hit the B's and it didn't even take ten minutes before I was annoying the pumpkin out of Bruce again. Life is good! The upper pine section of #114 is beautiful. It's a cross between Four Peaks and the Reavis Ranch south approach.
I had low expectations for Gaddes #9037 yet the pines kept on rolling! Onto the upper end of #110 then soon to the lookout tower I was really enjoying this hike. Next it was a couple short forest roads to connect to #106. What I recall as the hang glider launch is still there but it is missing the signage. This trail appears to have been reworked with some switchbacks as it dives off the cliff. Heck after 14 years it may have been reworked countless times for all I know...lol The views here are awesome. I was a tad let down by distant hazy views. Nevertheless a cool area. People were out picnicking and such in multiple areas, the spirit of Mingus filled the air.
Heading down you can't help but notice #106 drops like a biscuit from 7,600 to 6,700 in no time flat. The oak forest further in, possibly on the #105A is awesome. Next onto the #105 anxiety of the climb back up set in though it never bit back as hard as expected. Up top we took a late lunch that seemed well deserved. We found the glider launch near the towers. I think it may have been moved from the campground were I saw it 14 years ago by the #106. Heading over to the #108 I started realizing this is kind of a long hike...lol The #108 was my least favorite of the day due to ankle busters yet it has some nice views too. Back on the #114 we both dipped in and out of fatigue induced hallucinations a couple times.
The entire hike was a nice casual pace, I enjoyed it thoroughly! A couple mean descents proved more difficult than any of the ascents that I recall. While it flaunts some hefty figures it's nothing extreme.
6:37am - Off like a heard of turtles!
9:48am - Road/Cache #2
11:04am - #110 junction
11:37am - Lookout tower
Noon - #106
12:45pm - #105A
1:09pm - #105
1:41pm - Crest out on Mingus
1:51pm - Lunch Break/Rest!
2:26pm - On trail
3:09pm - Coleman Trail #108
4:00pm - Finish #108, short 0.5mi connection following road begins
4:11pm - Upper cache pickup and back onto #114
6:58pm - Ode to the joy of finished!