Every time I pass through Barbershop Canyon, I'm more impressed with how lush and gorgeous it is. I got invited to go do a little off-trail exploration, which I almost declined based on foul weather predictions. Proof that you should never trust the weathermen in Arizona! After some friendly goading (I am NOT a sissy! I can handle a little rain...) I laced up my waterproof boots and headed out. We started off at Pinchot Cabin, used U-Bar to cut through Barbershop Canyon to Barbershop Trail to Houston Bros. and back to Pinchot Cabin.
Today was a big day for wildlife. Around 10:00 a.m., we heard two sets of Coyotes (one on the left and one on the right of U-Bar), howling loudly, and a small coyote cut right in front of us moving from one set to the other. It seemed like bizarre behavior -- I expect to hear coyotes at night, but I've never heard them like that during the day. I wonder what was going on!
Once we got into the canyon, we discovered how easy our "off-trail" exploration would really prove to be. Extremely clear game trails (that are surely frequented by hikers) go almost the entire length of the canyon. We kept coming across near-complete elk skeletons, beautiful, deep pools of water, and even a small, picturesque waterfall. The cross-bedding in the rock formations alone is worth the price of admission.
Coming out of the canyon, we saw a single cow elk, and later we saw a nice sized herd and a giant bull. Of course, they were always running in the distance through the trees, refusing to pose for the camera. Jerks.
I highly recommend this route -- if U-bar is a little dull, the rest of the path is spectacularly beautiful.
||Wildflowers Observation Light