It's not often both of us have the same two days off in a row so even though we knew it would be ahead of the peak colors we bumped up our plans for the Bassett Peak hike. Knowing we'd be heading through road construction on the 60 (we sat in one spot for over 20 minutes) we figured we'd take the first day as one for a leisurely drive along with some pre-hike recon of the area, taking more photos of the Ash Springs area the first day so as to skip through the area a bit faster for the summit hike.
As we turned off Sunset Loop Road we passed the campers of hunters and a burned-out section of grass, which bothered me not at all because the grassy area that wasn't burned did not please the eye anyway. Besides, the burnt area will come back up green. (Having grown up in a grassy-plain area of South Africa I was used to burning grass every year to cut down on the snake population around our house) This time we were able to drive all the way up to the sign at the trail head, but due to no room to camp we drove back .2 mile and camped at the last spot that could handle more than one vehicle. Not knowing how late we'd get back from our recon we set up camp, grabbed the minimum to go light and headed out.
Since I couldn't see logging anything that didn't get past the Upper Springs (anything less than a 6 mi round-trip) as a Bassett Peak
hike I added a description for the hike as far as Upper Ash Springs, which is as far as most fall-color enthusiasts hike to anyway.
Even though the colors were over a week before peak Tracey and I took our time on the way up seeking out the best color. I must have been a bit preoccupied looking for possible side-trips on the way because now looking at my photos I didn't get many of the colors. Tracey on the other hand was paying a bit more attention so her photoset is more representative of the hike today. (She posted them before I added the Upper Ash Springs description so they are listed under Bassett Peak. http://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=17336
However due to my vigilance on the hike out, we took a side trip on the return to climb up to a check out a cave a few hundred feet above the trail. Unfortunately the cave provided nothing of substance for the effort but at least I got a few good shots of Horse Lubber Grasshoppers.
Thankfully we had set up camp earlier because the last .5 mile the mosquitoes were out in force. Once back at camp we ate as quickly as possible and retired to the refuge of our tent. Making it into the tent without any mosquitoes hitching a ride on us was a wonderful feeling. And now with well over 12 hours of darkness upon us we'd rest up for our Bassett Peak summit hike in the morning.
I posted 15 photos of the hike here on HAZ, the full set of 25 photos are here: