I've been planning and waiting for the right time to schedule this exploratory hike for the past twelve months
. This past week on 2/15/12 was the right day and Jack (our HAZ-mnlumberjack) was interested in joining me.
Since SUN_HIKER (Gabriele's) trip log and GPS Route post on 2/12/11, I knew that I wanted to checkout this alternate "SW Approach FR319" off-trail route into the upper White Canyon Wilderness and upper White Canyon main drainage access area. On 2/12/11 Gabriele joined a hiking group that hiked in via this alternate route. They were successful in hiking in 3.7 miles from their beginning TH Start on FR319 to enter the main upper White Canyon drainage. Thank you Gabriele for your trip log and for posting this GPS Route.
My plan for this 2/15/12 exploratory hike was to follow the 2/12/11 track for 2.7 miles in, then veer off track west then southwest along the uppermost White Canyon rim areas to try and locate a safe, hike-able route down to the main upper White Canyon creek drainage. If successful, this would put us approx 1.4 miles further up the main White Canyon creek drainage from where the above noted 2/12/11 track entered the main drainage. This would allow for a very
nice hike down the most scenic sections of the upper White Canyon creek main drainage for ~1.4mls to connect with where Gabriele's 2/12/11 track entered the main canyon drainage. This waypoint location would be our exit point out of the canyon drainage and then a ~1 mile hike back to connect with our original hike track in for the additional 2.7 miles back to our TH Start off FR319. A good plan
Unfortunately, we were not successful in locating this above hike-able route down as planned. The topo maps and Google Earth really don't adequately represent the true cliff drops in this section, thus without canyoneering/climbing experience and gear, hiking access down from this upper White Canyon rim section is not safely possible (as best as we can now determine).
The really good news is that the numerous upper rim "overview points" for rugged near and distant White Canyon Wilderness views are just outstanding!
So, in hindsight, if we had located a safe, hike-able route down to enter the main canyon the 1.4mls further up the main canyon drainage, we would have missed all the eleven (11) scenic pic "overview points" (please see this hike description "official" GPS Route with noted waypoints, geocoded picset, and detailed pic captions for further reference).
This "SW Approach FR319" hiking route into our upper White Canyon Wilderness and upper White Canyon is an excellent alternate hike choice for the posted HAZ "White Canyon" canyoneering description for those qualified for this type of off-trail adventure. Also, the first 2.7 hiking miles in (.8mls of 2.7mls on 4WD FR2260) is mostly along a primitive hiker/hunter/animal use route within the most upper White Canyon drainage and this route is rock cairned as of this writing with minor overgrowth and minimal bushwhacking required.
For those interested in a possible hike visit via this new alternate route, here are three main GPS Routes with key waypoints that further document what I discuss above
track = my "official" one way route for this hike description;
track = my actual(11/29/08) 1.4 mile hike within the upper White Canyon main drainage;
track = Gabriele's actual (2/12/11) 1.0 mile track from
exit/entry point within the upper White Canyon main drainage to
intersect the Yellow track for the 2.7 mile hike back to TH Start;