Alex and I had this hike planned last month, but I woke up that morning to find that my vehicle had a flat tire. Making a trip out this far doesn't seem like a wise idea, so we postponed. Then, the day before this trip, I pulled a back muscle while doing yard work, causing some lower back pain and back spasms. However, I was undeterred. No way was I going to cancel this twice. Plus, I knew that keeping active is actually somewhat helpful for this sort of thing. Hiking or jogging usually loosens my back up when it acts up like this.
The ride to the trailhead had some discomfort. Pretty much a dull ache sitting in the car. The bumpy dirt road didn't do much to help it. Normally I hike with one hiking pole, but today having two seemed like a pretty good idea, even a requirement. Once we started out at the Bull Canyon TH, I was already feeling better. About a half mile in, everything felt almost normal.
The trail gets pretty faint during the switchback section just before you reach Coon Spring and Coon Creek. That campground area was very nice and had a lot of shade. There was a metal and a concrete trough there. On the concrete trough was a pottery shard. Odd that someone placed it there. Just past Coon Creek we saw what we think were mountain lion tracks and a lot of elk tracks. At one point we saw a glimpse of a deer running through the pinyon pines a hundred yards or so away. We also saw a fir tree, which looked really out of place in this area. I wondered if a seed got inadvertently left from a hiker's boot from a previous hike.
The junction with the Coon Creek Trail #254 was easy to spot, but the sign looked pretty beat up. Seeing at this trail fades away pretty fast (according to the triplogs), we decided not to explore it. After we got to the other trailhead, we walked a little further to the Oak Creek Cabin and had lunch in some actual chairs and at a table. The graffiti inside the cabin was pretty entertaining.
Even after just a brief break for lunch, my back had tightened up again. Luckily we had that section of road to walk to give it time to loosen up again before we got to the more narrow trail. As we got to the end of the hike, the wind began to pick up.
Originally we planned to hit the Norhoff-Hope Indian ruins. After how tight my back was after lunch I didn't think this was going to be an option. Once we got to the car, however, I decided to make quick drive over to see if my back could handle it. (See next triplog).