ending up a solo hike, i decided to stay as close to town as possible but still getting away from the crowds. what a great choice! it may have been because the weather was so nice and cool, many opted for staying down low instead of following normal weather protocol and heading up into the mountains. for this trip, i ended up seeing only one car on top of the hill.
at the sixshooter trail which starts from the eastern side of the parking area, i was only 1/4 mile from my truck when i heard some odd huffing sounds and i just thought is was cattle.. when i came around a bend i saw one, then two bear cubs huffing and grunting their way into the brush. i instinctively reached for my camera, and then realized quickly that momma cant be too far behind.. sure enough, right as i ducked behind some brush, ol' momma bear stood up from her wallow, looked right at me and then darted off. first time seeing bears in AZ, after all the miles i've put in, in all the bear country this incident happened so close to 'civilization' i was quite surprised. all three were a golden, cinnamon color. as expected, you might say... i was a little nervous for the next several minutes hoping the bears wouldnt use the trail i was on, but i never saw them again. this trail is a workout, but like mentioned by others it has great scenery and it transitions from one climate zone to the next so quickly it keeps things interesting. after climbing the hillsides i came to the intersection of the unmarked spring, which fills the trough nicely. onward i went the next mile to the top of the trail where it crossed the road and into the area known as "upper pinal campsite". there was only 1 car here, and the folks were just getting out as i walked past. im not even sure they were there to camp. i decided to go back to the area where telephone and sixshooter intersect since ferndell didnt have any areas immediately nearby that looked good for camping. setting up, the mild breeze and high elevation dropped temps quickly as an owl make a roost 50 yards away to settle in for the night. this would be the only wildlife i would see out there. coming down the telephone trail was great too, plenty of nice shaded areas on the eastern slopes. ferns. grasses, oaks. life was good. made it down the hill in 2 hrs, 20 minutes and had a nice drive back to the valley, windows down, taking it all in and reminiscing the memory of those beautiful bearkind. one of the best memorial days in recent memory. 4 stars!
||Quart per minute
|accessible, but must go down a steep short trail to the water. other drainages were flowing slowly as well. |