Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get
Think this best describes our planned shuttle hike on this "difficult with high degree of route finding skills required" trail. Hiked with Eric C., Ken S., and Riley K. Matt and Ricky joined for the Friday night camp but had to head out in the morning back to the city. Big disappointment not making it to the ruins. The bushwhack down from Moody Point was extremely slow and route finding a definite challenge.
At 2pm we still hadn't made it down from the saddle to the Kendrick Spring area near the ruins. Knew it was prudent to turn around and head back. Yikes - 7 1/2 miles back to camp and 2000+ feet of elevation gain and my knee barking at me. Set a goal of making FR487 by 6pm knowing we had flashlights and the Forest Road being an easy trail to follow. Will have to do a return hike starting from the Leisure Trailhead (east TH) rather than Workman Creek Falls Trailhead... That would also give me all the material for a Hike Description.
Had a bear encounter on the trail as well as multiple deer and elk. The bugling elk from all directions at dawn and dusk created an eeire, almost scary, effect! Met Ranger Red along FR487 and he confirmed that he frequently encounters a brown and a black bear in the area. Also saw what we were convinced were mountain lion tracks along the way.
Thanks to Brent for the ATV ride back to camp over the last couple of miles (and the tip about location of cliff dwellings near the Falls) and to Matt and Stephanie for driving in from Phoenix to help retrieve my truck from the Leisure Trailhead. Made it home to bed by 3am Sunday morning making for a very long day!