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South Fork Trail #97
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South Fork Trail #97, AZ
2007-06-056 by
 
Alpine, AZ
 
Hiking9.50 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns    1.46 mph
1,500 ft AEG   
Linked  None
Partners None
We parked where FR 409 crosses Bill Riley Creek at the northwest base of Wahl Knoll. At this point the creek carries no water and looks like a long, narrow meadow. On the way downstream (north)an abandoned road provides a good walking surface for about a mile. Where the road ends, a game trail continues on to the South Fork. We saw no wildlife larger than a squirrel but did pass a rotten snag very recently mauled by a bear and nearby stepped over a mammoth pile of really fresh bear crap. About there water began appearing in the creek bed and was soon a constant stream. Three and a half miles from our vehicle we reached the South Fork and followed it downsteam for about a quarter mile. Here another wet drainage - unnamed - enters from the right, and we turned up it. This canyon is brushier than Bill Riley, so progress was slower. Along the way we found a radio collar but no associated animal. Eventually we reached the northeast base of Wahl Knoll and began to ascend. That's when we noticed the distant thunder. Reaching the summit, we could see dark clouds to the west, between us and Pole Knoll, and occasional streaks of lightning. We usually like to linger on Wahl Knoll to enjoy spectacular views in three directions, but remaining on a bare knob 500 feet above the surrounding terrain seemed an unwise choice this day, and we descended to our truck. A ranger arrived just after us and, thinking we were driving on the abandoned road not just parked where it begins, inquired about our welfare and intentions. We mentioned the radio collar to him, and he identified it as a wolf collar and took it from us. Apparently it is quite valuable.

Typically, we encountered no other people as we hiked and enjoyed a wonderful day in beautiful surroundings and delightful company.
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Author
Belladonna Took's

129 Photosets
  2007-08-04
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