Not quite to Brown's Cave via FR401 and Alder Trail #82
Received an email from Grasshopper (Hank) late last week indicating he had an open seat on a HAZ outing to Brown's Cave;
Grasshopper's (Hank) Plan
Here is my plan for Sunday: I will arrive the Cane Springs TH at ~10am (you guys should have been hiking for ~3hrs by then). I will plan to hike down your route (the Adler TR#82) to end my hike at the old Adams Camp for a late lunch stop, then head back up the Adler TR to its intersection with Long Canyon where I will stop here to await your group arrival. IF I am not at this intersection when you arrive, don't wait there for me. IF you guys or I are running late arriving at this Adler TR/Long Canyon intersection, my plan will be to depart A/R so as to arrive back at the Cane Springs TH before dark.
Your loop hike should make for some great memories/pics and trip logs and then the fun 4x4 out to top off the night!
Hank's always a privilege to hike with and a cool guy to boot, so we arranged to meet at the Wendy's near Shea and Hwy 87 early Sunday morning and we were off...
This was a 4WD trek and hike "Into the Wild"
- an area totally unknown to me except for some comments from some off-roading friends that FR401 can be "pretty wicked
Hank and I arrived at the abandoned ranch near the Cane Spring TH 10-ish parking beside Skatchkin's (Mike) and set off to locate the group led by Joe Bartels. With a 3 hour head start, where (if???) our paths would cross would be more of a matter of chance rather than an inevitability.
We were armed with Hank's GPS route downloaded from the HAZ Brown's Cave hike description. This proved invaluable as the trail disappeared into a tangle of cat's claw after Seven-Tenth's Junction. We startled a good sized buck in the un-named canyon before the Saddle. We got off trail and climbed up to the "false saddle" before we realized our target was the next saddle to the north. No problem - treated to some impressive views of the Four Peaks Wilderness from this vantage point...
A quick scurry over to the proper Saddle and we were beginning the descent of the ridgeline into Long Canyon. This ridgeline showed evidence of a major burn some years age.
When we entered Long Canyon, boulder hopping was the name of the game. The terrain within the canyon reminded me of White Canyon - lot's of water sculpted limestone. Located a series of mini-caves (we dubbed them Brown's Mini-Caves) before we came to the Adam's Camp/Long Canyon junction. This was marked with a Watermelon Gatoraid just a Hank expected...
As the 1 o'clock hour approached, we agreed this was our turnaround time and headed back to the Cane Spring TH. Made great time and explored the abandoned ranch waiting for the early trekkers to return.
Soon heard a strange galloping sound and started to explore the source expecting to see another large buck come bounding through the bushes - nope, it was Joe Bartels speeding back to the TH just to say hello.
Believe it or not this was the first time Joe and I have met face-to-face. Good to finally meet Joe along with nonot (Steve) and skatchkins (Mike). Kicking myself for not taking that group shot back at the trailhead. Oh well, next time...