Me and the Turtle hoofed it to the high country. Denny had never been on the Horton Springs #292 to the Rim or the Babe Haught Trail. I through together a loop that got these 2 in, plus a section of the Highline I had not done and took us for a visit to the HAZlings at Knoll Lake.
Started from the Hatchery going east on the Highline Trail #3
1 and made a wrong turn right off the bat. After crossing the Creek, you can see were they have blocked off the old trail and rerouted it. We took the well worn path to the right, thinking it's skirt around a hill. When it fizzled out, we back tracked and saw the reroute went to the Left (North).
There was a prescribed burn on top of the Rim and with winds from the Northeast, it was quite smoky. The closer we got to Horton Spring, the thicker it got. At one point we thought about turning around and establishing a plan B to the top. The winds changed slightly, making it bearable. We stopped and enjoyed the empty spring area for a moment. There is a huge conifer that's been uprooted and lies across the creek, 50ft south of the spring. There must have been some high winds up here.
The climb up the Horton Springs # 292
to the Rim is a steep one. The trail for the most part is easy to follow. It's cairned most of the way. Where the lower portion starts exactly, it a bit of a mystery to me, but loading one of the tracks on site, gets you to where you can follow it. The climb from the spring to the top is 1250' of AEG in 1 mile.
Up top, we changed our plans a bit. The sign at FR300 (not the one Chumley leaves all over the woods) shows arrows both ways, as if this trail continues north of FR300. None of the TOPOs I've seen, show a trail on this side, but what the heck that's the general direction we're going anyway. It was trailish for 100 yds or so, but was easy walking.
We trecked North crossing Turkey Canyon and Gentry Canyon. The canyon bottoms were a bit muddy and there was still snow is spots, So we opted for some cross country bushwhacking and some of the undocumented FR's.
We stopped at Double Cabin to check the area out. We were both amazed at the size of the timbers they used and wondered how they were able to lift them. This place was built in 1950 and really wasn't much to look at, back then [ photo ]
Walking away from the area, Denny noticed an animal walking on the other side of the environmental fencing. We were able to sneak around to the other side of the fence and wait for the animal to come to us. When it snuck through the fence, we got up to check it out.
Video [ youtube video ]
Only the second one I've seen in AZ.
After a stop at the O'Haco lookout , we started our descent into Leonard Canyon towards Knoll Lake. We took the East side of the lake to get to HAZCamp. I was expecting a trail on this side of the lake. It was there in only spots.
Captain Chums greeted us from the lake while on-board his Kayak, the SS HAZBAG.
We stopped and chewed the fat for an hour with all that were awake. Great to see them all again. I sampled some of Brewmaster Julia's concoctions. It was around this time that Liz blew a 51. Quite impressive!
Denny and I scurried off down the Babe Haught Trail to complete our loop back at the Hatchery. A fun day with perfect weather/temps.
Thanks for the Hike Turtle!