This area has eluded me for one reason or another over the past couple of months. I woke up this morning and decided today was the day I would get my feet wet in the central Supes. I had a couple of other hikes I was considering, all much more beefy than this one, but I was mostly interested in something new. I came across the La Barge Mountain hike on here last year, and it piqued my interests, so I thought I would give it a shot.
I downloaded the route, and off I went down Hewitt Canyon road.
JF Trail starts out along the closed road from Woodbury TH to some water tanks and troughs. One of the troughs was full of water, and that was the only water I saw for the entire day. I got suckered into a cattle trail at the tanks, heading northeast for a minute, but corrected once it started heading away from Randolph Canyon, instead of into it. That was the only navigational hiccup I had on JF, otherwise, from Woodbury TH to Tortilla Pass the trail is easy to follow and in pretty good shape.
About half way up the pass, I had an encounter with some Javelina. All but one ran away once they saw me. I wasn't sure if the one was frozen because it was afraid or if it meant business. I made some loud noises, and eventually it ran off.
At the pass, I didn't stop and immediately got started right into the off-trail portion of the hike. The route I was on started with sporadic use or game trails, with no cairns. I stayed near the fence heading up the first hill. The brush can be thick in a few places if you don't choose wisely. If you have the patience, it probably isn't that bad for most. I didn't today, and was pretty disheartened when I reached the top of the first hill to see much more brush along the hill sides where I thought the route was taking me. To be honest, I was expecting a use-trail with cairns like a lot of the other "off trail" hikes listed on HAZ. This one doesn't see much traffic, don't expect much. I wandered around the open areas for a minute before turning around, defeated for today, but I will be back.
I contemplated if I would have enough time to loop back around via Rogers Canyon, and a road-walk from Rogers Trough to Woodbury, but it wasn't going to work today. I hit a small high point along the ridge before finishing my back track to JF Trail. Then, before returning the way I came, I took a quick look up the Rogers Canyon Trail.
I really liked this area and plan on returning soon, but not just to finish the peak. I can see how you could easily get sucked into wandering around here.
I didn't see a single person on trail all day, which made this place feel much more remote. Given how close I still was to the Woodbury TH, I'm going to assume this was probably because it was a weekday.
The temps were mild today, and the light breeze on top of Tortilla Pass kept the sweat off my forehead. Peak bagged or not, it was a well spent day in the Supes, on my 25th Birthday.