Outstandingly fun weekend trip into the heart of the Galiuros with a great group of people!
East Divide 287
Starts off reasonably well with some minor route-finding issues due to the healthy growth of summer grasses. Turns into a full-fledged machete-required jungle in the Oak Creek drainage before rising up through the burn area toward Kennedy Peak.
Kennedy Peak 287a
This trail cuts through a moonscape burn area and the trail is largely lost to erosion. Cairns exist, but staying along the old barbed wire fence will get you most of the way there. The resulting wildflower display is impressive. Great views in all directions: Santa Teresas, Pinalenos, Bassett Peak, Wrightson, Mica, Rincon, and the Catalinas.
Corral Canyon 291
This trail is almost completely gone. Recent rain over the burn area has washed out many of the traverses leaving a very difficult challenge to travel through. Add to that wildflowers that are waist deep and it's a fight to push ahead. Once in the bottom of the canyon, much of the trail has been obliterated by flash flooding. Especially in the upper part of the canyon. The last mile or so, most of the shelf and the trail remains, but the crossings are a challenge. This trail needs a full-fledged reconstruction.
Powers Garden 96
Post-wildfire floods have wiped out some of the shelf along this trail as well rendering travel a bit more of a challenge than I suspect it once was. But the route can be found if you look for it. The fire didn't reach this low, so the valley is still shaded and cool.
Not much flood damage on this trail, but still in pretty rough shape. Travel was much quicker than the East Divide/Corral combo on the way in, but plenty of growth to fight through.
On the way in, I commented out loud that if somebody had told me it would take 5 hours to hike in I wouldn't have believed them. I repeated the same and updated it again at 6 and 7 hours!
So yeah, it was a real grind due to unexpectedly terrible trail conditions on the south side of the loop.
Nonetheless we arrived safely and met Claire, 9L and Kyle who had arrived the previous day. We set up camp and settled in for the night. Sunday we all did our own thing, and Sunday evening a group of trail workers from the ACC stopped by our campfire for a while. Kudos to these volunteers for the work they do. It is impressive and much appreciated!
Monday we all headed out together around 8am. We split up into different groups all taking a different pace. A few of us finished via the Deer Creek Cabin route which is a nice option that we were pleasantly surprised about and resulted in a mile of fast road walking rather than rocky trail. It was a welcome end to a long weekend on tough trails.
I feel like we were very lucky with the amount of water. It's a beautiful area, but I could see it being much more of a challenge without the creeks and drainages flowing with water.
But I'll be back to the Galiuros for sure!
* I meant to mention that I successfully used Route Scout for all navigation and track recording over the entire three day trip. I charged my phone with a backup battery (anker) on the second night as it would not otherwise last 3 full days while recording 7-8 hours each day. I'm very happy with how well it worked!Foliage
Saw a few small bright red somethings that I can't remember what are, and some poison ivy changing colors. Otherwise nothing yet.Wildflowers
Amazing display still popping on the upper slopes exposed by fire.