February 13, 2016: Legends of Superior Trail Fest!
We started this segment with our Housholder Family Hikers attending Ras and Kathy Vaughan's inspirational talk titled: "Across Arizona As One, Twice!" The Yo-Yo hike from Mexico to Utah and Back was fantastic to hear about first hand. It helps give our small band of hikers some perspective on our segment hiking. We got it easy to say the least. After the program we were able to meet and chat with Ras and Kathy taking pictures together with Sirena and Wendy and came away with some fantastic stories! Thanks Everyone
The next item on the agenda was to go scouting and take the backroad number 4 out to Telegraph Canyon. Since we have two high clearance vehicles a 4X4 Sequoia and a Toyota Tacoma Pre-Runner non 4WD we decided to take the Sequoia. The road leaves Superior south west of town into the rugged area on the southern side of Picketpost Mountain. AZT Trail Steward Wendy had warned us about the rough 4X4 conditions of her section she manages and she was right! We decided after a few slopes and rocking and rolling to turn back because even if our 4WD Sequoia made it back to Telegraph Canyon, our shuttle Tacoma would not have done well without 4WD! What that meant is we would have to hike the Telegraph Canyon to Picketpost Section another time!
Enter Back Up Plan 1: Hiking from Picketpost north 2.5 miles to the tall powerlines starting what we were planning on a three segment hike of AZT Section 18: Reavis Canyon! It was getting too late in the day to do much more after having to back track from our Four-Wheeling adventure. We can only day hike up to 8 miles with our six year old Bainka so we plan these segments around her and in doing these 2.5 miles it would break the remainder of section 18 into two 8 mile segments later on. (See attached pictures).
Crossing north over the 60 Freeway just west of where Queen Creek crosses the 60, turn right by the parking lot and current construction onto the what is Forrest Service Road 650. Locals call it the Montana Mountain Trail or the road through the water in Happy Camp Creek! In a short distance FS 650 crosses the RR Tracks and you will find the powerline road to the left or West. We followed it a short distance and parked at the corner of a dirt track off right that lead north. (Pictured) From here we hiked a short distance west to the AZT, then south to Picketpost. FS 650 gives access to the Reavis Trail Canyon TH and later on winds up over Montana Mountain at elevations over 5000 feet towards Rogers Trough Trailhead. There are many hairpin curves, nice tight moguls, and a few sweet boulders for Jeepers ONLY after the trailhead access points in north of Whitford Canyon and into Wood Canyon.
Earlier in the morning we already left the truck at Picketpost Trailhead, so we headed next out to the Powerlines shown on the pictures with a GPS Label. We parked the Sequoia and hiked over a short distance along the powerline service road to the AZT 18. From this point it was easy going all the way to Picketpost Trailhead. After passing underneath the Large Powerlines you cross under the lower phone lines and over the railroad tracks. Ras and Kathy used the Railroad Tracks to walk into Superior as their re-supply route, when they did their 93 day Yo-Yo hike from Mexico to Utah and back! Once across the RR Tracks we hiked easterly through a few cattle gates and away from some ranches, through some washes and over some ridges until the trail comes downhill and underneath the US 60 Freeway. This shaded double tunnel made for the perfect spot to take our snack break and cool off from the unusually hot 85 degree mid February sunshine! After a quick 30 minute break we hit the remaining half mile or so back to the Picketpost Trailhead and our truck shuttle. The entire desert area was a VERY LUSH GREEN from the extra 4 days of rain received back in January 2016, so we really enjoyed it. There will no doubt be a blanket of wildflowers in the next couple weeks ahead!
Whitford Canyon aka Reavis Canyon Trailhead to Powerlines: Scouting trip Saturday, February 20, 2016
The next Saturday saw us back again at AZT #18....this time it was to scout out the backroad to Reavis Canyon Trailhead. Here are the directions:
North from the US 60 just west of Queen Creek.
Turn right immediately after the parking lot to the right. Head north east across the railroad tracks.
I set my trip to zero here.
The first thing you come to after crossing the tracks is the road off left we took along the main power lines which gives access to the AZT section where we just hiked.
Second is a fantastic Boondocking spot real close to the location marker off right before crossing under the tall power lines. This free camping location sits on a ridge and is big enough for a couple rigs. Only thing is it is a little bumpy getting them back to the spot. The sunsets here are fantastic. See the three pictures!
Next the road crosses underneath the large power lines and a bit further look for the split onto Forrest Service Road 650 pictured...turn Left and continue northward.
After crossing some small hills and climbing up a nice ridge the road drops down into beautiful Whitford Canyon!
I snapped a couple pictures of the AZT crossing in Whitford. There is nowhere to stage a vehicle at this crossing, perhaps a little further north.
A little bit further you arrive at Happy Camp with a windmill and corrals off right. The road enters Whitford Canyon and follows Wood Camp Creek with some easy fords for our HCV 2WD Tacoma Prerunner truck. The final rocky slope leading out of the creak is your biggest and in my opinion bumpiest obstacle. After climbing up out of the wash there is a marker for Reavis Canyon Trailhead aka the 509. Here the AZT crosses and leads down an easy hill to the trailhead. The Reavis Canyon TH has a brand new shinny cool AZT Trail interpretative sign and parking for two or three vehicles. I snapped a bunch of pictures along the way. The next time out we will be hiking this section from Reavis TH back to the power line crossing, roughly 8 miles south
Friday March 4th, 2016: Total Miles: 4.5
We decided to break the Reavis Trailhead to Powerline car shuttle point into two shorter day hikes! Friday we staged a truck back at the powerlines full of ice cold drinks to inspire us. Then we traveled back up the 650 to the AZT Whitford Canyon trail crossing point. There is parking off road just east of this crossing where we staged our other truck. This turned into quite a surprising Friday late evening "Rush Hour" special
After starting at 4:30 PM, we had the trail all to ourselves and I thought it was a great thing not to be sitting in traffic back in Phoenix!
Whitford Canyon was exceptionally beautiful during late evening rays of sunshine which helped to enhance the red rocks and surroundings. There were verdant green shrubbery from January's 2016's nonstop four days of rain as well as abundant wildflowers that Bianka and Karolien loved! I was very impressed with the beauty of Whitford Canyon including it's remaining patches of water crossings. There were great photo opps all along the way.
The first couple miles were super easy hiking south along Whitford, crossing what I think is Wood Camp Creek three or four times. After crossing over the Barnett Camp mining access road the AZT started to gently climb topside up to a beautiful ridge line sunset at the Gate! We enjoyed exceptional scenery and cooler temps since we decided to hike after they peaked out at 90 degrees in the 3 o'clock hour. In no time at all we were breaking out our flashlights finishing the final mile under starlight, back underneath the powerlines and the short distance east where we parked the Sequoia loaded with goodies.
Sunday March 6th, 2016: Total Miles 3
Reavis Canyon Trailhead to Whitford Crossing was an enjoyable and short 3 quick miles that we made into a great after church, Sunday family picnic activity. First of all we loaded up our picnicking supplies at Chompies Deli Saturday afternoon. This was a super delicious choice from their famous sliders to a mile high Brooklyn fully loaded with corn beef, brisket and pastrami...toss in a side of potato salad some yummy coleslaw and a mixture of fresh fruit and to top it all off a gently flowing creek side to enjoy it all beside! Life's Good!!!!
After scarfing down the good eats we hit the trail with plenty of energy. Bryce's friend Danny came along for his second hike with us and as we were leaving the Reavis Canyon Trailhead parking lot climbing up a ridge or two we came across Aaron from Pennsylvania who was through hiking the AZT making good time at around 20 miles per day. He started around February 18th, and was at this section 18 by Sunday March 6th, 2016. Aaron was hiking what he called the Big 4, Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the AZT and one other. Happy Trails and may the wind be at your back Aaron!
In no time at all we had hiked up ridge from the 509 trailhead south towards the AZT road crossing just 3 miles away. The scenery was fantastic, with an overcast sky and gentle breeze from a cold front cooling us down. There were nice Sonoran Desert scenery all along the way and a Giant Saguaro pictured pointing in every direction. Camp Creek Cattle Ranch was down below and remote Picketpost Mountain in the distance looking South. We were hit with a fast moving downpouring of rain that lasted only a few minutes and the kids decided it best to quickly put on their ponchos mostly for fun, as the skies quickly cleared and the chances of more rain were minimal.
After passing a couple gated cattle crossings we enjoyed some photo opps, including plenty of wildflowers along this stretch of trail. There was one other group a couple guys on Spring Break from Massachusetts that were hiking from Picketpost to Roosevelt Lake that we passed near the 3 mile crossing point. In no time at all we knocked out the three miles arriving at our truck shuttle for the ride back to the Reavis Trailhead, where we enjoyed some more snacks and drinks creek-side before heading back to the valley.
The concluding hike from Rogers Trough to Reavis Canyon Trailhead coming soon!.......