Kelly and I finally made our decision to cancel our Sedona double due to weather concerns. If I'm going to climb two mountains, I prefer near excellent conditions. So we scrambled to do this year's "Jack's Back" hike with the hopes of getting out in the Goldfields. And then we bugged Kathy to come join us and even Karl came. kingsnake couldn't make it; hopefully he'll make the last "Jack's Back" hike next fall.
It was a bit of a gloomy day weather-wise but we were all glad to be out; especially in a new area. I picked up K&K and we me the others at the designated parking area across from where we would start our hike. I am not sure how this trip log got so long for a 10 mile hike :sorrry:
And off we went soon sliding into the wash of Willow Springs Canyon. We all seemed to instantly like the area with the mixture of flora and rock and views of which the most prominent in front was Gonzales Needle (a historic landmark named after a grand nephew of the Peralta family. Gonzales Needle marks the northern limit of the Goldfield Mining District.) Off to our right it was fun to see the Little Four Peaks too.
Soon we would encounter the first of several troughs this day and then we would hike thru a section with beautiful non-native fountain grass; it's always so pretty and was on each side of us. Next we would pass what we assumed was a long narrow trough that once had a sign above it. We then saw the first of several trail sign 12 markers (Trail 12 is also FR12, didn't know that at the time).
Our first stop would be the caves which we checked out; it's quite an extensive system. Fortunately there was little to no trash around most of the area. We continued down the drainage and around the corner we encountered metate holes and another trough. This trough had quite a bit of water in it. A little further we found the community grinding center with at least two dozen metate holes below the west wall. You can also see the old pipe hung from it.
Next was the narrows section. Actually there were a couple of these. We came to this one area where the others had gingerly gotten down and decided surely it was easier to go up and around so Kathy and I decided to do some 'sploring. We went up (adding to our AEG ;)) only to discover we couldn't get down where we thot. So we had to contour this rather difficult landscape until we could find a place to get down and join the others. Well now that our little adventure was over we could move on to an area where we encountered yet another trough. This one was completely devoid of water and had dried mud at its bottom.
We continued on in the wash for about another 10 minutes; saw a place to come up and out but continued for a bit and decided to climb up and out the hard way. Now mind you, this was totally unnecessary but of course we didn't know that at the time (Kelly and Kathy went back to the easy walk up). Not sure why we opted out of the creek bed
. BUT it turned out to be quite the nice adventure as once we started going UP the road the views were terrific BUT then it started getting a lot steeper and pretty soon we were at what you might call a cul de sac. So as long as were up here, Karl climbed up Peak 2348 or Karl's Peak
as it has now been designated. We got cool pics of him on top.
Once he was down we realized we should have made a left at the drainage that was draining to the Willow Creek Canyon we had left 1/2 hour previous. No big deal as we would get a little AEG for this one. And the views were superb. So back down the hill we went, caught the drainage and headed west back to Willow Springs Canyon. In this little drainage we came to a cool pour over cut into the landscape. This little drainage had lots of cool flora too. And to be truthful, you should just stay in the canyon but what's the fun in that.
Once out our mission continued as we headed down the canyon. We came upon a tree that had some sort of puffy flora growing up through it. We have no idea what it is of course. Reminded me a bit of Cliff Rose but it wasn't that. We passed by some interesting walls along the canyon and then veered slightly right back onto Trail 12 that we had been on and off of a couple times. None of us realized there was a trail number. We continued north on the road bed that was fairly wide but somewhat rocky. We passed by one of the most incredible Christmas cholla clusters I have ever seen.
The clouds were breaking up pretty seriously by this point providing a different view of the landscape we had been seeing
including views to the NW of Dome Mountain. Once Karl locked his GPS onto Bagley Tank, he would update us as to our progress while HAZTrks would let us know how far we had come along with other statistics (you can hear her in the video even... by the way, I would prefer a male voice; can I get that changed or have it as an option?
Finally we made our destination, Bagley Tank (END movieing). It was really pretty and was showing off its reflections. We went to the other side to have our lunch in the shade. It was a great place for lunch with lots of green grass on the berm below our feet. About 1/2 hour later it was up and at 'em to hit the trail back straight this time. After spotting a gila monster (I didn't see it) and trying to coax it into view with no luck, we continued including up a hill that provided a great photo op to the Superstition Ridgeline. We were getting views of the whole Ridgeline off and on during the day.
I showed Kathy the big bunch of Christmas Cholla I had seen earlier (the others were ahead) and then we passed back thru the remnants of a Chain Cholla forest. Heading more in a southernly direction now, the sand got a little deeper along the way. We were seeing the landscape with the sun rather than the filtered light of the morning. We hit the narrows and that one section Kathy and I had avoided this AM. It was a little tricky getting up it but we made it. There were some big pools of water here as well but they were hidden within the rock.
We got closer to the cave section which is the only shade along this route. We stopped just for a moment to enjoy it and look at the caves once again before completing our hike. The others ahead of us, Kathy and I at the back. We hit the parking lot and cracked open our beer. Kelly gave us the good news about the Cardinals . We observed a fellow reading his book over on the sidewalk in like the only place where there was no view. And then he started stretching or whatever that was. And as the HP drove by we hid our beer not knowing the rules of drinking in the parking lot.
Yep it was 2 o'clock and we had another hike in the books in a fun area with the most delightful people . I took WAY too many pics but I like to do that when a group of us gets together, and after all "Jack's Back!"
Unfortunately, I had slipped my movie mode into AVCHD so the quality isn't nearly as good though I just read there shouldn't be any difference between that and mp4 HD. So now I'll have to run a comparison and see.
Video 1 to the caves - [ youtube video ]
Video 2 to Karl's Hill - [ youtube video ]
Video 3 pending upload to youtube tonite 11/4/2014 after dinner and finally some Picacho Pecan Pie Brown Ale 6.0% - Pecan Pie in a glass! at the Arizona Wilderness Brewery
11-5-14 wow is that beer awesome! now to Video 3 link from Karl's Hill to Bagley Tank - [ youtube video ]