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creek bed cobble hike
Stats for Description below
Distance One Way 13 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,000 feet
Elevation Gain -300 feet
Accumulated Gain 350 feet
This section of "the Blue" was reached, at the upper end, via the Strayhorse Trail, coming in from AZ 191 about 25 miles south of Hannagan Meadow from Rose Peak. NOTE: The 13-mile distance is from Strayhorse/Blue junction to the Fritz Ranch, without the side trip or access trail.
Once in the Blue drainage, we then headed south in the bed of the Blue for about 13 miles to the XXX Ranch (also called the Fritz Ranch). Along the way, we stopped at the historic HU-Bar Ranch at about mile 7.8. From the HU-Bar, we headed south to the Blue's confluence with Little Blue Creek canyon entering from the left (east). This distance is about 3 miles from the HU Bar. All along this section of the Blue there are numerous swimming holes, of which we took advantage. Getting back to Little Blue Creek ...the water in the main Little Blue Creek is extremely high in mineral content and "stings" your tongue... I'd get water in the Blue (which is perennial) or wait until you're further up into Hannah Canyon and above the Hot Springs area. About 2.5 to 3 miles up Hannah a small side canyon enters from the right(ENE). Wander up this canyon making your way around some small pour-offs and after about 15 minutes, watch the left wall of the canyon for the (approx GPS point) hot springs. There is a small campsite here... maybe room for 2 small tents. This spring is about perfect, temperature-wise. Although the water emanates at 133 degrees, the springs have enough volume to keep it at about 105+/-... perrrfect, Ahhhh. Well, if you get a little overheated, you can cool off by wading/swimming/climbing your way further up this canyon. It is awesome... like Canyoneering-Lite. The canyon is short (about 3/4 mile), but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in beauty. It is likely you could easily shoot a ROLL of film just in this canyon. As well, a complete day could be spent between the hot springs and the canyon just relaxing.
We retraced our steps back to the confluence with the Blue and headed south to our take-out point at the XXX Ranch a.k.a. Fritz Ranch. This is accessed from FR 475 & 475C. The trail is almost all cobbles, so wear sturdy footwear. Additionally, you will be crossing the river innumerable times, so go when it is warm so that it a welcome respite. It is unlikely that you'll see another soul on this hike, with the possible exception of near the trailheads. This is true wilderness. Enjoy and be prudent.
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This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.