Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

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nonot
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Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by nonot » Dec 31 2018 10:56 am

Does anyone here have any suggestions for backpacking this wilderness?

I've done a middle fork-west fork loop previously, but am looking for ideas in the 3-10 day range in the Gila Wilderness on new trails.
I prefer loop trips, but if there is some small amount of trail used twice that's fine too.

Right now I'm looking at options starting from Snow Lake, Turkey Creek TH or the Mogollon Creek TH, but am not sure that with the fire damage whether I can successfully make loops out of them.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by RedRoxx44 » Dec 31 2018 12:07 pm

Years ago did a Turkey Creek, Granny Mtn, Gila River loop that was pretty nice. Trail was a bit vague on Granny mtn, Side trip up or down Turkey with a day pack is recommended ( above the hot springs, but that area is nice too). According to guide book about 46 miles recommended 6-8 days but I think did it in 3 or 4 days??

The lower TH areas were spared the fire damage I think, but the closer to the high country you will see it, although I think the newer fires did not make it into Snow Park, just above it.

Rain Creek was mighty fine when I was there a few years ago, but supposedly that TH is decommissioned? Although I cannot see why and you could use it with Mogollon Creek I would think.

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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by hikeaz » Jan 11 2019 5:27 pm

At the risk of being impertinent, I immensely enjoyed my loops up in the Leopold and San Pedro Parks. If you've not been it might offer some 'new meat'.
Last edited by hikeaz on Jan 11 2019 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
kurt

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nonot
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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by nonot » Jan 12 2019 10:34 pm

RedRoxx44 wrote:Years ago did a Turkey Creek, Granny Mtn, Gila River loop that was pretty nice. Trail was a bit vague on Granny mtn, Side trip up or down Turkey with a day pack is recommended ( above the hot springs, but that area is nice too). According to guide book about 46 miles recommended 6-8 days but I think did it in 3 or 4 days??

The lower TH areas were spared the fire damage I think, but the closer to the high country you will see it, although I think the newer fires did not make it into Snow Park, just above it.

Rain Creek was mighty fine when I was there a few years ago, but supposedly that TH is decommissioned? Although I cannot see why and you could use it with Mogollon Creek I would think.
Looking into these suggestions, these no longer seem possible as Gila River trail appears to be washed out/mostly gone and is not recommended. The rain creek TH is still open, and the rain creek trail was recently maintained. The west fork mogollon trail is listed as destroyed by the mudslides/flash flooding from after the fire, so I'm not sure I can connect from Rain Creek over to Mogollon creek. It seems you were really lucky to hike these areas while they were still maintained!

For others looking to plan their trip here are some good resources to use. Why they don't put the same info together on a single map I will never understand.

Trails Destroyed or Decommissioned:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DO ... 606330.pdf

Trails Maintained (As of Nov/2018)
https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DO ... 602505.pdf
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by Jim_H » Jan 13 2019 9:14 am

I still ask that if you or anyone else pass through McKenna Park, Woodland Park, or some of the other ponderosa pine parks which have had several low intensity fires in the last 20 years, that you take some photos and post them. Tag me, too, if you can, since I may miss some sets. Spring isn't really the best season for lush growth, but it can be nice. I think summer is probably nicer, but your trip is your trip.
Nothing more enjoyable than a good hike out of town.

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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by derpsquad » Jan 29 2019 10:46 pm

@hikeaz
Can you recommend some loops in the Leopold and San Pedro parks? Looking for 4-5 days in May.
Thanks!

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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by hikeaz » Jan 30 2019 8:59 am

@derpsquad
I will search out my maps in the next few days and see what I can do. It would be helpful if you, too had maps of the areas. https://www.amazon.com/Map-San-Pedro-Pa ... ikearizona. This is a start > http://ouachitamaps.com/picture_library ... erness.jpg
Free Avenza map set for a portion > https://www.avenzamaps.com/maps/362823/ ... edro-parks
There are 9 major trails in the San Pedro Parks Wilderness, 4 of them are part of the mesh that comprises the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. Most trails are well marked at the intersections, however in certain areas the trail can be indistinct at best. You WILL get your feet wet at times and also be prepared for storms that appear almost without warning. There are about a dozen access trails from each side of the Wilderness, but by far the easiest entrances are from the south (San Gregorio Trailhead) and east (Resumidero and Rio Puerco Trailheads). Trailheads elsewhere involve steep /\ hikes to reach the Wilderness boundary, and trailhead roads may be very difficult.
There are about 120 miles of official, designated trails within or leading into SPPW.
https://ondafringe.wordpress.com/2013/0 ... exico-usa/
http://primepassages.com/a_day_in_the_parks

I know that about a year ago the local Back Country Horsemen organization planned to do a mapping project in SPP, you may want to contact Deirdre Monroe @ (505) 670-4925 Deirdre@swcp.com and see if it is 'ready for prime-time'.
kurt

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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by derpsquad » Jan 30 2019 12:00 pm

@hikeaz
Thank you for the detailed response, very helpful. I will dig into this over the next few days as well.

Anything in the Aldo Leopold you can recommend? I am in Tucson so the drive is much shorter. Not that I'm opposed to 8-9 for the SPPW as it looks incredible but I'd like to keep my options open.

Thanks again!

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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by BRichard » Feb 03 2019 3:09 pm

Looking for a hiking partner?

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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by elleryjk » Feb 24 2019 2:07 pm

@nonot
More of a question about the loop trip you did (if it's not too off topic?). I am/was planning a large middle fork/west fork loop including prior cabin and some other nearby trails sometime between mid-march or early April. I've seen reports all over the place regarding temperature and water levels ranging from mid 40s and dry down to teens with snow; ankle deep crossings to "bring swim trunks"... I'm realistic about daily mileages of around 6-8 miles per day doing the creek fording sections so I'm looking at about a 6 day 5 night trip. Any feedback on what I can expect would be awesome. Thank you!

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nonot
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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by nonot » Feb 24 2019 5:06 pm

We did the trip in July, I think. The crossings at that time were about calf to knee deep in the middle fork, and the same except one crossing up to about thigh deep on the west fork. So bring shoes that you can hike in wet - there are too many crossing to make changing shoes practical.

I do not think you would likely be travelling through the snow in 5 weeks, unless a cold front moves in, but the creeks will still be fueled by snowmelt from higher up on the mountains, so the water will be very cold. I would recommend you check the noaa pinpoint forecasts for weather for the weeks approaching your trip for the weather as thus far this year's weather has been anything but normal. I'd be willing to bet that at least right now there is plenty of snow everywhere, but I'm guessing it will melt over the next month.

8 miles per day certainly seems reasonable, will give you time to relax and check out more of the highlights than our blitz trip where we basically hiked sunup to sundown. However since I have done that trip the middle fork flashed and that could have changed things. Plus the water level will probably be a bit higher earlier in the season. There are lots of places you can camp, though not every one is 5 stars. I think your biggest complain will be having cold feet most of the day, so save a pair of warm dry socks for evenings around camp. You may get rained on too.

Enjoy!
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by elleryjk » Feb 24 2019 5:51 pm

@nonot
Awesome, thank you for the detailed reply. I am not worried about the cold water crossings even though there are like 30 of them. But yes my main concern was the water levels in spring since we have had a wet year so far. At those temperatures I wouldn't want anything much higher than knee deep. Will definitely check gauge readings, thanks for the advice and enjoy your own trip back out there!
Last edited by elleryjk on Feb 24 2019 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nonot
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Re: Gila Wilderness Backpacking in Spring

Post by nonot » Feb 24 2019 10:02 pm

It will spike over knee deep when it rains. In general it would probably be knee deep now, but last week it would have probably been waist deep.

Here's a good gauge to monitor, you can see it rose over a foot after the storm.

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?cb_0 ... 2019-02-25
Last edited by nonot on Feb 24 2019 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

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