Late December backpacking for an out-of-stater

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julcoh
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Late December backpacking for an out-of-stater

Post by julcoh » Oct 31 2018 2:51 pm

Hey everyone,

I live in Michigan and have some significant time off for the holidays this year, and I'm planning to fly down to the Southwest and do some backpacking. I've spent time in the Grand Canyon/Zion/Bryce area, as well as the Moab area in Canyonlands and Arches. I'm an experienced backpacker, know how to wayfind with a compass, comfortable in a campsite or dispersed camping.

Ideally I'm looking for a 3 night loop trail with some beautiful scenery (or one-way trail with the ability to get back to my car). I could also be persuaded to do a shorter overnight backpacking route and fill the time with some day hikes.

I've been looking at the Superstition Mountainsm, and around Sedona. Would probably be flying into Pheonix and renting a car with 4WD, so I can get to lots of places.

Thanks for the advice!

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te_wa
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Re: Late December backpacking for an out-of-stater

Post by te_wa » Oct 31 2018 3:52 pm

the Supes have Loops! lots and lots of loops.. you could stay busy for weeks there. a nice 4 day trip would be:
drive out of east phoenix (the airport) and take the I 10 to the us60. go east out of town until you pass superior, about 30 miles east of mesa. stop and get an eyeful of what a struggling mining town looks like. main street is a trip (nothing like Detroit, tho). keep east on the us60 until you go over a second bridge, at pinto creek. turn into the pinto mine road and follow directions for "Miles Trailhead". this is where the fun begins!
park at Kennedy Ranch and walk westward on the West Pinto trail. take the north branching intersection for campaign creek, over pinto pass. then about 6 miles? in, you'll find the intersection of campaign creek and fireline trails. camp here, if there's water. you'll see a small stand of ponderosa pine trees on the south side of the creek. if you stay here, then go north on the fireline trail to reevis ranch. it's at 4800 feet so it will be chilly. after tanking up on water at reevis, go north until you get to the frog tanks trail - there may be water at plow saddle spring, and more in fish creek along the frog tanks trail. at that intersection, go south a couple hundred feet and look left for a small, barely visible "trail" that goes 30 feet to an amazing campspot. next day, keep going south now along the roger's canyon trail until you see a canyon surrounded by catsclaw coming in from the east. about 15 minutes heading east will take you to some very nice salado indian ruins, 600 years old, on the north slope. continuing on, you'll turn right on the reevis 109 trail and walk about 4 miles until you come to west pinto trail again. it's 9 miles back to kennedy ranch from there, so a long day.
*there is always water in reevis creek, so staying on this loop will at least give you options to tweak the itinerary, and tank up there. keep checking back for H2O reports for this area, but December may be wet (for a desert). hopefully, yes.
Last edited by te_wa on Oct 31 2018 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
:D

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julcoh
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Re: Late December backpacking for an out-of-stater

Post by julcoh » Oct 31 2018 4:55 pm

@te_wa

Wow, thank you! This is so much detail-- I hoped for it but didn't expect it, and clearly indicative of the knowledge on this site.

Let me play with some maps and chart this loop out. Do you think this area will be well travelled in the run up to Christmas?

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nonot
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Re: Late December backpacking for an out-of-stater

Post by nonot » Oct 31 2018 6:21 pm

Many of the eastern Superstition Trailheads are not made for sedan access and you would want some type of SUV or high clearance vehicle to access. The eastern side can see snow in winter at the higher elevations.
However, in December the most popular trailheads are on the west side most of which are suitable for any vehicle. The western side almost nevers sees snow, and when it does it usually melts by noon the next day.

Consider a loop starting from the Peralta TH, First Water, or Boulder Canyon. Usually the population thins out once you are 3 miles from the trailhead. You will want to know where the reliable water sources are: LaBarge Spring, Whiskey Spring, Charlesbois.
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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te_wa
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Re: Late December backpacking for an out-of-stater

Post by te_wa » Nov 01 2018 5:10 pm

julcoh wrote:Do you think this area will be well travelled
nope. it's not ever "well traveled". the trails out here are mostly clear, a few brushy spots here and there, and some cairns will guide you in tough areas. if you have hiked on narrow (1' wide) trails before, and have a good set of maps (the beartooth publishing Superstitions map is pure gold) then you should have a great time. if there is a little snow... so what? YOU'RE FROM MICHIGAN. LOL.
hiking out this way will be likely high 50's and low 60's with overnights plummeting down to the teens, in some areas. most likely the route I described will see low 30's normally, unless weather patterns pass thru.
I posted this route because I picked up on the clue that you are traveling alone, during the holidays. solitude is what you seek? this is a great time of year and perfect location for that.
once again, keep us posted of your plans when dates draw near.
:D

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julcoh
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Re: Late December backpacking for an out-of-stater

Post by julcoh » Nov 01 2018 7:21 pm

te_wa wrote:
Nov 01 2018 5:10 pm
nope. it's not ever "well traveled". the trails out here are mostly clear, a few brushy spots here and there, and some cairns will guide you in tough areas. if you have hiked on narrow (1' wide) trails before, and have a good set of maps (the beartooth publishing Superstitions map is pure gold) then you should have a great time. if there is a little snow... so what? YOU'RE FROM MICHIGAN. LOL.
hiking out this way will be likely high 50's and low 60's with overnights plummeting down to the teens, in some areas. most likely the route I described will see low 30's normally, unless weather patterns pass thru.
I posted this route because I picked up on the clue that you are traveling alone, during the holidays. solitude is what you seek? this is a great time of year and perfect location for that.
once again, keep us posted of your plans when dates draw near.
Correct-- travelling alone, looking for some solitude. I'll keep y'all posted.

And will definitely grab that map, thanks again.

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sajor75
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Re: Late December backpacking for an out-of-stater

Post by sajor75 » Nov 02 2018 10:32 am

@te_wa , isnt the superstitions desert like terrain with mountains, if that is your cup of tea go for it but i much prefer the green pine trees of up north.

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chumley
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Re: Late December backpacking for an out-of-stater

Post by chumley » Nov 02 2018 10:58 am

@te_wa
Please just nod your head in agreement. :sweat:

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