One of the spots in question that I came across was [ Steeple Mesa - Grant Creek ]
that I have been strongly considering for the group that I am bringing in two weeks time.
I corresponded with a wonderfully friendly guide over in Alpine, AZ- Wendy Kreuger- who works at a nearby lodge about my plans for the trip, and she warned against that route on account of the amount of burned forest and limited flow of KP and Grant creeks. She suggested instead, as others in this thread have mentioned, that the Black River is the place to go. She did also warn of recent bear activity along the BR, so be cautious of scents and be sure to store your food in a safe location - either a bear can or suspended from a branch in a scent-proof container.
Here is the copied text from her last email:
Hi [my name]- yes it is running and you have plenty to filter. I would stay as high in elevation as you can for the heat. It was 83 in Alpine at 3pm today. To access the Black river at bear creek, take 191 to FS rd 26. Go west on 26 to a T intersection- 9 miles. Take left at T,FS 24, go about 2 miles to Bear creek- a trickle across the road. Go through this and up a short hill to a cattle guard. You will see an old loading chute and turn right to the circular drive trail head. The walk to Black river is about 1.5 miles. You will want to be mindful of bears- I have seen more than usual lately- they are targeting water areas.
Sounds like a nice time hiking that.