Clear Creek... All of it.

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natecolsen
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Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by natecolsen » Jan 29 2018 9:17 am

Has anyone trekked the full length of Clear Creek from Blue Ridge Reservoir to McHood Park near Winslow or heard of anyone who has? I've done a 40ish mile section of West Clear Creek and am very curious about this 100 or so mile route now. I understand that depending on water levels/time of year I could be doing a very, very large amount of swimming, but as another option I am curious how deep the canyon gets in the middle to eastern sections of the creek. My hope is that some of the sections with lower canyon walls could allow me to scramble out and back in to skip some of the longer portions that require swimming. Has anyone visited some of the more remote sections of this canyon before? Any advice is much appreciated.
Last edited by natecolsen on Jan 29 2018 10:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 29 2018 1:30 pm

All I've done is paddle lower end.

I'm sure you know this, but for readers' clarification, West Clear Creek and East Clear Creek are not two parts of the same creek. They are different creeks. West runs into the Verde watershed, while East runs into the LCR. A study of geography, of how these waters eventually reach the big Colorado, is pretty astonishing. One watershed winds up in Grand Canyon, the other goes all the way to Yuma.

Chevelon creek is also interesting. I have paddled the little -known reservoir at its lower end as well. (not Chevelon Lake) .
Last edited by azbackpackr on Jan 29 2018 1:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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chumley
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by chumley » Jan 29 2018 2:03 pm

azbackpackr wrote:
Jan 29 2018 1:30 pm
One watershed winds up in Grand Canyon, the other goes all the way to Yuma.
And all this time I thought they both ended up going all the way to Yuma!
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big_load
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by big_load » Jan 29 2018 2:35 pm

chumley wrote:And all this time I thought they both ended up going all the way to Yuma!
Oh, you and your geography!

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natecolsen
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by natecolsen » Jan 29 2018 2:48 pm

:) Indeed I am familiar with the different watershed. It's gorgeous country up there. My hope is that as I move east away from BRR the canyon walls will drop significantly more than the narrows of WCC. This should give me the option to climb out onto the rim and cover a lot more ground faster and safer. There are A LOT of narrows on this creek and I don't think all of them are swimable considering their length, hazards, etc. Here is a quick screenshot showing my proposed route. I'll be waiting until late spring/early summer to tackle this one, but it should end up being one gnarly adventure.
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chumley
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by chumley » Jan 29 2018 3:08 pm

I'd be concerned about trespassing/property ownership. Once you leave the National Forest near East Sunset and Chevelon Butte, you're on a checkerboard of state trust land and private land. All the private squares are actually owned by the Hopi Tribe, which of course operates under a different set of rules.

Even the STL may be inaccessible as the recreation permit only allows access when the land isn't otherwise leased. If the tribe is leasing it for grazing, then that permit might not give you legal access either.

I'd consider a pack raft for the long swim sections which would allow you to stay in the canyon the whole time rather than trying to escape.

Sounds like a great adventure.
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natecolsen
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by natecolsen » Jan 29 2018 3:45 pm

@chumley
Oh wow... I'm looking at the checkerboard you mentioned now. Something I'll definitely need to consider. Thank you for the heads up.
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toddak
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by toddak » Jan 29 2018 4:19 pm

Thought about it but I've only done a few miles on either end. With the dry winter, this might be a good year to do it (or, maybe not). In his book Canyoneering Arizona, Tyler Williams has this cryptic note (but no details) about ECC:

"East Clear Creek meanders through a rarely visited canyon for over 50 miles. In that distance you will find limestone alcoves, sandstone narrows, deep pools and stunning archaeology."

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nonot
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by nonot » Jan 29 2018 10:13 pm

There is one swim about 1.5 miles from the road where FR95 crosses near the Blue Range reservoir, and some decent trail for the next 5ish miles. From there, east Clear creek gets significantly overgrown and wild on its way to Leonard Canyon, with some wades but no swims. There is one road at Mack's crossing that is your last touch of civilization. With them increasing their water pumping from the reservoir you will run into large dry stretches in summer, and have to deal with a variety of conditions by the time you reach Willow Canyon. From there are mixed conditions, and Grasshopper has a trail report from fall on about the next 6ish miles below Hamilton crossing. Below that I know of no hikers for the next 30ish miles - but it is pretty serious entrapment as it appears to be inescapable for long stretches. The lower section as it nears Winslow is going to require swimming, a lot, culminating in an option to swim around 1-2 miles for the last hurrah. There's some minor private property issues around the sinkholes area. The 50 miles on your map probably adds up to 80 if you take into account the meandering.

The walls do indeed get tall and more spectacular the further in you go. However you will get into some real remote and rugged territory - it is slow going in sections and lots of locust bush to keep you company and lots of flash flood danger in that long stretch in the middle.

Since you have no history of trips posted on the website, I will caution you that off trail backpacking is not for beginners, definitely it looks on paper to be a flash flood kill zone for the middle and lower sections, but also a risk of running out of water in the middle sections if doing it later in the season after the monsoons. Save this trip until you've got a good handle on things and have built up your strength and experience.
Last edited by nonot on Jan 29 2018 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Metalrunner
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by Metalrunner » Feb 01 2018 12:51 pm

That adventure has been on my mind for many years. Not that I'm inviting myself, at 55 I believe my time has passed. However, when I was half this age, I seriously considered it. I remember reading about a team that attempted it, accomplished most of their goal but fell short of reaching the Little Colorado river. I must admit the details of what I read are very foggy, but reading your post, jogged my memory. Two, names came to mind; John Annerino and Bruce Grubbs. It may have been others, but those names jumped out first. I believe they had some major log jams to deal with. May have read it in an old Arizona Highways magazine???

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big_load
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by big_load » Feb 01 2018 3:12 pm

Metalrunner wrote: ... at 55 I believe my time has passed
No way! You should have at least three good years left, hopefully more like 20.

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chumley
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by chumley » Feb 01 2018 3:27 pm

big_load wrote:
Feb 01 2018 3:12 pm
You should have at least three good years left
I think we need a ruling on this. What does @The_Eagle think?
Last edited by chumley on Feb 01 2018 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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outdoor_lover
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by outdoor_lover » Feb 01 2018 4:33 pm

Metalrunner wrote:at 55 I believe my time has passed.
Hell, I'd still do it... Take a ton of planning though and it would probably take me more than a Month.... Resupply Points would be a Must....
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Re: Clear Creek... All of it.

Post by The_Eagle » Feb 01 2018 8:13 pm

@chumley
WHAT... YOU TALKING TO ME... SPEAK UP SONNY
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