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Bagley Tank To Saguaro Lake
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mini location map2012-06-07
36 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Bagley Tank To Saguaro LakePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 07 2012
Hiking4.65 Miles 858 AEG
Hiking4.65 Miles   4 Hrs   32 Mns   1.55 mph
858 ft AEG   1 Hour   32 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Hiking this canyon to Saguaro Lake from Bagley Tank had been on my list for so long I figured with the forecast calling for mid-60's I could knock this one out before it got too hot. Not!

I was at the OHV gate by 5:40 am but due to some technical difficulties with the lock (seems to be an ongoing problem with this gate) I was delayed more than I cared for. Even driving a bit faster than usual on the rough FR12 it was 6:30 am before I hit the trail. Already at 78 degrees I debated adding more than 64 oz in my CamelBak, but I figured it's only a 4 mile round-trip and there's no way I'll use fluids like Monday bagging 5 of the Apache Peaks, so I didn't take more.

With the whole hike following the wash I hoped I wouldn't have to deal with anything like the prodigious amounts of fox-tail I did on Monday. Wrong again! It was awful... my socks were sprouting them like crazy within a 1/4 mile, along with the constant prickly feeling. Oh well, I'll ignore it as much as I can for as long as possible and deal with it later.

I did not realize a description had been posted on HAZ so I had no idea it would involve canyoneering, which I was not really well prepared for. Following Willow Spring Canyon (the next one west) last week was pretty straight-forward so I hadn't expected much different. Whatever, when I reached the first huge boulders I had to try a number of different routes before I found a way through, or more accurately, a way that I knew I would be able to climb back up. There were plenty of options I could have dropped down but with no ropes I wasn't about to chance it.

At one point I stopped to ponder the route across onto a large boulder that ultimately would be a sequence of three long steps followed by three jumps, the last being the longest followed by an immediate stop or it would result in a 25' fall. The whole scheme was daunting enough it took a few minutes of running it through my mind to get myself psyched up. It was go or no-go so let's get on with it!

I got the three steps done easy enough, then jump ONE, jump TW.... NOOOOO!
It was all I could do NOT to make that second jump without falling. Ok, so I fell, but it was backwards so nothing like it would have been forward.

Why did I bail in the middle of the sequence?? :?
Well, there was this rattler curled up exactly where I had planned the launch-point for the big jump. :whistle:

Now the dilemma...
1. Do I extend my snake hook and lift the rattler off the rock or at least coax it to move away?
2. Or do I find another way?

I decided to take a few photos, let sleeping dogs er... snakes lay, and spend another 5-7 minutes to locate and follow another route.

After that I had a short respite of slick rock to make up some time on... just until the next even larger boulders to traverse. I tried a number of dead-ends before realizing I'd have to climb up one of the walls a bit before dropping 50' back down to the wash floor to continue. Now I had to be mindful of cats-claw and other thorny brush that so-far had not been a problem. At this rate I wondered how long it would be before I reached the lake.

Back in a flat and wider wash again it was time to pick up speed again. Until almost to the lake and the brush tightens completely and I'm back to climbing the walls again.
Finally! I can at least see the lake. Still no easy way to get down to dip my toes in the lake so I continued up high. At least up high I could see a turtle sunning itself on a rock across the narrow bay, and a few minutes later another few hundred feet north was a stork. Oh yeah, there were two men and two kids fishing just off the shore below me. As I worked my way along the wall I heard them readying to wrap it up for the day and as they started to leave they noticed me and called up, asking where I had come from. When I told them my route and how long it took (just over 2 miles in 3 hours) they asked if I had enough water. Even though it was tougher, warmer and had taken twice as long as expected and I was already rationing my Gatorade, I replied Thanks, but I'm ok and they took off. (The reasoning behind my response was due to the logistics of getting close enough for an exchange and having to climb the extra distance back up)

Just a few more photos and I've got to get moving! At least with a better idea of how best to detour around the large obstacles I figured I'd make better time on the return trip. Although I did explore a few different options (they looked much different from below) on the return, I almost cut my time in half, from 3 hours down to 100 minutes. Yes, I did try a short-cut, or at least straighter on the map, but it was climbing an extra 100+ feet up and back down so it did nothing but deplete my energy even more. The dropping back down took every bit as much distance as I had saved because of a cliff.... which I had to continue on until locating another way down.
Oh well, I made it back, safe-and-sound other than the elbow I scraped when falling back away from the rattler. Hmmm... bleeding elbow or snake-bite?... Easily a fair trade in my book!

Ok, now it's geocoding & labeling photos then deciding which of the 50+ photos I'll post on HAZ. Soon...
The full set will be here:
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Saguaro Lake
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