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Whiskey West-Red Tanks Loop
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mini location map2013-04-19
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Whiskey West-Red Tanks LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 19 2013
Backpack13.40 Miles 2,150 AEG
Backpack13.40 Miles2 Days         
2,150 ft AEG45 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Another stab at solo Backpacking and it went really well. No Bailouts, No Rain, and just enough Breeze to keep things from getting too warm. Went in heavy with lots of Water, even though I knew I wouldn't need that much with plenty of filterable Water still out there. Need to get used to the Pack Weight for an upcoming Trip. Just a couple of minor glitches, but nothing worth writing HAZ about... :lol: I did try to set myself up for a big failure, however, by wearing some brand new Boots right out of the Box... :lol: Joe knows all about that, right Joe??? :sl:

Started about 10:00 A.M. to beautiful weather. Did the Loop CCW, so embarked on the Dutchman. Have not been on any of these Trails before, other than descending on Bluff Springs once, so this was all new Territory for me. A little bit of a Roller Coaster on the Dutchman until you get around Miner's Needle and start the climb around the Summit. By the time I was done with that, I was pretty done with the uphill for a bit... :sweat: The Desert is really blooming big time right now. No Poppies or Lupines and the Brittlebush is about done, but everything else is taking over. Cholla, Ocotillo, and just about every other Flowering Shrub out there was in full bloom. Made for some great color in spots... :)

Got to the Whiskey Spring area and there was some small Water Flow with some nice pools that were still pretty clear. Wasn't sure exactly where the Spring was and didn't look for it. Took a nice break under a shade Tree and had lunch. Just as I took off, I heard Hawks. Looked up and spotted two Common Blackhawks soaring above me, making all kinds of noise. They must like this area, as jochal has gotten pics of them in a prior Trip. By the time I got the Camera whipped out, they were too far and too high to get good pics of... :(

Continued on to the Red Tanks Intersection. Saw some Backpackers off in the distance. Nice Water Flow still by the Intersection. Red Tanks Trail is in pretty good shape and I probably made my best time of the day on it. Flat, hardly any Rocks, and easy to follow. Before I knew it I was at La Barge Spring for the first time ever. What a cool little Oasis this is!! I inadvertently came up on the 4 Backpackers and scared the :pk: out of them and then we chatted for a bit before they moved on. They were doing a Shuttle between Tortilla TH and First Water and were camping that night at Charlebois. Got my Camp pretty much set up and then went hunting for the actual Spring. Found the Trough, not sure where the Pipe is??? Maybe it was right at the Trough, but with the lush overgrowth I couldn't see it. Tried to go around it and look up above, but the ground was extremely soft. Definitely tested out my Poison Ivy tolerance...So far, so good... :D Got in another fight with some Raspberry Bushes though and since I shed some blood on that, I guess they won... : rambo : The Day was waning fast, so I returned to Camp after taking a few pics.

Got up to the cool sound of Hummingbirds buzzing the Bivy. They must have been attracted to the Red Color, plus I think they like Sycamore Trees, one of which I was Camped underneath. Lots of Birds around this Riparian area, but it's pretty thick, so most were hard to see. Had a leisurely morning of packing up, filtering some Water and then hitting the Trail. Back on the Dutchman for the uphill out of the Canyon. Still standing Pools of Water in some areas of the main Drainages. Made fairly good time, think I'm getting somewhat used to the weight. A little warmer today and just shy of the Bluff Springs Intersection I spotted a really nice, shaded Camping area to my right, so I walked up into it and took a Break. As I was sitting on a Rock in there, I noticed a Hiker coming down the Dutchman, from the opposite way, so I knew I was close to the Intersection. After about 15 minutes, I just happened to look to my left, where I had entered the Campsite, and noticed that I had a visitor. Apparently he was seeking some shade too. Looks like he crawled up just far enough to get in the shade and then flopped his :pk: down right there! :lol: Let the picture taking commence... :lol: I guess I need to give up Dayhiking and just start Backpacking...It seems to be the only time I see these guys!!! :D After coaxing him to pose a little, he crawled into the bushes, which I was glad to see. He was semi-camouflaged out in the open, but not enough, and kinda looked like a sitting duck for something or someone to come along and bother...(Like me, I suppose... :lol:) Wally kinda knows about that too... :(

After the Photo Shoot I got started again, but got distracted immediately by the Hiker and his friend that I had seen earlier. They were inspecting a baby Red-Spotted Toad... :) We chatted for a bit and then I got started again. They passed me in a little bit and I took one more break in Barks Canyon along the Water before starting the climb out. It was getting pretty warm, but every once in awhile there was a Breeze, so it was tolerable. Was interested to see how things went coming down Bluff Springs, and I ended up being pretty happy about how it did go. I'm getting comfortable enough with this Pack that I'm able to move much better without fear of losing my balance or have something "give out" on me... :) The Boots did pretty well, they are not as "stiff" as some I've had in the past, so I think my feet and ankles worked harder, and I did get one small blister that was more irritating than anything, so it was good! I actually made good time on this 2nd Day, and felt pretty good about that.

This was a nice little Loop! Perfect for what I needed. I can definitely see doing this as a long Dayhike with a lighter load, but it's really nice for a short Backpack too. Thanks to Wally and Vince for supplying me with recent Trail conditions so I felt better about any Route Finding Issues. A very enjoyable two days! :)
Named place
Named place
LaBarge Spring
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Lots of Blooming Cacti and Shrubs. Brittlebush is about done. Several varieties of other Wildflowers blooming pretty good right now too. No Poppies or Lupines now.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Barks Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Still plenty of Pools in certain areas for filtering with minute flow.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bluff Spring Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Pools, to Pools with small Flow in some areas. Water still looks really good for filtering.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max LaBarge Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Trough is Overflowing. Light Flow in LaBarge Canyon in the Spring area. Water is clear.

dry Miners Canyon Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Upper LaBarge Box Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Good Pools with small to light Flow at Whiskey Springs/Red Tank Intersection.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Whiskey Spring Dripping Dripping
Didn't go to the actual Spring Source, but the Creek in the area had small flow with some good pools for filtering.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Whiskey Spring Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Near the Spring, lots of Clear Pools with small flow. The farther you get down Canyon towards the Red Tank Junction, the nastier the Pools get. Dry at the Whiskey Springs/Red Tank Junction. But there is flow coming out of Upper LaBarge Canyon at this point.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
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