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Haigler Creek Hellsgate Wilderness
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23 by photographer avatarchumley
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Haigler Creek Hellsgate WildernessPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Jun 29 2013
chumley
Canyoneering7.00 Miles 1,217 AEG
Canyoneering7.00 Miles2 Days         
1,217 ft AEG
Canyon Hiking - Non-technical; no rope; easy scrambling; occasional hand use
B - Up to light current; wading/swimming; possible wet/dry suit
IV - Long, full day, bivy possible
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
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JoelHazelton
With temperatures approaching 120 in the valley, I knew that even heading for the high country would be hotter than I prefer. The only solution would involve being in water all day. I had an opportunity to go to WCC, but I anticipated it being a little crowded there, so when Joel suggested Haigler, I was sold. I'd camped near the start on numerous occasions in the past, but never ventured downstream more than a quarter mile or so.

I can honestly say hiking this creek may be the slowest, most tiring hike I've done in a long time. Maybe ever. Joel said only the Motherlode was more difficult, but I personally think that is easier. We hiked for a solid 8 hours on Saturday and the GPS logged only 4.4 miles. And that was generous. The map only showed us having progressed a little over 3.5 river miles. 1-mile over 2 hours is a good pace here.

But those hours are crazy fun. Lots of amazing scenery in there! The vegetation was too thick to keep floaties from popping, and most of the creek hiking is not more than chest deep, so the required swimming portions are relatively short and the floaties were not necessary anyway. Of course you definitely need dry bag. Next time, I will absolutely bring trekking poles, which I did not have with me on this trip. I would almost say they should be requirement for anybody making this trip.

There's basically nowhere to camp. Hangers would do much better here. Finding flat, non-rocky places for two people to sleep is a challenge. But the pink granite is beautiful. And there's a handful of cascades and deep swimming holes that made the weekend great.

We headed back out on Sunday, exploring some more and appreciating this remote wilderness canyon. We never did see another person all weekend. At some point, I'd like to take the time to get all the way to Hell's Gate, but that wasn't in the cards this weekend because the hike out in these temps would have been miserable, if not dangerous or impossible.

A little video recap here: http://youtu.be/RdoXnpOyW7g
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Haigler Creek
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