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2021-10-16  
2013-08-10  
Bars Canyon, AZ
mini location map2013-08-10
18 by photographer avatarOutlander
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page 1   2
 
Bars Canyon, AZ 
Bars Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking18.00 Miles 8,600 AEG
Hiking18.00 Miles   21 Hrs      1.13 mph
8,600 ft AEG   5 Hrs    Break20 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The mission was to patrol a couple of hot spots near Bars Canyon and Mazatzal Peak.

With an early start, fresh legs, and a light pack; I was determined to accomplish all the tasks on the itinerary. Mazatzal Peak was first on the list. The Suicide Ridge approach saves about 1.4 miles vs. the Shake Tree Trail route, which is washed out in places and heavy on the rocks. Nonstop to the top in 2 hours 50 minutes.

The next destination was Bars Canyon, taking the ravine below Y Bar Tanks. That is a rough little stretch in there, with several cliffs and walk-arounds. It has a couple of old dope grow sites along the creek, the usual scene. I met a hiker a few years back who claimed to have seen the Cartel men over at the Barnhardt TH. They were loading trash bags full of dope into one of those lawn maintenance truck/trailer setups, hiding the bags among the yard clippings. This was likely the same outfit that worked below the Y Bar in 2006.

By accident or design, Bars Canyon is one of the few places within the eastern Mazatzals to have escaped fire damage. It has a mature oak forest and an intermittent stream, making it an ideal habitat for a number of species. The lower creek has a swimming hole, interesting geology, and easy road access.

The Bear Story:

So I was taking a lunch break, minding my own business; I look over my shoulder and there was a bear staring back at me. After a momentary fright, it became evident that the bear was just a little cub, so I exchanged the pistol for a camera. The bear cub had likely caught wind of my Spam and peanut butter, an irresistible combination. His mother was nowhere in sight, and likely dead, either from natural causes or was a casualty of the bear hunting season (Unit 22 S opened on Aug 9). The bear was almost tame, moving within 30 feet at times, and had not learned to fear men and their boomsticks. He was just a lonely bear cub hoping to find a meal and a new friend.

Orphaned bear cubs have a tough time surviving on their own, often falling victim to predators and other bears. My cub had a deep gash on his back, evidence his perilous journey. With long odds, fate alone will decide his future.

The AGFD hunting regulations forbid the harvest of sows with cubs; nonetheless, sows are sometimes taken accidentally. That might have happened in this instance, as just around the corner is Shake Tree Canyon, prime bear habitat. At least three bears get harvested from this location each season. Being an easy rifle shot from the top of Shake Ridge, this spot is a road hunter’s paradise.

I watched the cub for about ten minutes and then moved out, knowing that there were many more miles of bushwhacking ahead of me. The Manzanita stands were chest high, intermixed with vines and deadfall. It was tough work in there, slow going, and added at least four extra hours of hike time. Law enforcement uses helicopters to access the area, which they do each year about this time, running eradication and apprehension ops.

With all those bears and bandits out there, sleeping under the stars did not seem like a good idea. It became a forced march in the dark, mile after mile, a taste of the hard times that loom just over the horizon.
 Flora
 Flora [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Giant chainfern
 Named place
 Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Bars Canyon  Y Bar Basin
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bars Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Water can be found here in several places, especially in the lower section.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Y Bar Tanks 1-25% full 1-25% full
There is a spring right here that was flowing at about 5 gpm.
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