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Baldy Canyon / Chillicut / Oak Flat Loop, AZ
mini location map2014-01-25
18 by photographer avatarjoebartels
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Baldy Canyon / Chillicut / Oak Flat Loop, AZ 
Baldy Canyon / Chillicut / Oak Flat Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 25 2014
joebartels
Hiking17.25 Miles 4,100 AEG
Hiking17.25 Miles   10 Hrs   10 Mns   1.88 mph
4,100 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Tiffany from the Grand Canyon Chapter of Sierra Club requested permission for a photo on the Chillicut Trail a couple months ago. Which in turn peaked my interest back to a 2008 loop I did with Chris, Wally & Tony. While my memory doesn't remember all the details, one thing stood out... excellent hike. For several weeks since it's been in the "maybe rotation pool".

A couple things gleaned from the 2008 trip. Oak Flat Trail #123 is in no regards a flat trail. and it was not designed by a trail expert like Shawn Redfield. It's a V cut canal of loose gravel. Heading down is fun, heading up is a chore. The other notable gleaning point was the bottom of the Chillicut. I recall it being smooth hard packed with light gravel in one area. Once you start going down there is no stopping or you will slip.

So I proposed we go up Chillicut and down Oak Flat. Then started thinking this wasn't much of a loop for the drive. Looking at topo Baldy Canyon caught my eye. Hallelujah we could eliminate the hard packed ball bearing slope on Chillicut. Plus pick up Three Bar Cabin, a Rock Creek sampler and lower Baldy Canyon while making the drive worthy.

Three Bar Cabin reminded me of a 1960's middle income house... nothing like a cabin. Rock Creek was more choked than anticipated. Nothing difficult just slow going weaving around stuff. The highlight was dense packed saguaros on the left slopes heading down steam.

Baldy Canyon started off cool twisting around corners to a small granite box. Karl pointed out some pink granite too. If you are into short rugged day hikes this would be a nice destination.

Continuing up Baldy Canyon is typical easy canyoneering ( non-technical... clarification for competitive literature types ). Karl was fueled up on BobP Wheaties plowing through obstacles and nowhere to be seen at times. While I don't get excited about repetitive miles of this stuff it is a great workout. When Brown's Peak makes an appearance the vegetation obstacles mellow out. Bowling ball sized stones and cottonwoods( I think ) take over. It is a refreshing change and knowing Chillicut is near lifts the spirits.

Chillicut is everything I remember, a spectacular variation of views.

The stretch along Four Peaks Trail #130 over to Oak Flat #123 is better than most national parks. Thanks to the AZT crews it is a pleasant stroll too. It used to be a hint of a trail in areas. A sketchy area around one outcrop has been built up and stabilized. The two rock slide slopes are a breeze too.

I love this loop with or without variations.

lugged 3 quarts / consumed 1.5
Culture
Culture
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wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
a few sprigs of verbenaceae here and there in the lower end of Oak Flat

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Baldy Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
From Rock Creek we followed upstream about 2 miles. It ranged from dry to a very light flow. The water looked refreshing. I'd filter due to the low flow and a few cow patties further up canyon.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Rock Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
As we all know, Rock Creek flows downstream east to Roosevelt Lake. It was dry immediately west of Three Bar Cabin. Just east it was pools to a trickle until one spot with some cattails it was bone dry. Probably flows underground as it surfaced again soon.

Near the cabin it had that oily look with the funky smell...
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- joe
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