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Fraser - Randolph LoopGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 05 2014
Hiking10.50 Miles 1,175 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   7 Hrs   39 Mns   1.86 mph
1,175 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
t**********Treckkin with the Gecko & Trippin with the Tibber**********

We had several varied reports on this hike especially the Randolph Canyon part where the concerns were about the Catsclaw and the lack of a trail meaning that you were destined to hike the creek bed for the whole distance. Because of this we decided to wear long pants with zip-off legs but opted to keep the legs on for the occasional "work around" at some of the pools.

It was a comfortably cool start to the day and we arrived at the Woodbury TH around 0830 after Angela got "flipped off" once on a blind turn on our way in. Once there, it didn't take too long to get our shoes changed, GPS's reset, packs hitched up and on the trail. We decided to hit Randolph Canyon first as this would be best on "fresh" legs and it's downhill until we meed up with Fraser Canyon on Coffee Flat Trail. This worked out well since it's easier to jump/climb down the occasional boulder than to climb up their slippery surface, also there was water in some pools and some water flowing but not enough to force us to challenge the waiting Catsclaw along the edges.

Kelly, leading, soon spotted two Javelina darting for cover in the thick brush, I was only able to see the rumps as they disappeared and a short distance later we spotted a small Coyote who quickly left the scene. I'm sure we would have seen a lot more wildlife if we weren't making so much noise because each pool we came across had lots of prints fresh in the mud surrounding them.

Rock hopping in the creek bed was not challenging at all because there was a lot of sand/gravel mixed with mud that "cemented" the rocks in place and prevented them from rolling when you stepped on them, unlike a hike down boulder creek :o Then there was the numerous long expanses of smooth, colorful slickrock with etched in patterns from the centuries of erosion that made the creek bed hiking an unexpected treat :D

The scenery all along Randolph Canyon is beautiful and pristine and with the good walking conditions, you can observe the mountains while you're walking & gawking :) We rarely came across signs of previous hikers but there are numerous signs of livestock that have entered the Wilderness Area. Except for small isolated, patches the only flowers blooming was the bright red of the Occotillo, but Spring is in the air so the Cottonwood and Sycamore are leafing out anywhere there's water available.

Before long we were entering the area of Red Tanks Canyon and Kelly was in second heaven, with the colorful rocks, the flowing water, the superb scenery and even a small waterfall to top things off while Angela kept the video "rolling" :GB: This was such a special area that it was hard to keep on going and leave it behind but that only means that it has to be visited again and again. We took our lunch break where the Randolph and Fraser Canyons meet in the area of Dripping Springs, but once again we had to chase some cows out of the area before we could sit down in the shade and have lunch.

Following our pleasant break we now were faced with the uphill stretch of Fraser Canyon where it's a mix of hiking the creek bed and using trails to bypass some of the brushy stretches. Fraser Canyon is by no means boring, but after the sensory overload we had just experienced, it was a bit more of a mundane hike. Lots of giant Saguaro taking on unusual twists and contortions are fairly common along this portion of the canyon and before long we have reached the JF ranch site. Upon exiting the ranch, we should have listened to Kelly and followed the trail but the road looked so tempting that we stayed on it following it up an endless, steep slope back to the trailhead and a patiently waiting Tonto Jr :DANCE:

As we changed out of our hiking gear, Angela provided us with cool refreshing beverages and salty snacks as we compared notes from our respective GPS's..... none of them the same :? Gotta thank Angela and Kelly for being such great and fun hiking partners, this may be our last outing for this season as I'm going to be leaving for Minnesota in a few weeks :( but we can always look forward to next fall and the opportunity to continue from where we left off :)

Just a footnote to this hike. Don't believe everything you've heard about Randolph Canyon, if the creek's not too high and you can hike the creek bed, this canyon offers some outstanding views of a piece of the Superstitions that not many hikers take advantage of and I wouldn't pass on the opportunity to repeat it :y:
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Occotillo are in full bloom, several patches of white daisy's and small patches of Poppies still blooming.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Fraser Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Water is flowing in portions of the creek.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Randolph Spring Dripping Dripping
Some water available in lower pools.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Red Tanks Canyon Light flow Light flow
Surprising amount of water flowing and filling the downstream pools.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Whetstone Spring Dripping Dripping
Some water available in surrounding pools.
On every trip into the Superstitions, I find another Gold Mine. Today the mine was filled with Memories. I can not wait for the next trip.
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