|Haunted Canyon HAZoween Hike, AZ|
|Haunted Canyon HAZoween Hike, AZ|| |
Haunted Canyon HAZoween Hike, AZ
|110 ft AEG|
|I couldn't make up my mind on doing this backpack. I tried to get a few people to come with me as I knew I would be hiking it by myself. I'm not fond of doing that when I'm in brand new territory. After much trepidation, since this hike was on my wish list and I like camping with this group I finally bot the HAZoween stuff and committed on Friday nite.
Now to figure out the 3 sets of driving directions and yep, as much as I hate using a GPS to get me to and from some of these unknown THs, I will now have to download the driving directions... okay Bruce . This time I drove to the west and past the marked #203 TH to what I thot was the lower TH. That didn't feel right so I went back to the marked western 203 TH. I figured someone should be here by now and decided since there wasn't signs of anyone or of Larry's cool jeep; this had to be wrong. So I headed back on 287A to not far from the intersection that goes to the Miles TH when I looked down a side road to see a sign that said Haunted Canyon. Sheesh, this wasn't going well already.
There at the lot was DBmooner and skillpore. So I pulled in. None of JJ's group was in sight. Devon decided he would go to the upper TH I just left and hike in that way while we waited a bit for the others to arrive which they did. I geared up and headed out to get a jump start... ya, like that would last long as the others caught up to me in no time and soon whooshed past. I hiked with Larry until the road ends where the rest were waiting for us.
Now I was on my own or so I thought. Well the good witches of Halloween won out and Stephen ended up hanging back with me . Whew! cuz that was not the easiest route to hike with all the creek crossings and such not to mention the POISON IVY. But first we had to climb above the creek and thru some pretty yellow flowered areas that even had some saguaros up higher. The views were pretty cool in this area as you could look up the canyon and at the rock formations. We stopped one time in this area; mostly so I could adjust my pack.
A little past the 2.75 mark we drop back into the creek and hang a right. I felt like we missed a cairn or something because generally you don't hike down the middle of a creek considering it might be running; there is usually a side trail. Shortly we got back up on that. Soon we got into the area of some heavy poison ivy. Stephen told me about his difficulties with poison ivy so he was particularly careful through most of this. I, on the other hand, have had very limited experience with poison ivy but I had my long pants and socks on so I just tried to be somewhat careful hiking here.
After several times of crossing back and forth which can zap your energy, Stephen would just stay in creek bed. He pointed out some Virginia Creeper that was turning red; it has five leaves. We would have to get around dead fall from time to time. I actually would have to get on the ground to get under one tree. Finally I decide enough of this creek bed crossing so I decided to boulder hop as well. But of course, this is the time the trail more or less doesn't cross the creek bed for awhile .
We did take another break. I enjoyed the breaks in the creek bed because it gave us a moment to look around and enjoy the area, poison ivy and all. Like most folks it was great fun hiking up that bedrock section which is not too far from where we would be camping. From time to time we checked the GPS to see how far we were. We finally arrived at our destination to greet all the other HAZers. It was nice to meet Fan and Lucy as I have followed them on HAZ for awhile. Larry "Oregon Hiker" was there too.
They gave me a moment to scarf down 1/2 of my sandwich and part of my beer. We did a group shot and then it was time to be going again. So with my beer and camera in tow it was off to Tony's Cabin. This grassy section was really pretty to and around the cabin area. Reminded me a bit of Reavis. The cabin was built at the same time my grandparents homesteaded to the middle of nowhere in N Central Montana. Their home and surroundings were not nearly as big or nice at this.
There was HAZantics in and around the cabin for a bit and then it was time to go in search of something Bruce had his eye on. I followed in tow having no idea where we were going. At an intersection in the creek, many of us turned around and started to head back. The others would come back soon and catch up with us at the spring where that Halloween guy was drinking from the spring trough. That Halloween guy was at the cabin too and had chased me around a tall tree stump with an axe; wished I had been a cat.
We got back to camp and bid adieus to the day hikers. I put up my tent, had another beer and ate the other 1/2 of my sandwich as the sun fell and the fire, loaded with natural rock shrapnel began. I am not sure how the conversation once again got around to my favorite topic "poo"; gosh not again . Not sure if it's me or if that's a normal topic.
Slept pretty well with the usual human rotissire movements. Got up at 6:30 and prepared immediately for the hike out. Lee was concerned we would miss the turn out of the creek bed so he asked DBmooner if Stephen and I could hike out with him. So that's what we did which was great because we got to do the whole trail that way; Even though we had to climb a heck of a hill we hadn't anticipated for the weekend. Devon started out pretty fast so I'm thinkin' we're in trouble if we want to even try to keep sight of him. However, he would stop and wait for us to make sure we were coming before continuing on.
And then it was time for the hill to start . Those switchbacks are a bit steep and slippery when you're towing a big pack. However, you did get those level-out points to catch your breath so thankfully, it wasn't that bad or as bad as we feared. It seemed humid though and there wasn't a breeze. We did get occasional spots of shade so that was nice. Devon tried to keep us informed of our progress both mileage and steepness-wise. We were jumping for joy when he said the lower switchback section was the steepest.
You get to somewhat of a level area where you can look back down on Haunted Canyon and toward Government Hill. It was a great view. We may have even spotted another trail over on the mountain across the creek. Now back to one foot in front of the other as we got to the tank we had heard them mention at camp. It's really quite the tank and I have no idea how they got the equipment there to build it as Devon said there used to be an old tractor there. Anyway, very close to here is DBmooner tree. We rested and chatted for about 15 minutes before finishing the climb to the saddle.
Of course once you're at the top saddle, the views to the NE are pretty impressive so had to take a few pictures as we made our way down to the creek. It's always interesting when you go through topical changes in a short amount of time like you do on this part of the trail. Even though Devon told me it was all downhill from the saddle, I was skeptical. It seems there's usually a little hill involved in these but by gosh if it wasn't completely downhill the entire rest of the way.
We arrived at DBmooner's jeep and squeezed ourselves in for the ride back to the east TH. Devon for taking care of us on the trail and off. Sharing your knowledge of the area is much appreciated as well. I took Stephen back to his place and met his mom who I suspect thot I was pretty scary looking . Well it is the season. I noticed when I got back in Tonto Jr that I had dirt marks and such on my face as I didn't clean up before getting on the road.
And for your viewing pleasure... or not:
Haunted Canyon Trail #203 west side - http://youtu.be/ScDcsfITHio
Tony's Cabin HAZoween - http://youtu.be/ja90vcfqbPI
Beyond Tony's Cabin and back to and at camp - http://youtu.be/s_QbMfgufKY
9.05 miles on #203
||Autumn Foliage Observation Light
|For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination. |
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.