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SE Goldfield Loop with variation, AZ
mini location map2015-01-18
45 by photographer avatartibber
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SE Goldfield Loop with variation, AZ 
SE Goldfield Loop with variation, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 18 2015
Hiking11.33 Miles 1,442 AEG
Hiking11.33 Miles   7 Hrs   39 Mns   2.21 mph
1,442 ft AEG   2 Hrs   32 Mns Break
1st trip
Love hiking Sundays with Kelly; especially if I have Monday off. Last Saturday Ambika and I were going to do Bulldog Canyon Loop but in my Rx I stumbled onto the Desert Safety and Survival class at the Superstition Museum so we did that instead. By the way, the course was great. We learned a lot and the instructor was entertaining as well. The thing that impressed us the most was how quickly he was able to get a fire started using lint. As Ambika says, she'll never look at her dryer lint the same way :lol: .

We were going to go for a little hike after but the weather was tenuous and a bit nippy so we went over to the Goldfield Ghost Town. In the over 30 years I've been here and all the times I've driven by I had never been. We spent the rest of the day there. Ambika says it is quite improved and includes a lot more then when she was here last.

So the point of the above dissertation is that Kelly and I decided to do the same thing but add on some more trails. I originally wanted to do the eastern portion of hikerdw's loop but I didn't realize it started right where we parked. We headed out onto the Bulldog Canyon Trail thinking there would be a right hand turn but obviously not. So we continued on the eastern leg until hooking up with the Orohai Loop. We used the HAZtraks and my printed map to find our way many times this day. Kelly has a neat system of comparing the two to establish where we are. My Scout II refurbished is just not cooperating but that's a whole 'nother discussion :x (I will share on the forum).

The views were really quite wonderful. Kelly pointed out Dome Mountain as there are three in a row. Dome doesn't look the tallest but as Kelly says, it's set back so you can't quite see its full height. We hiked by the Rock House wondering what it was and a mile or so later realized we were on the Rock House Trail and that was the Rock House, sheesh :doh: ! As the Orohai (Kelly pronounced this several different ways during our hike) Loop veered toward Top Hat, it is such a cool mountain. We got to the 3-way intersection and determined we had to go north.

The tank below the mountain had quite a bit of water. We headed toward the wash and walked in it... but too long as we missed the turn east. We thot it was a bit further up and had planned on looking at HAZtraks in a bit but I think we were having so much fun hiking in the wash we just continued... until we saw a big rock face in front of us. We then got out the map and HAZtraks. We could have gone back but I suggested we climb south out of the wash to see what we could see. We saw a mountain (Peak 2509) that looked like it had a cave or large alcove and Kelly spotted a saddle. This was our day to explore the area and this was definitely that. I said let's do our wallymode and check out the alcove first before going to the saddle.

The alcove was pretty large and the views from there were pretty incredible. I caught my breath for a moment while Kelly did her scouting for the best way off the side of this peak. She decided that going down and then up to the saddle was NOT the preferred way so we headed east. I kind of contoured along the side while Kelly went up trying to find a route down for us. Nope that wouldn't work but I spotted a shelf as we headed down so Kelly went and looked over the side to see if the down was doable which it was. She started down but I veered to the right as this was a free for all. I noticed a hoof print and then later saw a horse shoe print which turned out to be a bit of a trail. It almost looks like it was built. The trail eventually disappeared (surely it would be pretty hard for a horse) and then you just had to keep finding your way. I spotted a fence line so we followed that down to the road we could see from above.

I spotted a wire corral and when I went around it to the road I saw some golden leaves fluttering. Of course they were attached to cottonwood trees and lo and behold, somehow we ended up EXACTLY :DANCE: where we would have if we hadn't missed that turn. We were so proud of ourselves we decided to have lunch there. The spring is full by the way. Back on the trail we were now on FR 3512. We admired the lush green grass below the trees and the wash area to our left that we walked in for just a moment.

We almost missed the direction we wanted to go at another 3-way intersection. We chose NOT to go up the hill to the east or west on 1356 but continued on FR 3512 (from the spring). During the earlier part of our hike we were on FR 1356. From here, if you take the 1356 east you end up on the Tomahawk Trail or the 1356 west takes you back to the 3-way intersection by Top Hat (where we were earlier). We continued south for quite a bit until the trail finally did a long u-turn and headed up toward the Green Thumb (very cool rock formation for sure and climbable according to Kelly, there is a rope there too). We watched one idiot on a motorbike as he tried to get out of the tree that he ran into. Every sentence he and his buddy uttered had the "f" word. Big boys they are.

From here you go just a bit west up the hill and then south. It's a little tricky to find that turn so you'll need to pay attention. Here again as we topped the hill we had great views all around us including the Goldfields to our north, Four Peaks to our east and the Superstitions to our south. Plus it's always cool to hike a ridgeline :y: . We came upon the playground of gold or lime green boulders where we spent a moment looking around as we spotted some kind of arch, cave or alcove below us. We also could see the trail we would eventually get on even though we blew a bit past it and Kelly made me hike back up the hill : rambo : but it wasn't too bad really.

From here we continued the descent from the ridgeline past some of these giant tuft boulders. It gets a bit slippery in a few sections as you make your way down. As we got closer to the bottom the clouds in the sky were creating these very cool waves. And to top it off, we were getting some of the sunshine on those golden rock faces plus the area had some beautiful cactus. Yep, this was a good preliminary hike in this part of the Goldfields. And even though there is a lot of road walking, that's not such a bad thing when you have good company and great views. Plus the scrambling is not so bad cuz you know it's clear sailing when you get back to this part of the trail.

We feel the road looked pretty drivable. I think it would be nice to drive out on part of it a little further so that you can spend more time exploring. Quite frankly we are surprised more people don't hike out here. Needless to say I've created a map in Route Manager of "Goldfield Possibilities" and there are a lot. John9L would particularly like this because there are so many trails to link ;) .

Lots of video (new area): I have to say that video 5 has some beautiful footage. They all turned out pretty good but the colors in the last video were so brilliant as was the sky.

Video 1 Bulldog Wash to Top Hat
Video 2 Top Hat to Peak 2509
Video 3 Peak 2509 to Cottonwood Spring
Video 4 Spring to Green Thumb
Video 5 Thumb to up on the Blue Ridge and down to TH
Named place
Named place
Cottonwood Spring Thompson Peak

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Cottonwood Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
natural (?) trough was full
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.
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