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J Slash X - Turkey Creek Loop, AZ
mini location map2015-05-20
45 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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J Slash X - Turkey Creek Loop, AZ 
J Slash X - Turkey Creek Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar May 20 2015
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,181 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   4 Hrs   22 Mns   1.94 mph
1,181 ft AEG      15 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
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1st trip
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Since she's working Sat/Sun of the holiday weekend Tracey had 2 days off mid-week. Perfect!
Let's go to the western Sierra Ancha area for a few days of solitude... and best of all, no crowds!
Again I was faced with the challenge to find someplace we haven't yet hiked with some semblance of a trail, and preferably a loop. So that meant Route Manager and I spent a few hours together the night before our trip. And thanks to Route Manager's satellite layer it was time well spent... more than enough to fill a few days of hiking.

Anyway, first up was a loop hike along an old Jeep trail from FR 609 to J Slash x Ranch, then following Turkey Creek back upstream to our designated trailhead. Seeing a number of deer along FR 609 on the way to the trailhead we expected to see some on the hike. (I attempted one shot along the road but the deer turned its head the instant I snapped the photo so it was obstructed by a tree.
Less than ten minutes into the hike I spotted an elk about a quarter-mile across the canyon. I sought a viewpoint to have a clear shot but the brush wasn't cooperating so I simply took a number of shots and hoped for the best. AS a last gasp I zoomed a full 65X and it turned out better than expected.
Although the trail hadn't been used in quite some time, it was easy enough to follow... just stay away from the encroaching manzanita and holly. Eventually we reached the end of the long ridge and dropped down to J Slash X Ranch. As we started down the slope we scared up two separate pair of deer which were gone so fast a photo was out of the question.
It was interesting to see the difference since our last trip to the ranch in late 2013. No apples this time, but as bad as the trunks of the apple trees are practically gutted, they seem to be getting along fine. since we'd been here a few times before we just took a cursory glance around and started heading for Turkey Creek for our return leg. There were remnants of a road off to the left before the creek so we thought we'd check it out. Good thing we did as we found a corrugated metal shack that isn't visible from FR 2768 as it approaches J Slash X.

Ok, time to hit the creek! It began a bit rough and rocky with nothing but rock and boulder-hopping but eventually there were more and more areas where it was just flat bedrock, making much of this part of the hike quite easy. (Nothing like the Gun Creek hike we would do the next day)

This part of the creek was very interesting along with a few pour-offs to bypass, the largest being about 30' high. We encountered a two large rock cairns separated by a reasonable distance on either side of the creek, which we surmised was for an old trail to cross the creek in one of the few spots with climbable banks.

We found a small trout pond at the base of a small falls and took a few minutes for a break. Tracey spent a bunch of time attempting to film the fish with her phone but the surface reflection was not cooperating. I was lucky enough to get one photo and a bit of video of the trout.
One video:
Turkey Creek waterfall and trout pond

From there it was a short jaunt through some dead-fall back to the trailhead. Time to drive to our campsite for the night. With the rain over the weekend little did we know we'd be in for a teensy bit of monster mudding.

Overall, a was a very enjoyable hike, especially along Turkey Creek.
Elk Rainbow Trout
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Bear Head Mountain J Slash X Ranch
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