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West Fork Trail #628 - Black River
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mini location map2015-08-01
33 by photographer avatartibber
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West Fork Trail #628 - Black RiverAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 01 2015
tibber
Hiking5.10 Miles 565 AEG
Hiking5.10 Miles
565 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
AZBeaver
AZWanderingBear
trekkin_gecko
after having lunch at Big Lake, we discussed hiking Indian Springs or another trail. We decided we didn't want to do a lot of mileage as Mary Jo wanted to have some energy left to cook our dinner so after reviewing the map for West Fork, that's what we opted to do. In retrospect, I think Mary Jo was saving up for the Baldy assault. ;) The weather continued to be "iffy" but we geared up and headed out with bouts of thunder rumbling from time to time. We got to the open area and pow-wowed, observed the weather around us and decided to go back to the vehicle for 15-20 minutes. Just before we got back to the vehicle it started sprinkling. It was short-lived and after a few more minutes, we decided to try it again.

It's not the most beautiful hike; especially thru the area that seems to have been hit the hardest from the fire and looks like they maybe did some log clearing? We did walk thru a couple lanes with small aspens growing on each side before hitting the Neck Tank drainage. We encountered a couple hikers here who said they enjoyed the hike. They said they got hit with the weather over on Baldy the previous day. Anyway, we discussed the mileage on the sign vs what we had estimated and per usual for today, the sign was wrong as it is only 1.6 miles or so to the River from Neck Tank. The forest sign for Thompson Trail lists the hike as 3.5 to the River and it is only 2.5. I have determined that in this area, the forest service must be relying on Garmin :roll: .

Anyway, we hiked on through the forest. There were still some big aspen standing and a couple green areas and a fern section until we made our way to above the creek. And after another brief pow-wow, we headed on down knowing that it would be a bit of a climb back up. However, the dreaded climb back was not nearly as bad as we thot since the trail is laid out so nicely. You cross over this big scree drainage area and you can hear the water running under the rocks; it's the weirdest sound. Gradually the trail switches back for the final leg down to the River. It was great fun to be at the bottom across from where we were only a few hours earlier. The river is quite wide through here. And right now it's running high and fast. We didn't linger long before heading right back up again. I grabbed my trekking poles.

No one was taking many photos and there were quite a few wildflowers so I obliged :D and took a few extra as well as filming some video. It didn't seem to take very long to get to the top, walk thru different layers of the forest and back to Neck Tank and out into the open area before arriving back at the car.

​On the way back home we stopped at a Scenic Viewpoint. It was scenic looking over the wide expanse in front of you. Kelly and Mary Jo also picked up some trash; always trying to build that karma. On the way home we stopped at Western Drug in Springerville. Once back at the cabin, Mary Jo made us chili and fresh cornbread; might tasty!

Video of the hike to the River and the SR261 Viewpoint: https://youtu.be/iX9BM...
Named place
Named place
Greens Peak
Meteorology
Meteorology
Fire Burn Area & Recovery
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
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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