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South Fork Trail #46
34 Photosets

2016-02-13  
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2016-01-22  
2015-11-13  
2015-05-09  
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2014-11-27  
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mini location map2015-11-13
12 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
photographer avatar
 
South Fork Trail #46Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 13 2015
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking2.30 Miles 733 AEG
Hiking2.30 Miles
733 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
My plan was to attend the "For GPSjoe - 5 yr Anniversary at Mt. Peeley TH" on Saturday, Nov 14, but would drive up the day before to do some exploring in the upper end of the South Fork of Deer Creek. Skillpore decided to abandon his backpacking plan for the Deer Creek - Gold Ridge Loop and go with my plan. We would car camp at the old Camp Grasshopper site on FR3348 where the Gold Ridge Tr#47 starts just off of FR201. I got a late start on Friday and didn't arrive at the planned camp location until about 11:30am. Skillpore should have already been there but missed the turnoff on HW87. Good cell phone reception made it easy to track down his whereabouts and since it appeared he wouldn't be arriving until around 2:00 pm I decided to explore the upper South Fork with out him.

I had downloaded the "official" South Fork TR#46 gps track from HAZ but could find no trace of the trail where the track shows it starting on FR201. My thought was that the Forest Service had removed the sign and maybe even any visible traces of the trail as had been done for the Davey Gowan Trail #48. (The next day on my way to the Peeley TH I would see the TR#46 trail marker and trail about 0.1 mile further up FR201.) Determined to follow the HAZ official route I started bushwhacking down the hill side hoping to pick up the trail somewhere along the way. As I neared the waypoint location for Pigeon Springs I started zig zagging back and forth looking for the spring but found no sign of it. This seems odd since pics from 2010 show a spring and water trough in a fairly open grassy area presumably near the trail. I finally did find a flowing spring in the bottom of a side draw some distance down the hill from the Pigeon Spring map location. As I descended the hill side to the bottom of the canyon I got some nice telephoto camera shots of three white tail deer going up the other side of the draw.

Upon reaching the bottom of the canyon I came across the trail - cairns and evidence of long ago trail maintenance where fallen logs had been cut. One of the cairns looked new having been placed on top of seasonal grass growth. I followed this old trail down stream planning to look for the old Gowan Cabin site. I had found a waypoint for its location among info posted on HAZ for the South Fork trail. Went I got near its location I started searching any flat spot big enough for a small cabin but could find no sign of it. I went about 100-200 yds past its supposed location and then decided to bushwhack up a grass covered slope on the south side of the canyon to intersect FR3348 east of my campsite. It was a fairly easy bushwhack although a bit steep near the top. I got back to camp to find Skillpore busy setting up his tent after doing some exploring along the ridge top near our camp. He evidently had scared some hunters when he silently walked up on them sitting in their camp at the end of FR3348. Nice but heavily armed guys I had encountered earlier in the day - said they were predator hunting and had called in a bear that morning.

It had been a beautiful afternoon in the Mazzies with a nice short hike down the upper South Fork but not very successful in terms of finding the trail starting location on FR201, Pigeon Spring, or the Gowan Cabin site.
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