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Central Supes Loop, AZ
mini location map2015-12-25
21 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
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Central Supes Loop, AZ 
Central Supes Loop, AZ
Backpack avatar Dec 25 2015
Backpack30.24 Miles 5,989 AEG
Backpack30.24 Miles
5,989 ft AEG
 no routes
I took the dogs for a three day walk Christmas morning. Our walk started at the Woodbury trailhead and ended at the Woodbury TH two days later. I did not rush to get to the TH and enjoyed a nice Christmas breakfast before I left the valley. We only had about an 8 mile hike to complete the first day in order to set up our day two off-trail trek down Fish Creek canyon to the Tortilla TH area. Fish Creek canyon ended up not playing out, however, we still enjoyed three nice days in some of my favorite areas of the Supes.

Got to camp no problem on day one. Even with the late start I still had several hours of daylight at the campsite. It was this time that I realized I had brought the tent poles for my Big Agnes SL2, but had brought my Fly Creek Platinum tent. Ugh! Not the end of the world, but a minor hurdle. It was not exactly as bad as fitting a round peg into a square hole, but a challenge nonetheless. It annoyed my severely when I found out, but I kind of relished the little challenge it created and made the most of it. I had a relatively upright tent with an awkwardly fitting rain fly, but still more comfort than the open ground and air. A really cold night coupled with dealing drying out damp gear from condensation and the thawing out of everything else, led to a later start Saturday morning.

I knew from the amount of water flowing along Frog Tanks that water could ultimately derail my trip down Fish Creek. It was simply too cold to be getting overly wet and the sun too unreliable too commit to any type of semi-aquatic hike. Nevertheless, we set off down the dark canyon at around 9:30 in the morning. Through not that much effort I was able to make it relatively dry to about a half mile in where the water starts to funnel into a flat rock section. I had read about this in Nonot's description and knew it would be my biggest obstacle of the day. Initially, I was fooled into thinking a thigh deep wade across the first flat rock was all I needed to get through the section. However, as soon as I put my shoes, pants and socks back on I realized very shortly that I had not come to the deep pool obstacle yet. In the end, the pool was simply too deep to go through in those temps/conditions. I went back to the pool three times and contemplated several things, for example, could I even swim in water that cold? Could I could hold my pack above my head and tread across? Would the dogs even follow me? I could see the bypass clearly that Nonot wrote of, but it was too nasty for the pups. I watched Blanco take a pretty good fall on Newman earlier in the week and with that fresh in my mind was being more cautious than usual. Besides I figured the alternative of miles of terrific hiking in some of my favorite areas was not that bad and I could return in warmer weather. The decision was made, back to Frog Tanks and to the Ranch.

Pretty standard Frog Tanks hiking to the ranch, a tad overgrown in spots and it could probably use a little maintenance, but same old Frog Tanks to me. In terms of maintenance, I can report that there is no longer any prickly pear blocking the trail to a width of less than Blanco and his pack. I took a couple of spines to the foot, but put a considerable dent in the prickly pear over-growth problem along that trail. Camped at the saddle like a tourist, but I will admit I have always wanted to camp there and figured this would be one of those rare times when one could do it and expect solitude. It was super windy, like maybe borderline dangerous windy and equally as cold, but worth it. Although, the moon was like sleeping with a spot light on my tent and I was surprised that I could clearly see some urban area off in the distance. This aside, I still loved the spot, great sunset, great sunrise and it beat the ranch which was bitterly cold and covered in shade when I had went through there earlier in the day. The high winds led to zero condensation and a dry final morning, but like an Antarctica dry final morning, with water so frozen I could not enjoy it until nearly 11 and dog/cooking water that I slept with freezing within minutes of being outside the tent. It took a little will-power just to get out of the tent Sunday morning, but with some quick packing we were on the trail before nine.

There was a group at the ruins, a solo backpacker at Angel Basin and I passed three who were doing the exact same lasso loop I had just completed. I gave them a heads up on conditions and a couple camping suggestions. The final two miles or so might as well been an entirely different hike with short sleeve, short temps and the dogs seeking the water along the JF for a quick dip.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Hole Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Enough water at the area marked Hole Spring on my GPS to dive headfirst into. Entire drainage is running significantly

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Log Trough Canyon Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Randolph Canyon Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Reavis Saddle Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Area marked spring is full, flowing water from about two-three tenths from saddle to ranch

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rogers Canyon Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Entire creek is flowing nicely.
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