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Old Smokey - Tunnel Spring Loop, AZ
mini location map2016-03-12
18 by photographer avatarjoebartels
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Old Smokey - Tunnel Spring Loop, AZ 
Old Smokey - Tunnel Spring Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 12 2016
joebartels
Hiking12.50 Miles 3,400 AEG
Hiking12.50 Miles   9 Hrs      1.56 mph
3,400 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break14 LBS Pack
 
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chumley
18 years since my last visit to Palm Canyon, back into the KOFA Cabana!

Old Smokey was seemingly the highlight of the loop and a done deal in just over 2 miles. It's rated c3 ( class 3 ) over a narrow ridge. The kicker is a ~500 foot shear drop to the left and a ~40 ft drop on the safer right. c3 seems correct. Never figured there was an upper limit on c3, this fits the bill! You would pretty much have to jump off, there are countless holds. I'm sure many have walked up it. Nevertheless the pucker factor seemed similar to Cheops Plateau. Great to feel alive again!

The next major destination was a spring in a tunnel some seven miles away. CHUMS' loop took us over some interesting terrain. We headed down over painted desert. Areas reminded me of the ♡ PHX Preserves ♡, yet lacked the scorched terrain. The Sonoran Kiddie Rollercoaster was fun yet quick flat ravines were more relaxing. Enough shin whackers to warrant pants if you do not enjoy second day sting.

Tunnel Spring is in an alcove, high on a wall in a narrow ravine. This little jewel is a worthy destination you will probably remember for years to come. Climbers probably ascend upside-down blindfolded. People like me need the community rope to access. Heading down I heard a crunch in the rope that sent rotted shock wave alerts to my nerves. Think I was still shaking five minutes after getting down. CHUMS got down five times faster swinging like Tarzan so I burned jitter-calories for nothing.

Great hike, couldn't have asked for better weather. Don't let the short mileage fool you, it's all off trail. The jagged silhouette KOFA's deserve more love.

The rock on Old Smokey had a hollow pinging sound in areas. My best guess is basaltic or dacitic lava. We were out-of-view west of Big Horn Pass on this 51MB pdf geology map.
Named place
Named place
Kofa Skull Rock
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Most notably globe mallow for the "light" rating. Isolated poppies, stubby lupine, etc you see in a weak display season.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 De La Ossa Well 76-100% full 76-100% full
Nice maintained area. Canopy is nice for a break area. Nice thing about water sources in the area is no cattle... rare!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 High Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
Full and fine. Nearby De La Osa looked more appetizing.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Tunnel Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Upper large catch full, trickling from overhead. Lower small catch appeared empty from vantage point. Access is a hoot!
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- joe
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