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Pinaleno Pumpkin-Kicker, AZ
mini location map2016-06-05
7 by photographer avatarMountainMatt
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Pinaleno Pumpkin-Kicker, AZ 
Pinaleno Pumpkin-Kicker, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 05 2016
Hiking11.89 Miles 3,700 AEG
Hiking11.89 Miles   7 Hrs      2.50 mph
3,700 ft AEG   2 Hrs   15 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Took a spur of the moment trip out to the Pinaleños since I was originally planning a big trip somewhere else but we will talk about that another time...

My first visit to Mt. Graham last summer had me mesmerized and I knew I had to return! With the intention of staying ahwile I wanted to nestle down and find a nice base camp for the weekend so I made the drive all the way behind Riggs Flat Lake way back on FR 703. I found a campsite fit for king with nobody around for nearly a mile and the only visitors that passed by the entire weekend were just the bounties of deer and squirrels!

Arrived late Sunday night at 1:30am and slept in until about 10pm so I got a real late start to my hike which was fine since my goal was late evening light for photographing the falls anyway. I started my hike at the Columbine Corrals and made the easy trek up to Webb Peak, climbed the tower, took advantage of the cell service and enjoyed a couple cold brews. Made my way to the junction down to Ash Creek and enjoyed a very nice section of forest, the trail was a bit overgrown and had a decent amount of deadfall in the lower section but my dog was enjoying every log hopping bit of it!

Upon hitting Ash Creek I remembered why I fell in love with this place! This is the closest thing Arizona has to a resemble a rainforest and in the midst of summer the weather was just downright wonderful! I was happily making my way downstream until reaching Oak Flat and stumbled upon two nudist backpackers! I walked into quite the strange scene as the old guy was finishing up taking a duce and all while his wife/girlfriend was literally frolicking in the meadow in her birthday suit behind him, nonetheless they greeted with a friendly hello. :lol:

Soon after I reached the immaculate overlook of Ash Creek Falls and enjoyed the always impressive giant waterfall in the sky! The atmosphere, the sound and the views are hard to beat! This was my stopping point last year but with the ambition to see Lower Ash Creek Falls and The East Fork Falls of Ash Creek I ventured on down that wicked descent of a trail. During my descent down I just kept thinking how much it's going to suck going back up this bad boy!

I could hear the thunder of the falls as I neared the bottom
of the trail and my pace quickened with excitement as did my dogs so she could soak in the cool deep pools of the creek since it was still surprisingly warm outside. Just before I made it to the base of Lower AC Falls I came to a halt at a set of massive bear tracks, my dogs paw was dwarfed in the size of the imprint. The tracks looked fresh so I kept my eyes peeled and my head on a swivel during tripod time. Both of the waterfalls blew my mind! Honestly felt like I was in a miniature version of the Pacific NW or something, this hike just deepened my love for this magical mountain!

Left the base of the falls at 5:00pm and surprisingly made it back up to the main AC view point in 35 min which as only 5 min slower than my descent, long legs have thier advantages going up but not down!
The remainder of the hike was a casual and gradual stroll back upstream Ash Creek while I engorged on granola and protein bars and soaked in the cool mountain air. The lush green forest, cool running water and abundance of wildlife really makes this one my favorite places in Arizona.
I belong in the mountains!..
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East Ash Creek - Pinalenos
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water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ash Creek - Pinalenos Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ash Creek Falls Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max East Ash Creek - Pinalenos Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max West Ash Creek - Pinalenos Medium flow Medium flow
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