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Morse Canyon - Mormon Canyon Loop, AZ
mini location map2016-06-04
34 by photographer avatarDevilChild
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Morse Canyon - Mormon Canyon Loop, AZ 
Morse Canyon - Mormon Canyon Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 04 2016
Hiking10.64 Miles 3,196 AEG
Hiking10.64 Miles   11 Hrs   40 Mns   1.14 mph
3,196 ft AEG   2 Hrs   18 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
Old but memorable trip so figured I would share. A few weeks prior I had hike around Chiricahua NM and wanted to camp at Turkey Creek and hike around to at least see Monte Vista Peak or Chiricahua Peak. My birthday was over the weekend and got a few like minded individuals together for a nice weekend of camping, hiking, and relaxing as far away from Phoenix as possible.

Started the day much later than anticipated, planned for start of the Morse Canyon TH about 530 but turned into 7ish. Didn't seem a big deal at first but nearing the end we would miss those 2 extra hours. Morse Canyon was an enjoyable easy to follow trail blanketed with pine needles that just seemed like a never ending ramp. Our group consisted of differing ability levels so very slow speed, plenty of breaks, and many words of encouragement. Great views and fallen logs to pass as annoying as they were it was fun to clear the log obstacles. We all felt like the worst was over once we reached Morse Saddle. This is where my troubles began, had to do some impromptu foot care as I was getting nasty hotspots on the last .5 mile of the trail.

Quick rest and continued on to Monte Vista Peak. Hike was much less of a climb but still noticed the incline especially when nearing the junction for Monte Vista Peak. The trail up Monte Vista seemed to have the most challenging terrain with a few fallen trees that were quite large. We all looked like we were playing in a charcoal grill all soot covered by the time we made it to Monte Vista Peak. Holy cow, the views up here were simply amazing and gave crystal clear views to the surrounding ranges and sky islands.

Originally planned to hit Chiricahua Peak after Monte Vista Peak but our rate of travel and current time had us skip it. We continued along crest trail #270B towards Raspberry Ridge surrounded by encroaching new forest growth, fallen trees, and signs of past forest fire everywhere. In some cases the trail was soft patches of ash. At Raspberry Ridge we got one of the best experiences as two A-10s were doing mock attack runs down the ridge. They circled back and approached us a few hundred feet above. We waved, screamed, and the lead plane rewarded us with a wing tip and thumb's up from the cockpit. Pilot so close felt like you could reach up and high-5 him. His partner was a little more conservative and passed us higher up and only then was I smart enough to grab my camera.

Crest Trail to Mormon Trail Saddle was beautiful especially at Painted Rock but this was where we all started to feel the heat and sun. Trail was mostly exposed here and just felt like it was kicking our ass even though it was mostly level.

We all cheered when we reached Mormon Saddle and started down Mormon Canyon or as we would later call it god-damned Mormon Canyon or never ending Mormon Canyon due to the very rough terrain and poor trail conditions. Got our second surprise of the day when we startled a slumbering black bear and her cub about .5 mile in. They were on the opposite side of the creek and fled full speed away clearing the ridge within 30 seconds. Never expected bear to move that fast. Clearing Mormon Canyon was the greatest feeling ever as it signaled celebration with cold water, cold beer, and junk food.

Things I learned from this trip:
    Chiricahuas in June is hot (duh).
    Never try new hiking socks for first time on a trip like this.
    Have plenty of moleskin and blister care with me.
    Chiricahuas are full of wildlife, plan accordingly.
    Black bears are not tiny, black bears are not slow.
    Never, ever, ever open the door to the outhouse on top of Monte Vista Peak. Ever.
Hepatic Tanager

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Mormon Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
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