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South Fork - Gold Ridge Loop
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mini location map2016-11-20
9 by photographer avatarThe_N
photographer avatar
 
South Fork - Gold Ridge LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 20 2016
The_N
Hiking15.00 Miles 3,975 AEG
Hiking15.00 Miles   8 Hrs   45 Mns   2.24 mph
3,975 ft AEG   2 Hrs   4 Mns Break
 no routes
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peculiargalexy
Finally made it back up South Fork and completed this loop as a day-hike. I was hoping to catch a little fall foliage in this canyon. Alex experienced Deer Creek recently and had her mind set on this loop. I gave her a complete description of this hike and the punishment that comes with the beauty beforehand. The first few miles up South Fork was in good shape and easy to follow. No water flowing. Just some nasty looking pools. At around 4 miles the flow is better but the terrain and trail conditions worsen. Lots of boulder hopping, route finding, log jumping and fighting cat claw and other brush. I kept us on the path of least resistance for quite a while until all remnants of a trail were gone. The cat claw turned to locust. The downfall became more numerous. Even had a couple climbs up dry waterfalls. The grueling pace was getting to me but I had to become slave driver / emotional support as Alex had become frustrated and realized she was in over her head a little on this one. I must've said "almost there" & "keep pushing" dozens of times in that last few miles of South Fork. I'm pretty sure she stopped believing me after a while. Having now hiked South Fork in both directions and completed this loop in both directions, I can now say I'm done with it for a while. Still a very beautiful area and the entire hike was fall like and scenic. Hungry and bleeding, we were thrilled to finally reach the road and start on down Gold Ridge. It was all downhill from there. Recent trail work on Gold Ridge made this stretch very enjoyable today. The rains held off and we soaked in the wide open views after several hours in that canyon. Made it back to the TH just as the last bit of daylight left the sky. Long day, tough hike but Alex sure was proud of her accomplishment in the end. Gorgeous day in the Mazzies, overall. Wouldn't hike it again anytime soon but it's a great loop with a rugged canyon and stunning ridgeline views for someone looking for something a little more adventurous.
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
Substantial relative to the area. Mostly Sycamore and Cottonwood. Add Maple and Oak in the upper elevations.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max South Fork Deer Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
_____________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
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The_N's
198 Photosets

  2016-11-28
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