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Ash Creek Trail #307
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mini location map2017-03-11
17 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
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Ash Creek Trail #307Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 11 2017
Backpack18.39 Miles 6,652 AEG
Backpack18.39 Miles2 Days         
6,652 ft AEG
Partners none no partners
The goal of this backpack was to escape anything related to 90 degree temperatures, to visit some waterfalls and find some snow. It was successful on all fronts. A tremendous over night trip into the premier sky island, Mount Graham.

We started our backpack at the lower Ash Creek trailhead. This trail is a climb from the start and it can feel like a real slog at times, especially, when carrying an extra tent and old sleeping bag for the pups. In particular, the 1,000 feet gained between mile four and fivish, is brutal. There were a few newly fallen obstacles along the way and some higher than average creek crossing as well to add to the ardor. After enjoying the falls from the trailside lookout, Jackie stayed with the pups so I could get a "closer" look. After dropping down one viewpoint, I started to realize that although it was very steep and a little dicey looking, one could scramble all the way to the base of the falls, an area that has been on my wish list for awhile. I yelled back to Jackie and let her know I was going down further, she acknowledged and I began the wild descent, which actually went pretty well.

However, about a 100, or so feet from the bottom I kicked up a pretty good rock slide, one that ended with a couple hundred plus pound boulders smashing to the bottom of the raging creek and echoing something thunderous and chilling. I immediately thought Jackie might get worried and yelled back, "I'm ok," even though I knew there was probably no way she could hear me. After that, the base of the falls came pretty easily and I marveled at the cool little area, After exploring and snapping a few pics of the cool little cascades below the falls, I began my crawl up. After reaching the top, I found out pretty quickly from a shook up Jackie that she had been assuming the worst since hearing the rock slide, In fact, she had even sent out a couple of distressed texts to people assuming the worst, after not seeing, or hearing from me in about 45 minutes. The poor girl was about 15 minutes away from collecting her gear, the pups and heading back to the TH to get proper help. I felt horrible for not communicating my intentions to reach the bottom and for not finding away to signal back that I was alright, after the rock slide; a tad humbling seeing how greatly thoughts of your demise might impact someone close to you. In the end though, all was well and nobody was hurt, so we continued on after collecting ourselves a little.

We took the nearly devoid of snow Ash Creek bypass trail over the snowed in route over slick rock. We ended up calling it a day near the old mill site. We found a great site along the robust snow fed creek and set up camp quickly to potentially pursue some exploring up trail. However, that thought devolved into a nap and the usual camp chores. We enjoyed a chilly, but not overly cold night and while the temperatures definitely reached freezing, I do not think they dipped too far below that. The moon never really allowed darkness to take hold, but we still slept well, thanks in part to a tough little day and climb.

We decided to head for Webb Peak Sunday morning, but got turned around by some real deep snow just after clearing 9,500 feet. We had got lucky for most of the hike up and were able to cruise with micro-spikes on some hard crusted 3-4 feet deep snow for large sections, however, as the temperature warmed the post holing began. However, it was still only a minor inconvenience until we got to just under a half a mile from the summit where the snow got really deep and soft, deep enough to lose a dog in deep! We'd had such a good time playing in the snow up until then, that it really did not bother us to turn around. We did the quick hike back to camp, broke camp and started the relentless descent. The trip down seemed to fly by in comparison to the hike up. I visited an old favorite set of falls on the way down and then finally made it to another one I had been meaning to get to. We finished to complaining about the heat and in shorts and t-shirts, slightly different than the wintry conditions we began our day with, Arizona at its finest.

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 3 out of 5water less than max East Ash Creek - Pinalenos Medium flow Medium flow
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