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mini location map2017-03-18
24 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
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Blue River Trail #101Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 18 2017
friendofThundergod
Backpack33.25 Miles 5,028 AEG
Backpack33.25 Miles3 Days         
5,028 ft AEG
 
Partners none no partners
I made my first appearance of the year in the Primitive Blue Range with Jackie and the pups this past weekend. We completed a 33 mile backpack utilizing the Blue River Trail, Cow Flat Trail, the Little Blue, Largo and Lamphier Trails. Originally, I had planned for a more mild out and back to Ladron Spring on Cow Flats Trail, with a day of exploring, but high and fast moving water on the Blue had us planning an impromptu backpacking loop, with a long connecting road walk.

We camped at the Blue Crossing Campground Friday night, but still started our hike pretty late in the morning. The road crossings were fine heading to the trailhead, however, it was immediately noticeable that the Blue was flowing strong, as we embarked. The crossings were a little fierce, but we managed through them just fine to start. As with the other end of the Blue River Trail, its really more of just a route, with some occasional nice sections of trail along the bench and several crossings. Most crossings went pretty well, however, the Blue narrows a few times during the route and this created some sections of narrow, deep, fast moving water that were pretty tough to get across. Our luck with the crossings ran out about four miles in when Jackie lost her footing in some deep stuff that I was trying to help her get across. She only went about 15 feet down stream before standing up very shocked and a little wet. Unfortunately, her boots and hiking poles were about 100 feet down stream of us and moving fast. I jumped to the shore, ditched my gear and ran after the boots along the bank and in the water, after a couple of chest deep floaters, some fast water, a little rapids and a few broken toes, I caught the shoes and one hiking pole. Despite being wet and a little humbled, we decided to push on and just be more careful. By luck Jackie spotted her corked hiking pole handle floating up down stream and we were able to reunite the pair of lost poles, with the soaked boots. A real disaster nearly struck shortly after. During a pretty routine crossing, we lost track of Cup briefly. In our horror, when we spotted her, she was down stream completely submerged and trapped under a large log that was sticking out into the water, I sprinted to her and popped her out, but it was brief as she went right back into the tangled branches, below the log. I then pulled her out and up for good. Suprisingly, she swam right to the shore despite's spending a solid 15-20 seconds completely under water. I can't remember the last time I was that scared and amped up and Jackie said it was about the worse thing she ever had to watch, but Cup came away with only a few sneezes and was ready to go after a brief look over.

I had had enough at that point and said we would just push to Cow Flat Trail and skip returning via the Blue. My final crossings involved me going to one side with gear, then dropping gear, coming back to grab Jackie and then walking back over to carry Cup. It was slow going, but safe and surprisingly by the third carry Cup was back to swimming them on her own. All the turmoil of the day seemed to pass pretty quickly when we hit Cow Flat Trail. First we enjoyed the falls created by the robust Ladron spring and then marveled at the .6 miles of perennial cascades and general paradise created by the spring. We enjoyed an amazing spot above the source of the spring, enjoyed a great campfire and perfect overnight temperatures.

Day two was a bit of a grind, but we loved the little cross range trek from the lowest elevations of the Blue Range to just below Bear Mountain. Cow Flat Trail was rugged, warm and dry. We liked the scenery and appreciated its ruggedness, however, we both agree it was terrain only a mother could love. Bear Valley was nice and we spent an extended amount of time there at a nice set of cascades along the Little Blue River Trail. The climb out of Bear Valley was tough and a little warm near the top, but we all hung tough. From there, we coasted down the Little Blue and Largo Trails to Dutch Oven Spring where we camped. That section of trail from the Little Blue down Largo is really nice, especially, with flowing water and we ranked it as some of the best trail we traveled all weekend.

We had a very short hike out Monday morning and then began a very long road walk of about 8.5 miles. One really never wants to have to complete an eight mile plus road walk to finish a hike, but we both agreed that it was a better alternative than trudging back up the Blue River from Cow Flat Trail after our luck on that river the day before. The backpack ended up being superb anyways and we enjoyed it enough to justify the road walk, besides we made it really easy by leaving our heavy packs at the finishing trailhead, before starting off for the Xterra.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Auger Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bear Canyon Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bear Valley Cabin Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bear Valley Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bear Valley Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Dutch Oven Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
cement trough is full and wash is flowing..

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Ladron Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ladrone Canyon Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Largo Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Little Blue Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max McKittrick Creek Light flow Light flow
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