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Cabin Loop - Mogollon Rim
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mini location map2017-07-01
11 by photographer avatarrcorfman
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Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Jul 01 2017
Backpack31.41 Miles 4,588 AEG
Backpack31.41 Miles2 Days         
4,588 ft AEG24 LBS Pack
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Since I thought the fire closure ended June 30, I thought I'd hike the Cabin Loop trail and see what the Highline Fire did. Well, the closure is until July 30, not June 30, so I messed up there. Except for the Houston Brothers trail, most of the Cabin Loop is outside the closure so things essentially worked out.

I started/finished at Washington Park to avoid the drive along the Rim Rd. I attempted to take the Houston-Mesa Rd but it was closed at 2nd Crossing (the second place where the road crosses the East Verde) for the annual Whispering Pines Independence Day parade, so I backtracked to the Beeline and up to the Control Rd. You're forewarned for the future.

I started hiking about half past eleven, following the AZ Trail up to the rim. Maybe 10 minutes into it, an AZ Black Rattlesnake said hello. Maybe five minutes later, another said hello. I don't know what's going on but that makes 22 rattlesnake encounters for me just this year.

It was warm hiking up the rim, so I stopped and got half a liter of water from a stream crossing the trail (road really).

I took the Tunnel Trail as it is easier to climb than staying on the old road, but it is still pretty steep near the top.

Once on the rim, I turned right onto the Crook Trail. There really isn't any tread on the Crook trail, one just follows chevrons nailed to trees. There was a lot of flagging tied to the trees that helped too. This sounds easy, but it's not. The chevrons tend to be scattered and it's not always obvious where the old Crook Trail goes. This was also hampered by the recent fire damage. Flagging doesn't do to well in fire and the chevrons get charred and don't show up as well. I was glad I had GPS tracks to help me along.

Once I reached the Houston Brothers trail, there was a sign saying the area was closed due to fire activity. That's when I noticed the closure order was through July 30, not June 30. Well, I hadn't seen any smoke or any smoldering at all, so I decided to ignore the closure and continued. Not too far later, the area was nice forest, maybe Spruce and/or White Pine? and oak, furns, etc., when I came upon a place with random areas smoldering. This surprised me as it wasn't like the burned areas I had already passed. I decided to go back to the start of the closed area and look at the map closure. It looked like the north end of the loop wasn't in the closure or maybe a small part of it. Also, the Barbershop Trail is mostly outside the closure. I decided to continue on the Houston Brothers trail to the Barbershop trail as it was maybe two miles at the most. In retrospect, I probably should have just stuck to the roads to get to the Barbershop trail, but it was interesting walking through the closure. There was several places smoldering though none on the trail. I never felt in danger, but what do I know about forest fires? I did see a few elk sightings and I also startled a bear. Yes, it startled me too. The trail dipped down into a small creek south of the Barbershop trail junction. The bear was getting a drink, so it wasn't visible in the small gully. We were probably 10-15 yards apart when it poked its head up, saw me, and ran off.

The Barbershop trail follows an old road for a bit then turns off and the road continues along Dane Canyon. There's a big arrow made out of tree trunks pointing the way. Of course, I missed them and ended up walking well over half a mile before realizing my mistake. All told, I walked an extra 1.3 miles and was utterly shocked at how I missed that big arrow to begin with. My only consolation is that others must have made the same mistake before me; why else would the arrow be there?

It was about six when I reached Coyote Spring and filled up on water. My plan was to hike until 6:30, then find a place to camp. I was hoping to make it to Dane Spring, but my navigation faux pas changed that and I was maybe a mile short.

Sunday, I was on the trail at 6:15. When I reached Dane Spring, I stopped and gathered a couple liters of water. I probably should have only gotten one as it was less than two hours to Barbershop Canyon, where I stopped and had a bite to eat and got a little more water to drink while there. There was a couple camping there. They were still in their tent when I arrived and the man got out and came over just when I was readying to leave. We talked for a few minutes.

From there, I continued to Pinchot Cabin, where I got some more water from the stream below the spring. There was some people camping there too but they were off a ways so we never spoke.

From there, the trail climbs up to a road. There was a forest closure sign, but it was about 100' above where the trail is and the trail is just a short cut to a road that wasn't in the closure, so I took that. The burn was on the south side of the trail, and not the north side. The trail then follows the road as it crosses Bear Canyon. The trail was closed where it turns off the road, but it is at the north end of the closure for a short distance, so I took the trail. I was out of the closure in about ten minutes. Most of this was through a burn area but the fire was spent.

Just past Quien Sabe Spring, I stopped for food break. When I was getting ready to go, a young man came up, then shortly his parents. We all said hello and I ended up walking behind the young man and the parents dropped back. We had a great conversation for the next few miles when he decided he should wait for his parents.

When I reached the General Spring Cabin, I stopped for another food break before finishing the hike back to Washington Park.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barbershop Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

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

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

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

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Dude Lake 1-25% full 1-25% full

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Pea Soup Tank 1-25% full 1-25% full

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

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Quien Sabe Spring Dripping Dripping
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