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Boulder Canyon Trail, AZ
mini location map2018-02-08
14 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Boulder Canyon Trail, AZ 
Boulder Canyon Trail, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 08 2018
Hiking15.60 Miles 2,750 AEG
Hiking15.60 Miles   8 Hrs   59 Mns   2.23 mph
2,750 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
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This was a fun hike. Started when the sun was just rising and like a good cup of coffee to wake you up this trail does it with a 600 foot climb in the first 1.2 miles. At the peak of the trail you are rewarded with views to the South of Weavers Needle, LaBarge Canyon, Battleship Mountain, Black Mesa, Canyon Lake and a bunch of other stuff. A short time later you drop back down 500 feet into LaBarge Canyon in .5 miles. I knew when I was going down this southwest facing hill that this was going to be a hot hike back up with temperatures around 80, hotter in the sun. Once down in LaBarge the trail climbs a small rise and drops into Boulder canyon. I won't be around to see it but this is an ideal location to witness Stream piracy. Eventually this little rise will erode away and Boulder creek is going to breach this little rise between Boulder and LaBarge and Boulder Canyon will join LaBarge at this point. There will probably be a nice waterfall at this location too. The nice thing about these predictions is that no one in the near future will be able to prove me wrong.
Just prior to the small rise between the two canyons is a memorial for Terry Sitzmann who died while hiking on Feb 21, 2014. I looked on the internet and he was 69 years old and said he died suddenly while hiking no other details. A little further up the rise is the Indian Paint Brush mine and what looks like the foundation of a cabin. After crossing the rise you enter boulder Canyon and a short ways later the junction with the Second Water Trail. From here on up to the end of the Boulder canyon trail at the Dutchman trail it is kind of uneventful, crossing the creek many times. The trail pretty much stays out of the creek bed and is easy walking. The creek crossing present the biggest danger in that it is just a bunch of boulders (But then it's called Boulder canyon) and easy to lose balance and twist an ankle or do something else that is probable not good. The trail is well marked by cairns and is especially useful at the multitude of stream crossings. The only two events that occur along this trail is the junction with the route up to Battleship Mountain and crossover to LaBarge Canyon (unsigned but marked by a cairn) and the marked junction with the Cavalry Trail. The trail from the Cavalry trail to the Dutchman trail is a little bit overgrown but not enough to make it hard to follow, the catclaws will get you occasionally and even steal your bandanna as it did mine. I also noticed someones sweater in one of the catclaws, hopefully they weren't wearing it when the catclaw stole it. Ran into about a dozen people at the Second Water junction that were heading up to Battleship Mountain.
I returned the same way I came with the only difference being I had company. On the way in I passed two gals hiking in from Canyon lake and on my return trip at about 7 miles in, I ran into them again. They were asking about a 9 mile loop trail that they couldn't find. I mentioned that they were 7 miles in and I didn't know of any loop trail (may of been the lower laBarge route and Boulder Canyon trail). They thought they would walk to the next trail and take it back. I informed them that it would be the Dutchman Trail and that would take them back to the First Water Trail Head but that would mean they were 15 miles from their car. Any way they opted to go back the way they came and I had company on the way back. It was a pleasant change to have company, this is the third time I hiked with someone in many years.
Once back at the cross over between Boulder and LaBarge I ran into another hiker that was asking if this was the way to Needle canyon. I thought this was a strange question to be asking at this stage of the hike but I told him the trails to take and figured he would figure it out from there. This was two in the afternoon and a little late to be trying to get to this destination but he said he brought provisions. I just had this feeling he wasn't prepared for this, but we each went on our own way.
The hike out of LaBarge was just as I had thought it would be, hot. With the company I had I was able to take the grade at a slower rate which was nice. I'm one of those that believes when you attack a hill you take it all in one piece. Sometimes it's nice to take time to smell the roses and it was true in this case, I arrived on top probably not much later than I would have doing it my way and once on top I was not as trashed. (I still believe in doing it in one bite but this was a pleasant change, I hope it doesn't become a habit). Just before finishing the hike the hiker I meet down in LaBarge came back through saying he didn't bring enough provisions. This time he was shirtless which I thought was strange because I was always told not to expose yourself to the elements Maybe the catclaws got it. Anyway glad he made it out. This was a great hike but I finished realizing there is a lot more to see in this area, so I will be back hopefully when there is a little more water flowing.
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