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Rock Creek Bootlegger Loop, AZ
mini location map2019-11-05
33 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Rock Creek Bootlegger Loop, AZ 
Rock Creek Bootlegger Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 05 2019
markthurman53
Hiking15.13 Miles 3,534 AEG
Hiking15.13 Miles   8 Hrs   54 Mns   2.18 mph
3,534 ft AEG   1 Hour   57 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Another one day hike in the Chiricahua Mountains. Again in Turkey Creek area. On the drive in just before sunrise I saw a group of about 30 turkeys in or along the road. Don't think I ever saw that many in a group except in the supermarket frozen section. Guajolote Creek is holding up to it's name. This was a 15 mile loop hike along the Rock Creek, Bootlegger, Rattlesnake and Saulsbury Trails. With 3600 feet of elevation gain I was pretty pooped after this hike. Most trails were in fair condition some requiring close scrutiny to keep from loosing the trail and one 1 mile section on the Rattlesnake Trail that headed from Witch Ridge to Rock Creek that was more of a controlled fall. If there was a trail here it is long gone. Nothing but a push through brush, some of which had really nasty thorns. Spent the evening when I got home pulling out the ones that went through my trousers and lodged in my leg. Great hike and was able to complete a few more trails I didn't get to the last time I was here. On the way out at the mouth of Turkey Canyon is the Grave site of Johnny Ringo, I stopped to check it out. Lots of history behind this grave, the internet has a lot of the story, some truth some speculation. Beautiful sunset on the drive home didn't stop to take pictures but it was amazing. I also looked for Anticrepuscular rays but I didn't see any, guess the conditions weren't right.

TURKEY PEN TRAIL #262
This is the second time on this trail in two weeks. Pleasure to be on a trail that actually looks and feels like a trail. No one else has been on the trail in the last week because my boot prints from last week were the only prints on the trail (not counting the deer and turkey prints that covered mine in one area). Turkey pen canyon still had a few pools of water but nothing running.

ROCK CREEK TRAIL #259
This is the middle upper portion that I had not done before. This section is from Turkey Pen Trail to Rock Saddle at the Bootlegger Trail. From Rock Saddle to the Crest Trail at Bootlegger Saddle I completed last summer. The section from Fife Canyon to Turkey Pen Trail I did last week. The only section left is from Fife Canyon to the National Forest Boundary (.75 miles). When I complete that last part I will write a description and post.

The trail from fife Canyon to the Rock Saddle is there but requires a little searching in spots. This trail follows along an old logging road but the road is not apparent except in a few places. The trail follows the creek or along side it and is marked fairly well with cairns where it enters or exits the creek. This canyon along the creek was not affected by the fires so dead fall other than normal is minimal, the only exception is the upper portion before hitting Rock Saddle. Rock Creek had pools in sections and running water also sporadically.

Bootlegger Trail #257
This hike covers the Bootlegger Trail from Rock Saddle to the Rattlesnake Trail. I completed the upper portion from Rock Saddle to the Crest trail at Rustler park last summer. I will write a description for this trail but one already exists but it shows the Bootlegger Trail going from Rustler Park to Bootlegger Saddle. Maybe I could call it Bootlegger Trail #257 2.

The Bootlegger trail is very faint most of the way but follow the GPS route and there should be no problem. Rock cairns mark the trail in strategic locations. Since this is a ridge trail the views south- West and North are excellent. Aiding in the views is the fact that the north side of the ridge was heavily affected by fires so there are no trees to block the view. This trail ends at the Rattlesnake trail just below Rattle Rock Saddle.

RATTLESNAKE TRAIL #275 SOUTH
The Rattlesnake trail starts from the north in Pine Canyon and climbs up to a saddle on Witch Ridge at the junction of the Witch Ridge Trail #260 and the Bootlegger Trail #257. I completed this portion last week. This hike is from the ridge down to Rock Creek. The map shows a trail here but it is long gone. I followed the route for this one mile stretch but it was kind of pointless. I did notice when I was on track that in the middle portion I was following what looked like a trail but was so badly overgrown. The last portion I gave up trying to stay on track and just headed down toward Rock Creek. Lots of brush/trees and some kind of sticker bush with thorns from hell. Didn't notice till I got home that when I felt my leg and there were dozens of little thorns embedded in my skin. Time to break out the jewelers glasses and tweezers.

Was planning on doing a description for this trail as the one posted shows the Rattlesnake Trail heading up to Rock Saddle. The Rattle Snake Trail actually heads up to the ridge from Pine Canyon and then heads back down to Rock Creek. Not sure I want to post a hike for a portion of trail that doesn't exist anymore, unless it was for historical reference.

SAULSBURY TRAIL #263

Both the Saulsbury #263 and the Saulsbury Connector Trail #263A are in good condition. The connector trail is a little vague at first from rock creek but just go up. This trail soon becomes quite obvious and is marked with cairns occasionally. The connector trail is very steep, no switchbacks, it just sees where it wants to get and goes there directly. 500 feet in .4 miles. Smokers night want to consider an alternate route, it's a lung burner. Luckily it is only .4 miles long.

The Saulsbury Trail from Saulsbury Saddle is a little steep if going up but then the complete trail from Turkey Creek to the Crest Trail has to go up 3000 feet in 5 miles. There was a little water in lower Saulsbury Canyon near what looked like a spring but other than that was dry. The sign at the trail head in Turkey Canyon is spelled wrong (Saulsberry) but other than that was in good condition. Plenty of parking at the trail head.

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