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Miner's Whiskey Backpack, AZ
mini location map2019-11-22
8 by photographer avatarjtaylor
photographer avatar
 
Miner's Whiskey Backpack, AZ 
Miner's Whiskey Backpack, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Nov 22 2019
jtaylor
Backpack15.00 Miles 900 AEG
Backpack15.00 Miles
900 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Finally got back out with my brother-in-law. Original plan was a return to Hellsgate, but the heavy rains had us jonesing for the Supes. Unfortunately, that was everyone else's plan, too. After a miscommunication we got to the trail late enough (around 10:30am) to see numerous cars and and backpackers in the lot. The ranger confirmed our suspicions that a high volume was headed to Bluff Spring or nearby, so we naively opted for Whiskey Spring and more solitude.

We did the loop counter-clockwise starting with Dutchman. The hike in was beautiful and the washes and falls were flowing heavily. As we turned onto the Whiskey Spring trail I saw fire retardant across the ridge and joked that we'd hiked to Sedona (red rocks). The joke wasn't funny a half-mile later as we descended into the desolate western perimeter of the Woodbury Fire. So much for research. As we kept an eye out for the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys, we thankfully spotted the only unburnt oasis of Whiskey Spring. Tired and unwilling to backtrack, we decided to call it home for the night. Night descended quickly and we warded off the chill with a cheery fire and myriad libations.

We started slow the next day, basking in our little oasis in hammock and camp chair. After lunch I had the brilliant idea to continue down Whiskey to see if there were greener pastures around the bend. There most certainly were not, and it was maybe the eeriest hike I've been on. We did get close to Trap Spring, which looked promising. But it will be a few years before things are restored enough for me to return. We retreated back to camp for another warm fire and chicken tortilla soup.

Sunday we packed-up and got back to Dutchman and unburnt paradise. The remaining loop out was stunning and still relatively secluded. Crystal Spring looked inviting and made me wish for retirement and mid-week backpacking. We got back to the truck around 2pm, changed into fresh clothes and hit the road for a quick 'snack' at In-n-Out. Despite the burn it was a great trip, saved by the oasis and the hike. But I can't wait until paradise grows back.
_____________________
“...wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”
-Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
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