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Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water TH
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mini location map2020-02-29
54 by photographer avataroutdoor_lover
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Boulder Canyon Loop from First Water THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 29 2020
outdoor_lover
Hiking12.85 Miles 1,240 AEG
Hiking12.85 Miles   12 Hrs   2 Mns   1.73 mph
1,240 ft AEG   4 Hrs   37 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Finally got out after a very, very bad week. Couldn't hike on Friday as I had to help a friend. Last week I barely hiked, so I wanted to go out for the day. I wanted something in the Supes, but the thought of a Saturday in the Supes sent shivers down my Spine as I really needed some solitude this week. But this Loop has been on my list for years and with our recent rain, I knew it would be a great time to do it. Every time Wally has done this loop, he runs into snakes and so water wasn't the only motivator. I was also missing the section of Boulder, from Cavalry to Dutchman, so that would be new territory. So I decided to brave the crowds and hope at some point, I'd be somewhere where I could have some quiet time. Knowing how Boulder Creek would most likely be flowing, I planned to just go ahead and get my feet wet. I didn't want to spend a ton of time and energy staying dry. I did take my Hiking Poles just in case the water was murky. Nothing worse than not seeing where your feet are landing and I wanted balance assistance if I needed it. Although the water turned out to be clear, I did use them for the crossings, mainly because I didn't want to fall and ruin the Camera. But in using them, I was reminded about how much I hate them. I like having my hands free, especially when trying to use the Camera. I didn't pull them out until Boulder Creek and I put them away at the Dutchman Junction as I knew the Dutchman crossings wouldn't be an issue. I took a couple of long breaks on this Hike, trying to heal the mind and it was good. I was out from Sunrise to Sunset and it's exactly what I needed. Although only 12 miles, the body told me that I had done some work, and that was needed too.

I arrived at the First Water TH at 6:30 and couldn't believe the cars. I think there were 5 spots left. Here we go. Lots of Campers with kids in Garden Valley, but I lost a few other Hikers there. I messed around a bit in the valley, but no chance for bird photos. Way too much noise going on. Explored a bit in Second Water Canyon and then hit the Boulder Junction. Lost a few more Hikers there. Took a break along the Creek and then did the Boulder Creek stretch. The Water was cold, but not freezing and it actually felt pretty good. As the day wore on, it got pretty warm out and I actually thought about taking a swim. Lots of nice pools! Something in my gut told me not to get that wet and Nature proved the gut right. 45 minutes before I hit Dutchman, the clouds started coming in and the temp felt like it dropped a bit. It was chilly by the time I hit the Escape, so I was glad to not be wet.

Lost a few more Hikers at the Battleship/Lower Box Junction. From then on, I still saw a few, including a Trail Runner who started at First Water. Don't know how they can run those rocky trails! Ran into a large Boy Scout Troop towards the end of Boulder and for LosDosSloFolks, half of that Troop was girls. Good to see them out. I'm not sure I've ever seen a Girl Scout Troop anywhere outside of Civilization. :lol: I took a couple of breaks in Boulder by the water. The sound is so soothing to the soul, and my soul needed it.

Got to the Dutchman and at the 2nd major Crossing there (I think it's West Boulder) I took a long break. Took off the wet shoes and socks and dried the feet in the now intermittent sun. Had a snack and recharged for the last 4 miles. Put on dry socks and headed on out. It was pretty amazing. At 5:00, the Dutchman was almost entirely deserted. 3 people in four miles. That was it. It was the most solitude I had all day. The Light and Clouds were getting pretty amazing, so I stopped often for Photos. The Sunset didn't look like it would be much, but at the very end, the west sky lit on fire. Unfortunately, I hadn't made it to the last water crossing on the Dutchman, so I only saw a bit of it peeking over the hills. Made the Escape right at dark. I'm glad I picked this for this week. Although I would have been happier with a lot less people, all of that water was very cool. I timed this one pretty well I think. It was a good day finally.

Fauna: No Snakes! :( Just Lizards, Tadpoles that are almost Frogs, several Male Cardinals, American Kestrel and a few other bird Species. Seems to be a lot of Cottontails this year.

Trail Conditions:
Second Water - Muddy in places and the horses are really beating it up. I think I counted 3 Water crossings. Boulder Canyon Trail - It's in good shape until about the Cavalry Trail, then it could use a bit of love. But it's not terrible. There is, however, half of a giant Saguaro down lengthwise on the trail about mid way through. I put a waypoint on my track for it, just in case someone wants the location. There is a way around. Lots of Water in the crossings, but if you spend the time going up and down the Creek, you can probably stay dry, if you're quick, got good tread and balance skills. Dutchman - Quite a bit of standing water and mud on the trail still. Horses are impacting, but not as badly as Second Water. After West Boulder, not another water crossing until after Parker Pass and then there's about 7.

GPS Track. Don't use it, it's a mess. I don't even want to post it, but it has the down Saguaro Waypoint on it. And it's the only way I can save a Route now. My Mileage and AEG is a guess based on two sets of numbers. The original numbers and a cleaned up version that drastically changed the numbers. :sweat: I also went by what others are averaging for this Hike.

Photos: Don't hold your Breath. You'll be blue by Tuesday and they probably still won't be up yet. I took a LOT and I've only had time for one initial viewing and delete pass.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Patches here and there, but I' surprised at really how sparse it is still. Only a few poppies. Mostly Blue Dicks and surprisingly Indian Paintbrush. A few Owl Clover near Second Water Canyon. Some of the Brittlebush up high on Hackberry Mesa is getting showy. Some Popcorn Flowers and other small flowers around too.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Boulder Creek - Superstition WA Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Boulder Creek at #103 / #236 Jct Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max First Water Creek - Upper Turnoff Light flow Light flow


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

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max O'Grady Canyon Light flow Light flow

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max West Boulder - Dutchman Crossing Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max West Boulder Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
_____________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
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