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White Canyon Wilderness, AZ
mini location map2020-03-30
30 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
photographer avatar
page 1   2
 
White Canyon Wilderness, AZ 
White Canyon Wilderness, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 30 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking5.50 Miles 1,366 AEG
Hiking5.50 Miles   3 Hrs   34 Mns   1.60 mph
1,366 ft AEG      8 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
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Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
Get-out-of-town-hike with Tracey #4

After three "Forest Road" hikes in a row north of town it was time to head in the other direction. Hmmmm, where shall we go? Number one priority was the likelihood of not encountering another person. White Canyon Wilderness area should be up there on the list, so let's give that a shot.

Noting the number of HAZ triplogs lately for White Canyon, for the best chance to avoid others we set our sights on hiking out the other side of the promontory along old Passage #17 of the Arizona Trail... before its re-route to bypass the wilderness. And since we hadn't been out to the very end of the promontory in over three years, that became the goal.

Well, that goal only lasted all of two miles. Once past where the old 'road' crossed the drainage the condition of the trail took a nose-dive. It soon became practically non-existent among plenty of new-growth prickly-pear cacti. So between REALLY not liking the looks of the route Joe & Bruce took way-back-when, and the atrocious trail conditions to continue on around to the northwest end to ascend our twice-used preferred route we opted to drop into the drainage and follow it as far back as we could to make it a lasso loop.

Once in the drainage we found a nice peaceful spot on bare slick rock and stopped for an early lunch. Afterward we got all of a hundred yards in the drainage before it clogged up with thick and thorny brush. Still seeking something new we left the drainage along what appeared to be an old equestrian trail and followed it until it reconnected with the old road and back down to where it would cross the drainage again. This is where the old AZT #17 split from the old road and continued on the east side of the drainage, so we could have followed it back, but the by-now wide-open slick-rock drainage beckoned us for more.

Good thing we did for this turned out to be the most rewarding part of the hike, in fact more rewarding than anything else we had hiked on quite some time. To soak it all in we took our time... more than an hour to travel a mile... slow enough I took 80+ photos just along the drainage.

Eventually the reward came to an end. Just about a few hundred yards before a spot I knew we could exit the drainage back up to old AZT #17 we came to a halt at a pour-off.
(I knew about the exit from our Rincon loop hike back in 2015)

We were presented with two options...
1. A relatively easy climb to the west followed by a one-step-at-a-time descent into the drainage.
2. Back up a short distance then ascend out and back toward the trail along a somewhat sketchy yet obvious cowpath/game trail.

It was getting pretty warm by now so we opted for the "head back to the trail" route. The ascent went smoothly and just over the top the path appeared very well-used, almost as smooth as an easy trail. As easy as it was I wasn't even looking at the ground, just scanning ahead to locate the old AZT #17.

As a consequence of ignoring where I placed my feet, I managed to step directly on a coiled rattlesnake. Although it had been facing directly toward me it didn't even twitch until I had already stepped on it.

The moment I stepped on it no hazard registered in my mind. Instead of the hard ground I had expected, I just felt a weird squishy feeling. Without realizing I was on top of a rattlesnake, it was only Tracey's ear-piercing scream that caused me to jump into action.
:scared:
And of course for me, once I realized she said RATTLESNAKE!, jumping-into-action meant quickly turning around in hopes of filming it. Also of course, my camera was slow to react and refused to focus so no photo. But no matter, Tracey has a crystal-clear mind-picture of my boot on the head of the snake looking directly at her.

Giving up on a photo I just started filming as the snake quickly scurried off, climbing through a small Palo Verde along its way into a dense grass sanctuary. Oh yes, it was pretty hot under the collar... back on the trail a good 200 yards away we could still hear it buzzing away, still loud enough the short video I filmed easily picked it up.

Back on the trail, although Tracey was in hyper snake-finding mode we had a short uneventful jaunt back to the car.

Stats for the day:
Number of photos = 92 (Gonna take time to whittle it into a more-digestible 25-photo set.) {Edit: Couldn't do it but got it down to two pages... 30.}
Number of rattlesnakes stepped on = One
:next: White Canyon Wilderness - Bonus: Rattlesnake Encounter (2:07 video)
Number of skunks smelled = One
Number of Homo-sapiens encountered today = ZERO
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CannondaleKid
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