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Houston Brothers Trail #171
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mini location map2020-05-11
25 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Houston Brothers Trail #171Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 11 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking9.00 Miles 950 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   3 Hrs   58 Mns   2.37 mph
950 ft AEG      10 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
Tracey's banked PTO was nearing use-it-or-lose-it so what better time for a camping trip into cooler country. After realizing we had never car camped anywhere along the Rim it was time to remedy that situation.

Shouldn't be too big a deal to choose a campsite and three hikes nearby, should it?
Yeah right... even after filtering out the hikes we had done, thanks to the plethora of hike Guides posted on HAZ the decision was not an easy one. Ok, let's throw darts so-to-speak and choose an actual trail for hike #1 then pick two more close by.

Houston Brothers would be hike #1. It was just right... a nice out-and-back along the very green Houston Draw.
Coming up on one hour into the hike I spotted a very-brown black bear, maybe 1-2 years old? Which of course brought back memories of our bear encounter two years ago... memories of the PTSD kind for Tracey.

What do we do? she asked. Turn back?
No way was I about to turn back this soon, besides it's a few hundred yards away. Let's just see what it does and take it from there. After a few zoomed photos the bear popped its head up and scooted off at a fast lope (more flashbacks for Tracey) up the slope perpendicular to the trail. Ok now, the bear is gone, it's time to move on. Although our senses would be on high alert the rest of the hike the balance would be drama-free.

Within a few minutes of the bear sighting we saw a group of 5 hikers who appeared to have turned around about the same distance from the bear as we had been from the other direction and we wondered if:
#1 May the bear have spooked because it got wind of them (we had been down-wind)
#2 Had they had seen the bear and if so, is that why they turned around?
We'll never know if #1, but it turned out the hikers were unaware of the bear and had simply turned back to check out a drainage east of Aspen Springs. They had camped at the Pinchot Cabin and were just out for a leisurely day-hike.

We made short work of checking out Aspen Springs and the still-standing barn(?) before continuing on to the Pinchot Cabin. We spent even less time there, just taking a short walk to the outhouse because Tracey always has to check out what's under-the-seat, which is usually why she never wants to use an outhouse... but she just has to take look. But there really was nothing to see here.

Heading back we must have been a bit spaced-out because we missed our planned shady, a rock to sit on and a breeze spot for our lunch break. Oh well, it was only an extra a couple miles before we found a suitable substitute.

The rest of the return trip was uneventful... a bit warm when in the direct sun but enough shade to balance it out. A nice hike to start off with.
Fauna
Fauna
Black Bear
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