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Willow Springs Bike Loop Trail #535
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mini location map2020-06-10
25 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Willow Springs Bike Loop Trail #535Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 10 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking7.80 Miles 718 AEG
Hiking7.80 Miles   3 Hrs   50 Mns   2.59 mph
718 ft AEG      49 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
Still working on home updates but when Tracey has a day off we have to take advantage of it. She prefers cooler weather for hiking so we hit the road early and headed up to the Rim for a morning hike. To get a hike in in our allotted time we chose one that didn't include a drive on FR 300, which tends to eat up a lot of time.

On the drive up the Beeline, within probably an eight-of-a-mile of where the Bush Fire will begin on Saturday, in the split second it broke cover from the median what appeared to be a greyhound dog ran across the highway just ahead. It took a few moments to register that it was not a greyhound but a thin coyote. Not thin, like scraggly or underfed, but simply a healthy, lean coyote.

The rest of the drive was uneventful except for when I notice a white Toyota 4Runner packed to the gills, and although it sported no visible HAZ decal I said that looks like Hank and sure enough it was @Grasshopper heading up for his requisite June camping trip. Way to go Hank!

Barely a hundred minutes from home and we pulled into the Horse Trap TH, just a hundred feet off the 260. I was hit by the realization we would already be wrapping up a cool morning hike if we stayed close to home.
(And as it turned out, we would have had lower temps than what we ended this hike at)

Within five minutes of our start we encountered two horses and with no knowledge of any wild horses up here it got us wondering. They were grazing right at the edge of the old road so we gave them a wide berth as we passed by. And a minute or two Tracey looks back and says look, they're following us. With no sugar cubes to be had they soon lost interest in us and we continued on alone.

Then within the next quarter-mile we saw three deer grazing along the road but they had moved off before we got close enough for any reasonable photo opportunity. From then until we reached the lake (Willow Springs Lake, not the half-dozen large puddles we passed by) we just enjoyed the pines.

Oh wait, we did take a few off-trail detours to what turned out to be dry lakes, Horse Trap being the largest. Both on and off-trail we passed through some areas which had been very aggressively thinned.

At the lake it was so calm and peaceful we decided to take off our packs and set-a-spell. Tracey sacked out on a nice smooth boulder and I just chilled, half-dozing but not able to nod off due to the incessant barking of a dog across the lake at the picnic area.

Yup, bring your dog along, leave it tied it up as you frolic at the water's edge and all the while it is bored-to-death. Many folks need better training than their dog but again then you can't fix stupid. (A lot of that going around lately)

After the 49 minute 'spell' (easily the longest we've ever rested on a hike), instead of following the bike trail again we set off winding along the edge of the lake adding a bunch of ups-and-downs for some time until rejoining the trail. Instead of turning back to the TH near the end we followed some fresh bike tire tracks which continued straight to the 260, where they ended. What? I suppose the rider may stopped, lifted the bike up to turn around and followed in their own tracks back again. Oh well, just had another short stretch of off-trail and we were back to the car.

Nice hike, brought back memories of 5 years ago when we racked up an 18 mile bike ride which included this loop.
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CannondaleKid
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