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Oaks and Willows - Juniper Mesa - Bull Spring, AZ
mini location map2020-09-19
22 by photographer avatarjoebartels
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Oaks and Willows - Juniper Mesa - Bull Spring, AZ 
Oaks and Willows - Juniper Mesa - Bull Spring, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 19 2020
joebartels
Hiking15.06 Miles 2,327 AEG
Hiking15.06 Miles   7 Hrs   26 Mns   2.28 mph
2,327 ft AEG      50 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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rayhuston
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
The scenery on the drive in still intrigues. The hard-packed road continues to be well maintained for quick travel in any vehicle.

Oaks and Willows Trail #3
Small ankle buster rocks will have the Y-Bar-Haters ranting. A half-mile up, it's wide open, no shade, and dotted with Junipers. Occasional cairns grace the route, in case you can't find the obvious trail. Pretty blue skies to the Northwest brought an ounce of joy to the wildfire-pandemic world. Ray noted several bear scat piles in the first mile and figured they feast on the abundant juniper berries when ripe. Google confirmed black bears do indeed consume juniper berries, learned something new!

1.25 miles up, the big daddy pines put cozy back in play. The refreshing morning weather included hints of cool. Several log pole waterbars still flaunt the green sealant. For your safety, I checked the FS Maintenance Manual. All seemed kosher and to spec. Logs used for waterbars need to be peeled (or treated with preservative), extended at least 12 inches into the bank, staked or anchored, and mostly buried.

Juniper Mesa Trail #20
Unexpectedly stumbled upon the origin of Autumn. The trail is a smidgin faint in areas. Not a single downed tree to negotiate all day. Views off the rim are several miles in, but you can sneak a peak with little effort at a few points. 7.35-miles into our hike we had route finding issues. In hindsight probably more waited-too-long for a break... lol

Bull Spring Trail #100
Heading down the Bull Spring Trail is an eye-opener. It's steep and loaded with ankle buster grapefruit-size rocks galore. They thinned out after a tenth of a mile down. A half-mile down, it gets better. It transitions from rocky, to a slide, to a decent steep trail, to relaxing moderate. Ray said it best... Bull Spring Trail comes in for a soft landing!

Synopsis
Today I enjoyed ascending Oaks and Willows Trail. The most anticipated Juniper Mesa Trail was okay heading out. After a break and returning with the occasional cloud cover, it was better. Descending Bull Spring brought back more memories of the trail and the best continuous distant views.

If you're looking for a short hike, the first quarter-mile up #3 packs a get-outta-phoenix forest rejuvenation. In the slim chance in hell I review old notes, consider an eastern loop with the other trails.

Great hike, every time.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
between light and moderate, unexpectedly moderate if in a few thickets
_____________________
- joe
HAZ Member
joebartels'
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