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Green House Crest Trail Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-06-27
22 by photographer avatarmarkthurman53
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Green House Crest Trail Loop, AZ 
Green House Crest Trail Loop, AZ
 
Hiking15.49 Miles 2,957 AEG
Hiking15.49 Miles   8 Hrs   28 Mns   2.09 mph
2,957 ft AEG   1 Hour   4 Mns Break
 
1st trip
After a three week dry spell of no hiking I took 3 days to go hiking in the Chiricahua Mountains. My first day was on top of the mountain walking along the Crest Trail with some side trips along trails I haven't done yet. I arrived at the end of FR42D around sunrise. This time I drove all the way to the end of the road, requires at least high clearance vehicle. Hiking on the crest requires getting there at sunrise, not just because you may have a full day of hiking but mainly because it is so damn beautiful.

I passed along the west slopes of Flys Peak with great views of the early morning west views. The first side trip was along the Green House Trail. Ginny and I did this last April starting at Herb Martyr Campground and Hiked up to Winn Falls. We turned around at the falls. This was a really steep trail and figured I would have to do the upper part from the top. From the top it is 2.2 miles down to the falls. I had just passed Green House Cabin when I heard a noise that sounded like wood cracking, I wasn't sure what it was but a few minutes later I heard it again but this time I could see one tree leaning against another and debris was coming down. I looked closer and it was a bear clawing at the tree. I was about 50 feet from the bear and it was about 40 feet up the tree at about my eye level. This is the best opportunity I will probably ever get to photograph a bear before it runs off, you could say I had a captive audience. The bear did not know I was there it was intent on digging into that tree so I sat down and started taking pictures. As it dug a lot of insects were flying out and swarming all around. I was close enough that I remember thinking, I hope those aren't bees. I already had an incident in May where Ginny's bees attacked me while I was mowing and got stung about 30 times. I got the impression they were moths but I don't know, anyway they didn't bother me. After about 5 minutes of watching this bear I decided to head on down the trail, this is when the bear saw me, didn't knowing what to do since he was stuck up in the tree. "I HUNG EM UP"(as Jimmy Buffet said in the song "that's when I meet the bear"). It turned out the trail I was on did a switchback and I headed back toward the tree passing underneath it on the uphill side. I continued going and the trail did another switchback toward the tree on the downhill side. Before heading back toward the tree again I noticed the bear was heading down the tree slightly slower than free fall. I decided to wait until the bear got on the ground and hopefully it would just scurry off. I wasn't concerned that it would cause any problems for me, they usually just run off. Well it did and I went on my way. I wish Ginny was here because she is my Video person; my videos are not very stable. I made it down to Winn Falls and immediately headed back the way I came back up to the Crest Trail. There were a few pools of water in a few places along the Cima Creek. This little 2.2 mile jaunt with 1800 feet of elevation gain really kicked my rear, not sure why but it could be that I had not acclimated to the 10000 foot elevation. Maybe I'm just getting old and turning into a wimp and have been hiking too many flat Texas trails. I choose to think the former.

Continued on my hike toward Chiricahua Peak and did another short hike down to Ojo Agua Fria Spring, another 500 feet of elevation gain. I made it down to within a tenth a mile from the spring and it did not look that impressive so I spared myself climbing down any deeper into this canyon to see a place where supposedly there is a spring. I was pretty beet by now and the climb back up was taking a toll on my already sore heals. Not sure why my heals were rubbing, I haven't had that problem in quite a while.

I returned by walking around Chiricahua Peak in a clockwise direction. Took the Crest Trail 270D along the south side of the peak and then took the Crest Trail 270B back to Junction Saddle. I headed back to where I started and completed the 16 mile 3200 feet accumulated elevation gain by 3:30. I was staying in Portal Arizona at the lodge and they close at 6:00 so if I wanted to eat and sleep I best get down the 14 mile dirt road. Great day of hiking, felt good to be back out on the trail.

Bear video [ youtube video ]
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