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The Best Hikes of Camp Grasshopper

155 Triplog Reviews in the Camp Grasshopper
Most recent of 89 deeper Triplog Reviews
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
.. "Groundhog Day" Revisited ..

This planned revisit was six months in the making with longtime friends from Southern California (the San Diego area), whom I introduced to each other over 26+ years ago and have been happily married since, and are enjoying fulltime hiking, Eastern Sierra backpacking, vehicle camping, and Mammoth CA winter Skiing in their now retirement.

We were within two days of their AZ arrival on Mon-8/22 for our planned Mogollon Rim week Vehicle Camping and Hiking trip when I had to "pull the plug" on our trip due to Mother Nature not cooperating :( (the NWS daily point forecast for my favorite Mogollon Rim campsite was showing a total washout for the entire period of our planned stay).

I did not want to risk a Labor Day Week reschedule and visit with my Southern CA friends so we will hopefully plan our get together another year. I on the other hand, needed to "Get Out of Dodge" again and was willing to risk the possible Labor Day week craziness with possible more monsoon rain. I (alone) planned my trip arrival two days prior-to the start of the busy Labor Day long weekend and I planned my exit back home two days after the Labor Day Monday. This worked well but the evening before my campsite arrival when I normally buy 50#s of ice for my 70 quart cooler, I could not find any 10# blocks of ice available :roll: .. this would be a big problem for my planned eight day stay!

To make a long story short, I ended-up buying an additional 3 bags (24#s) of cubed ice and managed to stuff in my already overloaded 4Runner, another cooler to hold this additional ice. :sweat: On my departure home, day 8, I ended up needing to stop in Payson for an additional 10#s of ice to get me home. I spent almost as much money on ice as I did for gas on this trip! :lol:

My actual 8 day visit
I had another wonderful time doing mostly nothing but R&R - Eating, with only two short area day hikes, with no rain at all, and with daily temp highs 82-86 and lows 49-56 :)
4 mi • 0 ft aeg
Took the wife and dog and headed up for the night. Last visit up north was a week long trip at the end of may and beginning of June for me. Expecting to see a different forest after our strong start to the monsoon seemed in order. Rain was not going to scare me off although I had prepared for the worst.

Not really going up there with a hike in mind, still had to get some moving in. Being so close to some great off trail hikes I decided to do a little stroll down into barbershop. Lots of fungus and water in babershop (some of which was flowing) right now. Luckily my hike didn't have any bad weather but the humidity was a bit much. Saturday evening we heard thunder a few different times but nothing ever managed to hit the area. Early Sunday morning that changed around 1am with on/off rain showers, sometimes pretty heavy, hitting the tent. Haven't slept that good in a long time, wish I could have spent one more night out there.

Relaxing trip, very nice campsite which was very clean, minus one 20 gauge shell casing, the cap to a propane bottle, and a live round of 223 which appeared to be very old. Very nice to see people are respecting this area. Site 2 was occupied by a couple when we arrived and were leaving about the same time that we left Sunday morning.
5.5 mi • 0 ft aeg
Another annual April camping trip to the Sierra Ancha with Grasshopper. Our campsite on top of the east rim of Coon Creek Canyon within 0.4 miles of the Bull Canyon TH provided great views in all directions but was more than a little exposed to the high winds on Thursday and Friday. RedRoxx44 visited over the weekend - it was a pleasure to finally meet this intrepid explorer and skilled photographer. FOTG passed through camp on Saturday after he completed his forced march to the Moody Pt Ruins but we were hiking along the ridge above Bull Canyon at the time so only saw him from a distance.

Our day hikes were the usual ruin searches and scenic overlooks with a little uranium mining history thrown in. GH cooked up a great group meal Saturday evening - linguini with meatballs and smoked sausage in spaghetti sauce plus a salad of fresh greens and other assorted garden vegetables.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
I had such an enjoyable and relaxing seven day visit this past July at my favorite AZ Mogollon Rim campsite (at 7435ft) that I decided to do it again in August (from Wed-8/23 to Tues-8/29/17) :)

For this August trip I invited a good friend (from East Mesa) and her partner (from Payson) whom I had originally met from my earlier 2005-2006 AZ camping/hiking days as an active member of Arizona Outdoor Travel Club (AOTC). AOTC & HAZ-blk and I have continued to be good friends but with her very active outdoor (local & worldwide) travel schedule, I was not able until this August to find a camping period that fit both our schedules.

As has been the case for the last few visits and this trip no exception, I had planned more tinkering around camp, R&R, and good eats cooking than area day hiking, but we still managed to do a couple nice area off-trail loop hikes:
[ Barbershop Cyn Upper - Merritt Draw Upper Loop ]
[ Bear Canyon Upper - West Bear Canyon Loop ]

For this Mogollon Rim monsoon season there was less daily/nightly rain than I had on my previous July'17 week visit. Both July and August trips provided moderate daily temps and comfortable nightly sleeping being serenaded by bugling elk and howling coyotes in close Barbershop Canyon and Merritt Draw.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
On my 7/25/17 drive out on Rim Road FR300 after seven days of vehicle camping down FR139C, I decide to checkout the aftermath of the June'17 "Bear Fire" viewtopic.php?t=10094 to see what was left of favorite Mogollon Rim (FR398) Autumn Campsite #4. I have attached three pics to show the burn which was not that bad but I don't think I would be interested in camping here again until the burn/soot smell went away and until some new green undergrowth started back.

My biggest concern was not the campsite burn status, but rather if one of our primary Autumn off-trail Big Tooth Maple hikes- :next: [ Bear Canyon Upper - West Bear Canyon Loop ] survived this most recent Bear Fire? Unfortunately, I did not have time to hike the short off-trail distance to enter the upper section of West Bear Canyon to confirm one way or the other.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
It had been almost to the day, one full year since I had been back to camp at my favorite "Happy Place" in the woods at 7435ft.

This visit for a planned 6 nights / 7 days (Wed-7/19 to Tues-7/25) I had no agenda except to relax, read some, cook/clean, eat some :) , and just waste time tinkering around camp which I am very good at doing. I also knew this trip would be a wet one (and it was) due to being here in the middle of our summer Mogollon Rim Monsoon Season but this I was looking forward too. As long as I am able to setup my campsite without rain on my arrival day and on departure day teardown and pack it all up without rain then all is good..and..all was good!

One thing I did have to look forward too for the week was a day visit at Camp Grasshopper with my friends from Scottsdale who now own my old "Grasshopper 92YJ Jeep Wrangler". They had previously accepted my invite to join me for a Saturday afternoon visit to "Camp Grasshopper" with a planned short hike from camp to Merritt Draw/Merritt Spring and a mid-afternoon Grasshopper cooked meal. It was a grand day and I much enjoyed their family of four visit.
13.42 mi • 3,289 ft aeg
Had to back in PHX for an afternoon commitment but had the Mazzie itch so South Fork - Gold Ridge Loop it was. Early start to beat the heat and be back by the promised noontime.

Gold Ridge Trail #47
Great trail for a predawn hike, with wide tread and steep sections, though cattle in the dark are spooky creatures. Temp at the trailhead was 87F at 3:20 AM for some awful and terrible reason. Thought I saw a burnt yucca at mile two, turned out to be a skunk with tail raised. If I would have gotten sprayed I might have smelled yuck-e (yuck yuck yuck). Sunset beat me to the top of the trail by twenty minutes, apparently needed an earlier start (heh).

Camp Grasshopper
Looked nice. Was empty. So was FR 201. Quiet at the top.

South Fork #46
This trail was gorgeous. Not even kidding. Easy to follow, easy to hike, and the scenery was jaw-dropping. Huge trees, especially in the first few miles, almost completely spared from the fires. Only needed to check the GPS twice, once at Pigeon Spring because I thought the route went right past it (it doesn't, trail stays a few dozen yards to the west) and once about two miles down when the bank gets a bit thick. I'm still a bit in awe of how pleasant this trail was. Well-cairned, wide tread, and relatively low amounts of overgrowth / deadfall for this wilderness. It does climb up along the banks frequently, almost as if it's scared to stay in the creek bed for more than a few yards, which I imagine would get annoying if you hike up it. Hiking down was a dream. I think I'm in love.

Mazatzal Miles: 148.2/275 (54%)
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
Camping & Aztec Peak Sunrise
Spent the night at the spot I camped May 2016 just before the Juniper Fire. Everything is exactly the same in that area. Very quiet evening and the wind died down around sunset. Birds started their morning songs around 4:00 at first light, so I got up early with the idea to drive back up to the peak for some sunrise photos. That worked out fine, then it was back to camp to read a little and enjoy coffee and a bite to eat before packing up to head down the mountain. :)

There were a number of things I wanted to check out before reaching the highway. First stop was to hike over to the Peterson Ranch, then I wanted to get photos of the 4 stream gauges just above the falls. There is one for each fork in addition to the main one right above the falls which measures the combined flow of all branches. The one on the South Fork is very close to where the other camper was, so I parked and went over to say hello. He and his gal were spending a couple nights in that spot (my favorite). We had a nice conversation, and he said he has been coming up there for about 30 years backpacking and bow hunting. He said he really liked Parker Creek Trail #160, especially the area around where the trail tops out in that high fairly level and wide area that extends south toward Zimmerman Point. I mentioned the memorial for the missing man there, and he said that right after that happened he was up looking for him. (Norwin Dixon, age 74, from Coolidge who got separated from his group there on April 24, 1999 and was never found). He said he went off trail up in the area and came across a daypack with some unopened cans of oysters and some other things, but no ID. He is pretty sure it belonged to the man and returned it to authorities, but nothing ever came of it. I mentioned that I just been to the apple trees at Peterson, but he thought I was talking about the spread over by Murphy/Haldi. For as much time as he claimed to have spent up there, he said he had never been to Peterson or to Aztec Peak. I find that amazing! :o Anyway, I told them they should do the short hike from their camp over to see the Peterson Place.

I got photos of all the stream gauges as well as the obligatory shot of the falls, then down the mountain I went. I had planned on heading up to McFadden Peak LO, but decided I would save that for next trip. I then stopped at the lower Parker Creek Trailhead, with the plan to do the short hike to the research station and stream gauge, but it was getting too hot and I wasn't feeling up to it and after a few steps I said, "No go." That too will wait until next time.

It was really hot when I stopped at the Swimming Pool House (about 3500 feet)! Then on to Miami, where I stopped at the Burger House for some Mexican food. I hadn't been there before, but it has gotten some favorable comments here, so thought I'd give it a try. I wasn't impressed (even though the locals love it). Bean tostada was okay, but I couldn't finish the red chile burro. Guess I should have gone for the green one. :lol: Next on to Superior for fuel (what are they doing to Superior? :o ), then Florence and home. Fun little 36 hours away from home. Just might have to it again this summer. :D

[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]
4 mi • 1,000 ft aeg
Mazzie Swingset
I've been wanting to get little Nick up to the swingset since my first visit. Short hike, gradual climb & the reward at the end made it perfect. We went up the night before and stayed at Camp Grasshopper. It's gotta be the quickest way from the valley to a secluded camp spot in pines. We saw nobody the entire trip. We explored the ridgeline and Gold Ridge Trail briefly in the a.m. while waiting for Minkis. We loaded up with snacks at set out for the swingset. I'd imagine it's been a long time since a child actually played on the set. We all had a blast.
13.51 mi • 3,370 ft aeg
Headed back into the Mazatzal for an interesting loop. Kyle and I fought our way up South Fork a couple of years ago and were forced to turn around due to time constraints. We wanted to return and this was the day. Chumley joined us for the hike.

We started with Gold Ridge and it was a grind. The trail is in good condition as it makes a steep climb. With much effort we topped out and took a lunch break at Camp Grasshopper. This would be a great spot to car camp. From there we walked the road for a short ways and started down the South Fork trail at the trail sign.

The hike down South Fork is a mixed bag. We did fairly well at following trail tread whenever it was present. It completely disappears at times and you have to fight your way down canyon. There was a good flow of water and the upper canyon is very scenic. There were two solid waterfalls but they are heavily overgrown and the mid afternoon sun cast too many shadows for good pics. The lower half of trail had some trail maintenance & is fairly easy to follow.

I'm really glad we knocked out this loop. It's much better going down South Fork. Thanks Kyle for driving!

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