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47 triplogs
Jul 31 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Bridal WreathTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 31 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking5.60 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking5.60 Miles
800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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With all the recent record-breaking monsoon activity I was looking for a waterfall hike outside of our flash flood-prone canyons and chose Bridal Wreath Falls in Saguaro National Park East. Perhaps the biggest flood risk on this hike is the possibility of getting trapped by Monument Wash during the drive out on far east Speedway Blvd. With clear skies this morning and a favorable morning weather forecast, John and I decided to give it a go. We figured we would be done and gone before the proverbial "mainly after 11am" storms moved in, and we were.

After almost an hour drive to the Douglas Spring Trailhead our boots hit the trail at 7:00am. Although it was only 76 degrees it was uncomfortable with high humidity, no breeze and the sun in our face. Bugs were annoying at the trailhead but not so much on the trail. On the way up we passed two impressive (by desert standards) waterfalls before reaching the Bridal Wreath Falls junction at the 2.5 mile point.

Before reaching Bridal Wreath we ran into a Southern Arizona Hiking Club group that was returning from the falls. This particular group normally hikes Blackett's Ridge every Monday morning but could not do so today because Sabino Canyon's parking lot was closed when they got there, so this was their plan B. The Guide indicted that it was the "best" she has ever seen Bridal Wreath Falls.

The final bushwhack up the boulder-strewn creekbed to the base of the falls was somewhat challenging due to relatively high water level. With the robust flow of water this morning I think upper Bridal Wreath may have been more impressive than the lower tier. Quite frankly, there was not quite as much water as I expected but it was the best that I have ever seen it.

Video of lower Bridal Wreath Falls: [ youtube video ]

After a leisurely break at the falls, we dunked our hats in the cool tea-colored water and began our hike back to the traihead. As we were getting into our car a group of three hikers approached and asked some question about the trail. They had not heard of Bridal Wreath Falls but seemed interested. We tried to discourage them from taking a long hike as it was now getting hot (with humidity, sun and no breeze) and we could see monsoon cumulus clouds building over the Rincons. They replied "We're use to it, we're from Riverside".

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!
Flora
Flora
Ocotillo
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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7 archives
Jul 28 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 28 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking10.80 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking10.80 Miles
4,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This morning I joined seven other members of our community hiking club for my 194th summit of Mt. Wrightson. Trailhead temperature was a cool 65 degrees at our 6:30 start. Temperature on the summit was pleasantly cool; however lady bugs were very pesky again. Clouds moved in as we were leaving the summit which made the descent more humid than the ascent. My carload of hikers managed to dodge the rain with a quick 1'45" descent time. The slower group of 4 got soaked. Springs had less flow than on Tuesday. We could hear water running in the east fork of Madera Creek and the south fork of Kent Creek.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Baldy Spring Dripping Dripping
Dripping from the rock face along the north switchbacks between Baldy Saddle and the summit.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bellows Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
The pipe is just dripping into the nearly-full trailside reservoir but you can obtain a quart per minute from the nearby drainage.
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1 archive
Jul 25 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 25 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking12.10 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking12.10 Miles
4,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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MyRudy
Pivo
This morning I led a Meetup hike to the summit of Mt. Wrightson and had five takers. It was 65 degrees when our boots hit the ground shortly after 6am. Not much of a breeze this morning until we got to Baldy Saddle which was somewhat chilly as the sun was behind a cloud at the time.

Upon passing Bellows Spring, the spring above had a strong output and water was flowing over the trail. However, water was just dripping from the pipe into the trailside basin which was nearly full of water. Higher up above Baldy Saddle water was dripping down the rock face of the north switchbacks from Wrightson Spring, so much so that there was water running down the trail.

Upon arriving at the summit we ran into George and Anna who had just completed their 354th ascent, presumably tying them with Bob Williams for the lead :app:

There were thousands of lady bugs at the summit and they were crawling all over me as I sat on the old lookout foundation. Bugs were not an issue anywhere this morning except at the summit.

From our summit perch it was interesting to watch the clouds form and swirl around the mountain; fortunately the clouds were not the threatening type. Today was probably the best day to hike Mt. Wrightson weather-wise in weeks.

Halfway down we heard a noise that at first sounded a little bit like a chainsaw to me. It turned out to be a drone flown by a hobbyists. We stopped and chatted for a while.

At Josephine Saddle several of us switched over to the Super Trail in order to enjoy the water features along kent Creek. From midway down the lower Super Trail we took the Old Madera Mine "route" to Fern Canyon where we took the Fern Trail (another route) to the Kent Canyon Trail and on down to Kent Falls. The water in the south fork of Kent Creek was very robust, as was Kent Falls.

From Kent Falls we took the jeep road connector up to the Pipeline "route" which took us back to the Super Trail. We wrapped up our hike shortly after noon.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!
Fauna
Fauna
Ladybug beetle
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
The wildflower bloom usually peaks in early to mid-September.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bellows Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Water is just trickling from the pipe into the trailside reservoir but spring water is flowing strongly across the trail. You can easily fill a gallon per minute from a mini-waterfall in the nearby drainage.

dry Sprung Spring Dry Dry
Pipe dry but rain water has filled the trailside basin which will become stagnant. However water from the nearby drainage is running across the trail where one could gather some water.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Wrightson Spring Dripping Dripping
Multiple threads of dripping water down the rock face along the north switchbacks between Baldy Saddle and the summit, enough to run down the trail.
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1 archive
Jul 24 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Bog - Kent Springs LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 24 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking5.00 Miles 1,600 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles
1,600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This morning I joined several members of my community hiking club for a popular lollipop loop in the Madera Canyon Recreation Area in the Santa Rita Mountains. We parked at the Madera Trailhead Picnic Area and began our hike on the Bog Spring Trail. As we stepped out of the car our ears were treated to the magical sound of running water in Madera Creek across the road.

We chose to hike the Bog-Kent Springs loop in a clockwise direction, Bog Spring first. Although the spring box was full and overflowing, there was no water flowing in Bog's canyon despite all the recent rain. However the forest was as lush and green as I have ever seen it.

As we hiked from Bog to Kent Spring and rounded a corner on the first ridge we could clearly hear water running below in Kent Canyon. Upon arrival at Kent Spring we found only a trickle of water in Kent Creek's north fork, much to our surprise. Where was all that water that we heard earlier from above? Below the spring the north fork was virtually dry.

However, the south fork of Kent Creek was a different story with a robust flow coming down and out of Fern Canyon. The water made for delightful hiking along the middle portion of the Kent Spring Trail. The rain-saturated ground made for good footing while going down the steep and usually loose Kent Springs Trail.

We caught a glimpse of Kent Falls from the trail and quickly decided it was worth a visit this morning. So at the lowest of the Kent Creek crossings we took a short (maybe 500') detour up a route on the left (north) side of Kent Creek to Kent Falls where we took a relaxing break. The amount of water coming over the falls was exceptional for this early in the monsoon season.

Hiking conditions this morning were ideal. Although the air was damp the cool temperature mitigated the humidity. The recent pesky deer flies were nowhere to be found and the damp soil made for good traction. We had shade most of the way thanks to an early start and cloud cover as we hiked out. And except for another small group at Kent Falls that left shortly after we arrived, we had the whole loop to ourselves.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bog Springs Quart per minute Quart per minute
Spring box full of clear water and overflowing.

dry Kent Spring Dry Dry
Spring box had about 5 inches of stagnant rain water. No drip from pipe.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Sylvester Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Spring box full of clear water and overflowing.
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1 archive
Jul 16 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
East Baldy Trail #95Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 16 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking10.90 Miles
Hiking10.90 Miles
   4 Hrs   2 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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After hiking just a little over a mile on Saturday, we were ready to tear up some trail on Sunday morning. We only had about 4 hours of hiking time available before heading back to the desert and chose one of my two favorite White Mountain hikes - the East Baldy Trail. We knew we didn't have time for the summit but I was hoping we would get to the third viewpoint which we did.

We hit the trail before 7:00am and Steve set a blistering pace to the base of the hoodoos where I took the lead. We arrived at the first overlook, just above the hoodoos, in 47 minutes. The second viewpoint was achieved 1'12" and we made it to the third overlook in 1'51".

This third overlook is about 5 miles up the trail and is not right on the trail like the two lower overlooks. Instead you follow a route on the right (north) about 100 feet up to the top of a rock outcropping. The route junction is marked with a cairn and is located right where the East Baldy Trail switchbacks to the left. This third overlook along the East Baldy Trail affords a spectacular view of the West Baldy drainage. It's particularly scenic when the aspens are changing. However, the aspens will someday will block the view. Like the viewpoint above the Hoodoos, the West Baldy overlook is a destination in itself.

All blowdown has been cleared from the East Baldy Trail, at least as far up as the third overlook.

After a short break we retraced our steps to the East Baldy Trailhead where the parking lot had me still scratching my head from when we arrived. Of the nine designated parking spaces, two are reserved for the handicapped. C'mon, at a 9,300 foot trailhead with a loose cinder pathway? I'm all for accessibility but this is ridiculous.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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Jul 15 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Pacheta FallsAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 15 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking1.20 Miles
Hiking1.20 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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A hiking buddy and I had Pacheta Falls on our White Mountain bucket list for several years. On Saturday we finally got around to checking it off while base-camping at the cabin in Show Low. We picked up our Black River Special Use permit ($15 per person) on Friday night, at Kmart of all places. We departed Show Low early Saturday morning for a long 3 hour drive to the "trailhead". Steve had downloaded a driving track on HAZ which was the north approach from Sunrise. It's a good thing we had that driving track as there were many intersections along the way some of which were not signed. Fortunately all the dirt roads on the Rez were Subaru-friendly, even the muddy one at the very end of the long drive.

We parked about 300 feet short of a turnaround at the terminus of a dead-end road. From the turnaround we readily found a short route to the brink of the falls on the north side of Pacheta Creek. It was at most a 1/4 mile hike to the top of the falls. After the long, time consuming drive we wanted to hike more so we continued to follow the route down the north side of the canyon in an easterly direction. There was a sheer drop off into the canyon for as far as the eye could see. We thought there was no way we could access the bottom of falls without bushwhacking in from quite a distance below the falls.

Much to our surprise, about 200 yards east of the brink of the falls, we stumbled upon a somewhat-hidden steep chute which led down to a wide ledge above the creek. We were a bit intimidated by the chute at first but eventually decided it was doable. However, before scrambling down, we scouted from above and mentally plotted what we thought was a doable route up the rugged canyon choked with boulders and vegetation.

After scrambling down the steep chute to the wide ledge, we continued up canyon across two boulder fields that were connected by a route through the lush vegetation. Before we knew it we were at the base of the falls enjoying the cool mist on a humid morning. We finally felt rewarded for our long drive. The scramble down the chute and bushwhack up the north side of Pacheta Creek were not as difficult as it appeared from up on top.

We could have spent a good half hour at the base of the falls but after less than ten minutes we heard thunder and felt a few raindrops. We got out of there in a New York minute as we did not want to scramble the boulder fields and climb the chute on slippery wet rocks. Fortunately we beat the rain back to the car.

Persistent afternoon rain put the kibosh on our plans to explore the East Fork of White River, so we drove back to Show Low via Christmas Tree and Hawley Lakes thus making a big circle drive around Mt. Baldy which took most of the afternoon. Christmas Tree Lake required an additional permit. Upon passing though Pinetop we had an excellent dinner at the Red Devil and then stopped at Darbi's for triple berry pie dessert, but they ran out :(
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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3 archives
Jul 14 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 14 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking10.80 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking10.80 Miles   4 Hrs   47 Mns   2.42 mph
4,000 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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ChrisD
The Tucson area had another round of monsoon rain last night, so on the drive into Madera Canyon I stopped to read the rain gauge at the Santa Rita Lodge. They recorded another 1.5" for a total of over 3.2" in the past week; however, not enough yet to recharge the creeks which are still aren't flowing.

We hit the Old baldy Trail at 5:44am on a cool but humid morning. As we passed Bellows Spring I noticed that although the trail-side reservoir was full the supply pipe was no longer trickling. Apparently the pipe has become separated again as we could clearly hear spring water trickling over the waterfall above the trail. I didn't have time to reconnect the fragile pipe system this morning.

Along the 32 switchbacks below Baldy Saddle we noticed lots of rocks turned over and wondered if it was the work of a bear. About mid-way up the switchbacks we noticed a fairly fresh pile of bear scat which confirmed our suspicion.

We made it to the summit in 2'27". Visibility was greatly improved from most recent visits as monsoon storms have doused the area wildfires. Bugs on the summit were non-existent this morning except for clusters of lady bugs in the nearby bushes.

After a nearly 20 minute summit break we began our descent at 8:30am and arrived back at the Roundup parking area at 10:31. Although we were buzzed an occasional deer fly, they were not annoying this morning like the past couple of weeks.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bellows Spring Dripping Dripping
Although the trailside reservoir was full, the pipe has separated again and is no longer supplying water. However, from the trail we could hear spring water trickling over the waterfall about 50 feet up the nearby drainage.
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Jul 11 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Santa Rita Loop, AZ 
Santa Rita Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking6.44 Miles 2,082 AEG
Hiking6.44 Miles   3 Hrs   56 Mns   1.64 mph
2,082 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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MyRudy
Pivo
This morning I joined up with Tucson Hiking Meetup Group for a loop hike at the Madera Canyon Recreation Area following a stormy overnight rain. On my drive into the canyon I stopped at the Santa Rita Lodge to see how much water was in their big rain gauge (1.66"). Our group of ten hikers, plus two dogs, met at 7:00am at the Roundup under cloudy skies with a cool, but humid, air temp of 70 degrees.

We began our loop hike on the Super Trail, where after about a half mile we switched onto the Pipeline route which took us over to Kent Canyon. From there we took steep route up Fern Canyon and then another route over to Roger's Rock. Patrick set a good pace and by the time we got to the top of Roger's Rock I was soaked in perspiration from the high humidity. After Roger's Rock we returned to the Super Trail and on up to Josephine Saddle where we took a break. We departed Josephine Saddle on the Agua Caliente Trail, turned down the Carrie Nation route to the mine site and back to the Roundup on the Carrie Nation Trail. The damp ground made for good footing down the steep and pine-needle covered route. Only one hiker slipped, but fell gracefully.

All the routes we took (Pipeline, Fern, Roger's Rock, Carrie Nation) are well-worn paths, just not official trails.

On the Super Trail just below Josephine Saddle, the trail side basin at Sprung Spring was dry which has been the case for the last several years, except when it fills with rainwater.

Other than pesky deer flies it was a great summer morning for a hike in the woods. The air had a fresh fragrance from the overnight rain and all the plants and trees looked happy. Except for a brief sun break we enjoyed shade almost the entire hike.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!
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Jul 08 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 08 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking10.80 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking10.80 Miles   5 Hrs   39 Mns   2.13 mph
4,000 ft AEG      35 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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ChrisD
justmike
nadja
As often as I summit Mt. Wrightson I'm always looking for unique ways of hiking it. So at 1:55am last Saturday morning, under a full moon, I met several SAGA Meetup Group friends at the Roundup. The goal was to hike to the summit in time for a "double feature" - a moonset at 5:04am followed by a sunrise at 5:24am. I had done this sunrise hike once before but it was a first for Chris, Mike and Nadja.

It was still 85 degrees at the 5,450' trail head at in the middle of the night. As we worked our way up the lower Old Baldy Trail to Josephine Saddle by headlamp, it was quite warm and we were all working up a good sweat. Once above Josephine Saddle we picked up a stiff breeze which became chilly as we gained elevation. We caught occasional glimpses of the city lights of Tucson and Nogales, which look a lot closer at night.

As we passed through Baldy Saddle at 4:30am we saw dawn's first light on the eastern horizon. At this elevation it was actually cold - enough so to want gloves and additional layers. Consequently we were concerned about arriving at the summit too soon and shivering while waiting on the moonset and sunrise, so we slowed the paced a bit.

As we arrived at the breezy summit at 4:55am under still dim light we were startled by a barking but friendly dog, Scooter. We then noticed a tent setup just beyond the lookout foundation. Fortunately the summit campers were already up and about, also awaiting the sunrise.

It was downright cold on the summit so we all put on what extra clothing we had and took refuge out of the wind below the west side of the lookout foundation. We expected and wanted it to be chilly on the summit but were quite surprised it was cold. The wind was certainly a contributing factor.

The full moon was blood orange as it set in smoky haze from the numerous southern Arizona wildfires. The subsequent sunrise was also quite colorful from smoke. One disappointment, if there was one, is that the moon was not enlarged as it set, nor was the sun enlarged as it rose. I assume this is because there is less light refraction on the horizon at a high elevation.

After sunrise we wasted no time getting off the summit for a desire to get back to warmer air. By the time we got down to Baldy Saddle we were comfortable again. As we approached Bellows Spring we started noticing deer flies for the first time on our early morning hike.

At mid-mountain on descent, we ran into George and Anna who were on their way up for #350 :app: Shortly thereafter we ran into none other than 81-year-old Bob Williams who was doing # 352 :app: The deer flies were so bad at the time that we could not stop and chat with them. Did I mention that the deer flies were were absolutely horrible?

As we descended the Old Baldy Trail below Josephine Saddle during the 7 o'clock hour, it felt cooler than during our ascension during the 2 o'clock hour. We arrived back at our cars at 7:41am. The upper parking lot at the Roundup was already full of cars, presumably due to the Mt. Lemmon closure.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert :y:

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bellows Spring Dripping Dripping
The trail side reservoir was full and overflowing. However the fragile supply pipe frequently separates stopping the flow. If that's the case there is almost always water at the base of the waterfall about 50 feet up the nearby drainage.
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3 archives
Jul 07 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Carrie Nation-Fern Canyon Loop, AZ 
Carrie Nation-Fern Canyon Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 07 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking6.30 Miles 1,929 AEG
Hiking6.30 Miles
1,929 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This morning I met up with my community hiking club for a early morning hike at Madera Canyon starting at 6:30. From the Roundup our group of 7 began on the Carrie Nation Trail to the mine from where we took the well-traveled Carrie Nation route (unofficial trail) up to the Agua Caliente Trail. This route is probably the steepest trail in the Santa Ritas, even steeper than the nearby Vault Mine Trail. We then headed east on the Agua Caliente Trail to Josephine Saddle and then down the Super Trail to the Fern Canyon route junction. From the junction we took another well-traveled route down Fern Canyon to Kent Canyon where we picked up the Pipeline route. The Pipeline route dumped us out on the lower Super Trail about a half mile from the trail head.

All the creeks were dry except for one small perrenial pool at the Fern Creek crossing near the Rogers Rock junction. BTW, Fern Creek is the local name for the south fork of Kent Creek.

Deer flies were terrible this morning, especially as we were perspiring going up the Carrie Nation Trail/route with no breeze. While taking a break at the Carrie Nation-Agua Caliente trail junction I had at least a dozen buzzing me. At Josephine Saddle and below we picked up a light breeze which apparently kept the deer flies at bay for the remainder of the hike.

We ran into a Border Patrol agent at the Rogers Rock junction in Fern Canyon who indicated that UDAs frequent Fern Canyon (although we seldom see tell-tale trash). Upon arriving back to our cars at the Roundup there were additional BP vehicles arriving so they must have some type of operation going on at Madera today.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!
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3 archives
Jul 06 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Tumamoc HillTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 06 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking2.90 Miles 750 AEG
Hiking2.90 Miles
750 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
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nadja
RedwallNHops
A warm morning even with a 5:00am start. Temp in the mid-80's with some humidity and no breeze, but at least no bugs. Made it to the top in 27 minutes. Not much smoke from the Burro Fire this morning so the sunrise wasn't all that colorful. It was good running into Joel at the top and chatting on the way down.
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Jul 04 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Photos 351
 Triplogs 47

male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 04 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking10.80 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking10.80 Miles
4,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
Chris D
The short-lived fire on Mt. Wrightson prompted me to want to check off #190 for fear that another fire could close it. Friends Chris and Barry joined me on this morning's hike.

There was no evidence at the trail head of the recent fire other than two fire trucks parked at the Roundup.

Deer flies, which I have mistakenly called horseflies in the past, were very pesky this morning. I swatted at least a half dozen to death. It was a bit humid until we picked up a light breeze at Josephine Saddle and above.

As we approached mid-mountain we could hear chainsaws and voices from a ridge to the southwest of Bellows Spring. It was a fire crew doing mop up work.

The trail side reservoir at Bellows Spring was bone dry as reported in several recent trip logs by other HAZ hikers. I spent some time reconnecting the fragile pipe system to restore the flow. My accompanying photo set will show the problem and my temporary fix.

As we were on the final stretch above Baldy Saddle we bumped into George and Anna who just completed their 349th summit of Mt. Wrightson as a couple :app:

The summit was buggy with lady bugs and flies (but not deer flies). Visibility was fair due to smoke from the Burro and other fires.

On the way down, I noticed that the trailside reservoir at Bellows Spring was already full of water and overflowing.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!
Named place
Named place
Bellows Spring
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
The wildflower peak is usually in mid-September.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bellows Spring Dripping Dripping
I had to reconnect the fragile pipe system to the trailside reservoir. If the trailside reservoir is dry there is usually water at the base of the waterfall 50 feet up the nearby drainage.
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Jun 26 2017
SkyIslandHiker
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 Joined May 04 2004
 Sahuarita&Sh
McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, OR 
McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, OR
 
Hiking avatar Jun 26 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking
Hiking
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mitchstevens
After Sunday's abbreviated Mt. Hood climb Mitch and I drove over to the Central Oregon High Desert to the outdoor-oriented town of Bend. I discovered Bend when it was a sleepy timber industry town with a population of about 20,000 and affordable housing. Today Bend has 90,000 residents and has been CaliFornicated :( . Following lunch at the Deschutes Brewery I gave Mitch the cook's tour - Mirror Pond/Drake Park, downtown's Wall and Bond Streets, Pilot Butte, Old Mill District, Deschutes River and even Sunriver where I had hoped to retire...but I digress.

Monday morning we drove via Sisters and the Old McKenzie Highway to near Clear Lake where we accessed a scenic segment of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail (MRT). My wife and I hiked all 26.5 miles of the MRT some years ago but my favorite piece, which I've often repeated, is the Waterfalls Loop along the upper McKenzie Wild and Scenic River. The highlight of this hike is viewing Sahalie and Koosah Falls from both sides of the river. The loop is only about 4 miles but can easily take 3 hours due to all the jaw dropping scenery and photo ops. A bonus is mountain air that has the scent of a Christmas tree. Besides hikers, the MRT is also popular with mountain bikers and trail runners.

We parked along highway 126 across from the Coldwater Cove Campground junction, where the MRT crosses the highway, and headed south on the trail. At the upper junction with the Waterfall Trail, we crossed the footbridge over the river and hiked down the west side of the river on the MRT. The raging water of the upper McKenzie is glacial blue in color and there are numerous waterfalls which can be viewed from the trail. After about a mile we came to 100' high Sahalie Falls which is always impressive. Sahalie is a thundering cataract that pounds the river into a rainbowed mist. As we continued down the MRT the river churns through continuous whitewater for half a mile before leaping off another cliff at 70' Koosah Falls. What's so spectacular about these waterfalls is not so much the height as the volume of water.

To complete our loop, we crossed the McKenzie River at Carmen Reservoir and hiked up the east side of the river, now on the Waterfall Trail. We passed by Koosah and Sahalie Falls again and got a different perspective from the other side of the river. Not only is the east side of the loop closer to the river, it is more developed with overlooks due to its proximity to the highway.

Following our hike we drove to the nearby Crockett Lodge at Clear Lake for a post-hike fuel-up including marionberry pie!

A longer hiking option (besides hiking the whole 26.5 miles of the MRT) is to include the trail around Clear Lake which makes a figure-8 with the Waterfalls Loop. The MRT passes though some old growth forest on the west side of the lake and the east side features lots of volcanic rock and the Big Spring which is the headwaters of the McKenzie River.

The McKenzie River Trail just might be my favorite trail, anywhere!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Rhododendrons beginning to bloom.
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Jun 26 2017
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Trail of Ten Falls, OR 
Trail of Ten Falls, OR
 
Hiking avatar Jun 26 2017
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mitchstevens
After our morning hike on the McKenzie River Trail, Mitch and I drove over the Santiam Pass toward Salem for a late afternoon hike at Silver Falls State Park, the largest of Oregon's 150+ state parks. The trails in Silver Falls can be a zoo especially on holiday weekends like Easter (never again!). I figured that late on a Monday afternoon would be a less crowded time to hike the Trail of Ten Falls, and it was.

The Trail of Ten Falls (T10F) is a loop hike, consisting of the Canyon Trail and Rim Trail, which took us above, behind and around ten stunning waterfalls. Many of the waterfalls we could actually hike behind which was a unique experience. Silver Creek is shallow and calm compared to the McKenzie River, but the waterfalls of Silver Creek are no less impressive. The Trail of Ten Falls is also designated a National Recreation Trail like the McKenzie River Trail. A park map indicates that the T10F is a 7.2 mile loop, but a sign at the South Falls trail head indicates 8.7 miles. Whichever it is you get a lot of bang for your hike.

The T10F is a lollypop loop with four trailheads to choose from. We lopped some mileage off hike by saving the North Falls and Upper North Falls for our drive out of the park. Those two falls are at the end of the lollypop stick which requires some backtracking when doing the full loop. We covered the other eight waterfalls by starting and ending a clockwise loop at the Stone Circle Trailhead near the historic South Falls Lodge. The T10F is very well maintained and includes several long staircases. All of the waterfalls were impressive except for Twin Falls which was difficult to view from the trail because of a fallen tree. The most impressive of the ten waterfalls were probably South and North Falls, both well over 100' high. Double Falls is the highest waterfall in the park at 178', but the tallest free falling drop is South Falls at 177'.

Although there would not be as much water flowing over the falls in Autumn, I would love to return in the Fall when all the maples are changing color in Sliver Creek Canyon.

...just another crummy day in the Great Northwest!
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Jun 25 2017
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Mount Hood Climb - Oregon's HighpointNorth Central, OR
North Central, OR
Hiking avatar Jun 25 2017
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Mt. Hood's summit has been at the top of my bucket list since I began hiking over 15 years ago. I've beat around the bush by hiking the 42-mile Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood twice and now was the time for the real deal. Several months ago Mitch and I booked a two-day Summit Program with Timberline Mountain Guides figuring that was the safe way to go, especially the first time. One of the prerequisites was to take a mountaineering skills course the day prior (Saturday) where we practiced steep snow climbing techniques, rope procedures and self-arrest. We had to rent mountaineering boots, crampons, helmet, harness and ice axe. We finished the skills course late Saturday afternoon which left little time for rest before our Sunday morning start time of 1:00am (check-in at 12:30am). We wolfed down dinner at the Huckleberry Inn and headed quickly to our lodging at Government Camp. Although I had 3 hours of bed rest I was only able to sleep about 45 minutes. Fatigued is not a good way to start a Mt. Hood climb in the dark.

Oregon was having a heatwave (Portland was 100 degrees both weekend days) and we thought this would be ideal weather for our overnight climb to the 11,245' summit. Wrong! The Cascades are mostly composed of rotten rock piles loosely held together by snow and ice. For Mt. Hood to be a safe climb the snowpack above 10,000 feet needs to be frozen over to minimize the risk of ice and rock falls. Because the mountain was thawing we knew we may not be able to make it all the way to the summit on this particular Sunday but hoped we might succeed with an alpine (super early) start.

We met our guide, Phil, at the Wy'East Lodge at 12:30am where obtained our permits and did a gear check. We then boarded a snowcat at Timberline Lodge (6,000') for a 45 minute one-way ride to the top of the Palmer Snowfield (8,450'). From the the top of the ski run it is only a 2,795' climb to the 11,245' summit via the South Side approach which lies between Zig Zag and White River Glaciers. However, the descent from the summit is 5,245' as we would not have the services of the snowcat.

We began climbing the steep slopes of Mt. Hood at 1:50am under a clear moonless sky. The only light was from headlamps, the twinkle of stars and Portland city lights way off in the distance. An earlier climbing party had kicked some nice flat boot steps into the snow so we were essentially climbing an endless staircase which was relatively easy. After about an hour the snow firmed up a bit and we stopped to put on our crampons.

The only thing that Mitch and I struggled with were the plastic mountaineering boots that we rented. They were stiff and heavy and were very uncomfortable. Next time we'll buy leather mountaineering boots, like the guides wear, if we can't rent them.

As we skirted around Crater Rock about 4:00am we could hear ice or rock falling in the Devil's Kitchen which was an indication that the mountain was not frozen :( . When we reached the Hogsback ridge (10,500') around 4:15am our guide suggested we take a break as he assessed the situation. We were just about 750 vertical feet from the summit but the steepest and most difficult part was yet to come.

While at the Hogsback dawn began lighting up the mountain and we were finally able to get some pictures. It was light enough to see the Hot Rocks Fumarole (steam vent) on Crater Rock which we had smelled in the darkness.

Above the Hogsback the terrain up the various routes becomes steeper requiring some semi-technical rope work. Phil, who had been getting reports from other guides, thought it was not prudent to proceed further due to the risk of ice and rock fall. We saw other climbers going for the summit via the Old/Mazama Chute which was somewhat frustrating, but since we paid Phil for a safe journey we readily accepted his decision to abort.

Our descent from the Hogsback was a 4,500' elevation loss to Timberline Lodge where we arrived at 7:40am, nearly 6 hours after stepping off the snowcat. Although not getting to the summit was a disappointment, it was a great and unique experience nonetheless. Besides, it gives me an excuse to attempt to summit Mt. Hood again in the future :) .

...just another crummy day in the Great Northwest!
Named place
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Trillium Lake
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Jun 21 2017
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 Photos 351
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Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 21 2017
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Hiking10.80 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking10.80 Miles   3 Hrs   56 Mns   2.87 mph
4,000 ft AEG      10 Mns Break
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I wanted to get in another conditioner before a big top-of-the-bucket-list hike this weekend so I met up with Mike for quick round trip to the summit of 9,453' Mt. Wrightson this morning. It was already 77 degrees when we pulled into Madera Canyon's Roundup at 6:00am. We hit the Old Baldy Trail at 6:07 am just as two equestrians were hitting the Super Trail, which is why we didn't go that way. Mike set the pace and I quickly fell behind but I made it to the top non-stop in 2:12. Mike made it in 1:59 :app: and would have done better if he had not waited for me to catch up at Josephine Saddle.

We had complete shade all the way up to Baldy Saddle and a nice cool breeze between Josephine and Baldy Saddles.

However, bugs were somewhat annoying throughout the hike, mostly sweat-loving gnats and horseflies. The only good thing about horseflies is that if you let them land on you there is a good chance of swatting them dead. Lady bugs and regular flies added to the bug scene at the summit. We got so preoccupied with bugs that we forgot to sign the summit log.

Summit visibility was poor due to smokey skies, especially smoke from the new Encino Fire near Sonoita. It's been a stressful fire season for AZHiker456 who lives in the area.

Only saw to other hikers on the trails this morning, both solo.

Air temp was 77 at the start and 97 at the finish. Although we didn't totally beat the heat, we completed the round trip a few minutes after 10am in just under 4 hours.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bellows Spring Dripping Dripping
Water was trickling from the fragile pipe system into the trail-side reservoir which was full of clear water and overflowing. More than a drip but not a quart per minute. Dip out all you want from the trail-side reservoir or from the small pool 50 feet up the drainage at the base of the waterfall.
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Jun 18 2017
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Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 18 2017
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Hiking10.80 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking10.80 Miles   4 Hrs   16 Mns   2.53 mph
4,000 ft AEG
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After a 16 day absence from my "backyard playground" including the last 8 days in South Carolina's Low Country, I was champing at the bit for a summit peak this morning. Since my body clock was still on east coast time getting up early to beat the heat was not a problem. My boots hit the Old Baldy Trail at 4:39am, literally at the crack of dawn in heavily wooded Madera Canyon. Trail head temp was 65 degrees and it got cooler as I gained elevation. A light breeze made it downright pleasant if not chilly.

It's amazing how quickly I get out of shape and my times this morning showed it. 0:57 to Josephine Saddle, 2:01 to Baldy Saddle and 2:26 to the top. Last year on Father's Day I made it to the top in 1:55:31.

Despite my pioneer start time a group of four beat me to the summit. They left Tucson for Madera Canyon at 1:00am and got to the summit of Mt. Wrightson just in time for the sunrise.

No rattlesnake or bears sightings this morning but I did see a couple small piles of bear scat below Josephine Saddle which I didn't notice last time (June 2). Lots of birds this morning. On the way up I heard turkey, a trogon and an owl.

Bugs weren't too bad. I found myself waving my hands at gnats occasionally mid-mountain on the way up. There were flies on the summit but they were not annoying this morning. I could have spent an hour there but reversed course in about ten minutes.

Summit visibility was just fair due to smoke from all the wildfires in Southern Arizona.

My descent was still early enough in the morning that I had mostly shade from Baldy to Josephine Saddle, which was a pleasant surprise. I finished my round trip at 8:55am. Lots of hikers were heading up the mountain during the 8 o'clock hour despite the heat warning.

...just another crummy day in the Sonoran Desert!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Red penstemon and what I think is purple flax. Wildflowers peak in August-September.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bellows Spring Dripping Dripping
Water was trickling from the fragile pipe system into the trail-side reservoir which was full of clear water and overflowing. More than a drip but not a quart per minute. Dip out all you want.
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Jun 03 2017
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Hamburg Trail #122Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 03 2017
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Hiking4.80 Miles
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On National Trails Day I joined up with a Phoenix-based Meetup group that was on a three-day weekend outing in Ramsey Canyon. Our group of 16 started hiking at the Nature Conservancy's Ramsey Canyon Preserve at 9am. Access to the Hamburg Trail is via the interpretative trail behind the visitor center where the "Ramsey Canyon Trail" meanders along Ramsey Creek under a canopy of huge lush-green trees. One sycamore in particular dates back to the 1700's. After 700 feet of elevation gain the Hamburg Trail topped out at the "Overlook" at 6,200' before dropping back down to the creek near a small waterfall in the Miller Peak Wilderness. We began climbing again and followed the Hamburg Trail to it's end at the junction with the Pat Scott and Wisconsin Canyon Trails. After a snack break, we backtracked to the Nature Conservancy which made the round trip hike just under 5 miles. Despite hiking in late morning we enjoyed comfortable temperatures thanks to shade and elevation.

Before beginning our hike some of us overheard a docent at the visitor center telling other hikers to pay attention at the Brown Canyon Trail junction on the way back down. The sign for the Brown Canyon Trail also mentions Ramsey Canyon Road, and when people see "Ramsey Canyon" they hang a left instead of a right and add some unexpected mileage to their hike. Sure enough, while coming down, two hikers in our somewhat spread out group hung a left at the junction. Fortunately other hikers in our group caught their mistake and no one went more than a few feet astray.

I couldn't help but notice all the maples in Ramsey Canyon so I'm thinking it may be worthwhile going back in the fall for some autumn color.
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated
yellow columbine
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Jun 03 2017
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Coronado Cave TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 03 2017
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Hiking1.14 Miles 475 AEG
Hiking1.14 Miles
475 ft AEG
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Immediately following our Ramsey Canyon hike, most of the group drove over to the Coronado National Memorial which abuts the border with Mexico. The uphill trail to the cave seemed longer than the advertised half mile in the warm afternoon sun. We explored down into the cave with flashlights. You can go back in the cave about 600 feet where it is nice and cool.
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Jun 03 2017
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Coronado Peak TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 03 2017
SkyIslandHiker
Hiking0.86 Miles 330 AEG
Hiking0.86 Miles
330 ft AEG
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After hiking back from Coronado Cave, we jumped back in our vehicles and drove up the twisty and dusty park road to Montezuma Pass. From there we hiked the short trail to 6864' Coronado peak where there is a 180-degree view into Mexico. The Coronado Expedition is the subject of interpretative signs along the trail. At the top there are two benches under a shade ramada where you can soak in the view.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
Some cacti in bloom.
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average hiking speed 2.32 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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