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83 triplogs

Apr 17 2020
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Oracle - AZT #13Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 17 2020
SunDevil3
Backpack17.20 Miles 1,518 AEG
Backpack17.20 Miles1 Day   1 Hour      
1,518 ft AEG   16 Hrs    Break34 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Started our SOBO from Tiger Mine Rd TH on Friday morning with the intent of passing American Flag Ranch and getting in a little bit of passage 12 as well. It ended up being rather hot with little to no shade so I ended up just resting at American Flag for a few min and then headed back NOBO.

This was one of those odd catch-22 type of trips where bringing backpacking gear forced me to stop for the night when I could have otherwise done it one day. That is, having intended to hike further than the 8.6 miles SOBO on passage 13, I brought a good deal of gear to backpack. Had I not been carrying 30+ lbs, I probably would have easily made the full round trip back to my car in one day but the weight fatigued me to a degree that I decided to stop about 2 miles north of American Flag for the night.

Spent the late afternoon and evening hours at camp in wide sandy wash as the endless scrub brush on this passage leaves camp options few and far between. I would suspect most folks segment hiking the AZT complete this segment in one day.

I broke camp and set out around sunrise on Saturday for the last 6 miles back to my car. Oddly enough, the most daunting section of this trek turned out to be the final 1.5+ miles hiking back up the service road to the parking Tiger Mine Rd TH. It was on a road but the grade and the intensifying sun made it an unpleasant last bit. Either way, I completed passage 13 both SOBO and NOBO so I big double-check next to that one on my list.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Apr 04 2020
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Palm Canyon - KOFASouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 04 2020
SunDevil3
Hiking0.85 Miles 270 AEG
Hiking0.85 Miles   1 Hour      1.28 mph
270 ft AEG      20 Mns Break4 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I needed a relief from self-quarantine so I decided to take a little road trip. I figured I could not infect or be infected from my car and a few hours of open highway driving sounded therapeutic so I set out for KOFA. The I10 was pretty empty (although busier than I had anticipated) and made for a nice, long, leisurely drive out towards the CA border. The real winner for the drive was heading down 95 from Quartzite to the turnoff for Palm Canyon in KOFA. I really enjoy that road and it was even nicer with the reduced traffic-- pretty much just me and the couple hundred butterflies smashed into the grill of my car.

Palm Canyon was nice as ever. Quick, easy, and peaceful. I saw a handful of other folks out there but everyone did a pretty good job of keeping their distance.

It is not often that I can look back at a hike where I spent 5X longer on the highway than I did on the trail as a good day but this was thoroughly enjoyable all around.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Apr 02 2020
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Hieroglyphics Trail #101Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 02 2020
SunDevil3
Hiking3.00 Miles 650 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   2 Hrs   58 Mns   1.94 mph
650 ft AEG   1 Hour   25 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Second trip out this trail in less than one week. My younger daughter wanted to show her older sister what we had discovered. Crowds were slightly smaller (not surprising given this was a weekday) and the water flow slightly diminished from the previous trip.

For some reason a large group of people (in fact, two groups of people who knew each other and randomly met there) decided to not only thumb their noses at the COVID-19 guidance of not meeting friends but also not congregating within 6 feet of others when they decided to all stand around and chit chat face to face directly between where we had dropped our packs in the shade (e.g. where I was standing) and where my kids were playing in the water a few feet away. They put themselves about 3 feet or less from each of us and proceeded to flap their gums about COVID-19 for 20 min while simultaneously ignoring the very rules they discussed. They also ignored their gaggle of kids throwing Goldfish crackers into the pools of water that everyone else was trying to enjoy... anyone picking up on my annoyance at all? :?

Anyway, we still decided to have a good time and the girls loved playing in water and exploring the "cave" we found.

There was also a younger (probably 12-14 years old) girl there who had a small parrot on her shoulder. I had never seen anyone hike with a parrot before so that was a new and interesting sight. Whoever she was, I give her big respect for her sense of balance and feet of steel because she was hopping up and down the boulders barefoot while the bird clung to her shoulders, hands, and the brim of her hat alternatively. I don't think I could have gone up and down those rocks barefoot even without a tropical bird ride-along so kudos to her for both ability and confidence.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Mar 29 2020
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Hieroglyphics Trail #101Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 29 2020
SunDevil3
Hiking3.00 Miles 650 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   2.00 mph
650 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break8 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Decided I would use the virus downtime to check out a local trail I had never done before so my 6 year old and I set off for the SW Superstitions. The hike was beautiful and not too busy until we reached the trail end with the waterfalls.

We managed to spot a rattlesnake as it crossed the trail into the brush. She gave us a nice little warning rattle as we approached and then went on her way. It is still hard to imagine that, after nearly a quarter century of hiking all over the southwest, this was my first time seeing a rattler. My daughter was a little leery about getting close enough to see it but she was so pleased when she did.

Spent about an hour out by the waterfalls having a snack and exploring while still trying to keep the requisite 6 foot clearance from all others. My daughter was a little let down that we had neglected to pack bathing suits as she really wanted to take a dip in the cool water but I told her that would have to wait for another day. Perhaps later this week I can take the whole family back if we are not yet under total lockdown.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Mar 22 2020
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Papago Park Walking PathPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2020
SunDevil3
Hiking3.10 Miles 136 AEG
Hiking3.10 Miles      55 Mns   3.38 mph
136 ft AEG4 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Nice quick dash around the buttes. Busy trail. Lots of people trying to escape quarantine. Nice to get out.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Mar 21 2020
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Corona LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2020
SunDevil3
Hiking5.95 Miles 1,460 AEG
Hiking5.95 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   1.98 mph
1,460 ft AEG      30 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was looking for a hike to get my family out for a bit of fresh air after being cooped up from pseudo-COVID19 quarantine for a couple weeks and I found one on Alltrials on the southside of South Mtn that looked easy enough for my kids so we headed out. I did not actually realize until we got to the trailhead and I pulled the app back up on my phone that the name of this trail was the Corona Loop. How appropriate.

The weather was still cool enough when we set out late morning so we pushed through the full breadth of the trail pretty quickly. Lots of people on the trail but most were at least trying to keep the prescribed 6-ft distance from one another so I was not overly concerned with infection. Nice trail, nice day-- now back to my hovel.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Feb 01 2020
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Tortilla Mountains - AZT #15Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 01 2020
SunDevil3
Hiking4.20 Miles
Hiking4.20 Miles   1 Hour   39 Mns   2.68 mph
      5 Mns Break6 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a short hike just so I could officially check Passage #15 off my AZT list. I backpacked from the Freeman Rd TH to the Kelvin TH parking lot a few weeks back but did not feel like doing the last 4.2 mi to do the roundtrip from there to the Kelvin Bridge so I needed to drive back out for that final section.

Nice day and nice (albeit somewhat non-descript) hike. The AZT follows the dirt road to the Kelvin TH parking for the first mile (NOBO) towards the bridge before winding back and forth along the hillsides (below the ridgeline) for pretty much the rest of the way. The trail descends to cross the river below the main (i.e. vehicle) bridge and I stopped at the railroad crossing to turn back.

Not much wildlife on this morning (just a couple of lizards and jack-rabbits) and I completed the 4.2 miles in just over 90 min. Passage #15 is in the books!
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
2 archives
Jan 18 2020
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Tortilla Mountains - AZT #15Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Backpack avatar Jan 18 2020
SunDevil3
Backpack26.30 Miles 2,448 AEG
Backpack26.30 Miles1 Day   3 Hrs      
2,448 ft AEG   13 Hrs    Break34 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After being inspired by a couple of older guys on the South Kaibab trail last October, I decided to start section hiking the AZT. Joining the Arizona Trail Association gave me lots of good info on the task ahead and sufficiently whet my appetite to get started so, with the long weekend ahead, I decided to start out fairly close to home with Passage #15 in the Tortilla Mountains.

I was able to rouse my wife and kids from their beds early enough for us to drop my Jeep at the Florence-Kelvin TH and then have them drive me (through some rather unusual and low-lying fog) to the south end of the passage at the Freeman Road TH for a 9:30 AM start. The trail starts out fairly flat with only some random boulders, even more random cattle, and the occasional high-tension tower to break up the scrub.

Other than a half-dozen mountain bikers who whipped past me in the first few hours (also going NOBO) the only other people I saw the first day were a pair of backpackers headed SOBO not long after I entered the Ripsey segment of the trail. I shared with them that there was allegedly a wildlife tank nearby and one of them and I set off to find it to refill our bottles.

I ended up making it just over 17 miles of the trail that first day but stopped short of hitting Ripsey Wash as my feet were hurting and my left hip flexor was dogging me a bit so I stopped to camp around 6:15PM. After setting up the tent, eating some freeze-dried chicken-fried rice, and hanging my ratsack in the sole palo verde at hand, I retired for the evening and was asleep by 7:30PM.

I started breaking camp around 6:15AM on 1/19 and, after a quick cup of coffee, hit the trail in the dark at 6:40AM. My feet were pretty badly blistered but the hip flexor became the real problem as the day wore on. It quickly became on of those odd occasions (for me) where I relished the uphill segments and pushed through them with ease. Taking any step downward greater than an inch or two became increasingly painful on my left hip so I began side-stepping (leading with my left) down most of the declines. I shocked myself with how quickly and easily I conquered the "Big Hill" as the incessant wind gusts pulled me to and fro but knew that the downhill stretch ahead only got worse with each step up.

The wind was brutal for at least three consecutive hours up and down the ridgeline and, by the 3rd or 4th ridge climb/descent after the Big Hill, I was cursing my decision to do 17 miles on day one. By the time I made most of my descent from the ridges proper, I was cursing whoever at the ATA had decided to make the trail criss-cross the wash a dozen times rather than just follow it.

I had planned to drop my gear in my Jeep and finish off the last couple miles to the Kelvin Bridge (and end of Passage 15) with just some water but, as time went on, my pace slowed to almost nil with any step down. For the last 3.5 miles to the Florence-Kelvin TH, my resolve to get the the bridge steadily fell off from "I am going to do it" to "Maybe I will do it" to "I am not taking one more step than I need to in order to get me in that Jeep."

I finally made it to the trailhead and Jeep around 1:00PM and was thankful to drop my unnecessarily heavy pack in the passenger seat. I had done over 17 miles in about 8.5 hours on day one. Day two had taken me almost 6.5 hours to do 9 miles and I was simply too beat to make the trek out to the bridge and back. I will have to make another trip out there to knock out those last two miles and officially check off Passage 15 but it was a fun trip and a enlightening introduction into my new goal of hiking the whole AZT.
Fauna
Fauna
Cow
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
1 archive
Jan 05 2020
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Lake Overlook Trail - Fountain HillsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 05 2020
SunDevil3
Hiking2.50 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles   1 Hour   45 Mns   1.67 mph
300 ft AEG      15 Mns Break2 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My dog, who is now pushing 11 years old, heard the word "hike" and turned on the guilt trip as he anticipated being left at home (as is too often the case these days.) After several long minutes of sad looks, poking me in the knee with his nose, and strategically placing himself between the family and the front door, I acquiesced and changed the planned trail from the Superstitions to something a bit easier around the world's second tallest fountain.

I was pleased to find that this was actually trail-like in spite of the locale and, although it winds back and forth among homes almost the entire length, it provided some nice views of the town and namesake fountain. Quick and easy-- the kids enjoyed and my old furry buddy, Walter, was over the moon to not be odd man out for once.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Jan 01 2020
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Goldmine Trail - San Tan MRPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 01 2020
SunDevil3
Hiking2.00 Miles 564 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles   1 Hour   15 Mns   1.60 mph
564 ft AEG8 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Quick hike with the family. My older daughter started feeling a little ill during the hike so we turned back a bit early. Nice day and nice hike to start off our new lives in the East Valley. It is going to take some getting used to being closer to San Tan and the Superstitions after so many years at the foot of the White Tanks but, somehow, I think we can muddle through.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Oct 19 2019
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Rim to River, AZ 
Rim to River, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Oct 19 2019
SunDevil3
Backpack16.50 Miles 4,680 AEG
Backpack16.50 Miles2 Days   6 Hrs      
4,680 ft AEG1 Day   11 Hrs    Break35 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Wow-- I cannot believe this trip has finally come and gone and what an amazing experience it was. After many months of planning, training, and purchasing gear-- my 8-year old daughter, Reagan, and I finally completed our Rim-to-River adventure this past weekend. This was what I had requested for my birthday this year and I cannot imagine a greater gift in all the known world.

We set off down South Kaibab around 7:30 on Saturday morning after a few minutes watching an Elk cow drinking from the water bottle filling station at the TH. SK is way steeper than I imagined and all I could think of most of the trip down was how happy I was not to be one of those poor souls we saw coming up. We met so many nice folks on the trail including another gentleman who was celebrating his birthday (the 72nd birthday in his case) with his brother-in-law by hiking the entire AZT from south-to-north. Kudos again to those guys as they were doing something in their 60s/70s that I don't think I could have accomplished in my early 20s.

We made it to Bright Angel CG around 2:30PM and setup camp before the obligatory hike over to Phantom Ranch to drink some lemonade, mail some post cards via mule, and take in a ranger talk on the dangers of the local squirrels. My daughter worked diligently to complete her Phantom Ranch Junior Ranger workbook to earn her badge/patch but we could not turn it in that evening as the second ranger talk never happened (not sure why) and the other ranger we met had to run out on pressing business before we could get the Jr Ranger oath.

On Sunday, we set out again around 7:30AM for what turned out to be (rather unexpectedly for me) the most difficult leg of our journey. The trip from Bright Angel CG to Indian Garden CG is technically the shortest (and much less elevation gain than the final leg) but was much more daunting. I think the lack of formal rest houses contributed to this but it was moreso the advice from some nice college girls (I believe they were NAU students) who advised us we had only about 1.5 miles to go as we approached the Devil's Corkscrew. I am still not sure if their estimate was accurate but those switchbacks were brutal and my daughter really lost hope when our trek stretched on much longer than I had predicted. In the end, it took us just over 6 hours and a small amount of tears to reach IG where we finally rested, took care of some blisters, and made our camp in the early afternoon. The weather had been forecast as rather cold (35F overnight low) so the extra cold-weather gear I brought put my pack weight at 35lbs and my daughter's at around 8-9lbs... that weight certainly caused our pace to drag as the day went on.

IG was wonderful that night though and morale improved immensely as we got to eat our dinner of freeze-dried spaghetti with meat sauce while a herd of 10-15 deer dined on the grass and leaves all around our site. We got to enjoy a private ranger talk about animal skulls with a wonderful ranger intern and played games (hooray for Barrel of Monkeys) while we watched the sunlight fade above the canyon walls. The weather did not turn very cold until well into the overnight hours and we got some much needed rest before another early morning of packing up.

Day 3 (my birthday) we set out at 7:30AM once more on our final ascent. We had steeled our resolve to make it out in a timely manner this day so we could make the drive to Flagstaff for our final night in a hotel and, more importantly, an obscene amount of pizza at Fratelli's. Some solid rest/snacking periods at the two rest houses definitely helped break up the trip and the knowledge that we were so close to completing this epic journey helped us push through the final 1.5 miles of the trail. We were able to spot about 8 big-horn sheep near the TH to cap off the end of the trip.

When we finally stepped back onto the level ground of the South Rim, my daughter broke into a huge smile and hugged me as she exclaimed "Dad! WE MADE IT!!!" As amazing and beautiful as the entire trip had been, it was that one moment that will stick with me forever as one of the greatest of my life. I have never seen such confidence and so great a sense of accomplishment from my little girl and that was worth anything in the world to me.

We caught the blue line back to our car in the Backcountry lot and drove over the the visitor's center where my daughter turned in her Junior Ranger packet. She got sworn in by another awesome ranger and received her Phantom Ranch Rattler's patch which, as the ranger informed her, is the most difficult Junior Ranger credit to obtain in all the National Park system. That was a final cherry on top of our GCNP sundae so we celebrated by buying her younger sister a plush big-horn sheep at the gift shop and heading south to collect our very well-earned pizza dinner.

I realize I gloss over the beauty and majesty of the landscape to a large degree in this trip log but hey, it's the Grand Canyon-- I think that is pretty much a given.

All in all-- it was a wonderful trip to an amazing place with great people-- most notably my favorite hiking buddy. Thanks, GCNP-- I will see you again soon.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Oct 11 2019
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 11 2019
SunDevil3
Hiking2.20 Miles 1,180 AEG
Hiking2.20 Miles   1 Hour   50 Mns   1.47 mph
1,180 ft AEG      20 Mns Break4 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Was hoping for one last chance to get my 8 year old daughter up to the summit of Piestewa as final prep for Rim-to-River but she seems to be somewhat affected by the same head cold that has sidelined my younger daughter for a week and my wife for even longer. With just one week before we head up north to GCNP, I figured I would let her rest and test my own resolve to get out and climb some switchbacks.

I can hardly believe that, having lived in the valley for 15+ years, I have never gone the distance on this hike. I never tried it for many years as I was put off by the crowds at the TH and usually settled for something else in the park. Finally, after two partial trips up Trail #300 with my kids in recent months, I went alone today and checked this box.

I don't really know what to say about this hike. It is accessible (provided you get there early) and a good workout with good views along the way but I gotta admit I did not really care for it overall. It is up pretty much every step of the way and the terrain is not my favorite underfoot. If I can be so bold as to make the obligatory comparisons to Echo Canyon-- I prefer that one. Crowds are pretty much guaranteed on both as are the smattering of jackalopes blasting obnoxious music or conducting calls on their cell phones. EC seems to have more wildlife (at least lizards, small birds, and the occasional roadrunner) whereas PP's sole occupants each trip seem to be human. I did not care for the "steps" on PP either-- they were strenuous going up and killer on my knees coming down. Add to that the fact that I am blind in one eye and coming down uneven rocky steps is my worst nightmare as my lack of depth perception provides a great risk for twisted ankles or wrenched knees based on missteps.

But I digress (and complain) far too much here... a hike is always a good thing in my book and the quick rest at the top to take in the views and enjoy the breeze filled me with the same wonderful feeling I get on any such outing. A decent day hiking still beats a good day doing most other things.

On to The Canyon!
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Oct 06 2019
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 06 2019
SunDevil3
Hiking1.00 Miles 500 AEG
Hiking1.00 Miles   2 Hrs      0.67 mph
500 ft AEG      30 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was hoping to make it up to Humphries one of these weekends to do a final, swithcback-heavy, tune up hike with my 8 year old before we do Rim-to-River in a few weeks but the weather and wind have looked pretty unpredictable up that way so we decided for Squaw Peak as a sorry substitute.

My 5 year old wanted to tag along (a bit crestfallen that she was not invited on the GCNP trip) and I agreed. Turned out she was fighting the beginnings of a head cold this day and we only made it about .5 miles into the trail before we needed to rest and turn back. Still got the blood pumping, but not the prep hike I had hoped for
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Sep 29 2019
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
West Fork Oak Creek Trail #108Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 29 2019
SunDevil3
Hiking3.00 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   1.64 mph
300 ft AEG      40 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Took the whole family, including the dog, up to Oak Creek for the day as we are selling our house and had to get out for an open house showing for several hours. We took our time meandering around as is customary with families at WF. My 8 year old was able to demonstrate her extensive knowledge of the trail to her mom/sister from our recent backpacking trip there. Took the dog to his favorite spot (dubbed "The Pink Beach" by my kids due the the way the light sometimes appears pink there at the right time of day) to run and splash in the water. Picked some apples and wild blackberry-- amazing how few there were compared to when we were up for the backpacking trip just a few weeks prior-- and even found some wild cherries which we identified with our edible plants of AZ book we had on-hand.

We headed up after a few ours and filled our canteens at the spring up the way before heading further on to Flagstaff for pizza at Fratelli's. I cannot think of a much better way to spend a day
Flora
Flora
Black cherry
Named place
Named place
Sterling Spring Hydrant
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
2 archives
Aug 24 2019
SunDevil3
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
West Fork Oak Creek Trail #108Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Backpack avatar Aug 24 2019
SunDevil3
Backpack15.00 Miles 300 AEG
Backpack15.00 Miles1 Day   2 Hrs   15 Mns   
300 ft AEG   13 Hrs   15 Mns Break31 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My 8 year old daughter and I continue to prep and test our gear for our GCNP backpacking trip in October. After a few decently long hikes with minimal gear, it was now time to put some more miles on our new boots with some heavy packs laden down for an overnight backpacking trip.

Set off from Phoenix at 6AM and hit the West Fork parking lot at 8:15AM only to find the lot already at capacity and a line of nine cars ahead of us. A nice ranger came out and spoke with several cars in line and fortunately convinced six of them to head further up 89A for street parking. I really wanted to avoid that and was convinced to wait when the ranger informed me that a) if you park legally along 89A but someone else comes by and parks in the same roadside carve-out with a wheel in the road, the powers-that-be would likely tow all cars in the line and not just the scofflaw; and b) if you park overnight on 89A, there is a decent chance you will get towed. Not wanting to spend the next two days dreading an exhausted return to find my Jeep gone and the ensuing impound fees, we decided to wait patiently for a spot in the lot. We used our wait time to prep the gear and get our boots on and finally got parked and on the trail around 9:45AM.

The hike in was pleasant and we grabbed a few small apples and some wild blackberries to supplement our food supply in the early going. We were still early enough that the initial stages of #108 were not yet teeming with the usual masses of flip-flop wearing, music-blasting rabble and hit the end of the official trail around 2:00PM. The forest service says the official trail runs 3.3mi but my GPS was registering 4.8mi at that point. I know #108 is rife with unofficial short-cuts (and long-cuts) due to the amount of traffic but it seemed unlikely that having taken false trails a few times had resulted in an additional 1.5mi. We also only counted 10 or 11 creek crossings to that point (not the prescribed 13) so who knows—perhaps the forest service measures trail length by flying crows (we saw a couple big ones so it seems possible.)

My daughter was a bit crestfallen when we reached the official trail end and I pointed out the sign indicating we had another 2.75 miles to go before we could legally camp but a short rest with some Goldfish crackers and landjaeger sausage recharged us both and we set off into the wild.

I had thru-hiked the entire 14 or so miles of this back in my college days but it had been a long time since I went this far up the West Fork so I was hopeful my memory of many pools that required swimming would not be revisited. We had a new $2.97 pool raft from Walmart all ready to float our gear should the need arise but thankfully the water never went past my mid-thighs and that little gem stayed uninflated this weekend.

At just about exactly the 6mi mark on the GPS, we came across a small sandy beach campsite on the left side of the creek so we stopped for a rest. Someone had been there recently as the smell of smoldering fire was evident from about 10 yards off and the fire pit still warm. The stuffed Smokey the Bear hanging from my pack zipper gave a silent head-shake of disapproval.

We met two backpackers earlier on their way out who strongly urged us not to take the first campsite because there were much nicer ones about a mile further along. The notable “100 yard pool” just after the official trail end had been only shin-deep but there was slightly deeper pool just past this camp that spanned around a bend so I let my daughter hydrate and rest while I scouted ahead a bit. Turned out there was a bit of a sandbar in the middle of the creek that could get us back to more amenable depths on the other side so we switched to water shoes and ventured on.

About a mile later, my daughter started “spotting” campsites up ahead that never seemed to materialize. I suspect these were just mirages induced by fatigue (or hope) as I could not recall many sites along the creek itself when going through there 15+ years ago. I did recall several sites up on the ridgeline though so I was continually looking upward in hopes of spying some sort of black soot stains on the rocky overhangs of the cliff walls but to no avail. Our initial drinking water-supply had been exhausted at this point so we broke out our newly purchased Grayl Geopress purifier and refilled our canteens from the creek before attempting to gain access to a low spot on the ridge through some heavy brush. My daughter took a bit of a tumble halfway up and was able to convince me that this did not seem to be the correct path to find a camp so we made our way back to the creek and soldiered on.

My phone battery was on life-support at this point so I refrained from checking how far we had gone for the next 30-45 min as we trudged in and out of the water upstream. Next time I do this, I am getting some Tevas as my water shoes apparently were designed with the lovely feature of interior seams facing the toe so that any small rocks and debris that get inside would become trapped from exiting the heel in favor of continually becoming lodged between the sole of my foot and the insole. My daughter’s water shoes were better designed but my feet became extremely bruised on the bottom.

Eventually, my daughter became disheartened again and started questioning why I had wanted to leave the initial beach campsite we found. It had partly been at the prospect of better camp sites upstream but mostly because, given the short distance from the end of the official trail to that site, I was almost certain it could not be past the boundary into the legal wilderness area so I let her sit and rest creek-side again while I checked a few hundred yards further up. I found nothing and eventually ran into the deepest and longest pool of the day so headed back to find her rather upset that I had been gone from sight for so long. Stupid dad lesson learned—five min can seem like an eternity to a tired 8 year old sitting alone on the side of a creek.

We started back to the original beach site and soon came upon a young couple who—judging from both the smell and their relative attitude of surprise and annoyance—I am pretty sure had paused to smoke weed in the assumption no one (let alone someone with a young child) would randomly come upon them from upstream at that hour. They quickly stashed their pipe in a pocket as we approached but were nice enough to tell us they knew of many campsites but they were likely another 1.5 miles upsteam. They did highly recommend the beach site back downstream though and confirmed it was not occupied when they had passed so we continued back that way accompanied by my prayers that it would still be available upon our arrival.

Thankfully, the beach was still open when we arrived and we dropped our gear. I think we lucked out there as I had only just pulled our tent from my pack when another couple appeared from downstream and laid down directly across the creek from our site for a good 20 min pretty much staring at us the whole time while we setup camp. Not sure if they had designs on camping there themselves but that is my suspicion as they eventually continued upstream around 6PM so I assume they were not hiking through.

My phone died shortly before we hit the camp but I had a spare battery pack I hooked up and the GPS app registered a total of 8.6 miles before I lost it (including our ill-advised venture up past and back to our eventual site.) Not sure how close we ever got to the other, fabled sites beyond but I think we must have been within a quarter mile when we turned back.

Camp was wonderful; overrun with spiders but they seemed to largely keep to themselves in spite of a few suspect bites we discovered over the next couple of days. My daughter relaxed in our hammock while I restocked our water and prepared some freeze-dried chicken fried rice. We roasted a few marshmallows after dinner before I moved all our remaining food items to my lumbar pack and ventured across the creek to hang it in a tree. She turned in around 8:15PM—tired but happy—while I retired to the hammock to read my newly acquired copy of Zane Grey’s “Call of the Canyon” by headlamp—figured I had to read it at some point and what better place to start than there. I never read any of Grey’s stuff before but, I must admit, laying in a hammock below the red rock cliffs with only the sounds of the babbling creek, crackling fire, and chirping crickets while I read his description of that very canyon was truly a magical experience.

Morning came and we had a quick breakfast while enjoying the view. My daughter’s socks and boots had both gotten wet and my attempts to dry them by the fire the night before were about as effective as you would think. I worked on them a bit more with another fire and blotting the inside of the boots with my bandana while she ate—the blotting actually worked fairly well in the toes of the boots but she seemed to have left her extra socks in our car. I had one pair each of ankle socks and crew socks which remained dry so I gave her my crews and reluctantly pulled on the ankle socks and my boots. My shins and ankles paid the price but I was glad to suffer the abrasions so my daughter would not.

We broke camp around 8AM. The hike back to the official trail was slow going as neither of us wanted to switch back to water shoes and needed to make several sketchy creek crossings without falling in. On two occasions, I used my longer stride-length to get across some spots my daughter could not and then collect a few good-size rocks to build a viable crossing for her. A very nice lady and her mom who were fording the creek in water shoes also helped my daughter across one wide swath and I cannot thank them enough for that.

We busted through the last 3+ miles of official trail quickly—urged on ever faster by the increasing gaggle of inconsiderate and sometimes downright rude people as we neared the trailhead. My daughter was definitely getting a bit overheated as we neared the end so I forced her to drink the last of the water I was carrying as we made our final creek crossing and headed up towards the old lodge and TH beyond.

We got back to our jeep right at Noon and set off straight for Harding Spring to refill every bottle we had and enjoyed a good deal of it immediately. We were both hungry so I continued north up 89A to Flagstaff to get some of our favorite pizza at Fratelli’s before heading back to Phoenix.

I did not have any GPS tracking on the way out but figure it was about 15 mi over 12-13 hours total hiking in the two days. That instilled me with some good confidence that we are ready to tackle our South Rim GCNP adventure in October (although we still intend to do one more tune-up hike with heavy packs going at least 3.5 miles up Humprey’s Peak in September to temper us for the endless switchbacks of Bright Angel.)
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Jul 06 2019
SunDevil3
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 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Castle Rock Trail - 1W03Big Bear - Jacinto, CA
Big Bear - Jacinto, CA
Hiking avatar Jul 06 2019
SunDevil3
Hiking1.20 Miles 770 AEG
Hiking1.20 Miles   2 Hrs      0.69 mph
770 ft AEG      15 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Prepping for a 3-day GCNP backpacking trip this October with my 8 year old daughter so figured Big Bear would be a good place to get some high altitude training in for that.

What a beautiful trail this is! Abundant shade from that harsh sun exposure up above 7k ft and it felt quiet and peaceful for a trail as heavily trafficked as this. The trail gets a bit difficult to follow as you near the peak but there are so many acceptable "wrong" routes to take across the rock at that point it does not matter much.

About one mile in, we spotted a decent path to scramble up the castle boulders so we diverted from the prescribed trail at that point. We made it all the way up to the second tallest of the boulders which, from our path, appeared to be the highest you can get without ropes (or some serious cojones.) There was probably another way to free climb up to the highest boulder had we continued to the end of the trail but I did not see one from my vantage point. There was a group of about eight climbers who got to the top of the big rock about the same time we arrived atop it's slightly shorter sister rock but they certainly came better prepared than we did.

Hike out is an easy descent back to the TH.

NOTE: Parking is very limited immediately at the TH with spots for only about 6-8 cars on the side of the road. Rangers had wisely advised us to keep any parking outside the white fog lines at the side of the roadway lest you get ticketed or-- seemingly just as likely-- destroyed by one of the many locals who drive like a bat out of hell around those mountain curves. More parking is available in small pockets/pull-outs up the road in either direction for those who don't mind a little extra walking to/from the TH.
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Mar 10 2019
SunDevil3
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 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Palm Canyon - KOFASouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 10 2019
SunDevil3
Hiking1.00 Miles 270 AEG
Hiking1.00 Miles   1 Hour      1.20 mph
270 ft AEG      10 Mns Break3 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Spent the night camped at/in Skull Rock down off Queen Canyon Rd with my daughter and decided to make Palm Canyon the first hike the following morning. Beautiful morning and really cool to see Arizona's only grove of native palms. This one had been on my HAS wish list for many years but was never willing to drive 2-3 hours out into Kofa just for this brief hike. In the end, I got to check this one off my list with the help of my 8-year old daughter (and favorite hiking companion) so it was that much better.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Jan 13 2019
SunDevil3
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 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Charles M. Christiansen Trail #100Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 13 2019
SunDevil3
Hiking4.00 Miles 790 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   2 Hrs      2.29 mph
790 ft AEG      15 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Quick jaunt with the family on a beautiful morning. My old furry friend Walter is getting a bit long in the tooth these days and gets left behind on most hikes-- figured he could hack it around Shaw Butte though so we brought him along.

Parking lot on Central was full at 10AM (big surprise) so we went down to the visitor's center off 7th St. Christiansen Trail is fun but we had hoped to summit Shaw this morning. Walter was dragging by the time we hit the second split off for Trail #306 though (first one was not easily identified as the #306 marker on the post was gone and I had not sufficiently studied the map before heading out) so we turned back. Beautiful day and park.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Jan 05 2019
SunDevil3
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 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Hayden Butte Summit (HBP)Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 05 2019
SunDevil3
Hiking0.32 Miles 291 AEG
Hiking0.32 Miles      30 Mns   0.69 mph
291 ft AEG      2 Mns Break4 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My older daughter had a dentist appointment (lucky her) so I decided to take my youngest for a quick hike. She did Camelback 2 days before Christmas I thought I would take her to North Mtn and knock that off our respective lists as I have somehow never been there. After reading that much of North Mountain was under construction, I gave my daughter options-- try for North Mountain... or take her up A Mountain in Tempe for the first time. You can probably figure out what she chose.

I wouldn't say I love this hike-- but being a Sun Devil alum-- I cannot imagine how many times I have been up there and how many great memories I have from this place. There are always great views of the old Hayden Flour Mill, Tempe, Phoenix, and quite a bit beyond on a clear day like today. Tempe looks so different from my days at school there; it made me wish it had been a little foggy-- at least it would match my memory then :)

The hike is what it is-- short, mostly paved, and inexplicably steep in a couple of spots. It is a nice little obstacle to get your blood pumping on a cold morning like today but I know I have cursed life several times when ascending that steep section in the heat of summer.

The air was cool. The sun was shining. The "A" was gold. My daughter was smiling. That is about as perfect a morning I can think of on Hayden Butte.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
Dec 23 2018
SunDevil3
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 Guides 3
 Routes 7
 Photos 514
 Triplogs 83

39 male
 Joined May 21 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Camelback Summit - Echo Canyon THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 23 2018
SunDevil3
Hiking2.30 Miles 1,300 AEG
Hiking2.30 Miles   3 Hrs      1.02 mph
1,300 ft AEG      45 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Took the whole family up Camelback for a nice hike. My youngest recently turned 5 and has been bugging me to hike Camelback with her for the past month since we tried one morning and gave up because EC parking was full and Cholla parking was almost all the way down Invergordon to Camelback Rd before 7AM.

My wife and both girls (8 and 5 years) made it to the summit on Echo Canyon. The little one was dragging for the last bit but made it under her own power. We enjoyed the Christmas tree and Santa handing out candy canes at the top and took some pics before starting the long, knee- and back-breaking descent with a kid who is too small to make it down many of the 'steps' on the trail on her own.

Nice weather. Great people. Beautiful and enjoyable as always.
_____________________
"Being unselfish is a natural high, like hiking or paint thinner."
- Homer J Simpson
average hiking speed 1.52 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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