The rating* on this canyon is wildly off, as is the stated rap length. People thinking that this is in the same league as, say, Sundance Canyon (also 3BIII), will be in for a potentially fatal surprise. Mention should be made of the extremely difficult rope pulls on at least 2 rappels, the sketchy station with a single bolt at the end of a 200' rap leading to a 30' rap that does not really want too many people on it, and cold swims.
Just a quick note to document my early morning trip on 23-Aug, 2009. Left Heber a little after 6am to head back down to the valley. I've always been interested in hitting the highline trail from the 260 trailhead so decided to kick in about 5 hours or 10 miles whatever came first. Stopped to get some energy food and was at the trailhead by about 7am. Beautiful morning and off I went with some bars and two bladders of water.
Really nice trail - no section that was too difficult to walk and/or recognize as a trail. I only saw one bicyclist after about a mile and a group of 4 campers about 3 miles in. After about 4.5 miles I came across a broken sign that indicated trail 291 (?) with the rim about a mile away. I had been hiking about 100 minutes so I thought that was a good goal that met my 5hr/10 mile roundtrip requirement. The trail was a bit steep but the footing wasn't bad at all. I had to stop a few times to catch my breath but the views made all the effort well worth it. Made it to the top about 9:50. Found out then that I was hiking Drew's Canyon Trail as it was marked on the sign crossing rim road (or some tributary).
Sat down and had some hydration/energy. Started down about 10:10 and travel was, as expected a little faster. Ran in to 3 horsemen (actually 3 women, two horses and a mule). Made it out back the same way I came in a little after noon. According to the signage post, that was about 11.2 miles and 5 hours - not bad planning. Didn't see much in the wildlife department other than a billion lizards and 3 horny toads. Saw a lovely hawk when I started the hike perched on a dead tree about 20 yards away. Wish I had a camera for that opportunity. No water to be seen except a small pool in a dry creek that would need some serious filtering before any consumption.
Nice hike. Relatively flat until I went up towards the rim (by choice). Should have had some sunsceen handy as the later part of the hike was a bit on the sunny side but, all in all, a nice gig.
After a uneventful 20 mile dirt road drive, we left the parking lot at 9 am. We got to the saddle within 1 hour and 15 minutes. After a break we traveled up the peak. We saw a campsite in the chute later we saw the camper who was rock rappelling on the east side of the peak. We scrambled up the hairy chute in about one hour. It's a steep incline so should not be for weak of heart. No need for sticks here you'll only lose them when climbing the rocks. We spent about 45 minutes on top of the peak enjoying the views of the valley below. It was probably only 70 degrees at the top compared to the 100 back in Phoenix. It was very windy on the way down the chute. It blew off our hats several times. We also saw a large swarm of bees. The descent down was a bit quicker. After resting at the saddle we proceeded back down to the trailhead. We passed one small dark rattler sunning on the trail about 2 pm.
Got started at the Roger's Trough Trailhead at 9:45. The dirt road approach to the TH is very bumpy and rough, and I would suggest only high clearance vehicles, though 4WD is not a must.
The road crosses the creek bed numerous times, so it not recommended in heavy rain, (more on that later)
The approach to Roger's Canyon follows the Reavis Trail for the first 1/2 mile to a marker for Trail 110 Roger's Canyon. The trail is very overgrown, despite the moderate use we witnessed, the thorn bushes don't seem to be effected by the traffic.
I would recommend wearing long pants at a minimum, though I wore my gators, and only got a couple of heavy scratches. My companions also wore long sleeves, and thought they had an easy time than me in my short sleeves.
Following the first steep downhill at about the 1/2 to 3/4 mile mark you will drop into the creek for the first time. Be aware. There is a dead horse to the immediate left of the trail in the middle of the creek. According to the informal questions I asked of others on the trail, he died there sometime on Saturday mid morning to early afternoon. Whoever was with him left him with his head covered with his saddle blanket. Very sad. If this is taken care of with burial or removal, I would say that this section of the trail will be extremely unpleasant in the next few days to weeks. The 11 yr old boy I was with, was very upset by the sight and cried for the next few minutes as we walked on.
Following the small meadow around 1/2 mile from the ruins we saw a couple of small does.
The ruins were very interesting, and worth the rough scratchy trail.
On the way back a storm moved in very quickly, with thunder lightening and hail. We were forced to practically run the whole way back trying to stay in front of it. The speed the uphill really took its toll.
The storm finally caught up with us about a mile form the trailhead, and we ran the last bit being pelted by hail and large raindrops.
Back at the TH we knew we had only a short time before the rain would fill the creek crossings on the road out and we would be stuck until the water subsided. We took a shot at it, and with the exception of 2 hairy crossings, we made it out and back to the main road.
All in all a great adventure, though I am aching a bit today from the pace of the uphill retreat.
If you're in a masochistic mood you can add some distance to this quest for the summit: Begin the hike on the other side of the mountain from Lockett Meadow. Take the Inner Basin Trail to the Weatherford Trail to the Humphrey's Summit Trail.
To my friends and fellow hikers Bryan and Joel: I'll forgive you.
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.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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