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58 triplogs

Aug 18 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
KP Rim LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 18 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking27.00 Miles 3,800 AEG
Hiking27.00 Miles   16 Hrs   30 Mns   1.64 mph
3,800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We walked down KP Trail from KP Cienega to Steeple Mesa Trail, then up Steeple Mesa Trail to Hannagan Meadow. Apache NF has completely rehabbed/replaced the route along Steeple Creek where flash floods blew it out a few years ago. It's still a tedious several-mile slog from Mud Spring to the canyon rim, with nothing but charred tree trunks to look at, but at least the trail is good. After a, mostly, relaxing night at Hannagan Meadow Lodge (midnight car alarm in the parking lot - twice!), we hiked back down Steeple Mesa Trail to KP Rim Trail, thence to North Fork KP Trail. Rain caught us about midway down North Fork and persisted a mile or so up KP Trail. Other than soggy feet, we were mostly dry when we returned to our vehicle.

All trails are in good shape with most deadfall removed this season. In burn areas, and most of this country has burned in the past five years, new growth of locust,aspen, bracken and raspberry threatens to overrun the little-used trails. The Blue needs hikers. We encountered five other people but no large wildlife during the two days.
_____________________
Aug 12 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
West Fork Trail #628 - Black RiverAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 12 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking10.65 Miles 350 AEG
Hiking10.65 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   1.94 mph
350 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
About a mile from the West Fork trailhead we departed the path and bushwhacked more or less north. Had planned to muck around on the prairie north of FR 249 but found it occupied by cattle. Walked on the railroad grade to Thompson cabin, then joined Thompson Trail south. We encountered two fishermen catching nothing and a couple skinny dippers with a dog. Crossed the stream and followed the West Fork trail back to our car, seeing no other hikers or any wildlife. It was a gorgeous day in one of the White Mountains' lovliest areas.
_____________________
Aug 04 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
South Fork Trail #97Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 04 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking9.90 Miles 1,700 AEG
Hiking9.90 Miles   6 Hrs      1.65 mph
1,700 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Hiked up the creek to Hamblin Draw, then up the draw to the springs. Followed game trails aimlessly from there until rain caught us about five miles from our vehicle. Much scary lightning and booming thunder entertained us on the walk back along the stream. By the time we reached the trailhead, all the draws were running, the creek was up a foot or more and we were damp. God, I do love the monsoon.
_____________________
Jul 29 2007
BelladonnaTook
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 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Apache Vista Trail, AZ 
Apache Vista Trail, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 29 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking2.75 Miles
Hiking2.75 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We went to Apache Vista hoping to watch the full moon rise. Instead, we witnessed a magnificent thunder storm (seeming to) engulf Escudilla and gradually move toward Eagar/Springerville and us. Exercising uncharacteristic prudence, we vacated the vista when we felt the wind on our faces, when it had been on our backs, and arrived at our vehicle concurrent with the first rain drops. Will return for the August full moon.
_____________________
Jul 28 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Four KnollsAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 28 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking8.00 Miles 2,200 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles
2,200 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
It was a gorgeous day for hiking on the prairie - cool and mostly cloudy - and rain threatened all day but never arrived. Responding to recent precipitation, the grass and other flora are showing new life. Lots of ATVs on the roads - one group of 21 machines passed us leaving a mist of dust and exhaust that lingered for a hundred yards. We saw an antelope, a coyote and several grouse but no other hikers.
Flora
Flora
Arizona Fescue
Fauna
Fauna
Pronghorn
_____________________
Jul 22 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Overland TrailAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 22 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking10.80 Miles
Hiking10.80 Miles   5 Hrs      2.16 mph
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Overland Trail is a relatively new addition to the Springerville Ranger District - so new it is still not mentioned on the Apache NF web site. There is a trailhead just south of Eagar in Water Canyon and another near Crecent Lake and about 22 miles of trail between the two. Access is also possible from the Apache and Apache Vista trailheads near Mexican Hay Lake and various places along SR 261 and FR 285. Motorized use is prohibited (we did observe ATV tracks, of course) and it appears the trail is more used by equestrians than by cyclists or hikers.

We started at the Apache trailhead and walked first to Apache Vista (aka Point of the Mountain) for panoramic views of Round Valley and western New Mexico. At the intersection with Overland Trail, we turned south and continued to Rudd Knoll (4+ miles). Much of that section, through level, open ponderosa woods with some aspen, seems to be abandoned logging roads graded for cycling. In the final mile or so the route traversed a sheltered area where large second growth firs predominate. Light rain fell off and on as we walked, and the top quarter inch of soil was pretty sticky by the time we finished.

We saw antelope near the trailhead and also at Rudd Knoll. We met one cyclist laboring against mud attached to his wheels. Otherwise we had the area to ourselves.
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Jul 15 2007
BelladonnaTook
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 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Butler Canyon, AZ 
Butler Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 15 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking9.00 Miles
Hiking9.00 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.00 mph
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We parked at the end of County Road 1121, at the entrance to Montlure camp, and walked back to Butler Canyon. Ascended the canyon to the prairie east of the East Fork and wandered rather aimlessly. Stopped at Hog Wallow Lake for a photo where we attracted the attentions of a couple horses and a gajillion flying ants. Gathering clouds and rumbling thunder convinced us to turn back toward Greer, and we skirted a large encampment with lots of baying hounds. Must have been some sort of field trials. Finally beyond the cacaphony, we encountered a big group of grazing elk, then descended a steep draw back to Montlure. Beautiful day to be outdoors but no other hikers in evidence.
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Jul 08 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Mount Baldy LoopAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 08 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking16.50 Miles 2,044 AEG
Hiking16.50 Miles   9 Hrs      1.83 mph
2,044 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
State Road 273 to West Baldy trailhead is still closed and, apparently, will remain so for a long time. We parked at the barricade on FR 87 and walked the Railroad Grade trail to West Baldy and continued up it to the Crossover trail. Turning east there, we crossed the creek and climbed the ridge on the far side. At the top, we left the trail and bushwhacked south along the ridge crest a few miles until we encountered the East Baldy trail. Joining it and going west now, we proceeded a couple more miles, then abandoned the trail to ascend south again into a tundra-like meadow at 11,000 feet just east of Baldy peak. Smoke from fires to the south somewhat comprimised wonderful views north and east. Rejoining East Baldy, we soon reached intersection with original West Baldy trail (the one on USGS maps) and turned down it. Trail was plain and clear for a half mile or so, then began disappearing intermittently in deadfall and thorny brush. Progress was very slow but GPS kept us close to the route, and we eventually intersected the current West Baldy in the midst of the spruce beetle kill area. We were disheartened to find even more deadfall there. A recreational hike was becoming serious labor. Even outside the dead zone there are lots of obstructions on the path, and with the trailhead virtually inaccessible and trail crews away on fires the situation will probably not improve soon. We saw no other hikers on the most popular trail in the White Mountains which seemed really strange, like being the only shopper in Walmart.
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Jul 01 2007
BelladonnaTook
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 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Fish Creek Trail #60Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 01 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking17.00 Miles 1,100 AEG
Hiking17.00 Miles   9 Hrs   30 Mns   1.79 mph
1,100 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Trailhead access has changed since we last visited Fish Creek, and the changes are not reported at the Apache National Forest web site. At the lower (northern) end, FR 83 no longer exists; instead, if coming from Buffalo Crossing on FR 24 or from Highway 191 on FR 26, proceed 4.4 south on FR 24 from the intersection with FR 26, then turn west (right) on FR 24U. Stay with it until you reach the sign announcing the trailhead. To that point roads are good; after that, for the last half mile, high clearance is a good idea. The southern trailhead now is beside the store at Hannagan Meadow.

Saturday we started at the northern trailhead and hiked upstream to Hannagan Meadow. The area is dry - so dry that grass crunches underfoot - but gorgeous nonetheless and home to some really fine old growth timber. We met a family of five coming down to spend the night but no other hikers. The climb out of the canyon was brutal on a 90 degree day, and then the store had nothing but Bud in stock.

Relaxing later on the lodge porch, we observed three hot shot crews and several Forest Service vehicles driving south. Someone mentioned seeing smoke near the rim earlier in the day, then a patrolman arrived to announce the highway was closed, and conversation turned toward possibility/probability of evacution. We pondered the logistics of retrieving our vehicle, many miles to the north, if told to vacate at once. That thought might have oppressed us if we hadn't been distracted by deer frolicing in the meadow and watching from our bed a nearly full moon rise.

Sunday, still unevacuated, we hiked back down the creek. The sun light was tinged with smoke, and by midmorning we could see billows above the canyon rim. We encountered the family again - they said they had never camped before where they didn't hear other people. We didn't mention the register at the trailhead had only six entries for all of 2007. Saw a deer and a turkey, and arrived at our vehicle completely dehydrated.

We drove home via Big Lake and from the base of Rudd Knoll watched smoke rise from the now named Chitty Fire.

BTW Fishing is prohibited in Fish Creek.
_____________________
Jun 29 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Government TrailAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 29 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking7.50 Miles 1,677 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   1.67 mph
1,677 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The upper end of this track branches off the Escudilla Trail about a mile shy of the lookout and is clearly marked. The lower end resides in remote woods and is accessible via a route somewhat inaccurately described on the Apache National Forest website. ANF says start at the barricaded entrance to a wildlife habitat area about 1.6 miles up FR 56 (the Terry Flat road) from Highway 191. They don't mention a second entrance, the correct one, about .7 mile farther along, We started at the former, the one nearest the turnoff to Hulsey Lake. From the correct starting point, ANF's trail log distances are dubious, but the route is fairly clear anyway. We wandererd around, through really lovely country, for an hour or more before happening on the real route. The trail is little used, with some minor deadfall, but in good shape considering it is unmaintained. ANF's description mentions "excellent views off to the west", but we didn't seen them. This trail traverses heavy timber, and the best long views are up, toward the lookout.

Light rain fell off and on as we returned, becoming an actual summer shower as soon as we reached our car. While we enjoyed the monsoon teaser, forty miles south lightning struck a tree and started the Chitty Fire.

Anyone hiking Escudilla should consider including the Government Trail in a loop route that would also involve walking a couple miles along FR 56.
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Jun 24 2007
BelladonnaTook
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 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
East Fork Trail #95 - GreerAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 24 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking11.10 Miles
Hiking11.10 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.71 mph
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We parked at the East Fork trailhead in Greer and walked up the West Fork about 2.75 miles. Just above the second fish barrier, at the derelict beaver dam we left the stream to ascend a steep draw to the east. We've heard of a path coming down here from Winn Campground, and found it initially, but it was soon vague then invisible, and we bushwhacked most of the way up. We crossed Winn Sink and veered southeast then directly east across the prairie to the East Fork. We followed it downstream to the north, jumping a group of cow and calf elk wallowing in the stream, then departed the creek to the west where the canyon became narrow and brushy. Wandering along an ancient logging trail, we spotted a young bull elk bedded down a short way ahead. A small tree stood between him and us, and while we could see through it quite well, I couldn't get a decent photo. So I crept around the tree, gradually closer to the elk, eventually near enough to see flies on his ears and to hear him breath, snapping images every half step or so. Suddenly another, larger elk appeared in the viewfinder. This guy sported a major league rack, and he took one look at me and crashed away into the trees. Elk on the ground immediately levitated and bolted away also as I squeezed off a desperate shot. From there we hiked pretty directly to a group of natural depressions that appear as small blue circles on the map. They aren't pools but just low places that may retain water a few weeks of the year. We joined the official East Fork Trail about midway along its length and stuck with it back to the trailhead and our vehicle. We encountered one other hiker - a man looking for his hiking partner. He wasn't overly concerned so we didn't offer to call for a search party. It was a lovely day, if a bit warm, and we thoroughly enjoyed the outing.
_____________________
Jun 17 2007
BelladonnaTook
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 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Pole Knoll Recreation AreaAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 17 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking11.50 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking11.50 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.77 mph
700 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
From the Pole Knoll parking lot we walked southeast through an area where the forest is being thinned. We descended a steep draw, finding a 6-point elk antler along the way, to Hall Creek and scrambled up the other side. No need for thinning there, we ambled south through open Ponderosa woods, reaching Rosey Creek just above the eponymous campground. We followed the creek west to its head where, in a large meadow, we spotted a group of elk including small calves. As we watched, more animals emerged from the forest, ultimately numbering a dozen or more. They finally noticed us and wandered back into the tree cover. We turned back north and, recrossing Hall Creek, jumped an even larger elk assemblage who bolted as soon as we saw them, then serenaded us with bleats and squeaks as they crashed around in the brush counting noses and regrouping. Elk are definitely no stealth critters. We returned over Pole Knoll, encountering one more elk near the top. Disoriented by the slash piles and newly bulldozed logging trails, we passed the path to the parking lot and walked an extra half mile. It was a lovely day, and we didn't regret the additional distance at all. As usual, we saw no other people during the entire hike.
Fauna
Fauna
Elk
_____________________
Jun 10 2007
BelladonnaTook
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 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Hall Creek, AZ 
Hall Creek, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 10 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking10.10 Miles
Hiking10.10 Miles   6 Hrs      1.68 mph
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
State Road 261 (the Big Lake road) is closed indefinitely from the reservation boundary to Winn campground, rendering the West Baldy/Sheep Crossing area inaccessible by vehicles. Rather than being an impediment, this closure promotes use of routes one would usually not consider. We parked at the restrooms where the pavement ends and walked south across the meadow and into the woods. Here begins a ridge that ascends in a series of steps to Baldy's summit. The ridge also marks the boundary between national forest and reservation. At this point a substantial fence also defines that boundary; farther up much of the fence is on the ground, and even further along there is no barrier at all but an occasional post with warning sign. The only trails in the area are game tracks that meander and eventually peter out or wander onto the reservation, but the walking is not difficult. We proceeded up the ridge for somewhat more than five miles, from time to time passing through areas that were logged many years ago where traces of skidder trails remain, and wandering into lovely little isolated meadows - we spooked a cow elk out of one. Above 10,000 feet all evidence of logging ends, and the old growth trees are majestic in size and bearing. Infrequent breaks in the forest wall allow views to the east where Escudilla looms like a leviathan - there's no escaping Escudilla in the White Mountains. At our turn around time, we descended 1,000 feet more or less directly into Hall Creek canyon for the return to our truck. In its upper end the canyon is a maze of deadfall so progress was slow. We startled several more elk here before reaching the miles-long meadow that extends all the way to the road. We stopped to admire several fields of wild irises along the way. All in all, a totally enjoyable day, and, of course, we encountered no other hikers.
_____________________
Jun 05 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
South Fork Trail #97Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 05 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking9.50 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking9.50 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.46 mph
1,500 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We parked where FR 409 crosses Bill Riley Creek at the northwest base of Wahl Knoll. At this point the creek carries no water and looks like a long, narrow meadow. On the way downstream (north)an abandoned road provides a good walking surface for about a mile. Where the road ends, a game trail continues on to the South Fork. We saw no wildlife larger than a squirrel but did pass a rotten snag very recently mauled by a bear and nearby stepped over a mammoth pile of really fresh bear crap. About there water began appearing in the creek bed and was soon a constant stream. Three and a half miles from our vehicle we reached the South Fork and followed it downsteam for about a quarter mile. Here another wet drainage - unnamed - enters from the right, and we turned up it. This canyon is brushier than Bill Riley, so progress was slower. Along the way we found a radio collar but no associated animal. Eventually we reached the northeast base of Wahl Knoll and began to ascend. That's when we noticed the distant thunder. Reaching the summit, we could see dark clouds to the west, between us and Pole Knoll, and occasional streaks of lightning. We usually like to linger on Wahl Knoll to enjoy spectacular views in three directions, but remaining on a bare knob 500 feet above the surrounding terrain seemed an unwise choice this day, and we descended to our truck. A ranger arrived just after us and, thinking we were driving on the abandoned road not just parked where it begins, inquired about our welfare and intentions. We mentioned the radio collar to him, and he identified it as a wolf collar and took it from us. Apparently it is quite valuable.

Typically, we encountered no other people as we hiked and enjoyed a wonderful day in beautiful surroundings and delightful company.
_____________________
May 27 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
McKittrick Trail #72Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar May 27 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking9.50 Miles 2,706 AEG
Hiking9.50 Miles   8 Hrs      1.19 mph
2,706 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We parked at the Blue Lookout trailhead and walked down the canyon to Blue Cabin and on to KP Creek. Trail crews haven't visited this area in many, many years, and the route threatens to disappear altogether. Most of the deadfall can be stepped over or around, but in four places the trail is completely blocked and requires time-consuming scrambling. To compensate, the canyon is home to a very noisy bird population. About half a mile from the creek we encountered a group of six women working their way up the trail. They were the only other hikers we saw the entire weekend. We went down KP Creek, passing the camp of the women we met earlier, and turned south on to McKittrick Trail. The first couple miles of this is very enjoyable as the way ascends gradually in and out of draws and onto ridges that provide nice views north across the canyon and up to the face of of Sawed Off Mountain. Then the trail enters McKittick canyon and stays there, climbing steeply with nothing much to look at for another mile. Near the top of the 2700 foot ascent from the creek, the trail breaks into the open again with panoramic views toward Bear Mountain and the Gila to the east. Then its just a leisurly, thirsty stroll past Blue Lookout and back to the trailhead. A beautiful day, well spent, despite the trash on the trail and lack of wildlife encounters.
_____________________
May 26 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Upper Grant Creek Trail #65 - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar May 26 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking13.70 Miles 1,600 AEG
Hiking13.70 Miles   9 Hrs      1.52 mph
1,600 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Starting at Hannagan Meadow Lodge, we walked across the highway to the trailhead and ventured south on the Steeple Mesa Trail. At the junction with Upper Grant Creek Trail, we turned east onto it. This track was a mess last time we used it several years ago, but the trail crew groomed it in a recent season, and it's in good shape now. Due to lack of traffic, it does tend to disappear in the overgrowth from time to time. Past Grant Creek Cabin we turned onto Paradise Trail, which also is little used. We discovered the extensive fires of a few years ago did not spare Paradise Park. Everthing north of the trail is burned. The 1500 foot climb up Grant Creek Trail is always tedious, made even more so this day by much deadfall. We could step over or around all of it (and removed from the path what we could), but it was still a bother. At P-Bar Lake we turned west onto Foote Creek Trail and stayed with it back to the trailhead.

It was a cool, lovely day, and we encountered no other persons on the trail. We also saw no wildlife, which disappoined as we always expect to see bear in the Blue.
_____________________
May 20 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
West Fork Trail #94 - GreerAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar May 20 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking10.50 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.62 mph
1,000 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
State Road 273 (Sunrise Junction to Big Lake) is closed from Reservation boundary to Winn campground, so it's impossible to drive to the West Baldy trailhead or Sheep Crossing area. Walking in is still an option, and the advantage to doing so is having the place to oneself.

We drove in as far as possible on Forest Road 87 (the Badger Creek or Greer road) and parked in a camp site by the Railroad Grade Trail. We walked east along a path into the woods and shortly entered a large meadow. At the northeast edge a steep drainage leads to Little Colorado's west fork. Descending, we first noticed the abundant mosquito population and then realized we had only one Off towelette between us. Fortunately, we had dressed for cool, damp weather with long sleeves and pants, so buttoned up tightly and doused our faces and necks. About halfway down we found a nearly pristine 7-point elk entler in a spring. We strapped it to my pack, and I carried the damn thing nine and a half miles. We looked for the mate, but I'm actually glad we didn't find it. We crossed the creek and followed a draw up the other side, emerging finally just east of Winn campgound. Proceeding south, we spooked a bunch of deer out of a thicket. They bolted so quickly we didn't have a chance to count or photograph them. Exiting the woods onto the prairie, we saw before us SR 273 wonderfully void of traffic and, between it and us a group of antelope. We gave them a wide berth as we crossed to Lee Valley Reservoir, which was deserted except for herons, ducks, cormorants and an osprey. We continued south from the lake until we encountered the Crossover Trail, and we turned west onto it. Light, intermittent rain fell throughout the morning - not enough to create mud but enough to dampen the vegetation and enhance colors. Except for our footfalls and the occasional bird call, the forest was absolutely silent. We spotted elk in one of the meadows and watched them undetected as long as we could spare. Back to the West Fork, we found it running higher than anticipated and had to search awhile for a dry crossing. We turned north onto the West Baldy trail and then ascended the ridge to the west and worked our way down the other side through lots of deadfall to Benny creek. Have I mentioned mosquitoes yet? At the canyon bottom we passed through a succession of small, pretty meadows, one of which was occupied by a couple elk. Benny creek took us back to our vehicle and the end of an absolutely lovely hike.
_____________________
May 13 2007
BelladonnaTook
avatar

 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
East Fork Trail #95 - GreerAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar May 13 2007
BelladonnaTook
Hiking10.50 Miles
Hiking10.50 Miles   6 Hrs      1.75 mph
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We parked in the turnout at the end of county road 1121, the entrance to Montlure camp, and walked down to the creek, crossed it and followed the path upstream. About a mile along we ascended the steep drainage entering from the west and joined the official East Fork trail at the top. We walked south on the trail, encountering a deer and a turkey, for a couple miles, then, at a place where it veered west, we continued south off-trail until, after about a mile, we descended into the shallow east fork canyon and followed the creek downstream. Where the canyon narrows into a gorge, we climbed out to the east and continued north along the canyon rim. A sleek, fat coyote crossed our path here. Eventually we dropped into Butler Canyon, and it returned us to CR 1121 and our vehicle.

It was a gorgeous day, and, other than a single cyclist we passed 100 yards from our car, we saw no other people on the trail. As has been the case in recent springs, mosquitoes were out in force, and we were glad for the repellent that remained in our packs from last year.
_____________________
Nov 26 2005
BelladonnaTook
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 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Coyote Buttes North - Wire Pass THSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 26 2005
BelladonnaTook
Hiking2.85 Miles 340 AEG
Hiking2.85 Miles   6 Hrs      0.48 mph
340 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The bad news: The process of obtaining Wave permits is still totally screwed up. The good: BLM's website is up, and they say that application and selection will be much fairer starting December 1. Still, if you want to hike Coyote Buttes - North, in addition to your usual gear, take along abundant patience.

Hoping to scarf a Thanksgiving day permit we drove to Kanab Tuesday evening and went to the BLM office Wednesday morning - along with about 60 other aspirants. We were not selected for either Thursday or Friday (which was being drawn at the same time), so filled time with lesser hikes for two days and returned Friday morning for the weekend drawing. Apparently because we exhibited such dogged dedication to the task, our application was entered twice and both were drawn.

Saturday was cool and extremely windy so felt very cold. Gusts at the Wave were incredible - so strong we frequently just dropped to the ground rather than trying to stand against them. The wind carried lots of sand, and that, of course is what sculpts this unique feature. We felt pretty well carved ourselves after hanging out a few hours. As for the Wave itself, words fail so photos will have to tell the story.

BTW: Two parties brought along dogs. The animals were not enjoying the experience; and I think this is a hike that folks should not feel compelled to share with their best friends.
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Nov 10 2005
BelladonnaTook
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 Guides 12
 Routes 9
 Photos 1,291
 Triplogs 58

72 male
 Joined Aug 26 2002
 Lakeside, AZ
Bassett PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 10 2005
BelladonnaTook
Hiking7.80 Miles 2,650 AEG
Hiking7.80 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   1.73 mph
2,650 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
RedRoxx44 does not lie. Ash Creek Canyon was still a riot of color when we stopped there November 10. It was also quickly filling with hunters preparing for the deer season due to open the following day. We saw no sign of deer or other wildlife. The small aspen grove at the top of the canyon was a special treat. Although most of the leaves had fallen, the unique aspen aroma remained, and that, with the brillant maple and oak colors, provided a feast for the senses.

When I saw the visage of our 40th President accompanying aaronhales hike description, I should have prepared myself to be misled. The directions to the trailhead are not just misleading, though; they are completely wrong in several aspects. Driving south from Safford on 191, you turn right (west) onto 266. From Bonita, you turn left (south) onto Fort Grant Road, and less than a mile later turn right (west) onto High Creek Rd. References to FR numbers are meaningless because those designations are not posted. After about 12 miles, Dry Creek forks, and you veer left (south) onto Sunset Loop. After about 3 miles, look for an unmarked, unmaintained double track turning off to the right (west). A large Forest Sevice emblem is attached to a post a short ways along. There's a ranch house and outbuildings across the road from the turnoff; and if you continue past it, Sunset Loop will turn suddenly left and become Ash Creek Rd. But your route follows the double track as it proceeds across a grassy area, past several campsites. About a quarter mile along you enter the woods and shortly cross the dry streambed. On the opposite side, the road forks and a sign points left to "659". Take the right fork and continue to the trailhead - about 2 miles, but it will seem longer.
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average hiking speed 1.71 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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