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320 triplogs

May 11 2019
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Bahia Animas Camp Adventure, BN 
Bahia Animas Camp Adventure, BN
 
Car Camping avatar May 11 2019
writelots
Car Camping
Car Camping11 Days         
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a long-time goal of mine - to get deep into Baja California and see some of the endemic species found in the Sonoran desert there. My husband and our Mexico adventure buddies were focused mostly on fishing, so this would be focused on the beach - but I figured I'd get to spend some time exploring further inland. While that didn't work out as I'd hoped, I did get a taste of the magic of Baja enough to know that this won't be my last trip to that desert wonderland!

Driving in Baja

While reports of road conditions varied widely, there was a general consensus that they're not good. We entered Mexico at Mexicali, and the highway between there and San Felipe was actually great by Northern Mexico standards. True - the shoulders on the highway are unforgiving (unless a sheer 5' drop is something you're good at navigating), signage is nearly non-existent and aggressive cargo trucks will age you a year in a few seconds. However, the pavement was solid, there weren't many unexpected detours and even the military checkpoints were quick and friendly. Once south of San Felipe, however, our hopes for a quick drive south were dashed. Though many miles of the highway between SF and Punta Final had been paved, the hurricane in 2018 (Rosa) resulted in many catastrophic washouts - particularly at the large bridge abutments. While each one has been detoured by a rough dirt track which is safe enough, in many cases there are only a few large rocks or a pile of dirt in the roadway to signal that the bridge is out. It would be VERY easy to ignore these and do a Dukes-of-Hazard style launch off of the highway bridges into oblivion. (Note: I have almost no photos of this road. While I kept thinking I should take photos, I was also busy trying not to panic as we moved very quickly through these dangerous-feeling bypasses. Here's a link to a forum where they've got images of each washout. They're impressive.http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=92811)

The last 30 miles or so of road between Punta Final and Chapala (where Hwy 1 and 5 join) are under construction and essentially unpaved. There are some stretches that are paved, but if you get on them, you may end up having to turn around because the bridges connecting the paved sections aren't in yet. Again - no real barriers, so you have to pay attention or die a horrible death on the rebar bed of shame. We found it easier to stay on the dirt track and dodge the massive boulders that are already falling on the roadbed. It's amazing (dumfounding? completely nuts?) that they've even attempted to build highway across this remote desert mountain pass. In places, the cuts are 50' deep into the ridgelines, and the soils are far from stable. The former Landscape Architect on highway projects was holding her head in a mixture of horror and awe. Dem engineers have balls the size of pumpkins!

From Chapala to Bahia Los Angeles is nice paved road and we cruised once again. To avoid night driving (which I used to scoff but now hold sacred 'cause, well, bridges don't always exist), we camped just south of the junction of Highways 1 and 5, in the heart of the "Valle de los Cirios" (more on that later). Our camp could easily have been most anywhere in Southern Arizona at first glance: brittlebush and bursage, agave, ocotillo and cholla. We even had some criollo wander by. But, if you looked closer, there were some boojums on the hills, cardon in place of saguaros and those agaves - well, they were MUCH bigger up close. Then the fog rolled in and we knew we weren't in Kansas any more.

We turned off the pavement for good in Bahia Los Angeles and headed farther south. We'd been told that camping at LA was super windy, so we headed for a sheltered bay called Las Animas (The Bay of Souls). This ~35 mile dirt track was slow going and required 4wd to navigate deep silt and sand pockets. It was brutal, made worse by the sheer exhaustion of everything that comes before - but it wasn't impossible with the right equipment and attitude. Every single thing including our bodies was thoroughly covered in fine white dust, but we made it. No tires out and no need for tow straps. Win!

Reserva de la biosfera - Valle de los Cirios

It's a mouthfull - but what it boils down to is that this is the ONLY area on earth (except for a tiny point on the Sonoran coast) where you can encounter the wild boojum (cirio in Spanish). I am fascinated by these plants - they are bizarre looking and are an incredible example of plants adapting to their unique environment. Boojums are generally held to be a relative of the ocotillo and share some of their characteristics (drought deciduous, succulent stems, tiny root structure) but can be MASSIVE. One of the specimens I saw from the road was easily 50' tall - amazing when you think that many of these grow less than 2" per year! Seeing the wild boojum was a part of my reason for the trip, and while I would have LOVED to have spent days exploring boojum forests, we only stopped a couple of times enroute to for face time with my teen-crush of the plant world. They are pumpkin cool. It doesn't hurt that they're often found in rocky terrain, surrounded by other cool plants like elephant tree, senita, tree-ocotillo and Datilillo (tree yucca). The desert absolutely lived up to my expectations, and while I was sad that long-term our camp was NOT in an area where boojums were plentiful, I did get to play a lot among other spiny denizens of the desert...

Isla de los coyotes

Okay - so it wasn't technically an "island" per say - more of an isolated peninsula. When we arrived at Animas, the tide was low and we were able to cross the mouth of the estuary to camp on a beach which was protected from the prevailing winds and waves. Twice each day, the tide would come in and block our exit - but we were happy to stay put for the duration. Any time we needed to access the area north of the estuary, we'd use our kayaks.

This was a fantastic camp. The shore was exceedingly shallow - even at high tide I could walk out almost 100 yards into the bay. Oysters and clams were plentiful off the sandy shore near camp and in the estuary. Big oysters. Big, meaty, delicious oysters. A scallop farmer had his camp on the beach on the other side of the estuary, but we rarely saw sign of him - otherwise we were totally alone except for the resident coyotes. They would come into camp while we were cleaning fish and appropriate the carcasses from the gulls and vultures. At night, they would clean out the cast-iron skillet and abscond with water bottles, fuel bottles and fishing lures (we confirmed this with a game camera). We heard them most afternoons, sadly calling across the water and scheming about their evening antics. Hence the name Isla de los coyotes.

We hit a freakish weather window, and the temps were insanely mild. I think the hottest it got was around 85, and 2 days we actually needed flannel shirts to stay warm in the middle of the day. The water was really too cold for swimming, but since it wasn't hot, I wasn't sad. Kayaking was great and sunsets were beautiful. The boys caught fish (mostly snapper) and we ate like lords of a maritime kingdom. What more could you want?

Mystery Walls and Other Explorations

Part of my goal while doing research on the area was to check out some "mystery walls" that had been reported by other travelers. Thanks to a short description and a Route Scout waypoint, I was able to kayak across the bay, hike across the dunes at the shore and navigate my way up to a rocky mesa to find some very mysterious walls. See the photos if you want more - but I have no answers even after exploring the mesa top "ruins". Not being an archaeologist or fluent in Spanish, I've been able to find very little other than gringo speculation on these. The hike was fun, though, and it felt good to find a random point in the middle of the desert on my own.

Dennis and I hiked out one day to explore a drainage. The mountainous terrain is very difficult to navigate - especially along the bajadas which are THICK with some of the least accommodating vegetation I've ever seen (and I've seen some nasty vegetation in my day). We finally managed to make our way up a dry gully and to a cool peak for a view, but we never did find any tinajas or water holes that we were hoping for. Dennis is always looking for snakes, turtles and other herps - and while we saw plenty of smaller lizards, I think it was still a bit cool overall for the larger slithering sort.

Kayaking - it isn't like hiking

I like taking out my pretty little boat. I like paddling it across a glassy expanse to get close to a little island, then steering slowly around the island checking out the inhabitants. That's fun. I like it when the charismatic megafauna pop up to check me out - turtles, sea lions, whales and the like. What I don't like about kayaking - being several hundred yards from shore, paddling and feeling like you're barely moving, with your destination miles away. Sometimes it's like road-walks, a necessary way to get from point a to point b. However, I've decided that I'm a short-distance kayaker at best, and that unless I have good company or an e-book to listen to or something, I don't anticipate setting any long-distance records at sea. Oh well ;-)

I did get to see several sea turtles, a whale and lots of fun other things while out on my boat. I paddled around an island where various birds were nesting and watched their stinky, loud offspring beg for lunch. The conditions were nearly always perfect for paddling, so I spent plenty of time on the water. It was great. My butt hurts, though, and I'm about as brown as I've ever been inspite of sunscreen, long sleeves and big hats.

Random Notes on Baja
  • Don't know if it was the hurricane, prevailing ocean currents or if it's always true - but Baja was WAY cleaner than the beaches we've visited in Sonora. The roadsides had the usual litter, but once you got past them - Baja was spectacularly free of gross trash.
  • We chose our beach specifically because we'd been warned about these ferocious winds that frequent this area. We were so afraid of them, we abandoned our original plan to camp in Bahia Los Angeles and drove the extra 2 hours south. Instead, the whole time on the beach (save 1 afternoon) was calm. Like, freakishly calm (and cool). So, either we chose wisely, or we hit a magic weather window. Future trips will doubtless tell the truth of this.
  • We did NOT however miss out on hellish winds altogether. On our drive home, the wind picked up as we entered the highway north of Puertocitos and did not let up until early the next morning. We had to build a wind break to protect the tent as we camped out that night off the highway. Agents at the border said that trees were blowing down in Mexicali and El Centro. Made for a miserable night, but all trips need at least 1, right?
  • Mexican gas gives our truck indigestion.
  • Frequent meals full of oysters, clams and raw fish gives us indigestion. Keep Baja colorful.
  • Little crabs still have very strong pincers. AND Chacos are not good shoes for clamming when there are crabs around.
  • Baja gets under your skin (and under your fingernails) and I can see why folks return so often despite the literal roadblocks. I can't wait to go back!
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Apr 14 2019
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Royal Arch RouteNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 14 2019
writelots
Backpack35.00 Miles 8,000 AEG
Backpack35.00 Miles6 Days         
8,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Title: Their Leader Was Named Patches...

I haven't done a proper trip report in a really long time, but since I asked so many folks for info on this route, I figured I'd better share back with the results of my recent trip on the Point Huitzil/Royal Arch Route. I was joined by Roger (Scat Daddy), Holly (Prehensile Toe) and Holly (Raggedy Ann).

We had a great 6-7 days in the canyon. Weather was that typical spring mix: starting with sunny and cold, moving to hot, moving to windy and wet, back to hot. Ran the whole gammut from sleet to blistering, windless summer. The canyon was - as ever - both generous with her grandeur and adventure and stingy with her creature comforts. I'll state for the record that the road was almost bone dry going both ways - but the ruts between Pasture Wash and S. Bass are no joke. I'm really not sure my Subaru would have made it without some dings to the front "bumper". Think more "gully" than "rut".

The trip started cross-country to find the put-in for the Point Huitzil descent. Thanks to the track from Bifrost, we were able to find the route easily enough, though at one point we walked past a turn and had to backtrack up over a low ridge. There's just so little left of that "phone line", and the "abrupt turns" described in many write-ups don't feel abrupt on that flat ground. Because I'd done the route before, it was easy to find the keyhole. Though I had to love the looks from my fellow hikers who were TOTALLY skeptical that there could be a route down from that unassuming ledge. My group, experienced backpackers but not climbers or canyoneers, were totally game and never once balked at what we were doing. There was the moment where we stepped down one of the 5' drops onto a loose pile of rocks when I said "from here, guys, it's a one-way ticket - unless you think you can climb back up this with your pack". They all affirmed that they were in-it-to-win-it and we scampered, slid, scurried and scree'd down to the floor of the creek. We set up our first camp at a nice patio on the sandstone where we could walk barefoot to a nice clean pothole.

Saying for the day "That (fill in blank with a damaged stock price) is falling faster than hikers off the Point Huitzil Route".

Also - my newish Khul pants which were supposed to be "performance designed for durability" were blasted out by the middle of the day. This began a nightly ritual of sewing and taping to prevent my underwear from being the star of the show. So disappointing. Also, my new Gossamer Gear Mariposa earned her trail name: Patches.

The path down Royal Arch creek was much as I remembered it - impossibly slow and filled with fun puzzles to solve. Must've taken our packs of 25 times, which slows things down a lot. However, there were no pools blocking our path and the cairns are even better now then they were before - no confusing misdirects, just small cairns that you still have to look for to solve the maze. We spent night 2 at the arch itself, and even though I've been there twice, I still feel deeply moved by the magic of that spot. It's not just the arch itself but the way the creek creates pools and falls, the moss and monkeyflower, the views down the narrow slot of the canyon. I was worried from tales of how many more people had been venturing to the arch that there would be lots of human impact in the area, but it still feels nearly untouched. Weather was blowing in, so we sheltered in the ledge and spent the night listening to frogs making more frogs.

Saying for the day "Wait - packs off...again?"

Day 3 was the descent to Toltec Beach and while I knew exactly what to expect, it was made even more interesting by off-and-on rain and sleet. This was my first time leading on ropes so I was more than a little tense. One of the members of my party did their first rappel ever on that 20' cliff. It was inspiring that they all trusted me with their lives, and I was so excited when we were all safely at the bottom that I seriously floated the rest of the way to the beach. We decided that the weather dictated that we wait until the next morning for the hike out to Elves' Chasm. We were in the middle of a rainy afternoon nap when a couple hikers appeared from downstream. They'd hiked the Tonto from Hermit and though they were a bit past their planned itinerary, had been hoping to make it to Elves' that day (and back to camp near Garnet). The trip from Garnet had been unexpectedly rough, and I let them know that it would remain so all the way to Elves. We decided to share our camp with them (by chance we had 2 extra spots on our permit) and it was fun to talk about the AZT with these seasoned long-trail hikers. Larry and Cosmo were great camp guests.

Saying for the day: "She's so bad-ass her pant's can't contain it"

The next morning we all went out to Elves', and we had the place to our selves for the first part of our visit. It was still cool from the rainy day before, but the falls were calling and I stripped to my skivvies and swam to the base. I'm not much into jumping off of rocks, but Scat Daddy did and was joined by Cosmo (Just as we were finished filtering a bunch of water, a couple boat parties came up and we were happy to vacate and leave them to their own brand of fun at the falls.

While our camp guests were eager to top out and headed out right away, our group rested the heat of the day in the shade at Toltec (wait - there's shade at Toltec?). Then we packed our camp and started across the rocky route to Garnet. In retrospect, this was brilliant - the late afternoon shade made this portion of the trek much easier, and we climbed the fun scramble out of Garnet over sandstone ledges and steps with just enough daylight left. Our camp on the Tonto was like my favorite Tonto camps always are: wide open and scenic. While not really a "point camp" that Sirena might prefer, we were still suspended mid-canyon with those amazing sunsets and sunrises that make so many nights spent in the canyon pure magic.

Saying for the day: "Who knew we'd love a tamarisk so."

Final days found us hot and sweaty crossing the Tonto Trail. We only found some warm potholes in Copper, which weren't sufficient to sustain our whole group. So we hiked on to Bass, where the potholes I've found in the past just below the Tonto junction were also dry. Surprising given the amount of rain recently, but not surprising given Grand Canyon. We did find 2 holes upon more detailed inspection, between the 2 giving us exactly enough for one more overnight and our hike out. We had a final beautiful night under the stars, then thoroughly enjoyed our hike out on the beautiful Bass trail.

Now that I've done the Arch 3 times, I can say without any doubt that there are places in this world that don't get old with repetition. They just get sweeter.
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

dry Bass Canyon Dry Dry

dry Copper Canyon Dry Dry

dry Garnet Canyon Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Royal Arch Creek Light flow Light flow
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Jun 05 2018
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
El Morro Mesa TrailNorthwest, NM
Northwest, NM
Hiking avatar Jun 05 2018
writelots
Hiking2.00 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles
250 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Driving through NM on a summer road trip to Red River, I stopped at El Morro. I arrived at 3pm, the park closes at 5. The woman at the table said I could start hiking, but had to be off the trail by 4:30 or else they'd be mad and I'd be fined if I got locked in the park.

Can do, I said. There's lots of steps she said. Can do, I said.

Wish I'd had more time to look at signatures, play around on the mesa top and enjoy the park. I ran into an Ancestral Lands Trail Crew working on taking out the asphalt on the trail and replacing it with natural surfacing. Would have liked more time to chat with them, too. This is definitely worth the stop!
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Selfie
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
May 12 2018
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Sweetwater Preserve LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 12 2018
writelots
Hiking7.36 Miles 536 AEG
Hiking7.36 Miles
536 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Sirena and I got out for a quick day hike to celebrate saguaro bloom season and scope out potential fruit harvesting conditions. It was a wonderful day - a bit windy, but still a wonderful time on the trail.
Flora
Flora
Saguaro
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Apr 14 2018
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Jordan Hot Springs - GilaSouthwest, NM
Southwest, NM
Backpack avatar Apr 14 2018
writelots
Backpack16.00 Miles 850 AEG
Backpack16.00 Miles2 Days         
850 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
Skindy500
It was a wonderful weekend to return to Jordan Hot Springs. My last trip was in 2014 and its still one of the most magical backcountry destinations I know of. Unfortunately, the word is out about this spot. While it was always fairly popular, locals tell me now that its not at all unusual to see 40-50 people camped around the spring on weekends. This weekend a weird weather front probably kept numbers down and I only counted 25. Still WAY more than I'm used to. The spring is also on one of the spurs of the Continental Divide Trail, so through-hikers are also making it a standard stop. This may be a place that needs a permit system if things don't change. The camping impact around the spring is intense

We had a good time - maybe a little TOO good, as I think I had 1 too many cocktails in the hot spring and ended up making good friends with folks in a way that sober Wendy probably wouldn't have done. Still - the whole point was to cut loose a bit since I wasn't in charge for a change. Just enjoying a wonderful trip in the woods with good friends.

The first night we camped at the National Monument was really cold - but the next day and evening were quite pleasant. The family we camped with (Zach, Stephanie and Milo) voted to hike out via Little Bear - we continued on along the Middle Fork back to the Visitor Center. Once we passed the Little Bear turnoff, the trail went back to being indistinct and overgrown - I guess most people aren't doing the lolly-pop loop anymore.

Its also amazing to see the canyon returning from the flooding and burning of 6 years ago. M
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Mar 09 2018
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Baboquivari East ApproachTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hike & Climb avatar Mar 09 2018
writelots
Hike & Climb6.11 Miles 3,430 AEG
Hike & Climb6.11 Miles2 Days         
3,430 ft AEG
Second IV R  • Trad
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
sirena
This has been on my bucket list for many years, but many things kept it out of my reach. However, when AZ climbing and outdoor legends Dave Baker and Gary Hervert agreed that they could get me there and down in one piece, I knew the moment had come.

Now that I'm once again safely on Tucson alluvium, I have to say that this was by far one of the most rewarding adventures of my hiking career. Now I know not only that I am capable of doing it, but that I'm capable of having fun doing it - and isn't that really more important?

I'll write up a very detailed trip report, but for reasons that would become obvious upon reading, I am not going to post it here on HAZ. I am more than happy to share with anyone who would like a private read, though - so just drop me a message and I'll send you a copy. I will post the photos, though, and the story they tell is more than enough to give you the idea of what a wonderful, epic and magical adventure Babo is.

Thank you, I'itoi for allowing me entry into your granite realm.
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
Named place
Named place
Old Baldy
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Feb 22 2018
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Clear Creek Trail - GCNPNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar Feb 22 2018
writelots
Backpack35.00 Miles 6,000 AEG
Backpack35.00 Miles4 Days         
6,000 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Trip in the snow and the sun - the canyon does give you everything it can! Pictures tell more story.
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
_____________________
-----------------------------------
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
3 archives
Feb 07 2018
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Two Bar Ridge Scout, AZ 
Two Bar Ridge Scout, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 07 2018
writelots
Hiking13.75 Miles 2,682 AEG
Hiking13.75 Miles   8 Hrs   26 Mns   1.95 mph
2,682 ft AEG   1 Hour   22 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Zach, Roger and I set up a car shuttle and hiked Two Bar Ridge to scout it for our upcoming Volunteer Vacation on the AZT in March. I'd hiked the whole passage with Roger back in 2016, but there's a big difference between trying to get through and scouting work projects, and besides, who wants to pass up a chance to hike in the Supes on a beautiful day?!

We drove in to the Upper Campaign Trailhead to leave the first shuttle vehicle there. It seemed like a no-brainer. Hiking out to the Reavis Mt. School made much more sense as it's an extra 1000' lower than the Two Bar trailhead to the north. We walked in and talked with Peter Bigfoot at the school for a bit - what a magic place the homestead is! They were trimming the early budding peaches. Then we drove out and did some exploring in the slot canyon beside the road. We didn't go far, and neither did the narrows, but it was pretty to sit beside a flowing creek. Then we drove up to the trailhead up on the flanks of Pinon Mountain and made our camp. Yup. That gnarly, loose, steep road. Gawd forbid you meet someone coming the other way!

What a lovely night! It was windy in the evening, then quiet enough to fool me into setting up in my hammock. About 1:30am the wind picked up again, strong enough to blow my hammock around and keep me up. So I ended up on the ground. Not happy there.

The hike was tough but as beautiful as I remember. That ridge may be some poorly designed trail, but the vistas make you forget the pain. Well, until you're doing that 1000' "dip" into the upper reaches of Pine Creek. That could piss most anyone off.

We hadn't noticed the ruins along that steep descent on the north side of the canyon before. Anyone have any clues on that? Sheep corrals? Cowboy camp? older? Didn't find anything obvious here on HAZ.

My HAZ tracks is eating battery (or something else is) 'cause my phone ran out of juice even with a battery backup refresh before we made it back to the school. Guess I'll have to figure that out if I'm going to continue to use the phone for scouting. Luckily Zach had a dedicated GPS for saving waypoints for the purpose of our work events.

If you want to come work on that trail and make it beeeeeutiful, give me a shout! It's going to be a lot of work, but in a setting like that it'll be magic!
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Jan 28 2018
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
La Milagrosa / Agua Caliente Canyon LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 28 2018
writelots
Hiking6.56 Miles 1,457 AEG
Hiking6.56 Miles   3 Hrs   54 Mns   1.84 mph
1,457 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 
Partners partners
tibber
I love this loop - I've done it when you couldn't keep your feet dry and when it was so dry you felt like your mouth was sand. Either way its beautiful and fun with the perfect mix of a challenge and a coast.

It was nice to share it with Tibber - I always love bragging on Tucson's trails. So much slabby goodness on this one!
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
_____________________
-----------------------------------
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Jan 27 2018
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Rincon Valley - AZT #8Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 27 2018
writelots
Hiking5.00 Miles 130 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   1.43 mph
130 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Lead the Tucson Chapter of the Arizona Native Plant Society on a hike on the AZT between La Posta Quemada and Gabe Z trailheads. It was a fun day spent with fellow plant nerds. It was funny to stop and talk about various native plants when they all looked pretty much like dead sticks. Such a dry winter!
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
_____________________
-----------------------------------
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Jan 01 2018
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Alamo Canyon - AZT #17Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Backpack avatar Jan 01 2018
writelots
Backpack38.00 Miles 1,292 AEG
Backpack38.00 Miles   3 Hrs      12.67 mph
1,292 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
When I set up to start this triplog, HAZ told me I've already got 10 triplogs for passage 17. Admittedly, some are for maintenance events, but still - this trip as become a repeater. Why? 'Cause sometimes you just need a trip you can throw a bag on your back and go without a ton of research and thought. And 'cause it's AWESOME!

We started at around noon on the first from the Pickepost TH and made it to what we call Stripey Butte saddle for our first camp. This point is about 1.5 miles short of the end of passage 17, but the views are fantastic and you actually get a little cell signal (if that's important to ya). We'd always wanted to camp there, and as it was supposed to be chilly we didn't want to get caught needing to camp down near the tank at the bottom of that hill. Did that once before. Froze. Literally.

We carried enough water to get us from Picketpost to the river, but were happy to see a few gallons left in the cache box at FR4. Someone had left some gear behind - I so wish people wouldn't treat these as swap meets or garbage cans. It's hard enough to keep them maintained with just the water jugs.

We saw a couple of groups of equestrians on the first part of the trail near Pickepost. It's clear from trail condition that this is getting hammered by equestrian users. I'm glad to see it being popular, but was a bit concerned about some of the damage that heavy horse traffic can do to trails in an area like this. I guess we'll have to look at more maintenance events. Then we ran into 2 cyclists who were south of FR4 and running out of daylight. It was obvious from talking to the first that they were trying a through-ride from the river and that they'd bitten off more than they could chew. We hoped they had headlamps, as there were still many miles to go and waning light.

After that, we saw no one on the trail. Nice!

Day 2 was a scorcher - it would have seemed hot even if it weren't January, but for the second day of the year it was insane. At least 78 if not higher. We hiked through to the river where we tanked up on water. The Gila always tastes off - don't know if it's the minerals or the pH, but either way, we struggled after that with drinking enough just because of the taste. Hint: this is where using electrolyte tabs really comes into its own!

As we filled up on river water, dark fell. A couple of hunters came by in their quads to cross the river. They were quite concerned about us - two girls in the dark by the river without a car. What WERE we thinking? :scared: We reassured them that we were fine and they went on their way.

We hiked another hour and a half in the dark until hunger got the best of us and we stopped for dinner and camp. Again, we tried to camp up above the river to keep warmer, and it worked. That night, I was almost too hot in my quilt. So much for winter!

Hike out the third day was lovely - scattered clouds and breezes kept it from getting too hot and made the sky more interesting. There's lots of sky out there, so its nice when there's pretty fluffies to look at. We made it out right at sunset (which is insanely early this time of year) and headed into Kearny for pizza (of course).

What a great way to start the new year!

dry Seep Spring Dry Dry
Tank below spring shallow and mucky

dry Trough Springs Dry Dry
Defunct.
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Dec 15 2017
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Huachuca Mountains - AZT #1Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Volunteer avatar Dec 15 2017
writelots
Volunteer10.50 Miles 4,200 AEG
Volunteer10.50 Miles2 Days         
4,200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
So - I had this plan. I was going to step out as a volunteer on a project with the Sky Island Alliance. I have been spending too much time on the AZT lately and wanted to get into a whole different part of the state. They had an event planned for the Galiuros, out at the Jackson Cabin. Perfect.

Well, weather and timing got in the way, and the planners changed the location to...wait for it...the Arizona Trail in the Huachucas. Can't get away from that pumpkin track! Grrr!

Well, I figured I would still have fun doing something different. The project was to do spring monitoring on Wilderness springs off the Sunnyside canyon portion of the AZT. I haven't hiked all the way to the crest on that side, so what the heck!

It was a fun weekend, even if we did cut it short for that one freak snowstorm that shut down our plans for Sunday. We camped near Hannah Tank close to the lake, and our drainage-bottom location gave us a nice cold wake up on Saturday morning. After that, few of us were up to another very very cold night and even colder hike back up to the crest so we called it.

I did get to check out a remote spring that I doubt I ever would have seen if not for this trip. Fascinating weekend spent with other naturalists in the gorgeous Sky Islands. Maybe next time it'll be a little farther from the AZT!
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Nov 10 2017
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Alamo Canyon - AZT #17Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Volunteer avatar Nov 10 2017
writelots
Volunteer11.44 Miles 1,292 AEG
Volunteer11.44 Miles4 Days         
1,292 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Arizona Backpacking Club and other volunteers were supported by the M&F Jeepers in their maintenance of Passage 17a near Superior. The jeep club donates their time, gas and rubber to transport food, water and tools to the volunteers, who hiked the 9 trail miles in to basecamp. The jeep group also stocked 50 gallons of water the bear box at the Forest Road 4 junction. Stocking that box requires a 1+ hour 4wd trip each way, so it's super generous of them to support non-motorized users in that way! They stock that box several times of year at their own expense.

The trail crew worked to clear 4.5 trail miles of the overgrowth of catclaw and other intrusive plants that thrived after the summer's rains. Each year, the ABC grubs back as much as they can and trims what they cannot to make sure that the entire segment is clear of plants that will cut, poke or harm the legs and arms of hikers, bikers and equestrians. They also managed to clean out a number of the drains installed in prior years as well as create a few more. It may take one more event to solve some of the larger tread issues identified by the crew.

dry Seep Spring Dry Dry
Spring was dry and the tank below it had some low, mucky water in it. Wouldn't want to drink that!

dry Trough Springs Dry Dry
This spring is defunct. No water has been documented here for years and even the ranchers have abandoned it.
_____________________
-----------------------------------
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Oct 24 2017
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Bright Angel TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Volunteer avatar Oct 24 2017
writelots
Volunteer15.00 Miles 4,390 AEG
Volunteer15.00 Miles5 Days         
4,390 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The GCHBA's biannual service project in the Grand Canyon is one of my favorite ways ever to enjoy the Grand Canyon. Not only do you get to hike down and stay at the BA campground for multiple nights, but you get to really GET INTO the canyon - or more correctly, get the canyon into you. You get dirt in places you never could from just walking as you kneel in a muddy trench to clear out pipe drains or scrub ceilings in the restrooms or paint the window sills on the ranger residence or break up dams in Bright Angel creek to let the fish spawn.

Its like being a ranger just for the week, and the people are always a trip.

Thanks to the Grand Canyon Hikers and Backpacker's Association for organizing and sponsoring the event and to Rob Jones for herding the cats so I don't have to for a change! :y:
_____________________
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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
1 archive
Oct 21 2017
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Canelo Hills West - AZT #3Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Volunteer avatar Oct 21 2017
writelots
Volunteer7.00 Miles 800 AEG
Volunteer7.00 Miles2 Days         
800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The ATA's Trail Skills Institute is a way for volunteers to learn more about sustainable trail design and maintenance from some of the finest trail professionals in Arizona. There are 4 modules which cover basic trail maintenance, stone structures and trail layout and re-route design. The fall course on passage #3 met in the scenic Canelo Hills outside of the gateway community of Patagonia to learn how to layout new trail and use re-routes to fix serious trail issues. Eight participants joined Matt Roberts, Mark Loseth and Zach McDonald to work on a short reroute of the trail to bypass a steep descent and climb that were eroding into poor condition near the Harshaw Road trailhead. Participants learned how to plan for proper drainage using cross slope and grade changes as well as how to tie into and rehab existing trail to make the new route clear. The class began with a short lecture component, but most of the learning was done on the trail with tools in hand.

At the end of the day, a very short reroute bypassed an unnecessary descent and climb - improving the trail experience and making for a more sustainable route. Wins all the way around!
_____________________
-----------------------------------
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Oct 01 2017
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Happy Jack - AZT #28Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Volunteer avatar Oct 01 2017
writelots
Volunteer10.00 Miles 500 AEG
Volunteer10.00 Miles7 Days         
500 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Fourteen volunteers traveled from all over the United States to volunteer to participate in the American Hiking Society and ATA's Volunteer Vacation. The AHS program matches trail volunteers with a wide variety of trail volunteer opportunities throughout the US and beyond. Many of these volunteers had never visited Arizona before, and most of them had not even heard of the Arizona National Scenic Trail before registering for the event. What starts as just a great way to get some volunteers on the ground building trail turns into a fantastic outreach program almost by accident. Now these 14 hikers will go home and brag about the amazing trail that they built through the scenic ponderosa of northern Arizona, and maybe a few new sparks of AZT fever will ignite.

The trail construction was the first part of the new Happy Jack Single Track project on the Coconino National Forest. Ultimately, this project will result in almost 18 miles of new singletrack trail construction to get the AZT off of the long road walks of the Happy Jack passage. The crew created 1.4 miles of new trail, nearly completing the northernmost reroute of the project. They hacked through oak thickets, dug out pine stumps and chopped through tedious grass flats to open up the corridor — even building some impressive stone retaining structures to finish the final climbs.

Ultimately this project will replace 18 miles of road walk with single track trail. Its a great time for those who want to participate in trail building to get out in a beautiful part of Arizona and give back!
Culture
Culture
Throwing a Wendy
_____________________
-----------------------------------
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Aug 22 2017
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Rafting/Kayaking Idaho, ID 
Rafting/Kayaking Idaho, ID
 
Kayak avatar Aug 22 2017
writelots
Kayak6.00 Miles
Kayak6.00 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After I put Angela on a plane in Kalispell, I drove down to Missoula to pick up another friend for the second part of my great Northwest adventure. Our plan was to watch the Great American Eclipse at Cascade Lake in Idaho, then to do a short river trip on the Middle Fork Salmon River. In between, we'd enjoy some scenic drives, a few delicious hot springs and 144 yoga sun salutations (to celebrate the eclipse, of course). It was a fun journey, and though I was getting homesick at the end of the 3 weeks away, I have to say that I fell in love a little with Montana and Idaho. What spectacular country!

I also did a drive through the National Bison Range outside of Missoula. What a great opportunity to see some of the American land animals up close and personal. I was there near closing (sunset) so I was treated to animals very close to the road.

I particularly enjoyed being able to spend so much time on the water on this trip. I love hiking, but there's a peace that comes from floating that you just can't duplicate. While I don't see myself becoming a whitewater specialist, I did have a great time paddling on the Salmon for a short time. Next time I'll be braver and hit some of the bigger rapids in the ducky!
_____________________
-----------------------------------
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
1 archive
Aug 14 2017
writelots
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 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Upper Two Medicine LakeNorth Central, MT
North Central, MT
Hiking avatar Aug 14 2017
writelots
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,024 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   5 Hrs      2.00 mph
1,024 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
I loved this little day hike. We'd had more ambitious plans, but I felt a cold coming on and with the air quality still low, we figured that keeping it easy would be a better plan. Of course, 9 miles is hardly "easy" - but with as little elevation gain as this hike offered and the long hiking day, we were able to cruise. The plus side were that we had more huckleberries (yay!) and a moose sighting to make our day more interesting.

I think that camping at Upper Two Medicine would be a great entry-level backpack in Glacier. With the boat ride, it would be a very short hike, with a big payoff at the end and a lovely campsite. Of course, if weather turned, you could get back in a shake.
Flora
Flora
Cow Parsnip
Fauna
Fauna
Moose
Named place
Named place
Aster Falls Sinopah Mountain
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
_____________________
-----------------------------------
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Aug 10 2017
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Boulder Pass via Hole in the Wall, MT 
Boulder Pass via Hole in the Wall, MT
 
Backpack avatar Aug 10 2017
writelots
Backpack31.00 Miles 5,500 AEG
Backpack31.00 Miles4 Days         
5,500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
tibber
Angela already wrote up such an amazingly detailed trip report - and as I'm writing months later as I finally come off of a long string of trips both on and off the Arizona Trail, mine will be brief. This was indeed a magical hike - there were many times that I had to just stop and exclaim "this is ridiculous. All this beauty - its just ostentatious! So over the top!" I was in awe of the environment. I think that because it has such a short season to live above the snows, the environment up there just packs 12 months of amazing into a few weeks. And we were lucky enough to see it!

The thunderstorm on Boulder Pass was enough to strike fear into even the heartiest soul. When we learned later that it was the same storm that started several destructive fires in the park, we were dismayed. It was humbling.

Overall, I'd say that this hike is totally worth flying half-way across the country and renting a car and spending money on hotels and boat rides. If you want a blow-by-blow, check out Angela's great reports or my photos. I'll try to tell the story there.
Fauna
Fauna
Black Bear
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Above Brown's Pass the wildflowers were OFF THE HOOK!
_____________________
-----------------------------------
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
Jun 25 2017
writelots
avatar

 Guides 19
 Routes 39
 Photos 5,577
 Triplogs 337

46 female
 Joined Nov 22 2005
 Tucson, AZ
Happy Jack - AZT #28Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Jun 25 2017
writelots
Backpack42.90 Miles 2,600 AEG
Backpack42.90 Miles3 Days         
2,600 ft AEG30 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Did a quickie last minute type backpack on the Happy Jack and Mormon Lake Passages as part of our efforts to plan work events in the area. We've gotten 2 grants that will allow us to move lots of the trail that's currently on old forest roads off the road and onto brand-new single track. Exciting! After three days of walking through the pondorosa (pondo, pondo, pondo, pondo) my feet were a little flatter and my appreciation for the desert was heightened. I love the forest - but give me the sweeping views across barren peaks any day!

The trip was made easier by arranging for trading-shuttles with my co-worker and fellow trail nerd, Zach McDonald. He rode both passages on his mountain bike in 1 day. Can't say that sounds fun, but it is more efficient for scouting a long, flat passage!

We found water in nearly every tank even though it was a hot June. Overall the trail is very easy to follow, well marked and clear tread. The gnarly places were few, but there's clearly some work to be done on maintaining the existing single-track as well as building new. I thought the Mormon Lake passage was prettier - with more meadows and occasional glimpses out of the trees. Finished up the trip with a big dinner at the Mormon Lake Lodge.

This was the final trip for my trusty Warbonnet Blackbird hammock. I ordered a new one, though...seven tough years is a GREAT run!
Flora
Flora
Showy Milkweed
Fauna
Fauna
Leopard Frog
Named place
Named place
Pine Spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max 9486J Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Airplane Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Allan Lake Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bargaman Park Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
Clear and cool - tempting for a swim!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Gonzales Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Maxie Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
Murky and green

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Pine Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Beautiful and clear!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Shuffs Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
A little more murky

dry Waldroup Tank Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Wild Horse Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
_____________________
-----------------------------------
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.- Barack Obama
1 archive
average hiking speed 1.8 mph
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 16  Next

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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