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7 triplogs

Mar 28 2004
Kip
avatar

 Guides 2
 Triplogs 7


 Joined Aug 30 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Tonto NarrowsPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 28 2004
Kip
Hiking4.70 Miles 135 AEG
Hiking4.70 Miles
135 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
If you're the type of hiker that gets upset when somebody leaves orange peels on the ground, forget about the swimming hole. The folks at the swimming hole proudly throw beer cans into the rocks as their kids watch. It's pretty hard to stomach. Anyhow, go past the swimming hole, past the rapids, and swim around a few bends until you get to the white canyon with the waterfall. . . assuming there is a waterfall year round. This is a good spot to do some swimming and sunbathing on the rocks. Hopefully you've ditched all the idiots.

You can venture on past the waterfall, but it's hairy. On the right side of the canyon, there are a number of white juts/knifes/rock outcroppings. Swim to the one red outcropping near the waterfall, scale up the red rock about thirty feet, and then scale over. This is pretty hairy, and getting back down is worse. I don't recommend it.

Although cold at first, the water was fine after awhile. This was an unseasonably warm day in late March, with the Payson temperature in the mid 70s. Note that swimming is necessary to get to the waterfall, and, in this case, swimming means swimming. It's not wading. If you want to bring a camera, a dry bag or better is required. You might want to throw your wallet and keys in there too. Nothing like paying for your post-hike cheeseburger with soggy bills. When swimming against the current on the hike in, watch out for getting fatigued before you can reach a safe resting point.

Overall, getting to the waterfall is a neat adventure that combines hiking, rock hopping, swimming, and problem solving.
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Oct 25 2003
Kip
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 Guides 2
 Triplogs 7


 Joined Aug 30 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
West Fork Oak Creek Trail #108Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Backpack avatar Oct 25 2003
Kip
Backpack6.00 Miles 200 AEG
Backpack6.00 Miles   4 Hrs      1.50 mph
200 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A few notes about backpacking and camping in West Fork.

If you are camping overnight, make sure to pay for two days of parking at the entrance.

For most people, the hike ends when you run into a long stretch of creek running through some red rock canyon walls. You need a pair of sandals to walk through this section, which is about 100 yards long. After about 100 yards, paths become available on the side of the creek. You can then alternate between using the paths or just walking through the creek. If you're doing the hike in October, as most people do, make sure to bring extra socks. If you walk in sandals with bare feet, your feet are going to go numb.

Continue past the 100-yard-creek-walk for about an estimated twenty minutes, and you come across some high ground on the right. Get up on the high ground, and there is a trail that takes you to some really neat campsites. In a few areas, the trail is narrow, the dirt is loose, and you're high enough up to fall to your death. The same could be said about the areas around the campsites. It's not dangerous, but if you bring a child or dog, you really need to keep a close eye on them. As you walk down the trail, you come across a meadow campsite first (flat, cleared ground), and if you follow the trail to its practical end, you end up at a woodsy/ canyon campsite. "Practical end" means the trail runs into a rock wall. There is a ledge path that goes along the rock wall, but it would be insane to go further with a pack.

Since landmarks and cairns can get washed away in the creek, it's hard to give good directions to the campsite trail. Here are some hints that might help. Also, the 20-minute estimate is a best guess and based on going through the creek or hiking on the side of it. If you try to stick to the high ground to stay dry, it's going to take a lot longer.

GPS - Since it's pretty difficult to get a GPS reading in the canyon, navigating with a GPS is somewhat impractical. Anyhow, hike to about N 35.00.082 W 111.46.095. There should be lots of high ground on the right side of the creek. Find a safe way to get up and look for a trail. To hike to the canyon campsite, go to N 35.00.250 W 111.46.649.

"Cracks" Landmark - After doing the 100-yard-creek-walk, hike for about twenty minutes. You run into a section of the creek where it's all rock (no dirt or paths on either side). There are a couple of large cracks in the creek bed, about a foot wide, about knee deep, and running across the length of the creek. Continue around the bend, and you should see lots of high ground on the right side of the creek. Find a safe way up and walk down the trail.

Narrows, Swimming Landmark - After doing the 100-yard-creek-walk, hike for about twenty minutes. You run into a narrow section of deep water. You think, "If walking through a few feet of water made my feet go numb, there is no way I'm swimming through this stuff." You then notice high ground on the right side of the creek that might allow you to walk around the deep water. Chances are you're right below the canyon campsite. Simply look around for a trail up. This section comes after the cracks mentioned above.

There's plenty of running water to filter by the campsites. It takes some time to become familiar with them, but there are a number of side trails that go directly down to the water. In other words, if you need to filter water, you don't need to go all the way back to the start of the trail.

I'm not sure if this area is considered bear country or not. To play it safe, you might want to leave all your food outside of your tent and a distance from your campsite.

Camping in late October, I was comfortable with a 20 degree down bag.

Finally, you can climb up the canyon walls and get above the tree line. To do so, climb up the hill behind the canyon campsite. Look for a steep, continuous vein that looks like it goes all the way to the top of the peaks. It sort of looks like a giant, red rock staircase. Anyhow, just scramble up the vein as far as you can go. The rock is soft and loose, and you might have to pull yourself up at times, but the views are pretty amazing.
_____________________
Sep 27 2003
Kip
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 Guides 2
 Triplogs 7


 Joined Aug 30 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Fossil Springs Trail #18 - Fossil CreekCamp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 27 2003
Kip
Backpack4.48 Miles 1,391 AEG
Backpack4.48 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   2.99 mph
1,391 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Spend the vacation day: Hike in on Sunday; hike out on Monday... Spend the vacation day: Hike in on Sunday; hike out on Monday...Spend the vacation day...I apologize for the repetition, but the point needs to be driven home. There is nothing worse than leaving Fossil Springs around 10 AM on Sunday, noticing that all the campsites are empty, and realizing how amazing the place would have been on Sunday/Monday instead of Saturday/Sunday.

The hike is basically a series of downhill switchbacks. After you level out, you follow the creek until you reach the dam or wherever it is that you want to camp. If I remember correctly, the worst part of the hike on the way back is just after the gate. This leg consists of a number of long, narrow switchbacks with large rocks covering the path. Don't worry: Get past this section and things get easier. Some best guesses here...

0 miles -- trailhead, start of switchback descent
2.2 miles -- hike flattens out temporarily, first good view of the trees around the creek
3.22 miles -- gate and wire fence
3.33 miles -- end of switchbacks, start of level ground, small fork in trail (stay left)
3.36 miles -- first sign of water (on this trip at least), start of creek flowing east/west
4.48 miles -- dam and flume

There are a number of great campsites. As described later, choose your campsite based on where you want to swim. If you are camping, a bug hat or some netting should be mandatory. The gnats have no mercy and constantly try to get into your eyes, ears, and mouth. If you don't mind sitting in the smoke of a campfire all day, the wood in the area produces a lot of smoke and keeps the bugs away.

Start of creek - Towards the start of the creek there is a large clearing that is great for camping. On the weekends, it looks like this is where all the Boy Scouts go. As a last resort, you can avoid the kids by heading up the hill behind the clearing. Note, however, that there's a lot of dug-up paper lying around this area, and you can probably do better.

Middle of creek - There are a number of choice spots towards the middle of the creek, but most of them are on the south side. Find a flat spot to cross the creek and have someone scout ahead to see if a good spot is available.

Dam - There is a choice spot right before the dam on the north side of the creek. You probably have to show up early to get this one, and as described below, this site only makes sense if you like jumping off rocks into the pool by the dam.

Where you want to swim depends on your personality.

Start of creek - Towards the start of the creek there is a large pool that is fed by a nice, two-step waterfall. If you like a lazy swim and floating on your back, this is the place for you.

Middle of creek - If you walk down the creek, you'll run into a nice waterfall that feeds into the creek from the north side, some fast currents, and a second pool. The second pool has a rope swing and a big rock to jump off of. It also has lots of people who like to do those things.

Dam - The dam has a swimming area along with some rope swings (a bit hairy) and rock walls to jump off of if that's your thing. It also has underwater areas to explore. A word of caution: This area is pretty steep and slick, especially when wearing sandals. It's not for everyone. There are two ways to enter the pool. The easiest way is to walk past the dam on the north side and circle back on flat ground. Some people hop over the flume by the dam. This side is the easiest way to get out of the water and get back to your gear. You can get to the pool on the south side by crossing the creek before the dam and climbing down with the help of a guide rope. The rocks are slick and steep here, and this is not for everyone. It's harder to get out of the water on this side of the pool and get back to your gear. You have to climb up a small rock wall to get out of the water. Lots of people can do it, but it might be too tough for some.

If you are looking to get an early start, it looks like a number of people camp out overnight at the trailhead. I don't know if this is frowned upon, but I didn't see any signs stating that it was prohibited. The trailhead has a pit toilet and no running water. If you don't mind car camping, the Houston Mesa campsite is just off I-87 in Payson, and it offers water, flush toilets, fire pits, and tables. Houston Mesa is nice, but, at $15 and $7 per additional car, it is expensive.
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Jun 28 2003
Kip
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 Guides 2
 Triplogs 7


 Joined Aug 30 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Walnut CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 28 2003
Kip
Hiking 400 AEG
Hiking
400 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Do Walnut Canyon early in the day. If it's getting close to 5 PM, skip it or plan on doing it the next day. Basically, the park is open until 6 PM, but the trail to the bottom of the canyon closes firmly at 5 PM. So, you can pay to enter the park at 4:45 PM, walk around up top for a few minutes, and then not be able to hike to the bottom of the canyon because it's now 5 PM. Furthermore, it's $5 per person to enter the park. The entrance fee is good for seven days; so if you miss the 5 PM cutoff, you can always do the hike the next day.

The trail to the bottom is located in the visitors center. The outside trail that you first come across simply takes you a short distance along the rim to a scenic overlook.

To get to Walnut Canyon, take I 40 East out of Flagstaff for about seven or eight miles. The freeway exit is clearly marked Walnut Canyon.

The free and alternative way to view the canyon is to hike the Arizona Trail. To get to the Arizona Trail, simply follow the Walnut Canyon directions. After you exit the freeway, look for the Arizona Trail sign on the right side of the road. It comes before the Walnut Canyon park entrance, and it's a short drive over a manageable dirt road. Just follow the signs. Once at the trailhead, follow the Designated RT signs, and you'll find yourself walking into the backside of the canyon, or facing the visitors center. I'm not sure if you are allowed to go off trail and enter the canyon floor from here or not. If you follow the trail further, a scenic overlook awaits. When heading back, make sure to follow the Designated RT signs; there are a few crosscut trails that you might end up walking down by accident.
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May 10 2003
Kip
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 Guides 2
 Triplogs 7


 Joined Aug 30 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Secret Canyon Trail #121Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Backpack avatar May 10 2003
Kip
Backpack5.00 Miles 400 AEG
Backpack5.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   2.00 mph
400 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Converted to Hike Description as of 05-16-2003
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Apr 07 2003
Kip
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 Guides 2
 Triplogs 7


 Joined Aug 30 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Aravaipa CanyonGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 07 2003
Kip
Backpack11.00 Miles 200 AEG
Backpack11.00 Miles3 Days         
200 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
As of 05-16-2003 serving as the HAZ Hike Description
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Feb 26 2003
Kip
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 Guides 2
 Triplogs 7


 Joined Aug 30 2002
 Phoenix, AZ
Flatiron Hike - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Feb 26 2003
Kip
Backpack4.80 Miles 2,780 AEG
Backpack4.80 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   0.87 mph
2,780 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Backpacking Notes:

As the summary states, there is no water source. Hiking in late February, in the late afternoon, and pre-hydrating heavily before the hike, I got by pretty easily with six liters of water for an overnight trip. Note that I didn't use much water for cooking.

In late February, I would suggest camping between the "weird" rock formations at the top. Simply follow the white dots up past the saddle, and you'll find yourself surrounded by some weird rock formations. Not only do they look cool, but they act as a wind break as well, which you'll need in the early morning hours.

In late February with a forecasted low of 43 degrees, I managed with a set of thermals, a thirty-degree mummy bag, and a jacket. Make sure to subtract some degrees from the forecast due to the elevation.

There are two spots where you might have to lower your pack. These both occur as you start your hike down from the saddle.

With an estimated 30-pound pack, it took me two and a half hours to get to the top. Give yourself plenty of time as you certainly don't want to finish this hike in the dark.

If you're not that agile or in the best of shape, do this as a day-hike first and see how you like it.

If you're staying overnight, please purchase an overnight parking permit, I think $12, at the park entrance. To make a long story short, if you buy a day pass and camp overnight, the rangers will see your car the next morning and think that you are a lost or injured hiker. Hikers get lost and injured quite a bit in this area; so it is something the rangers take seriously.

Overall, the views are amazing, the rocks cool, and, in late February, we had the entire place to ourselves, which is unbelievable. Since it looks like urban sprawl is quickly turning this trail into Squaw Peak East, I would strongly suggest getting this trip off your "to do" list before it becomes too crowded.
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average hiking speed 1.84 mph

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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