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514 triplogs
Aug 12 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
 Triplogs 520

75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Scenic Drive Up the Green River Valley, WY 
Scenic Drive Up the Green River Valley, WY
 
Scenic Drive avatar Aug 12 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Scenic Drive100.00 Miles
Scenic Drive100.00 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
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The last stop on our exploration in northwest Wyoming was Pinedale in the Green River Valley near the Wind River Mountains. There we setup base camp for 2 nights in the Hampton Inn. Pinedale makes a good basecamp for visiting the Wind River Mountains with a selection of places to stay and good restaurants. The afternoon of arrival we visited the Museum of the Mountain Man which I would recommend if you’re interested in the early history of this area. The Mountain Men had an annual rendezvous to sell their furs in the Green Valley in the Late 1820s thru early 1830s, and the Oregon Trail crossed over the Rockies through this valley.

The next day was devoted to the scenic drive following the Green River up the valley to where it flows out of a lake of the same name surrounded by rugged granite mountains. The total round trip driving distance from Pinedale is 100 miles with much of it on the gravel 2WD capable Green River Lakes Road. The drive starts out with vistas across the broad valley with the Green River meandering through the green pastures and hayfields of cattle ranches. We made frequent stops to enjoy the scenic vistas and read the sign boards with interesting info on local history. The sky was relatively clear of smoke and the scenery was breath taking so we thoroughly enjoyed this part of our trip.

The road ends at the first Green River Lake where there is a campground and a trailhead for a trail that goes around the lake and continues on up the river past a second Green River Lake going deep into the mountains. This TH also provides access to the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail which follows the northeast side of the lake. The lake views are stunning with Square Mountain and other granite peaks visible deep in the Bridger Wilderness past the end of the lake.
Fauna
Fauna
Pronghorn
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Aug 09 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
 Triplogs 520

75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Scenic Loop Through the Bighorn Mountains, WY 
Scenic Loop Through the Bighorn Mountains, WY
 
Scenic Drive avatar Aug 09 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Scenic Drive200.00 Miles
Scenic Drive200.00 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
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The last scenic drive out of our base camp in Cody went east across the Bighorn Basin to the Bighorn Mountains. Our route was a loop starting out on US 14-Alt exiting the north side of Cody and crossing the Bighorn Basin through Powell and Lovell then climbing steeply in a series of switchbacks into the Bighorn Mountains. US 14-Alt then turns southeast along the mountains, picking up the name “Medicine Wheel Passage Scenic Byway”, until it reaches the Burgess Junction with US 14 named the “Bighorn Scenic Byway”. We turned south on this highway from the junction for the return portion of the loop back to Cody where it enters on the south side of town for a total driving distance of 200 miles.

This drive through the Bighorns had been recommended by a local couple we met on our drive up Wood River the day before. One of the benefits of having Mrs. OH along on these trips is that she picks up all kinds of good info while yakking it up with other sight-seers while I’m taking photos. She told them about our drive through Yellowstone and that she was disappointed not to have seen any moose. That’s when her new friends of the moment recommended this drive for its scenery and also guaranteed we would see moose from the highway. They were correct on both counts but in error on their estimate of the distance which ended up being almost twice as far as they had told us.

The scenery along US 14-Alt on its way through the mountains is reminiscent of the White Mountains in AZ with large grass covered meadows through which streams meander and are surrounded by tree covered hills and peaks. The highway follows the North Tongue River for several miles where it flows through marshy meadows. A few fly fisherpersons were trying their luck. This is where we had our first and only moose sightings of the trip. On the return part of the loop, US 14 passes Shell Falls as it descends to Bighorn Basin. The Bighorn National Forest has installed a very nice short, paved trail to viewpoints of the falls and the deep canyon below. We were making our way along this trail when one of the other visitors offered to take a photo of Mrs. OH and I. A nice offer which we took him up on. After seeing me struggling with the nerve pain in my right leg, he also offered this advice in a hushed voice: “Remember these three words, “Botox” and “Snail Toxin”, they’ll take care of that pain.” I remember those words but have only gone as far as looking up snail toxin. It’s the deadly toxin of a sea snail that kills by paralyzing its victim’s nerves – Yup, that would do it.

This was a pleasant drive with very little traffic with nice views. The moose sighting only stopped 2 other cars, not like the mile long rows of cars down both shoulders of the road that you’d see in Yellowstone. My only regret is that in looking at the maps, I see there were several scenic viewpoints we missed.
Fauna
Fauna
Moose
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Aug 08 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
 Triplogs 520

75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Scenic Drive Up Wood River Canyon, WY 
Scenic Drive Up Wood River Canyon, WY
 
Scenic Drive avatar Aug 08 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Scenic Drive130.00 Miles
Scenic Drive130.00 Miles
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1st trip
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This was a scenic drive up the Wood River canyon in the Absaroka Mountains. The canyon is located 38 driving miles south of the center of Cody where Mrs. OH and I had our “base camp”. I chose this destination after seeing information at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody that Amelia Earhart had a cabin built in this canyon after visiting a dude ranch near there. The road ends at the Kirwin mining ghost town and the cabin site is a mile further up the river on a trail. Amelia’s cabin was never completed due to her unfortunate disappearance on her around-the-world flight in 1937. I’ve seen photos of what remains of the cabin and there’s not much left but it is in a picturesque location. The ghost town is of some interest. Some of the buildings are in fairly good shape and are being restored by a volunteer group. The trail to the cabin continues on up the canyon into the heart of the mountains making this a worthy hiking destination.

Wood River Road is paved for about the first 11 miles and then becomes well maintained gravel for the next 8 miles to the Brown Mtn Campground entrance. From there it starts getting a little rough but ok for 2wd moderate clearance vehicles. About 2.7 miles past the CG it crosses the Wood River with no benefit of a bridge. This would be the end of the road if the river is high which would be likely during spring runoff. A short distance from this crossing it uses the river bed as a road for about 200 yds. Again, not drivable if the river is high which it wasn’t on this day but Mrs. OH wasn’t real wild about 4-wheeling it up a flowing river bed. The river bed was all gravel, the water was crystal clear and below axle height for our FJ’s 31 inch tires so all was good. It’s about 6.2 miles from the first bridgeless river crossing to the end of the road at the site of the Kirwin mining ghost town. Total distance from the turnoff on to Wood River Road and its end is about 27.2 miles.
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Aug 05 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and Buffalo Bill Dam, WY 
Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and Buffalo Bill Dam, WY
 
Scenic Drive avatar Aug 05 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Scenic Drive63.00 Miles
Scenic Drive63.00 Miles   63 Hrs      1.00 mph
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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After leaving our base camp at the K-Bar-Z guest ranch Mrs. OH and I drove 55 miles to the town of Cody, WY. In Cody we would set up our second base camp of the trip starting in a hotel and then in a VRBO apartment. Both places were within walking distance of restaurants and other sights in town. This did me no good with my recently acquired hiking disability but was much more to the liking of Mrs. OH compared to the isolated rustic guest ranch.

The drive to Cody started out on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway (HW296) which descends through part of the Absaroka Mountains from its intersection with the Beartooth Highway (HW212) on its way to connect to HW120 in the Bighorn Basin. We had planned on spending a couple days hiking on trails along this route but had to cross those off the list. We found the CJ Byway to be worthy of a scenic drive triplog.

This highway was named for Chief Joseph because it follows part of the route his band of Nez Perce Indians took to elude the US Cavalry in the Fall of 1887 on their attempted escape to Canada. (The Nez Perce War) Our first stop was the Sunlight Bridge Overlook. This bridge crosses the deep cliff walled gorge of Sunlight Creek which flows northeast to its confluence with the North Fork Yellowstone River.

Next was a stop at the Dead Indian Pass Overlook on Dead Indian Hill. According to accounts the Nez Perce left a wounded warrior on this hill during their escape. He was discovered and killed by Army scouts. Thus the origination of the name “Dead Indian Hill”. The highway switchbacks up a steep hillside to the pass and there are some great views from there.

We arrived at Cody too early to check into our hotel, so we drove out to the Buffalo Bill Dam on the North Fork Shoshone River. It’s only 7.7 miles from downtown Cody on the highway which leads to the Yellowstone Park East Entrance. This was a worthy side trip so I’ve included it in this triplog.

William “Buffalo Bill” Cody along with a consortium of businessmen founded Cody in 1896. Foreseeing a need to provide irrigation water for the Buffalo Horn Basin, they formed the Shoshone Land and Irrigation Company. Their plans envisioned a dam on the Shoshone River to meet that need. In 1902, the Newlands Reclamation Act created the U.S. Reclamation Service and decreed that all funds received by the federal government from the disposition and sale of public lands in the 16 western states were to be used to construct dam and irrigation systems that were too large and too costly to be undertaken by the private sector. The Shoshone River Valley Project was the first begun after the passage of the Newlands Act, a dam site was selected, and construction began in 1905 followed by completion in 1910. At the time of its completion it was the tallest dam in the world at a height of 325 feet.
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Aug 04 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Scenic Driver over Beartooth Pass, WY 
Scenic Driver over Beartooth Pass, WY
 
Scenic Drive avatar Aug 04 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Scenic Drive147.00 Miles
Scenic Drive147.00 Miles   9 Hrs      16.33 mph
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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This was our first venture out of base camp at the K-Bar-Z guest ranch. The plan was to take a scenic drive on the Beartooth Scenic Byway (HW212) to Red Lodge, MT through the Beartooth Mountains. We had planned to take several side trips along that route to scenic viewpoints and hiking destinations over a period of 4 days. These mountains have intrigued me ever since I first saw photos from that area last year.

Our first side trip off the highway was to Clay Butte Lookout which I was hoping would provide great views into the interior of the Absaroka–Beartooth Wilderness and of several of the hundreds of lakes in the area. Unfortunately, we discovered that the road to the lookout was closed. So, we continued on the highway towards Red Lodge stopping at the Top of The World store so Mrs OH could checkout souvenirs and post cards.

Next was a side trip to Island Lake and the Beartooth High Lakes Trailhead. There was a beautiful view across the lake towards the granite peaks in the distance, but those views were obscured by wildfire smoke. The High Lakes Trail had been top priority on my hiking to-do list and I recommend it for hikers going to this area. Unfortunately, that hiking to-do list had to be scratched for this trip due to my lower back problem. So, no hiking triplogs for this trip, just scenic drive triplogs.

A side note: Our visit to the popular High Lakes TH confirmed one of our reasons for visiting this area. While viewpoint and trailhead parking lots in nearby Yellowstone were filled to over flowing, there were only 2 other cars in the High Lakes TH parking lot.

After enjoying the views at Island Lake, we continued the drive on the Beartooth Highway stopping at several locations to take photos. The highway switchbacks up to Beartooth Pass at 10,947ft where a viewpoint provides amazing views of the rugged mountains and valleys to the west and north. The bear tooth shaped spire, for which the mountains are named, can be seen in the far-off distance. Also seen from this viewpoint is the deep Rock Creek Canyon which has a road up the bottom from its intersection with the Beartooth Highway. It leads to the trailhead for Glacier Lake. This was another drive and hike on our abandoned to-do list which I recommend based on my research for this trip.

From Beartooth Pass, the highway quickly descends in a series of switchbacks into Rock Creek canyon and follows that creek northeast to Red Lodge. We found Red Lodge to be a beautiful small town with a well-preserved old town along the highway. At this point we decided to back track on the Beartooth Highway all the way to Cooke City just outside the northeast entrance to Yellowstone Park to have dinner and refuel before returning to the K-Bar-Z guest ranch. We had decided to cut short our planned 5-day exploration of the Beartooths due to my hike ending back problem and the wildfire induced smoky haze which had pretty much destroyed any long distance views of the mountains.
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Aug 01 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Drive to N Yellowstone and K-Bar-Z Ranch, WY 
Drive to N Yellowstone and K-Bar-Z Ranch, WY
 
Scenic Drive avatar Aug 01 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Scenic Drive1,095.00 Miles
Scenic Drive1,095.00 Miles3 Days         
 no routes
1st trip
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Mrs. OH and I started off on a 19 day driving trip on Aug 1 to the north part of Wyoming to spend time exploring the beautiful Beartooth, Absaroka and Wind River Mountains in Wyoming and then drive back through Colorado visiting a friend and exploring the San Juan Mountains. These ranges are all part of the Rocky Mountains. We were looking forward to the trip where we would set up a base camp in four different locations to stay for several days while we explored the area on scenic drives and hikes. Unfortunately, hikes had to be taken out of the agenda after the first day when I got a flareup of the sciatic nerve problem I had thought was under control. I could only walk about 100ft before being stopped by intense pain radiating out of my lower back and into my right hip. We decided to tough it out restricting our sightseeing to scenic drives.

It was a three day drive up through Nevada, Utah, Idaho and across Yellowstone Park to our first “base Camp” at the K-Bar-Z Guest Ranch near the Clark’s Fork Yellowstone River about 15 miles south of the WY-MT border. We did not intend to stop for sightseeing on the drive across Yellowstone – been there, done that. But Sue was hoping to get lots of wildlife photos while I drove. We entered the park around noon on a Tuesday. It was packed. There was a one hour lineup of cars to get through the West Yellowstone entrance. Every sightseeing attraction had parking lots overflowing plus cars lined up for a mile along the road shoulder. This slowed down traffic well below the 45 mph speed limit. Unfortunately, the only wild life visible along the roads were the buffalo but they were entertaining.

We had planned to stay at the K-Bar-Z guest ranch for 5 nights. It is in a beautiful location in a small river valley, the Clarks Fork Yellowstone River, surrounded by the Absaroka and Wind River Mountains – a perfect central location for a base camp to explore the area. This place had been recommended to me by a high school classmate who grew up in southern Montana near this area and her family had a summer cabin not far from the ranch until it got destroyed by a landslide some years ago.

The guest ranch turned out to be a little more rustic than I had hoped for Mrs. OH's sake. The ranch is in a remote area not having many places to stay other than campgrounds because the nearby Yellowstone Park 50 miles away sucks up the tourists (a good thing). The nearest restaurants and gas station were 25 miles away in Cooke City, MT. There were no phone, cell phone, wi-fi or tv services in the guest cabins. But the lack of communications fit in with my plan to avoid news headlines for the entire trip. The ranch accommodates up to 35 guests. It has been here a long time and was run by 3 generations of a family who had bought it about 30 years ago. Very nice people. Family style meals are served in the small lodge. Horseback riding, fishing, and guided pack trips into the back country are all available.

We got our own tiny cabin at the ranch with 4 bunk beds in a small, combined bedroom and sitting room with a nice natural stone fireplace. The interior of the cabin looked like it had 30-year-old furnishings (and dust) including the bed mattresses and carpet. The bathroom was so tiny that only one person could use it at a time. The shower was so small even Mrs OH could barely turn around in it. The instant-on propane water heater tended to operate intermittently occasionally dousing a showering person with ice cold water. Mrs. OH got soaked with ice cold water in the shower just minutes after she had applied shampoo to her hair. I got that fixed in time for her to finish her shower so thought things were under control. But then she saw something crawling on the carpet just outside the bathroom door – it looked like a black earth worm but had rows of tiny legs covering its entire length. It brought up a bad memory for her of a camping experience our first year of marriage where giant centipedes were trying to invade our tent. I’m used to camping in places with no facilities, bugs crawling on the ground, mice getting into by car, etc. So, “camping” in the rustic cabin was quite an improvement over my usual accommodations plus a hot meal served to you at the beginning and end of the day but not exactly Mrs. OH’s cup of tea.

On its good side, the family/owners of the place were very friendly and shared stories of their experiences in this remote place around the dinner table that first night. The ranch was in a beautiful setting with a small lake near the lodge with sandhill cranes nesting along the shores surrounded by grassy swamp land and forest. The lodge had a kitchen and dining room that served breakfast and dinner and would provide sack lunches. We had dinner there the first night and they served good homestyle food – a hearty spaghetti with meat, a hot vegetable dish (fresh broccoli) and a large salad. It was a pleasant experience meeting other guests. Also fun to meet the 18 member firefighting crew that came there for breakfast and dinner every day from their large tent camp somewhere nearby. So, I would definitely stay there again but probably not Mrs. OH. 😊

We stayed at the ranch 2 nights taking a scenic drive over Beartooth pass on day 2. But with not being able to go on our planned hikes in the area, the mountains being obscured by wildfire smoke, and the rustic conditions at our cabin, we decided to cut short our stay there and proceed on to our second planned “base camp’ in Cody, WY.
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May 29 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
 Triplogs 520

75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Merritt - Barbershop Short LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 29 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking6.70 Miles 592 AEG
Hiking6.70 Miles   6 Hrs   4 Mns   1.10 mph
592 ft AEG
 
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I was on a 2 night campout on the Mogollon Rim with my 10 year old Grandson, Michael, and his Dad, Lloyd, over the Memorial Weekend. We camped at our favorite spot, Camp Grasshopper #3 down FR 139C on the rim of Barbershop Canyon. This spot has been a favorite place on the rim for Lloyd and daughter Elizabeth to take their family camping over the last 9 years since Lloyd and I first met Grasshopper in July 2012 when he was camped at Camp GH #3 and we were camped about 0.2 miles away at Camp GH #2.

Michael wanted to explore Barbershop Canyon so I dusted off an old gps track from 2015 which would lead us directly to the bottom of the canyon from camp. From there we would take the loop going down Barbershop Canyon and then coming back up Merritt Draw. I was concerned about taking Michael down the very steep and somewhat treacherous canyon side at that location. GH prefers a safer route about a quarter mile up canyon but I've always liked shortcuts and had taken this route back in 2015. As it turned out, the only one of the three of us that I should have been worried about was me. Both Michael and Lloyd scampered down the steep slope finding a doable route while I was carefully creeping and butt sliding my way to the bottom. I don't recommend this route for climbing out of the canyon.

We took our time taking in the beauty of this canyon and for Michael finding challenges to his budding climbing ability at every opportunity. Elk trails provided convenient routes around log jams and dead fall. There was a trickle of water flowing down the stream with only occasional stretches of dry creek bed. The pools got larger and more frequent as we neared the U-Bar Trail crossing and many of the pools had schools of minnows and a few larger fish up to about 10 inches long. There appeared to be two different species among the larger fish. The most abundant appeared very dark in color, almost black, with a wide red stripe running the full length of its sides. These did not appear to be trout. The second type of which there were very few were definitely trout, probably rainbow, based on examining a photo taken by Lloyd.

The lower part of Merritt Draw had lots of dead fall blocking passage up the bottom of the canyon. There were Elk trails around many of these obstacles, some requiring detours up the steep sided canyon walls. Some required crawling under or over fallen logs. All these obstacles and the warm afternoon temperatures were depleting what little energy I had left but Michael and Lloyd seemed unfazed. The creek bed was mostly dry but there were a few pools and small trickles of water coming out of two springs on the hillside. The largest pool was at Drift Fence Spring, a popular watering hole for wild critters.

Back at camp we all agreed that this had been the best hike we'd taken from Camp GH over the years of coming here.
Fauna
Fauna
Peregrine Falcon
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May 28 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
 Triplogs 520

75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Merritt Draw Short Loop, AZ 
Merritt Draw Short Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 28 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking4.03 Miles 416 AEG
Hiking4.03 Miles   2 Hrs   23 Mns   1.69 mph
416 ft AEG
 
This was our first hike of a two night stay during Memorial Day weekend at Camp Grasshopper - Mogollon Rim-C/Site3 with my Son-in-Law and Grandson. We arrived at the campsite late Friday morning. After setting up camp we took this loop hike from camp through the meadows in upper Merritt Draw. We started out taking the closed road FR9735p from FR139C to Merritt Draw then up the draw to the meadows. This seems to be a favorite area for elk and we were not disappointed coming upon a small herd which quickly disappeared. This was a familiar hike for the three of us having done it together at least twice before during family camps on previous Memorial Day weekends and it's always a pleaser. After returning to camp Son-in-Law Lloyd set out a table full of snacks rivaling Grasshopper's after-hike offerings. Not to be out done, Grandpa later prepared a dinner of carne asada fajitas. It was a great start to the weekend.
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May 18 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Fall River Loop, OR 
Fall River Loop, OR
 
Hiking avatar May 18 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking4.61 Miles 635 AEG
Hiking4.61 Miles   2 Hrs   24 Mns   2.08 mph
635 ft AEG      11 Mns Break
 
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Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
The Fall River Loop is in the LaPine State Park, Oregon. This park encompasses stretches of two scenic rivers, the Deschutes River and the Fall River, which are known for excellent fishing although this was a sight seeing trip and not a fishing trip. My wife and I were on a four day visit to this area of Oregon to visit Sue's cousin and his wife who had invited us to stay with them in a nice townhouse in Sunriver near Bend. Our hike started at the McGregor Memorial Viewpoint but there are several locations along the trail accessible by road which could be used as starting points. This hike was one of our side trips to explore the area. It is an easy 4.6 mile walk on a groomed trail with little elevation gain. The first half of the trail is along the two rivers and is amazing for their views of these beautiful rivers. The rivers beg old fishermen like Mark and I to grab our fly rods and hit the banks. The other half of the trail loops back through thick 2nd or 3rd growth forest and is not that remarkable. If I were to do it again I would make it an out-and-back along the rivers and extend it further up a trail which follows the Fall River (and bring my fly rod). :)

Note: The gps track is a little funky not showing the first mile due to my inexperience at using Route Scout. I activated tracking at the beginning of the hike and stuck my Smartphone in my pocket while it was attempting to download maps off a spotty cell phone connection. For some unknown reason it failed to record our track for that first mile.
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May 18 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Benham FallsNortheast, OR
Northeast, OR
Hiking avatar May 18 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking2.00 Miles
Hiking2.00 Miles
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Benham Falls is a popular attraction near Bend Oregon on the Deschutes River for both hikers and bikers. It is not a vertical falls but is a quarter mile long spectacular cascade roaring down a steep section of the river. There is a well groomed trail along the west side of the river which provides excellent views of the Falls. An out and back hike of about 2 miles from the East side across a foot bridge takes you along the river to the falls.

There are Trailheads at parking lots on both the east and west sides of the river for day use. These trailheads also provide access to longer hiking and bike trails following the east and west banks of the river. The east side parking lot is probably the easiest and quickest access by car on paved roads a few miles off of Highway 97. Just input "Benham Falls East Trailhead" into the gps you use for driving and it should show you the way. There is a footbridge that crosses the river to the Falls trail on the west side. Passes are required for this Deschutes NF Day Use area. According to the Deschutes National Forest website, acceptable passes include: $5 Day Pass, Northwest Forest Pass, Interagency Senior Pass plus several other less common passes. There is a vending machine at the parking lot for $5 Day Passes but it was out of order on the day we were there. With 3 Senior passes in our 4 person group we were set.
Named place
Named place
Benham Falls
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Mar 22 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
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 Triplogs 520

75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Greenback PeakGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking5.20 Miles 1,357 AEG
Hiking5.20 Miles   5 Hrs   42 Mns   0.91 mph
1,357 ft AEG
 
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Grasshopper
This was the most spectacular hike of our 7 night camping trip to Redmond Mesa due to the amazing views and the ancient fortress on top of this peak. We chose to start the hike at the Dupont Cabin rather than the starting point on the official trail and drive in from the NE side of the peak on FR236 from FR609 rather than up FR236 from the west side. F236 between FR609 and Dupont Cabin has some rough stretches requiring 4WD and high clearance plus some minor AZ striping as you maneuver around some clearance issues. GH insisted on me not driving up the last very steep section of FR236 from the Dupont Cabin to the official hike starting point. Something about a bad experience with a broken shock mount on @sk44 's vehicle during a previous journey up that section of road. This added 1 mile and 540 ft additional AEG but it's better than being stranded with a stuck or busted vehicle out in the boonies.

The hike follows an old abandoned road (not shown on HAZ maps) from the Dupont cabin up and across the hillside on the NE side of Greenback Peak. Then it's a "short" off-trail hike (almost a scramble) straight up the hillside to connect with the official track which we then followed up the slope to the east end of the top of Greenback. This 11+ year old track by @PrestonSands did a good job of leading us around the many obstacles including thickets of manzanita and massive rock outcroppings. Once on top of the east end of the peak we worked our way along the top towards the west end through and around lots of manzanita. A small set of ruin walls was encountered not far from the east end, then we came to a much larger fortress type ruin near the west end. This ruin has a massive 3.5 ft thick outer defensive wall on the NE side with a row of rooms along the inside face of the wall. The cliff on the SW side provides protection from intruders on that side. The inhabitants had amazing long distance views in all directions. The defensive wall was built with many large rocks that would have required 2 or more people to carry to the wall location and lift into place.

For the route back we had decided to make a lollipop loop by following a track that was visible on Google Earth along the top of a ridge and then dropping down the end of the ridge to connect with the old road we had followed on the way in. Following the old track was easy using the planning track plotted on Google Earth but the descent down the end of the ridge required some route finding through thickets of brush. I didn't think this route was any more difficult than the incoming route we had taken and I always prefer doing loop hikes to out-and-back when ever possible. However GH thought the return route was more difficult and maybe took a little longer due to the route finding but he was just anxious to get back to camp while it was still warm enough for his daily afternoon bath. : wink :
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Mar 21 2021
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 Guides 9
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Indian Camp Canyon, AZ 
Indian Camp Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.29 Miles 205 AEG
Hiking3.29 Miles   3 Hrs   56 Mns   0.87 mph
205 ft AEG      8 Mns Break
 
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Grasshopper
This hike provides a good example of picturesque red sandstone sculpted by eons of rushing flash floods that is typical of most of the canyons in this area and it is probably one of the easiest to access. A short drive down FR486 from FR609 off of HW288, all 2WD moderate clearance capable in dry weather, brings you to the head of this canyon. Springs keep a trickle of water running down the creek bed much of the year and there are numerous car camp sites near where we started the hike.

We took our time wandering down the canyon taking lots of photos. It was fairly easy hiking with only small pour offs causing minor route finding. I was thinking about why the canyon was named Indian Camp and kept scanning the hillsides and benches above the creek for ruin walls with no luck. I suspect the canyon got its name from Indians camping near the semi perennial springs at the head of the canyon back in the 1870-1880s when small groups of Indian hunter/gatherers still roamed these mountains. We noted some bench areas above the high water line to explore for Indian Ruins on another hike later in the week.
Culture
Culture
Ghost?
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Mar 20 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Middle Mtn Explore - NW Sierra Ancha, AZ 
Middle Mtn Explore - NW Sierra Ancha, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 20 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking2.76 Miles 291 AEG
Hiking2.76 Miles   2 Hrs   34 Mns   1.13 mph
291 ft AEG      8 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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Grasshopper
The purpose of this hike was to check out what appeared to be a ruin wall on Google Earth with access provided by a road which wrapped around the south end of Middle Mountain where the "wall" was located. This road does not appear on maps but could be clearly seen on Google Earth. I was curious about the purpose of the road. The hike starts on FR236 near the Cataract Tank. We easily found the mysterious road and it made a good hiking trail although it is not drivable due to a washout and at least one fallen tree. After a short uphill scramble to the "wall" location we discovered it was only a rock outcropping about 3 feet tall. After putting up with some ribbing from GH we did some exploring in the nearby area looking for signs of ancient habitation but found none. We then returned to the road and followed it to its end.

Near the end of the road we found three holes in the center of the road spaced at about 100 yd intervals. The vertical holes were about 8 inches in diameter. Dropping a rock in one of the holes it took 11 seconds before it hit an obstruction that stopped it. My best guess is that these were drill holes for obtaining prospecting core samples. The sole purpose of the road was to provide access for the drilling equipment. Evidently nothing of value was found because there was no evidence of mining activity. Edit added 4/3/21: Some quick research using a map of mining claims in Gila Co. indicates that this location may be the site of a claim titled "Cataract Uranium Deposit" with the development status listed as "Prospect" which explains the core sample drilling with no subsequent mining activity.

Having satisfied our curiosity about the purpose of the road and striking out on finding ancient ruins, we returned to the car and drove down FR236 to Buckaroo Flats for another short hike. This section of FR236 had some rough sections requiring 4WD and high clearance.
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Mar 20 2021
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 Guides 9
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 Photos 6,998
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
JR Ranch Viewpt on Buckaroo Flats, AZ 
JR Ranch Viewpt on Buckaroo Flats, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 20 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking0.68 Miles 55 AEG
Hiking0.68 Miles   1 Hour   20 Mns   0.62 mph
55 ft AEG      14 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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Grasshopper
This was our second hike of the day, another short one to checkout Buckaroo Flats and a viewpoint from the SE end of the Flats overlooking the historic JR Ranch. Access to Buckaroo Flats is from FR236 from FR609. Arriving at Buckaroo Flats we were surprised to see large piles of old dead trees scattered across the Flats - kind of an eyesore. It appears that a tree clearing project probably started by the Forest Service to open more area for grazing hadn't yet reached the stage where they burn up all the piles of dead trees. A yellow bulldozer parked near FR236 contributed to that theory. However after arriving back home I checked out historical Google Earth images and discovered that this tree clearing project had started some time around June 2012 and appeared to have reached its current state by Jan 2014. The yellow bulldozer shows up in the Jan 2014 GE image parked in the same location where we saw it and stays in that spot through 4 subsequent images in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020. It appears to have been abandoned when the project was stopped sometime between 2012 and 2014. Perhaps in 700 years archeologists will find it and wonder what we ancients were up to.

I've been curious about the JR Ranch since first seeing it in the distance from Redmond Mesa 2 years ago. Since then I did some historical research but couldn't find much info on it. [ J R Ranch - Copper Mtn 7.5 Topo ] The viewpoint on the SE end of Buckaroo Flats gave us a closer look at it. It appears to be occupied at least part time with a US Flag on a flagpole in front of the ranch house and an old pickup truck parked out in front which has been moved between April 2019 and this visit in Mar 2021. There's also what appears to be a TV satellite dish antenna on the roof which was also there in 2019. So someone must have lived there long enough at least sometime before 2019 to justify putting in the dish antenna and presumably a generator to power the system. It doesn't appear to be an active cattle ranch - the corral doesn't appear to have been used recently. There are no horses or ATVs at the ranch even though there are so many cattle roaming Redmond Mesa that GH and I have renamed it Cowpie Mesa. So the mystery continues and I suspect it has history going back to the Pleasant Valley War.
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Mar 19 2021
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 Guides 9
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 Photos 6,998
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Cataract Canyon Views, AZ 
Cataract Canyon Views, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 19 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking0.62 Miles 63 AEG
Hiking0.62 Miles   1 Hour   17 Mns   0.63 mph
63 ft AEG      18 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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Grasshopper
This was a short hike to take a look at Cataract Canyon on our first full day of a 7 night camping trip to the Redmond Mesa area of the NW Sierra Ancha Mountains. We drove from our campsite on Redmond Mesa down FR2753 to FR486 (JR Ranch Road) then southwest on FR486 to a convenient place to start our short hike to the canyon rim. This section of FR486 is 2WD capable from FR609 but past our stopping point it becomes a steep, rocky, high clearance 4WD road with a locked gate at the entrance to the JR Ranch property.

The off trail hike was easy with very little elevation gain to deal with but some minor bushwhacking was required to reach good viewpoints. After the hike we returned to camp so GH could relax in his luxurious Camp Grasshopper. :roll: :zzz:
Geology
Geology
HooDoo
Named place
Named place
Buckaroo Flats Cataract Canyon
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Mar 14 2021
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Elephant Mtn Loop - Spur Cross, AZ 
Elephant Mtn Loop - Spur Cross, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 14 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking7.10 Miles 1,329 AEG
Hiking7.10 Miles   3 Hrs   47 Mns   1.88 mph
1,329 ft AEG
 
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My daughter and her family invited me to hike the Elephant Mtn Loop with them at the Spur Cross Conservation Area. It was a beautiful spring day. We saw 3 bright red Cardinals and a bobcat sauntering through the brush only 40 feet away. The trails were dampened by recent rain just enough to keep down the dust stirred up by the family herd as I struggled to keep up with them even though I managed to maintain a lively pace (for me) averaging 2 mph. They took turns staying back with their slow Grandpa. When I got back to the car three of the group were missing and showed up about 15 minutes later. They had gotten far ahead and taken a wrong turn at a trail intersection. :roll:
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Feb 19 2021
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 Guides 9
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
4x4 Scenic Drive to Thompson Mesa - S. Ancha, AZ 
4x4 Scenic Drive to Thompson Mesa - S. Ancha, AZ
 
4x4 Trip avatar Feb 19 2021
Oregon_Hiker
4x4 Trip
4x4 Trip
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Grasshopper
Grasshopper and I have been planning a 7 day camping/hiking trip for late March to Thompson Mesa in the western Sierra Ancha Mountains. We had spent weeks of off and on planning including creating detailed gps tracks for hikes and searching Google Earth for ancient ruins and possible campsites in the area. Then we decided maybe we should do a day trip ahead of time to make sure the 4x4 roads are drivable for our vehicles and to find a campsite big enough to accommodate GH's sizable camp kitchen. So off we went in GH's worthy 4-Runner to check it out - it turned out to be a wise decision.

The A-Cross Road from the Young Highway #288 to the turnoff to FR895 was in great condition - it had just been graded. FR895 is the preferred route to Thompson Mesa and the historic Boyer Cabin from A-Cross Road. The road was 2WD capable for the first 1.2 miles, then it got nasty steep with exposed rock outcroppings that posed some major clearance issues. At the worst spot it took much deliberation with both of us out of the vehicle pondering the best track to avoid getting high centered. I was ready to call it quits but GH got his 4-Runner through it. Looking back at that obstacle, GH decided that attempting this road when his 4-Runner was loaded with 7 days of camping gear including 26 gallons of water (he washes a lot of dishes and insists on taking a daily bath :roll:) was out of the question - we would have to give up on our planned March camping trip to Thompson Mesa. We decided to continue on to the Mesa since it would probably be my last opportunity to see that area - GH had been there a couple of times in the distant past when the road was in better condition (or he was driving his Grasshopper Jeep with extreme off-road modifications).

Many more challenging road conditions were encountered on the drive to our destination but none as bad as that first one. On the way we checked out several prospective camp sites that I had spotted on Google Earth. None turned out to be viable for a Camp Grasshopper. The last one we checked was one GH had spotted on GE. It was a good campsite with great views but didn't have large enough rock free clearings protected by trees for both GH's kitchen and his tent. Another reason to cancel our March plans. On the way to this last prospective campsite we took a short side trip to check out the Thompson Mesa ruin on a low hilltop near the road. It is fairly impressive with a number of rock walls still standing 3 to 5 feet tall but there appears to have been considerable restacking of the walls in recent times. It's been heavily visited over the years, you can drive to within 30 feet of the external walls. A brief search for pottery sherds was unsuccessful. But the views from this knob protruding above the mesa were impressive.

We decided to take FR97 on the return to A-Cross Road - it couldn't be any worse than FR895 and would provide new scenery. The start of this route off FR895 is actually FR895A based on the new signs marking the roads and joins up with FR97 about 3 miles down the road. This route turned out to be worse than FR895 with a number of obstacles having significant clearance issues. The last such obstacle caused a large bang on the underside of the car as we dropped off of it - fortunately no damage was done verifying the ruggedness of the 4-Runner's trailer hitch. Surprisingly it was a man made obstacle - a cattle guard. But probably the worst was a long steep downhill stretch covered with a deep layer of loose softball to football size rocks which were not so challenging on the way down but probably would have been impassable for the 4-Runner going up the hill. Off-road worthy vehicles with locking differentials might be able to climb this road but certainly not a fully loaded 4-Runner. We did encounter a couple of ATVs on the mesa but no full sized vehicles like the 4-Runner.

Although disappointed at having to abandon our plans for a week long camping expedition to Thompson Mesa it was a good day with beautiful clear sunny weather and amazing views. Very little hiking was involved but I did get a good upper body workout clinging to the passenger hand hold as we bounced over these rough roads.
Flora
Flora
Saguaro
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HAZ PicMimic HAZ Rides
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Jan 27 2021
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 392
 Photos 6,998
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Bootlegger Trail - MSPNPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 27 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking1.25 Miles 163 AEG
Hiking1.25 Miles
163 ft AEG
 
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Took a short hike up the Bootlegger Trail to get some photos of the snowcapped Mazatzal Mountains with the scenic granite formations and desert in the foreground. A nice escape from our condo compound.
Named place
Named place
Mazatzal Wilderness
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Jan 11 2021
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Spur Cross Meander, AZ 
Spur Cross Meander, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 11 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking6.60 Miles 1,439 AEG
Hiking6.60 Miles   6 Hrs   45 Mns   1.21 mph
1,439 ft AEG   1 Hour   17 Mns Break
 
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I was looking through some old photosets and saw a set from a hike I did in January 2015 [ photoset ] with a couple of nice scenery shots and a couple of seldom seen petroglyphs. Something about that hike captured my interest so off I went to do a repeat and to see if I could find more petroglyphs this time. Although titled Spur Cross Meander, the off-trail meandering part is actually outside the park boundary in the Tonto Nat. Forest. This hike starts out from the Spur Cross parking lot and takes the Tortuga Trail north west continuing on past the turnoff to the Elephant Mountain trail to the Limestone Trail #252 where I turned left and proceeded to the intersection with the Peterson Spring Trail. At that location I started off trail to climb to the top of a ridge which angles northwest towards the base of Black Mesa. I found the 2 petroglyphs from my January 2015 hike along this ridge top but was unsuccessful at finding any more. There was an occasional small pottery sherd scattered here and there along the ridge top but no evidence of any rock walled habitations.

As I concluded in my triplog from the Jan 8, 2015, hike: "It was a pleasant day with some nice views and enough AEG for a good workout."
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Jan 01 2021
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 Guides 9
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75 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
10th Annual New Year's Day Peak Bag, AZ 
10th Annual New Year's Day Peak Bag, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 01 2021
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking2.00 Miles 590 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles   2 Hrs   39 Mns   0.75 mph
590 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners 7 partners
HAZ - Event
Daytripper
Nightstalker
outdoor_lover
rayhuston
SuperstitionGuy
tibber
wallyfrack
Another memorable New Year's Day Hike organized by @outdoor_lover. Amazing views from the top of the massif, enjoyable company and Pam's fabulously delicious homemade oatmeal cookies and chocolate coated strawberries with champagne to toast in the New Year. Thank you, Pam. Also thanks to Ray for a great job at bartending - never spilled a drop.
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average hiking speed 1.16 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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