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485 triplogs

Sep 26 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Precipice Peak - Uncompahgre Wilderness, CO 
Precipice Peak - Uncompahgre Wilderness, CO
 
Hiking avatar Sep 26 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.63 Miles 2,184 AEG
Hiking3.63 Miles   7 Hrs   12 Mns   0.64 mph
2,184 ft AEG   1 Hour   34 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This hike was suggested by my friend Drew who lives in Montrose, CO, as a short fairly easy day hike based on info he got from a hiking friend, Gunda. He would meet me at the Wetterhorn Trailhead on the West Fork Cimarron River at 8am on the day of the hike with 3 of his local friends including Gunda who had done this hike at least 3 times. He assured me there was a trail to the peak which tops out at 13144 ft. I was 6 days into a 2 week car camping and day hiking exploration of the mountains in the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests. My friend who I hadn't seen in at least 10 years is an experienced hiker who frequently hikes in this area. So I trusted his judgement and was looking forward to seeing him and exploring the area of the 3 forks of the Cimarron River. What could go wrong?

I drove to the area the day before over the Owl Creek Pass Road which starts out as county road #10 at its intersection with HW550 1.8 driving miles north of Ridgeway. The Owl Creek Pass Road was a beautiful drive with amazing views of the Fall foliage on the west facing slopes of Cimarron Ridge. It's a maintained 2WD capable gravel road with many sections of washboard bumps that were beating the heck out of my FJ Cruiser so I had to stop to air-down the tires. The turnoff to drive on FR860 to the Wetterhorn TH is just past Owl Creek Pass about 16 driving miles from HW550. FR860 is also a 2WD capable gravel road for the first 2 miles but then turns into a rough 4WD high clearance road for the last 1.5 miles to the TH. Dispersed camping is allowed along FR860 which follows the West Fork Cimarron River (a creek at this point) and there were a number of nice places to camp. The 4WD section of the road was my first clue that things weren't quite what had been described to me by my friend and I wasn't sure what he would be driving so I camped along the 2WD section of the road planning to flag him down as he drove by the next morning. The drive along FR860 had great views of the peaks along the ridge between the West and Middle Forks of the Cimarron River.

Scouting out the area around the Wetterhorn TH and asking several hunters and hikers about a trail to Precipice Peak, I discovered that there was no trail and their was no obvious route through the extremely rough terrain that could be seen from the road. I was beginning to have doubts about doing this hike but was confident my friend would clear up my uncertainties the next morning. He, his 3 friends and a dog showed up on the road by my camp at precisely 8am. After some discussion about my discoveries the day before I learned that he had been relying on info from his friend, Gunda, and was as surprised as I had been about the rough 4WD road and lack of a trail. But Gunda assured us all was good, Drew's 4WD Chevy pickup would be able to negotiate the 4WD section of road and we didn't need a trail because she had done the climb 3 times so knew the way. Fortunately this all turned out to be true.

However, I should have been suspicious about the difficulty of the terrain when I noticed patches on the seat of Gunda's pants. The route, though only about 4 miles round trip to the top of the peak, was extremely steep with loose footing much of the way. The peak is climbed so in-frequently that there is no obvious worn trail but with Gunda as our guide we found our way. I would not recommend attempting this hike with out a good gps track to follow or a guide like Gunda. After struggling up the peak for 4 hours we had only gone about 1.8 miles. The slow progress was mainly due to me and Gunda's 24 year old friend, Ruel, because we had to frequently stop to rest. Gunda is no spring chicken but she's in great shape being a dedicated hiker who has been hiking these high elevation mountain trails for many years.

Due to running out of time and energy and high winds which were making the last 0.2 miles to the top too treacherous, we finally decided to turn around at 3.6 miles and 12900 ft elevation. So I missed an opportunity for a first time hike over 13000 ft. Gunda took a different route back to the car saying this route would be easer for the descent while the route we had taken up was easier for the ascent. I soon found out that the easier descent for Gunda involved butt sliding down long steep scree slopes thus explaining the patches on the seat of her pants. Two of our group, Drew and Lane, started down ahead of us thinking that they knew the way back. I decided it was best to stick with Gunda and we showed up at the car 2.5 hours later. Drew and Lane hadn't shown up so Gunda took off to find them and 20 minutes later brought them back. They had made a wrong turn and had to back track.

Despite the difficulty I thoroughly enjoyed both the company and the hike. The views were amazing and the unique geology of this peak was mystifying. Drew and friends returned to Montrose and I setup camp for the night on the bank of the West Fork Cimarron River with a commanding view of Precipice Peak.
Culture
Culture
Route - finding Labels
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Aug 26 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Camp OH FR402 Wander, AZ 
Camp OH FR402 Wander, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 26 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking2.01 Miles 290 AEG
Hiking2.01 Miles   2 Hrs   2 Mns   1.03 mph
290 ft AEG      5 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This was my last day of a week long stay at this campsite on FR402 on the southwest side of Burro Mtn in the White Mountains. I never expected to stay that long in this location thinking I would run out of sights to see on nearby hikes. But I never tired of the beauty of these wide open lush green meadows surrounded by forests of blue spruce, pine, fir and aspen. With no specific hike in my plans I decided to just take a stroll in the forest around camp and enjoy the beauty and tranquility before heading back the next day to the Phoenix Valley inferno. The daily thunderheads were forming much earlier and soon drove me back to camp but then dissipated and never produced a drop of rain. So it was a relaxing afternoon in camp reading a book.
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2 archives
Aug 25 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
East Baldy Trail #95Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 25 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking13.60 Miles 2,040 AEG
Hiking13.60 Miles   8 Hrs   17 Mns   1.64 mph
2,040 ft AEG20 LBS Pack
 
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I'd had 4 days above 9000 ft to get acclimated to high altitude and it was time to take another shot at the East Baldy Trail #95. I had attempted this one 6 years ago and ran out of gas at 10,000 ft after 4.5 miles. Got started at 8:00 am, a beautiful morning, and as usual on this hike amazing views of the inviting green meadows along the East Fork Little Colorado River. Being a week day I would meet few people on this hike but all were friendly resulting in considerable delays for pleasant conversation. Blasted past the 10,000 ft elevation mark with plenty of energy left and not gasping for air. Saw the airplane wreckage at about the 6.3 mile mark and only poked around the wing tip by the trail. But I saw enough to pique my interest for doing some research after I returned home. See my photoset for more info on the plane wreckage.

Reached my planned turn around point at the junction of the East and West Trail and stopped for a lunch time snack. No invasion of the off-limits Baldy Peak for me, besides I was running out of energy. The forecast afternoon thunderstorm was closing in as I headed back. Another good reason not to have continued on to the Baldy peak. I'd only gone about 0.7 miles when the downpour hit requiring a quick stop to pull on the full rain suit leftover from my hiking days in Oregon and get my camera and cellphone sealed up in a water tight turkey roasting bag. Hail and rain poured down. Lightning flashed and boomed around me for the next hour as I hustled down the trail. The 20 year old rain suit kept me dry but the close-by lightning flashes always make me nervous. The last 3 miles were a pleasant stroll in the fresh, cool, post-storm air.
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Aug 24 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Thompson Trail #629Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 24 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking5.30 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking5.30 Miles   4 Hrs      1.33 mph
300 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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After a couple of days of off-trail exploring I decided to hike the well known Thompson Trail. I waited until a weekday to reduce the crowds and was the first one at the trailhead at 7:20am which was a short drive from my campsite on FR402. My Grandkids have hiked this trail twice already this summer and it was my turn. The great views start out right at the trailhead with a view of the West Fork Black River meandering through the huge meadow which encompasses the Thompson Ranch site. The trail is in great shape and one can maintain a fast pace on it but I chose the time consuming @Tibber approach pausing to take many photos. Damage from the 2011 Wallow fire is evident but the forest is recovering and the scenic views are only slightly impaired. Of course I tended to exclude burned areas in the photos selected for this photoset. If more than this short out-and-back hike is desired, one could explore further along the connected West Fork #628 Trail which continues another 3.1 miles to a trailhead at FR68 but probably isn't as scenic.
Fauna
Fauna
Great Blue Heron
Named place
Named place
West Fork Black River
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Aug 22 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
West Fork Black River - Burro Mtn Loop, AZ 
West Fork Black River - Burro Mtn Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 22 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking5.57 Miles 1,077 AEG
Hiking5.57 Miles   6 Hrs   2 Mns   1.19 mph
1,077 ft AEG   1 Hour   20 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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This hike out of my camp on FR402 took me south west down to the West Fork Black River which I followed north west up the forested canyon to the border fence of the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation. The river is a small scenic stream a little too wide to jump across. It leads to a beautiful meadow at the border fence. At the border I roughly followed the fence north up a side drainage of the canyon to a huge meadow. That meadow which extends to the Mt Baldy Wilderness to the west has some great dispersed campsites which are widely known. That attracts lots of folks on weekends creating sort of a wild west atmosphere with ATVs and motor bikes buzzing all over while target shooters make it sound like a war zone including fully automatic gunfire. It was fairly quite on this late Saturday morning but then the target shooting started up. I followed an ATV/4x4 track over the high point of Baldy Mtn stopping at the peak for a lunch time snack while the sound of automatic gunfire kept me hunkered down just below the peak. The sound of gunfire was coming from the direction of the appropriately named Buckshot Spring. From Baldy peak the 4x4 track led me down its south west side to FR402 and back to my camp.
Named place
Named place
Fort Apache Indian Reservation
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Aug 21 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Thompson Creek - White Mtns, AZ 
Thompson Creek - White Mtns, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 21 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.87 Miles 672 AEG
Hiking3.87 Miles   4 Hrs   33 Mns   1.13 mph
672 ft AEG   1 Hour   7 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This was the first day hike of a planned one week escape from the Phoenix Valley inferno to the White Mountains. My drive to the mountains got delayed by one day when the check engine light in my FJ came on while driving into Pinetop. I didn't think it was a good idea to drive the next 50 miles to my planned destination on the southwest side of Burro Mountain near the Mt Baldy Wilderness without getting it checked out. I drove back to the Toyota dealership in Show Low and they took great care of me getting the needed part shipped from LA by the next morning and had me back on the road by 4:00pm that afternoon.

I set up my car camp at the end of FR402 in an area designated for dispersed camping. It wasn't the most picturesque campsite but had shade for the entire day and being located at the end of FR402, I figured there wouldn't be much weekend ATV traffic. I was right about the shade but wrong about the ATV traffic. There was an ATV/4x4 trail leading from the end of FR402 over the ridge and down into the West Fork Black River valley. There were only a few ATVs each day so it was OK but when I came back from this hike the next day (Friday) a guy with a huge Dodge Ram truck towing a travel trailer with extended platform for carrying bicycles, etc, had attempted to drive that rig up the 4x4 trail. He was looking for a place to camp with his wife and 4 kids. Unoccupied camping spaces were getting scarce by mid-day Friday so he must have been acting in desperation and was probably plagued by 4 young voices asking "Are we there yet!" over and over. He couldn't make it past a high berm and low hanging tree branches about 100 yds up the trail and was trying to back the rig back down to the road with guidance from his wife. It took them 2 hours of patiently jockeying the rig back and forth getting it lined up through the narrow opening between trees and boulders. They were finally successful with wedded bliss appearing to have survived, changed a flat tire on the trailer and were on their way. I would see their camped rig the next day at a beautiful campsite with a piped flowing spring about a mile up the road and was glad to see there plight had a happy ending.

This was a relatively short hike Friday morning out of camp following the ATV/4x4 track over the ridge and down the hillside to the West Fork Black River. My plan was to explore up Thompson Creek to the border of the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation. The hillside above the WF Black River provides a beautiful view of the huge meadow extending from the old Thompson Ranch property up the river canyon. A flock of wild turkeys gobbled past me as I hiked down the trail and a herd of 13 feral horses could be seen grazing along the banks of the stream. The lead stallion trotted up the hillside to check me out after I whistled to get his attention. He didn't like what he saw and led his herd at a gallop up Thompson Creek canyon and vanished into the Indian Reservation.

The hike up Thompson Creek canyon led through several picturesque meadows. Upon reaching the reservation boundary fence I followed the fence north through 2 drainages. The ridges between drainages are covered with a dense forest of pine, fir, spruce and Aspen. At the second drainage I paused for an early lunch time snack at a large meadow. I then headed down the second drainage following elk trails to lead me through thick forest and deadfall to reach the WF Black River. Back at the WF Black River I paused to talk to two fly fisherpersons who weren't having much luck. I told them about seeing the wild horses and was informed by the dominant member of this duo that the politically correct term was feral horses, not wild horses. Feeling properly chastised I informed them that perhaps early morning would be a better time for fishing this stream.

The next afternoon two heavily armed AZ Game and Fish patrol-persons drove up to my camp in their ATV and stopped to check me out. After some polite conversation they revealed that they were responding to a call from an irate fisherperson who complained about ATVs driving into the remote protected wild Apache trout section of the WF Black River and had mentioned (complained?) that I was camped on the ridge top overlooking the river. Fortunately the patrol-persons did not consider it a crime to use the term wild horses and to suggest that fly fisherpersons would have better luck if they got to the stream in the early morning.
Fauna
Fauna
Wild horse
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Jul 24 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Patriarch Grove - Bristlecone Pines Forest, CA 
Patriarch Grove - Bristlecone Pines Forest, CA
 
Hiking avatar Jul 24 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking1.25 Miles 207 AEG
Hiking1.25 Miles   1 Hour   19 Mns   1.19 mph
207 ft AEG      16 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I started home from the Eastern Sierras a day earlier than planned to explore up White Mountain Rd to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains. This was a worth while side trip on the way back home starting on HW168 to Nevada and wasn't that far off of the fasted driving route to Phoenix suggested by Google Maps. I decided to drive as far up as the Patriarch Grove and see what it had to offer. There were some nice views of the Eastern Sierras at several pull-offs along the road. The grove is at an elevation of 11,300 ft. There are 2 short hiking trails, a quarter mile Nature Trail which looped through the grove, and a 3/4 mile trail to a viewpoint of Cottonwood Basin. The nature trail was very informative with placards explaining the origins of these ancient trees and how they survived through the Ice Age to modern times. I faithfully recorded all the placards in photographs thinking it might be of interest to my grandchildren but decided not to post them on HAZ. :sorry: The viewpoint hike had some nice views towards White Mountain, the Cottonwood Basin as promised by the sign, and the Great Basin in Nevada to the east.

I learned on the Nature Trail that Patriarch Grove is close to the tree line but as our climate warms up the trees will migrate up the hillside to higher altitudes. The evidence of this can be seen in the scattered young trees that can be seen on the hillsides above the grove. The older Bristlecone Pine trees are actually at lower altitudes like at the Shulman Grove I passed on the way up there. I should have stopped there on the way back because there appears to be some interesting hikes to look at the older trees. But by then I realized that if I continued on the drive towards home rather than staying overnight some where up here in the White Mountains I could get home a day earlier than originally planned with an overnight motel stop in Beatty, NV, for a shower . I still had clean clothes left in my vast supply after 14 days away, several days of food and 10 gallons of pure Eastern Sierra spring water, but I was longing to get home to the 115 deg temps (not) and family.
Flora
Flora
Bristlecone Pine
Named place
Named place
Palisade Crest White Mountain Peak
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Jul 23 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
George Lake from Sabrina Trailhead, CA 
George Lake from Sabrina Trailhead, CA
 
Hiking avatar Jul 23 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking7.71 Miles 2,067 AEG
Hiking7.71 Miles   8 Hrs   17 Mns   1.16 mph
2,067 ft AEG   1 Hour   38 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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This was my second hike out of the Sabrina Trailhead on my 1 week visit to the Eastern Sierras. I had planned on hiking to Treasure Lakes out of the South Lake TH but decided against it after finding out that the road to South Lake would have up to 30 minute delays while the road was being re-paved after major work replacing old culverts, etc. I had seen the sign for the trail to George Lake off of the Sabrina Basin Trail 2 days before on a hike to Emerald Lake. After checking topo maps it looked like a worthy destination. Being able to just walk up the road 0.4 miles to the TH from my camp at Sabrina CG was also a plus.

It was another beautiful morning as I started the hike. Lake Sabrina mirrored the surrounding mountains and the trail to George Lake up the east side of Sabrina Basin provided great views. The trail crossed the stream cascading down the hillside from above providing opportunities for replenishing one's water supply. That stream was mostly covered with large boulders hiding it from access except at the trail crossings. The trail leveled out in the George Lake valley with one final steep but short section to climb up the knoll which hides the lake from view when you first enter this little valley. I made a short off-trail detour to check out Little George Lake which added about 0.5 miles to the hike. It was in a small depression in the boulder debris at the base of the steep south side of the valley and probably wasn't worth the effort.

George Lake is a short distance off the trail, # 31E02, which continues on climbing up another 860 ft to cross over the ridge at 11590 ft before descending to the Tyee Lakes and then the Tyee Lake TH on the road to South Lake. This would make a nice day hike for those in good shape if arrangements had been made for a shuttle at the Tyee Lakes TH. One way distance from Sabrina TH to Tyee TH is about 8 miles with 2700 ft AEG . It also would make for a nice one to two day backpacking trek. There was a large area along the northeast lake shore that would be great for camping. I encountered a mom and two young boys (about 9 to 10 years old) who were doing the backpack version camping one night near George Lake and the second night at Tyee Lakes. They were the only people I encountered on the trail to George Lake. I've read reports that fishing is good at the Tyee Lakes but found no fishing reports on George Lake. It had the appearance of being a good habitat for trout but I did not see any swimming about in the clear water as I had at Blue Lake and the Emerald Lakes.

I walked along the edge of the lake to its southeast end. That end of the lake is surrounded by a marshy area dotted with boulders. A duck was standing on top of one of the smaller boulders keeping an eye on me as I approached. He/she stayed there while I took numerous photos and switched to a telephoto lens. Finally this sentinel got nervous and gathered up a brood of 7 almost adult sized ducklings and one other adult. They then paddled off near the lake shore and waited for me to leave. I found a large flat topped boulder near the water's edge and proceeded to have a lunch time snack and then took a 45 minute senior nap. When I woke up the ducks had gotten tired of waiting for me to leave and had disappeared.

This was a nice hike with great views of the Sabrina Basin and beyond as you climb up the trail on the southeast side of Lake Sabrina. It's probably not quite as scenic as my previous hike from the Sabrina TH past Blue Lake to the Emerald Lakes. A definite plus was the solitude once leaving the Sabrina Basin Trail although there probably would be more people on a weekend.
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Jul 21 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Sabrina Basin Trail to Emerald Lakes, CA 
Sabrina Basin Trail to Emerald Lakes, CA
 
Hiking avatar Jul 21 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking8.51 Miles 1,766 AEG
Hiking8.51 Miles   9 Hrs   23 Mns   1.14 mph
1,766 ft AEG   1 Hour   55 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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This was my second destination during a planned week long stay in the Eastern Sierras. I drove down HW395 from Green Creek stopping along the way for some groceries and ice and to waste some time on the internet so didn't arrive at the Sabrina Campground until around 1:00pm on a Monday. I was lucky to grab the last available campsite and decided to stay for 4 nights rather than move again and risk not being able to get a campsite. There are plenty of hiking opportunities available a short drive, or hike, from the Sabrina Campground at the Sabrina Lake TH, North Lake TH, and the South Lake TH. This CG at 9000 ft elevation had the potential for cooler temperatures during the heat wave being experienced throughout the west. However afternoon temps were still a little warm if you couldn't find shade but nights and early mornings were comfortably cool if not cold.

The next morning I hiked out of the Sabrina TH up the Sabrina Basin Trail headed for Blue Lake and beyond. I had planned on going to Dingleberry Lake but opted instead to do a little off trail exploring of the Emerald Lakes. Although I started early enough to be the first one on the trail, I was soon overtaken by numerous hikers due to my stopping to take photos and restore blood oxygen levels. This caused further delays. It's interesting how any hiker older than about 60 (including myself) is more than happy to stop and chit-chat on up-hill trails. Despite my delays I still arrived early enough at Blue Lake to have fairly good light for taking photos of this beautiful lake. After spending about a half hour happily handing out advice to hikers asking about how to get to Donkey Lake I was on my way to the Emerald Lakes. This was a short hike from Blue Lake with little elevation gain. The turn off to Emerald Lakes is only 0.6 miles past the Donkey Lake turnoff on the Sabrina Basin Trail. The turnoff is not marked with a sign but was marked with some rocks lined up in two short rows at the location where a short spur trail is shown on the HAZ FS Topo map. There is a little used trail visible for the first 500 yards - after that you're pretty much on your own although trail segments can still be seen here and there but can be easily confused with animal trails. There were no human foot prints visible in the area and I didn't encounter another person while I was in the Emerald Lakes area. The best advice is to just follow the stream which links the lakes. Going to the Emerald Lakes turned out to be a good choice. The lakes were indeed a beautiful emerald green cooler and an abundance of Eastern Brook Trout could be seen prowling around for mid day snacks in the clear water - that plus the solitude made me want to stay a while to fully appreciate this treasure.
Fauna
Fauna
Bald Eagle
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Jul 19 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
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74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Green Creek Trail to West Lake, CA 
Green Creek Trail to West Lake, CA
 
Hiking avatar Jul 19 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking9.01 Miles 2,009 AEG
Hiking9.01 Miles   8 Hrs   30 Mns   1.43 mph
2,009 ft AEG   2 Hrs   11 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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This was the 7th day of a 15 day car camping/hiking journey that started in the Ruby Mountains of north Nevada. Although the Ruby Mountains are beautiful, I was beginning to yearn for the Eastern Sierras and the car camping sites at higher elevations in the Sierras to escape the unpleasantly warm afternoon temps at the lower elevation car campsites in the Ruby Mtns. This would be my fourth visit to the Eastern Sierras starting in the Fall of 2014. I normally prefer to visit in the Fall after school starts to cut down on the crowds but made an exception this year. I was arriving on a Saturday so was concerned that all the campgrounds would be full (which they were). Remembering the beautiful dispersed camping areas at 7900 ft elevation along Green Creek was the deciding factor in going to Green Creek. I had no problem finding a very nice shaded camping location on the bank of Green Creek primarily because high clearance 4x4 was required to access it and most of the people camping in these dispersed sites are in large RVs. When I was here last year I found the dispersed camping area to be remarkably clean with no plastic bottle caps or bottles, no toilet paper scattered about the woods, and no blue Bud Light beer cans with or without bullet holes. I was happy to see that had not changed.

I drove the 1.5 miles to the trailhead the next morning (Sunday) to start the hike. The parking lot at the TH was nearly full despite my early morning arrival but there was an open spot in the shade. :y: The hike would not disappoint. There are some amazingly beautiful trees along the trail. The views of Green Lake and the mountains and valleys behind that lake were stunning. I met some nice people on the trail and got some good advice on other places to visit. I'll never tire of the Eastern Sierras.
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Jul 16 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Soldier Basin Trail to Hidden Lakes, NV 
Soldier Basin Trail to Hidden Lakes, NV
 
Hiking avatar Jul 16 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking11.87 Miles 2,831 AEG
Hiking11.87 Miles   11 Hrs   2 Mns   1.36 mph
2,831 ft AEG   2 Hrs   18 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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The trailhead for this hike in the north end of the Ruby Mountains is located at the end of a dirt road, FR335. The road crosses about 2 miles of private property from its intersection with county road 703 before entering Soldier Creek Canyon. After entering the canyon it's about a 2.4 mile drive on the narrow one lane but 2WD capable dirt road to the parking area for the trailhead. This TH is equipped with the standard Forest Service outhouse which appears to be occasionally cleaned. Crossing the creek is required to begin the hike and may require wading but the water level was low enough and rocks piled high enough to allow crossing without wading when I was there. The road continues beyond this point but driving on it is prohibited based on the Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Map I downloaded from the internet before starting this trip. It's obvious that many vehicles ignore this restriction and cross the creek continuing about another mile to the absolute end of the road where there is a nice secluded and shaded campsite. However large embedded rocks in the road at the creek crossing require high clearance 4WD and I decided not to risk it with my FJ Cruiser. Dispersed camping is allowed along the road in the canyon but I only saw 3 to 4 campsites and none of them had any significant shade. I picked the site closest to the TH (1/4 mile) and managed to get the backend of my car squeezed into the small patch of shade under a lone pine tree where I camped for 2 nights. There were no other campers in the canyon during those 2 nights.

I camped overnight at the dispersed campsite near the TH before starting on the hike the next day. Hoof beats on the ground outside my car woke me up during the night but I never saw the critters and didn't see any hoof tracks around camp the next morning - maybe I was dreaming (it's happened before). The trail follows the 4x4 track for about a mile after crossing the creek before reaching what used to be the TH gate back when the road could be driven all the way to its end. There was a Ruby High Lakes Angler Drop Box located at the gate and a back country angler had left a record of trout caught over a 2 day period 3 days ago at Cold Lake. The fishing was good for 11" to 13" trout. Cold Lake is at the end of the Middle Fork Cold Creek which is located across 3 canyons south of this Drop Box. That fisher-person either backpacked or horse packed some serious distance.

The trail follows Soldier Creek up a narrow canyon to reach Soldier Basin. The creek banks are so crammed with brush that getting to or even seeing the creek along this stretch is next to impossible. Water falls could frequently be heard but not seen. After about 2 miles the canyon opens up and the creek becomes visible. The trail levels out and maintains a moderate incline as it follows the creek through Soldier Basin. Trees are few to none along this stretch with wide open views of the Basin. Water is easily accessible along this stretch of the trail as it is on many of the Ruby trails so I only carried 2 liters of water and a lightweight filter for refilling as needed. Almost like being back in the Oregon Cascade Mountains. :)

I encountered an unmarked heavily traveled trail forking off of the main trail and suspected that it was a shortcut to the Hidden Lakes. However I didn't want to take the risk of following it and stayed on the planned trail shown on the map. I would later find out after getting home that it was indeed a shortcut used by Outfitters and knowledgeable locals that was so well worn that it can be clearly seen on Google Earth. It reduced the roundtrip distance to those lakes by 2 miles. When I got to the sign for the "official" trail to the Hidden Lakes I was surprised to discover that the trail had so little use that it was overgrown and could only be followed using the rock cairns that marked its location. Evidently everybody but me knows about the shortcut. ](*,)

Hidden Lakes were emerald green alpine gems like most of the other Ruby Mountain lakes. I followed a well worn trail over a knoll at the end of the larger lake and discovered a large outfitter's camp left set up with about a half dozen small tents for the customers and tarp covered equipment and supplies. No one was home and there were no horses. I assume these lakes were a regular destination for that outfitter and he just left everything setup so he wouldn't have to haul it all in with the next batch of customers. I only saw two people, backpackers, all day.

I enjoyed this hike along the creek through the wide open lush meadows of Soldiers Basin with its commanding views of the surrounding mountains. Hidden Lakes were a beautiful reward at the turn around point for the return. Now knowing about the shortcut trail I would make this a lollipop loop going past Soldiers Lakes on the "official" trail and then taking the shortcut on the return.
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1 archive
Jul 14 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Ruby Crest Trail to Liberty Lake, NV 
Ruby Crest Trail to Liberty Lake, NV
 
Hiking avatar Jul 14 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking8.19 Miles 2,059 AEG
Hiking8.19 Miles   8 Hrs   26 Mns   1.22 mph
2,059 ft AEG   1 Hour   44 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This hike starts at the Roads End Trailhead in Lamoille Canyon. The road, the Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway, is paved all the way to the parking lot making it an easy drive. This is the most popular TH in the Ruby Mountains but the parking lot only had a few cars when I arrived at 6:30am on a weekday. There are two trails leaving the TH area, one is for hikers, the other which you pass just before entering the main parking lot is a stock trail. The 2 trails merge just before reaching Lamoille Lake. The stock trail is more direct going up the northwest side of the canyon and cuts off about 0.5 miles but bypasses the forested Dollar Lakes area. It is also a steeper, rougher, trail. I took the easier recreation trail on the way up and the stock trail on the way down.

This hike really showcases the beauty of the Ruby Mountains. It has it all, a patch of conifer forest, alpine lakes, granite peaks, glacier carved canyon and distant views all on a relatively short hike.
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Jul 13 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Thomas Creek TrailElko, NV
Elko, NV
Hiking avatar Jul 13 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking4.80 Miles 1,300 AEG
Hiking4.80 Miles   5 Hrs   13 Mns   0.92 mph
1,300 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I arrived at the Thomas Creek Camp Ground in Lamoille Canyon around noon the day before and was able to get a nice "Walk In" or "First-come, First-serve" campsite within about 30 ft of the creek. This is a well maintained campground with the campsites nestled in pockets of Aspen trees and bushes to provide privacy. The outhouses were exceptionally clean. One of the 2 CG hosts told me they were cleaning them 4 times a day due to Covid 19 virus concerns. Over half of the campsites are reservation only and can be reserved on-line. A large beaver pond on Thomas Creek was located a short walk (75 yds) through a path in the bushes behind my camp.

This would be my first hike of several planned in the Ruby Mtns over the next few days. It was a good starter hike with a modest distance and elevation gain for a day hike. The trailhead is conveniently located at the back of the campground loop. Glacier carved granite canyon walls, water falls, beaver ponds and aspen groves made for a picturesque hike. I took my time enjoying the views and taking lots of photos.
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Jul 04 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
The Other Maricopa Trail, AZ 
The Other Maricopa Trail, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 04 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking5.47 Miles 249 AEG
Hiking5.47 Miles   1 Hour   47 Mns   3.07 mph
249 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a morning walk starting in the desert behind our condo development. Not having protective footwear for the off-trail foxtail in the desert, I re-routed through a housing development where I discovered another section of the Maricopa Trail which meanders through this neighborhood. This is "the other Maricopa Trail", not the one that circles around the edge of the valley. This short trail section follows a landscaped paved path along a dry wash between housing developments, it even has lighting on posts at intervals along the path and informative trail markers. The paved trail ended at a golf course fairway so I took a random route an a street leading into the bordering housing development where I found two more Maricopa Trail markers. This led me to a patch of open desert north of the development with a dirt road I followed to Pinnacle Peak Rd. After almost getting run over by a speeding BMW SUV on Pinnacle Pk Rd, I headed south on the unfinished section of N 56th St to the safety of our condo.
Fauna
Fauna
Desert Cottontail
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Jun 27 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Wandering My Desert Backyard, AZ 
Wandering My Desert Backyard, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 27 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.30 Miles
Hiking3.30 Miles
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A morning exercise hike which started out in the desert behind our condo development then meandered through the streets of a housing development bordering the golf course. The hike started out with a beautiful sunrise over Pinnacle Peak and the McDowell Mtns. After walking through the desert for about a half mile I decided to explore the streets of a small suburb surrounded by the Wildfire Golf Course. To my surprise I found placards marking "The Maricopa Trail" scattered throughout the neighborhood. The housing development was built in 1997 pre-dating the establishment of the more well known Maricopa Trail. After some discussion with a resident who had lived here since 1997 it seems that the trail markers were most likely placed by the developer as a marketing feature.
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunrise
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Jun 12 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Aspen and McFarland Springs - Mogollon Rim, AZ 
Aspen and McFarland Springs - Mogollon Rim, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 12 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.00 Miles 262 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   2 Hrs   18 Mns   1.30 mph
262 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Grasshopper and I checked out several springs on the Mogollon Rim on this day. We drove as close as roads would allow to each spring and then hiked the short distance to the spring. Yes, we're getting old and lazy. :( The springs visited were Lower Buck Spring, Dane Spring, Aspen Spring and McFarland Spring. This triplog and photoset is for the longest hike of the day, an in-and-out 3 mile hike to Aspen and McFarland Springs from FR139G. All four springs were flowing with Dane Spring probably having the most flow from a pipe which would make it easy to fill water bottles.

The areas around both Aspen and McFarland Springs are quite scenic and both offer good places to camp for Backpackers on the Houston Bros Trail.
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Jun 11 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Upper Barbershop Cny - FR139C Loop, AZ 
Upper Barbershop Cny - FR139C Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 11 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking5.90 Miles 553 AEG
Hiking5.90 Miles   5 Hrs   27 Mns   1.08 mph
553 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I visited Grasshopper for three nights at his camp on FR139C on the Mogollon Rim to escape the valley heat and enjoy this forested retreat. GH decided to take a day of rest in camp on the first day while I started off from camp on a hike to explore the ridge above the west side of Barbershop Canyon. An old long abandoned logging road follows the top of the ridge between FR139C and the canyon and was my guide for the beginning of the hike.

I soon tired of the ridge top scenery and found a likely route down the side of the canyon after studying the topo map on my gps. Although steep, the descent was not all that challenging. I was soon hiking up the creek bed with the plan to continue up the bottom of the canyon until reaching the Barbershop Trail #91 and following it to FR139. There were numerous pools of water with water trickling down the stream bed between pools. In some areas the flowing water retreated below the surface leaving the stream bed dry. The lush green of ferns and grass on the stream bank and the shade of towering pine, spruce, fir and the occasional Aspen trees made this a most pleasant escape from the hot desert of the valley. Some rock hopping and the occasional detour around fallen trees were required but the hike was otherwise an easy stroll on elk trails along the stream bank.

I stopped frequently to take photos of the scenery with my new cell phone (a Samsung Galaxy S10E) and with my old standby, a Nikon P600, to later compare photos. The cell phone has two cameras, one with a "normal" lens, and one with a wide angle lens. Both provide a wider view than the Nikon but there is no optical telephoto zoom on the cell phone where the Nikon excels with a 60x zoom. I soon found that having the wide angle capability of the cell phone cameras and its photo quality in difficult lighting situations made it my top choice for most scenery shots. But, for me, also having the zoom capability of the Nikon is a necessity. So not a problem, I'll just carry both on my hikes.

The section of the Barbershop Trail to FR139 is mostly through thick forest as it climbs up to the road. Barbershop Spring had a trickle of water, maybe about 0.5 gpm. A huge cow elk tried to sneak by me in the dense forest near the trail and disappeared before I could get a photo. Once reaching the road I abandoned my original plan to follow the top of the ridge between Merritt Draw and instead hike down FR139C back to camp. FR139C, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful back roads on the Mogollon Rim. It follows a spring fed draw with lush meadows and forest much better viewed when walking than from a moving car. I've been down this road many times over the last 10 years on the way to Camp GH and it's like going home.

Back at camp, GH informed me that our camp had been visited by a bear during my absence, @AZWanderingBear, to be exact. Wade returned for a visit shortly after I got back to camp. I hadn't seen him since a backpacking trip to Reavis Ranch in Oct. 2015. It was great to see him and catch up on his latest outdoor adventures.
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May 11 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Renolds Crk Trl 150 to Knoles Hole, AZ 
Renolds Crk Trl 150 to Knoles Hole, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 11 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking5.05 Miles 1,016 AEG
Hiking5.05 Miles   5 Hrs   52 Mns   1.03 mph
1,016 ft AEG      59 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
This was my fourth day hike on a 6 night car camping trip to the Aztec Peak area of the Sierra Ancha. This was supposed to be another day of taking it easy after an exhausting hike the day before trying to keep up with @friendofThundergod and his side kick, Katie. The plan was to hike down the Reynolds Creek Trail #150 from the Murphy trail head to Knoles Hole to look for the location of the illusive Knoles Hole Spring and for evidence of a possible homestead in the 1890s at that location by a Robert Knowles. Along the way I would scout out some possible routes for future hikes and also look for the Murphy Tank shown on the topo maps. Shortly after starting down the track I decided to go off trail a short distance to the Murphy Ranch Property line and discovered what I think is the actual location of the Murphy Tank. It's on the ranch property close to the property line and not where it's shown on the topo maps. I spent some time and energy bushwhacking through the brush looking for the tank at the location shown on the maps and it is not there.

Further along Trail #150 I scouted out a couple of possible routes for future exploration. Then I started the search for the Knoles Hole Spring around the location where it is shown on the map - nothing but brush and a dry wash. I know from previous hikes that there are springs a little further down the upper part of Reynolds Creek along the trail. I've been curious as to how Knoles Hole got its name. One account of the murder of Edward Baker in 1890 at the later to be named Peterson Ranch site mentions a Robert S. Knowles as being the nearest neighbor with a homestead 1 mile away at the time of the murder. [ Triplog ] Could Knowles homestead have been in Knoles Hole? I have my doubts because there does not seem to be enough flat land to grow a crop which was a requirement for proving up on a homestead. I now suspect that Robert S. Knowles' homestead was at the location where Walter Murphy established his homestead sometime between 1909 and 1918. Perhaps Knowles abandoned his homestead after the murder of Edward Baker. Both Knoles Hole and the Murphy Ranch are 1 mile in a straight line from the Peterson Ranch site. I'd had enough off-trail exploring and pondering of local history so headed back to camp to relax in the shade and read a book.
Named place
Named place
Murphy Tank
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1 archive
May 10 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 375
 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
The Devils EyeGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 10 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking6.00 Miles 1,120 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   7 Hrs   12 Mns   0.83 mph
1,120 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners partners
friendofThundergod
Last Fall @friendofThundergod, his sidekick Katie, and I hiked out to the tip of upper Moody Point on the south side of Devil's Chasm. Looking across the Chasm we saw a cave in the upper most cliff band on the north side high above the well known Devil's Chasm Cliff Dwelling. A zoomed photo of that cave showed a glint of light at the back of the cave leading us to suspect that it was a window passing completely through the cliff to the other side. We agreed to come back this spring for a closer look.

The hike down the Moody Trail #140 and along the Rim Trail #139 went quickly. The trails are in fair shape although there are a number of downed trees across the trail and the wicked New Mexican Locust is encroaching on the upper part of the Moody Trail. There was also an unexpected small patch of Poison Ivy in the trail. The off-trail section along the top of the ridge between the North and main forks of Devil's Chasm goes through a scenic lightly forested area with patches of manzanita and scrub oak. No major bushwhacking was required. Side trips to the Chasm rims on each side are worth the extra time to check out the amazing geology in these deep canyons.

The steep down hill descent to reach the bottom of the cliff band was a little sketchy. Some butt sliding may have been involved on my part. The traverse along the bottom of the cliff to the window location had a few sections where a slip down the slope could take you over the side of the next cliff band below but we took our time enjoying the views and had no problems. @friendofThundergod got excited about what looked like some good rock climbing routes up the cliffs. He got sidetracked climbing up one section but finally got refocused on going to our planned destination.

The window was pretty awesome. After considering several names for it we settled on calling it the Devil's Eye which seems appropriate because it looks out on both forks of Devil's Chasm. It's difficult to imagine what freak of geology led to its formation. Finding signs of ancient Indian habitation was an added bonus and of course the canyon views are spectacular.
Flora
Flora
Blackfoot Daisy
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May 09 2020
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
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 Photos 6,646
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Peterson Ranch Meander - Sierra Ancha, AZ 
Peterson Ranch Meander - Sierra Ancha, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 09 2020
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking3.04 Miles 513 AEG
Hiking3.04 Miles   3 Hrs   46 Mns   1.02 mph
513 ft AEG      48 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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This was my third day of a 6 night camping trip to the Aztec Peak area of the Sierra Ancha. After a long exhausting hike the day before and another planned for the next day, I planned to take it easy and just poke around the old Peterson Ranch Site. But first I drove up to the top of Aztec Peak to check out the views and the Flintstones Furniture - always a worthwhile side trip if your in the area.

Starting my hike at the the trailhead for the Abbey Way Trail #151, it was an easy stroll to the meadows and springs on the old Peterson Ranch property. While on Aztec Peak I had seen patches of open forest in the New Mexican Locust jungle on the hillside above the ranch. I decided to explore those forested areas since I'd never been there before. After working my way through some brush on an animal trail I soon found a route up the hill side through an old forest which showed signs of having been logged many years ago. I don't know the history of logging in this area but expect it could go back to the 1940-50s if not earlier. The old stumps are almost rotted away. The forested area on the hillside was fairly open under a canopy of pine, fir, oak and walnut trees and I was able to hike almost to the top of the ridge leading from Aztec Peak to Murphy Peak before being confronted with a wall of New Mexican Locust.

While walking through this isolated section of forest I spotted a patch of bright white pebbles on the ground about 50 yds away. Going closer to check it out I discovered that the "pebbles" were actually water softener salt pellets. Since cattle have not been grazed in this area for many years I suspect this was a man-made salt lick to attract wild game. Later on in the hike I would discover another one of these man-made salt licks by a spring about 220 yds from the foundation of the old Peterson Ranch house.

Returning to the Peterson Ranch site I walked through the old orchard to the cabin foundation and then to an area 220 yds south of the cabin where an account of Edward Baker's murder said he had been buried. I've looked for his grave before without success and had the same result this time but did find a spring and the salt lick there.

The Petersons were not the first ones to settle at this location. In the early 1880's John H. Baker moved from California to the Sierra Ancha and established a ranch at this location. Nearby Baker Mountain was named for him. A little later John developed another ranch down lower in the mountains near Salome Creek. One of his two sons, Edward (Ned), remained at the ranch near Baker Mountain. In July 1890 Edward was murdered outside the cabin. One of two assailants thought to be Indians from the nearby reservation shot him in the back mortally wounding him and then picked up Baker's axe and whacked his neck 2 or 3 times almost severing his head. They then ransacked the cabin and fled the scene. Two days later a neighboring rancher dropped by to visit and discovered the body. He immediately went to Edward's father's ranch and notified him of the murder. John Baker and two neighboring ranchers soon arrived at the scene. They quickly buried Edward's badly decomposing body at the base of an old pine tree approximately 220 yds south of the cabin. Al Sieber and a couple of Indian trackers were brought in to track the perpetrators. They were tracked down on the Indian Reservation, arrested, tried for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment at the old prison in Yuma. This account came mostly from the book "White Justice in Arizona: Apache Murder Trials in the Nineteenth Century" by Clare V. McKanna Jr. I found a highly embellished account in the May 3, 1956 edition of the Globe Pager which varies significantly in some of the details. To the best of my knowledge the cabin near Baker Mountain was abandoned until sometime between 1910 and 1920 when Glars Pete Peterson and family established a homestead at the site of the old Baker cabin. Glars' 5 children, 3 girls and 2 boys, grew up there and all eventually left their mountain homestead except Dewey Peterson who remained their with his parents. Dewey patented 43 acres at their ranch site on Mar 3, 1923. These old homesteads were often patented years after they had occupied the site because the official paper work couldn't be completed until an accurate land survey was completed and proof was established that the homesteading requirements had been met. The Petersons left their mountain homestead in about 1939. The parents moved to the Phoenix area and Dewey to Nevada. They sold the property to the government and it became part of the Tonto National Forest.

So, enough reminiscing about pioneering history in the Sierra Ancha. I've probably told these stories before in other triplogs. I always enjoy returning to these remote historic sites and thinking about what the lives of these early pioneers must have been like. In this case we're lucky to have a short account of the Peterson's family's lives in those days as told by Glars to his oldest daughter. It's available on HAZ by clicking on the Peterson Ranch label.
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