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718 triplogs
Sep 17 2021
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Bear Flat Trail #178 - Tonto NFPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2021
kingsnake
Hiking8.79 Miles 1,863 AEG
Hiking8.79 Miles   4 Hrs   18 Mns   2.04 mph
1,863 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Bear Flat Trail #178 is 8.4 miles end-to-end: Too far for this aging fat man to do an out & back, and too complicated a drive for my wife to meet me at the far end, near Pleasant Valley. In assessing the route, I noticed Horse Mountain is not far off trail, just a 300 ft. bushwhack above Warm Springs Trail #177, which marks the halfway point of Trail #178. 🗺

So, my plan became to hike Trail #178, from Bear Flat Campground to Bear Flat Tank and, if I was feeling good, head out on Trail #177 to summit Horse Mountain. Round trip to Bear Flat Tank is 7.7 miles, 1,700 AEG; the whole shot to Horse Mountain, 13.0 miles, 2,500 AEG.

There was one guy fishing in Tonto Creek when I started hiking. The concrete crossing was quite slippery. Just past the crossing, there is a large “No Trespassing” sign. Take a sharp right, along the outside of the wood rail fence. In 50 yds., on the left, is a wood forest service sign for Trail #178. I had to low crawl the barb wire fence, as I could not figure out how to open the gate. 🤔

Trail #178 follows the wood rail fence line for a hundred yards, before turning right, away from the subdivision. Trail #178 then begins a very steep climb, through shady pine forest. It’s straight up; no switchbacks. The trail surface is pea gravel, so quite slippery, given the angle.

Near the top of the initial climb, Trail #178 enters a very old burn area. There’s still occasional shade, particularly at wash crossings, but for the most part scrub oak, manzanita and juniper predominate. (I saw one manzanita that was — no lie — 10 ft. tall!) Just past the top of the climb, Mescal Ridge Trail #186 is on the right. The sign was missing.

For the next ¾ of a mile, through the north edge of the wilderness, Trail #178 is single track. Little used, Trail #178 sometimes disappears in the grass. Catclaw often grow in the middle of the trail. The grassy stretch is where most of the flower blooms are found, particularly vervain and, later in the afternoon, New Mexico fanpetals. (A new flower for me.) 🤗

After 1½ miles, Trail #178 exits the wilderness. Just past the boundary is a small, unnamed, tank with a nice view west, down Bull Tank Canyon. At that tank, Trail #178 changes from single track to ATV trail, which continues at least as far as Bear Flat Tank.

Though the pine growth is not as aged as on the initial climb, the ATV trail portion of Trail #178 does have more shade than the old burn area. And, most importantly, no cat claw. A corral, and another unnamed tank, mark the two mile point of Trail #178.

Almost a mile later, Trail #178 splits: Left climbs to Upper Bull Canyon Tank, so stay right. (I missed the turn on my way back.) A ⅓ of a mile past the split, Trail #178 begins another steep climb with no switchbacks. Thankfully, it is only half the height of the initial climb. 😅

Just past the top of the climb, and before Warm Springs Trail #177, Bear Flat Tank is 100 yds. to the west of Bear Flat Trail #178. Bear Flat Tank is more of a pond, being dotted by small lily pads and lined by marsh grass. Deciding a push to the top of Horse Mountain would be unwise -- I was sore and behind schedule -- I ate lunch before heading back.

From the top of the initial climb, I had gnats, flies and mosquitoes buzzing around my head when I was moving, but oddly not when I was still. Not even at Bear Flat Tank. There were also quite a few butterflies. No bears, though there was plenty of bear scat — including one very impressive pile — on Bear Flat Trail #178. 💩

As you are aware, going “downhill” you often go up. (300 ft. in the case of Trail #178.) I took several breaks on my way back down.

The last break I took was just above the steep, pea-gravelled, descent to Tonto Creek. I slipped several times, but with the assistance of much cursing, managed not to fall. Sore though I was, it had been a good day in a new area for me. 🙂

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/609251722
Fauna
Fauna
Black Bear
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Vervain, found in the old manzanita / grassy burn area, were most common. Several good patches of afternoon blooming New Mexico fanpetals in the same area. Plus skyrocket, pineywoods geranium, paintbrush, showy goldeneye, fleabane, hoary aster, paintbrush, goldenrod and several small purple species I did not feel like getting on my stomach to photograph.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bear Flat Trail Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
More like a pond, with reeds and other vegetation, than a tank.
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1 archive
Sep 14 2021
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Walk to Post Office, AZ 
Walk to Post Office, AZ
 
Run/Jog avatar Sep 14 2021
kingsnake
Run/Jog2.48 Miles 90 AEG
Run/Jog2.48 Miles      37 Mns   32 Secs3.96 mph
90 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Walked to post office and back. Though I haven't kept track, certain 37:32 is my best time. I made it down in 19:14, and back "uphill" in 18:18.

According to https://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculat ... ulator.php that's a whopping 3.96 -- and change -- miles per hour.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
None, but at least there were no abandoned toilets. This is Sunnyslope, after all ...
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
1 archive
Sep 02 2021
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Middle Leonard CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 02 2021
kingsnake
Hiking10.11 Miles 724 AEG
Hiking10.11 Miles   4 Hrs   23 Mns   2.31 mph
724 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
It was overcast when I started hiking at 8:20 a.m. Rather than canyon crawl Middle Leonard Canyon from the beginning, I hiked FR 9735T for the first mile along the canyon’s east flank. Decommissioned FR 9735T was easy to follow, and had multiple wide puddles. It was obvious the wet forest would be providing many mushroom photos. 🍄

Typically for the Mogollon Rim, the canyon had elk bones scattered along its length. There were lots of butterflies: Some, a flat yellow, that would not hold still, and an atlantis fritillary that did me a solid and posed. I also spotted a dead mouse doing the “dying cockroach”. 🪳

My first mile in the canyon did not seem too congested, yet it took me an hour to hike it. That stretch ended in a ½ mile long meadow, dotted with western dayflower. Then the real fun began …

The next 2½ miles of the canyon to the junction with West Leonard Canyon were even more congested. (Though there were also shelf trails here and there, providing brief respites.) I mean, I could cruise along the canyon rim, or at least far upslope, but when canyon crawling I try to stay as close to the canyon bottom as practicable.

Still, I low-crawled at least five large, downed, pine trees. I took care to avoid being scalped by sharp, broken, branches. Or being pancaked by accidentally jarring a log loose. 🥞

There were many pools of water in the canyon, below the meadow. The pools ranged from boot sole-deep to calf-deep. The pools often stretched from one side of the narrow canyon to the other. At first, I was able to cross dry, but eventually gave up.

As I hiked further north in the canyon, I started to keep and eye out for relatively easy bail points, in case I reached an unbreachable obstacle or just got too damn tired. I found three options on the west slope of the canyon, between 3½ and 4½ miles into my hike. I did not climb up them to be sure, but they looked good.

In the midst of that one mile stretch of the canyon, I found an rocky overhang that would make a pretty good rain shelter. The overhang is not the same as the cave which I’ve heard is in the area. (And which I forgot to look for.) ☔️

I stopped for lunch ⅓ mile after the overhang, at another obstacle. While digging through my pack looking for my QT egg roll, I found some mottled green & black month-old hiking food. I think it may have been a burrito. I really should clean my pack more often.

I’d felt a few random rain sprinkles while eating lunch, but no big deal. They just kinda drifted out of the sky. After that obstacle, Middle Leonard Canyon cleared up a bit. I arrived at the junction with West Leonard Canyon, a ½ mile later, in only 20 minutes. As is usually the case in Mogollon Rim canyons, the spur forming the point of the junction, was steep, but climbable.

The topo map claims FR 300H extends to the top of that Middle Leonard Canyon spur, but no such luck. Still, cross country travel was easy. Six miles into my hike, I found a clearing that was the actual north end of FR 300H. Just past the clearing, I stopped for another snack break. I’d barely had time to sit, before the skies opened up. ⛈

Cutting my break short, I hastily improvised a rain coat from a garbage bag, heading out with a quickness. At least one thunder was pretty close. The worst of the rain lasted 20 minutes. Taking no chances, I covered the 3⅓ miles of FR 300H back to FR 9735T in only an hour and ten minutes.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/597829381
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Selfie
Meteorology
Meteorology
Rain
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Western dayflower (particularly in the canyon bottom meadow), coneflower, Richardson’s geranium, alpine leafybract aster, hairy golden aster, orange jelly, and many other fungi.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Aug 25 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Happy Jack - AZT #28Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 25 2021
kingsnake
Hiking11.12 Miles 739 AEG
Hiking11.12 Miles   3 Hrs   50 Mns   2.90 mph
739 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Even though Flagstaff is 30 miles up Lake Mary Rd., the Flagstaff area always has great flowers this time of year. So, I planned a loop around Mahan Mountain.

I started hiking south, counter-clockwise, on Arizona Trail Passage 28, at 8:30 a.m. It was a perfect morning, high 60s, mostly sunny. There was plenty of quality shade the whole way to Shuff’s Tank, and not just because the sun was on the opposite side of Mahan Mountain. The AZT maintenance crews have done a fantastic job on the trail. 👍

After photographing Shuff’s Tank, I continued across FR 135D on Arizona Trail Passage 28. I soon realized I was off my route. I doubled back to the tank to re-orient myself. I wasn’t worried about getting lost, but I didn’t want to end up in Happy Jack, or points further south. After a short break, I decided to stay on route, turning left onto FR 135D.

The AZT segment I bypassed is only a ½ mile longer and, I am sure, much more enjoyable. FR 135D had some nice meadows, but many fewer flowers and was rocky as well. Both FR 135D and the AZT end up in the same place, rejoining near FR 9255A.

There were a number of cattle on the west slope of Mahan Mountain. There were loud crickets — I’m not good identifying critters — all along FR 135D, east of Shuff’s Tank. I saw orange-belted bumblebee (bombus huntii) snacking on Wheeler’s thistle. Th AZT between FR 135D and FR 135A had too many gnats. Thankfully, the route is not too strenuous, so I could breathe through my nose. 👃🏻

That AZT segment beween FR 135D and FR 135A was rocky, and not as shady, with scrub oak predominating. I took a second break there, finding I still had 2-bar Verizon on my iPhone SE. (I had 4-bars at my trailhead, and again when I took my final break at the bottom of the Hutch Mountain summit road, north of Mahan Ranch.)

I turned left off AZT for good at FR 135A. This time on purpose. (The trail continues straight across the forest road.) The first mile on FR 135A was similar to FR 135D, but it climbed 200 ft. The slight change in elevation was enough to change the microclimate, so that the area around Mahan Ranch was densely wooded, almost like an old growth forest.

Mahan Ranch, itself, was thoroughly fenced and frequently posted with a variety of no trespassing signs. I could see the buildings through the spruce and pines, but not in detail. The property, though, was idyllic and perfectly located. Would love to own it. 💰

Past Mahan Ranch, the forest roads get a bit confusing, twisting around. Several of the forest roads are decommisioned for vehicle traffic. (In one case, being blocked by logs across FR 135A.) At least two appear to be routes to the summit of Mahan Mountain.

By the time I reached gate #5, at the Hutch Mountain summit road (FR 135B), the “old growth” forest had ended, and I was back in the type of terrain I’d started in four hours earlier. My pocket camera battery had died an hour earlier, so I was reduced to taking photos on my iPhone SE. Good thing I’d already shot all the flowers I could handle!

Thick clouds had come in on my way north past Mahan Mountain, and I’d even heard distant thunder. But I did not feel even a spinkle, though my car was doused. It needed it. 😆

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/593761816
Fauna
Fauna
Bumblebee
Culture
Culture
HAZ Food
Named place
Named place
Stoneman Lake
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Silverstem lupine, velvety goldenrod, Wheeler’s thistle, showy fleabane (best I've seen for quality & quantity), paintbrush, Mexican silene, Huachuca Mountain morning glory, mullein, western dayflower, western yarrow, pineywoods geranium, showy phlox, redroot wild buckwheat (a first for me), showy goldeneye, scarlet penstemon … and dandelions. lol

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Lane Tank 1-25% full 1-25% full

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Mahan Tank 1-25% full 1-25% full

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Shuffs Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Aug 19 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Turkey Springs Trail #217Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 19 2021
kingsnake
Hiking6.59 Miles 1,560 AEG
Hiking6.59 Miles   3 Hrs   7 Mns   2.11 mph
1,560 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
A loop of FR 218, Trail #217 and Trail #228 is 5.6 miles and 1,530 ft. AEG. You can either hike from the top of the Rim, on Milk Ranch Point, as I did, or from the bottom, at Camp Geronimo’s front gate. The latter adds 5.0 miles, 700 AEG, in & out to Turkey Spring.

Dickenson Flat, opposite the west end of Trail #217, would make a great trailhead, but I opted to park 1½ miles south on FR 218 at an unnamed tank. (The better to warm up my legs before tackling Trail #217.) At the north end of Dickenson Flat, I turned right onto decommissioned FR 9381F.

150 yds. past the FR 9381F vehicle gate, there is a sign for Trail #217, which splits to the left. The half mile of Trail #217 in the Coconino National Forest is indeed forested, with decent shade. A barbed wire fence and wire loop gate marked the boundary with the Tonto National Forest. 🌲

Past the fence, Trail #217 began descending in earnest, mostly through a manzanita-strewn old burn area. In 2007, Trail #217 was reported to be vague and in poor shape, but it is now well-defined, though ankle-breaker rocks and slippery gravel-over-slick surfaces require caution.

The top half of the Trail #217 descent has great views along the Mogollon Rim, which were enhanced on my hike by the contrast of many puffy clouds. A ¼ mile past the barbed wire gate, on the south side of the trail, is a freestanding rock formation with a balanced rock. If you are careful, you can climb the 30-40 ft. to the top. I saved my energy.

The final ¼ mile, Trail #217 becomes deeply-rutted jeep trail. I’m not sure if the erosion is recent, but I would not be surprised if it was: Nearby Payson has had over 11″ of rain during this summer’s record monsoon season. ☔️

After 3½ total miles, I turned off Trail #217 onto Trail #228, which drops slightly to a small, unnamed creek. I found a good tree stump, sitting down to a lunch of vinegar chips, gorp and gas station murderwich. Today’s hiking beer was Chimay Grande Réserve.

As it heads up canyon, Trail #228 crosses the small, unnamed, creek several times. I was always able to cross it dry. The creek’s low volume flow was loud enough I could hear it 50 ft. upslope.

Trail #228 had consistent, quality, shade it’s whole length. Between the creek and the overhead cover, the ground was moister. As a result, below the Rim, Trail #228 had fewer flowers and much more fungi than Trail #217. 🍄

The first mile of Trail #228 climbs 450 ft., while the next ¾ of a mile climbs a heavily switchbacked 800 ft. Just below the top of the Rim, was an outcropping painted “HAVE”, with what looked like a cave opening. Turned out to just be a crack filled with rocks and leaf litter. From the top of the climb, it was only ⅓ of a mile back my wife at the unnamed tank.

Overall, I enjoyed the whole loop, but especially Trail #228. I look forward to doing it again in a few years, if I am not too old. Or fat.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/590571178
Culture
Culture
Cag Shot Graffiti
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Mullein, Wheeler's thistle and, especially primrose along FR 218. Pineywoods geranium most common flower, found near top of cliff band on both trails. Western dayflower, Mexican silene, Stansbury's cliffrose, penstemon, Arizona thistle. Lots of molds and mushrooms, especially on Trail #228, which is darker and damper. (Only one I could identify was orange jelly.)

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Dickenson Flat Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Aug 05 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Butterfly Trail #16 - CatalinaTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 05 2021
kingsnake
Hiking6.27 Miles 1,740 AEG
Hiking6.27 Miles
1,740 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My plan was to hike Butterfly Trail #16 and, if I was making good time and not too sore, check out the observatories and antenna farms on Mount Bigelow.

It took my wife & I as much time to drive from I-10 across Tucson, and up Mount Lemmon, as it did for us to drive to Tucson. At least there was no construction on Grant Rd., and no looky-loos on the Catalina Highway. I started hiking from the Bigelow Trailhead at 9:30 a.m., with plans for my wife to meet me three hours later at the Butterfly Trailhead, to see if I would complete the loop, or call it a day.

At 8,280 ft., the Mount Bigelow-Kellogg Mountain saddle is the high point of Butterfly Trail #16. The saddle is where the expansive views start: The Galiuro Mountains are easily visible 22 miles east, across the San Pedro River valley, and even beyond that, 50 miles to the Pinaleno Mountains. The town on the left side of the valley is San Manuel. The Catalina Mountains' foothills were bright green. ☘️

There were not many flowers on the climb to the Mount Bigelow-Kellogg Mountain saddle, but they began in earnest on the descent from it.

There was a fair amount of growth along the well-groomed trail. I turned a corner of the first switchback down, bumping into an older pair of trail maintenance volunteers. They told me the growth got much worse ahead. They were not kidding!

Overgrowth often obscures pitfalls caused by Bighorn Fire-damaged trees’ uprooted root bulbs. The overgrowth is waist high. There are prickler vines, but at least no cat claw. Mind your footing. When the trail is visible, it’s in good shape.

I found the best flowers — particularly dense patches of yellow columbine and pink thicket / Fendler’s globemallow -- the second mile of the trail, as it heads north along the east slope of Mount Bigelow. 🤗

After descending 560 ft. in a mile from the Mount Bigelow-Kellogg Mountain saddle, Butterfly Trail #16 reaches a second saddle on the north slope of Mount Bigelow, separating it from Westfall Knob. Novio Spring, the falls, and the F-86 wreck site are in the canyon on the left.

From the north end of Westfall Knob, the trail descends 800 ft. in a mile. The signed junction with Davis Spring Trail #31 is two-thirds of the way down. The descent is actually the longest stretch of good trail I experienced.

… Which was quickly followed by the worst section of Butterfly Trail #16. The vegetation was so dense, I wandered off trail, and could not spot where it was I had gone wrong. I battered about for a bit, then considered my options. Not wanting to repeat my experience at the bottom of Willow Springs Canyon last year ( [ photoset ] ), I decided to bail. ↩️

It was a long, slow, trudge back up Butterfly Trail #16. I took breathers every 100 ft. up, and even several 10 minute sit down breaks. On my break back at the Davis Spring Trail #31 junction, I went to call my wife about the change in plans, only to realize I had left my phone in the car. (If there is reception anywhere on this hike, it would be near Westfall Knob, with line-of-sight to Mount Lemmon.)

A little over a mile out from Bigelow Trailhead, about 2:00 p.m., I bumped into a mom and her son hiking northbound. She said some time previously, they had hiked southbound, and had to turn around due to overgrowth. Now, they were trying the opposite way. That did not seem wise. Personally, I was exhausted.

Covered in leaf stains, pollen and soot, I arrived at the Bigelow Trailhead just after 3:00 p.m. — only to see my Acura RDX drive off. Argh! Thankfully, there were some very kind folks there who offered to drive me up to Butterfly Trailhead to reconnect with my wife. (She’d been alternating trailheads every 15 minutes, looking for my late 🎃.)

I cramped several times on the way back down the Catalina Highway. We ate dinner at La Hacienda in Oro Valley. All told, after my hike, I drank a V8, three waters, a Gatorade, and two beers before I peed after dinner for the first time in seven hours. Think I was dehydrated? 😆

**** For the flowers.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/584915839
Named place
Named place
Kellogg Mountain Westfall Knob
Meteorology
Meteorology
Fire Burn Area & Recovery
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Several dense patches of yellow columbine. A half mile stretch of many prolific thicket / Fendler's globemallow. (Pink ones!) Plenty of scarlet penstemon. Several varieties of paintbrush. Vervain represented. Also Arizona thistle, western yarrow, western dayflower, fleabane, Richardson's geranium, alpine false spring parsley, raspberry, red and yellow pea, Wright's goldenrod, flowering wild / Virginia strawberry, American vetch, skyrocket (some pink!), Lemon beebalm, and pineywoods geranium. Mullein and primrose by the Bigelow Trailhead.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
2 archives
Jul 22 2021
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
235 Road TrailPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 22 2021
kingsnake
Hiking10.55 Miles 497 AEG
Hiking10.55 Miles   4 Hrs   6 Mns   2.57 mph
497 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Rated *** for the off trail portion along the west rim of Willow Springs Canyon. Only * for the 235 Road Trail portion.

-----

A year ago, I attempted through hiking Willow Springs Canyon and Woods Canyon. When I reached the junction where they feed into Chevelon Canyon, I tried to climb out. That did not go well. Today, I was back to take a look at bail points from the opposite perspective, atop the rim of Willow Springs Canyon.

After hiking a mile on 235 Road Trail #502, I turned east onto FR 9502W. In almost a mile, I only wandered off the old road bed once: It’s the more clear path through otherwise fairly clear terrain. I’m not sure why, but pine forest tends to have much less underbrush than deciduous forest. 🤔

When I got to the west rim of Willow Springs Canyon, I turned north, off FR 9502W. Though there were occasional rocky outcroppings or washes to negotiate, cross country travel was still a breeze. I could have moved quicker, except I was carefully scanning the brushier slope for good routes to the canyon floor.

All told, I found four safe routes to the bottom of Willow Springs Canyon: The first three are only 50-70 ft. descents. The third matches where the foot trail peters out at the bottom of Willow Springs Canyon. (The canyon gets ~25 ft. deeper for every ¼ mile you hike north.)

The fourth route to the bottom of Willow Springs Canyon, ¾ of a mile north, was suggested by @ljcygnet. It is a steep 170 ft., but not dangerous or cliffed out, like the rim gets closer to Chevelon Canyon. When you see two pines with green ribbons, marked “3” and “4” in blue paint, you are near the top of ljcygnet’s route. 🧭

Though rain had been predicted all day, all week, at nearby Forest Lakes, I had observed that it typically did not start until early afternoon. In fact, the sky was mostly sunny until late morning, when clouds started rolling in, particularly north of Chevelon Canyon.

I found four good OPs (observation points) the final 1¼ mile of the Willow Springs Canyon rim. Because, as the canyon floor drops away, the elevation of the “mesa” remains fairly consistent. OP 2, just off the end of 235 Road Trail #502, has two outcroppings, so your hike partner could take a “Look at me!” photo of you standing over the canyon. I was not so lucky. I hike alone.

OP 3 requires a bit of care to access, but has the best view of Woods Canyon and Chevelon Canyon. OP 3 is where I filmed my hike video’s outro. Whether you follow my route, or simply stroll up 235 Road Trail #502, you will surely find other observation points — any one of which would make a great picnic spot. 🧺

The clouds had gotten heavier, and I heard distant thunder. Rather than continue to explore the Woods Canyon rim, I hauled butt back down 235 Road Trail #502 to Rim Top Trailhead. I hiked the four miles in a zippy 1h 15m. Dry. The rain did not start until my drive back, east of Star Valley. I call that perfect timing!

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/579096654
Fauna
Fauna
Ants
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
There were lots of yellow coneflower in muddy puddles at either end of 235 Road Trail #502. I saw plenty of clustered fleabane, plus regular small clusters of western yarrow and alpine spring parsley. I only recall ever finding three Mexican silene: I counted six today! Other flower species included Wheeler’s thistle, wiry lotus, wandbloom penstemon, longleaf colongonia, paintbrush, and pinewoods spiderwort.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
2 archives
Jul 08 2021
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Flagstaff - AZT #33Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 08 2021
kingsnake
Hiking7.39 Miles 417 AEG
Hiking7.39 Miles   2 Hrs   26 Mns   3.04 mph
417 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This week is my third of likely ten 2021 Wildfire Season forest closure hikes: Five of Arizona’s six national forests, plus all BLM and Arizona State Trust land, are closed until at least September 1st, due to wildfire threat. Other than shoplifting a piece of penny candy — I am that old — when I was eight, my criminal record is clean and I prefer to keep it that way.

From Agave Mexican Restaurant on Route 66, I took the sidewalk north along Ponderosa Pkwy. Just past the fire station, the sidewalk bends left, away from the road. In 200 ft., the trail splits: Left is a driveway; stay right on the Arizona Trail, which climbs 150 ft. in the next ½ mile to the top of McMillan Mesa. (Other than crossing Ponderosa Pkwy., this section is only real shade on this hike.)

At the top of the climb, is the McMillan Mesa Trail. A loop, I went right, counter-clockwise, to stay on the Arizona Trail. The interior of McMillan Mesa is prairie, dotted with ponderosa pine, gambel oak and alligator juniper. There’s good spot shade, but if you are moving, it only lasts a split second. ☀️

The Arizona Trail passes by a church, before turning north. There are four benches in the next 1¼ miles, with scenic views of Mount Elden, Agassiz Peak, Fremont Peak and/or Doyle Peak. Unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of construction near the electrical substation. Coconino High School, where I used to coach a pee-wee football team in the mid-80s, is below the substation.

Two miles into the hike, the Arizona Trail crosses the Matt Kelly Urban Trail Bridge over Cedar Ave. Just beyond the bridge is the Buffalo Park Trailhead, which has a picnic cabana, three coed restrooms with running water, a bike rack, multiple benches, info signs, and all the other usual developed trailhead amenities. I saw no garbage, but it’s worth noting, both McMillan Mesa Trail and Nate Avery Trail have garbage cans dotted along them.

It’s no surprise Nate Avery Trail is the most popular trail in Flagstaff, there were many dog walkers, mountain bikers, trail runners, and old people gaggles following it around Buffalo Park. In a pleasant departure from the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, all the mountain bikes were polite, and all the dogs leashed. 🐶

Nate Avery Trail has mileage markers every ¼ mile. Just past the second marker, Nate Avery Trail re-crosses the Arizona Trail. After checking out the natural gas line, and the beginning of Oldham Trail #1, I continued around Buffalo Park. Around the 1¼ marker, there remains of some curious stone and cement structures, that look like ranch remains.

Back at the Buffalo Park Trailhead, I turned down Switzer Canyon Trail, past the McPherson Park disc golf course, ⅔ of a mile to Forest Ave. (Use the crosswalk.) I turned left, 150 ft. up the sidewalk, then at the top turned right onto McMillan Mesa Trail. 300 yds. south of Forest Ave. is the memorial for the McMillan Mesa mid-air collision.

Just south of the memorial, McMillan Mesa Trail splits left, passing east through a small retirement community. After crossing Pine Cliff Dr. McMillan Mesa Trail closes it’s loop back at the Arizona Trail. On the way back down the AZT, I took short sit down break in the shady area. 🌲

I met my wife back at Agave Mexican Restaurant at 11:20 a.m., where I proceeded to rehydrate with a pair of Tecates. The chile colorado was so delicious, I couldn’t help but finish my plate. No leftovers! 💪

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/573625968
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Twistspine prickly pear, prairie sunflower, pineywoods geranium, field bindweed, common mallow, Wheeler’s thistle, western yarrow, sulphur buckwheat, dandelion, mexican hat, and a couple of small things I did not photograph. The most common flower looked like a sunflower, but I don't think it is. Check the photoset, if you can ID it.
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Jul 01 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Iron King TrailPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 01 2021
kingsnake
Hiking8.09 Miles 214 AEG
Hiking8.09 Miles   2 Hrs   31 Mns   3.21 mph
214 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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The punishment for violating a forest closure is a Class B misdemeanor which carries a $5,000 fine and up to six months in Federal Pound Me in the 🎃 Prison. In my younger days, I was a guard. I like going home at night and eating baloney that is not rainbow-colored. 🤢

Because Prescott Valley is a metastasizing suburb of metastasizing Prescott, it is gradually encroaching even upon Iron King Trail: The first mile is now a sidewalk, and only three trailish miles remain. I started hiking at 7:15 a.m. from the traffic circle at Santa Fe Loop Rd. and Jasper Pkwy., which is actually “no parking”. (I jumped out, and my wife drove off.) 🚧

A popular trailhead is catty corner from the Granville Dog Park, on the northeast corner of Granville Fairway and Santa Fe Loop Rd. I saw a bunch of non-construction vehicles there, but it does not strike me as the sort of place that will remain legal once the community is built out. If you don’t mind cement walking, park back at Santa Fe Station Park on the southwest corner of Santa Fe Loop Rd. and Glassford Hill Rd.

It was only 65℉ when I started hiking, but quite humid due to Prescott Valley getting a ½” of rain the day before. It was a toasty 87℉ when I finished only three hours later. 🥵

The first half mile of actual rail trail (as opposed to sidewalk), is adjacent to hundreds of houses in various stages of construction. The next half mile, to the first rail car, is site preparation for even more construction. That first mile west of the Jasper Pkwy. traffic circle is where all the flowers are located.

I'd heard that the rail cars marked every mile of Iron King Trail, but that is no longer quite the case: Yes, there are rail cars at milepost 2 and 3, but none at milepost 1 by the traffic circle, and there is a third one at milepost 3.4 (perhaps moved from milepst 1?). It looks like the rail cars were used to move maybe a half dozen people, or pull light loads between stations. The one I looked at closely had a 12 volt battery and what appeared to be a truck engine. 🚂

The first 2¾ miles from Santa Fe Station Park, or 1¾ from the Jasper Pkwy. traffic circle, are totally exposed. No shade. It is only when the Iron King Trail begins entering the Granite Dells its final 1¼ miles that there is occasional spot shade. Conversely, the last hour of your hike will be in the blazing sun.

The Iron King Trail ends at the old Entro siding on the Peavine Trail. (Of which nothing remains.) There’s a portapotty, a picnic table and several historical signs — which I took time to read as I was for once far ahead of schedule.

“No trespassing” signed barbwire fences parallel both sides of the Iron King Trail from the Jasper Pkwy. traffic circle all the way to Entro, then again north along Peavine Trail. I’d been hoping to do some exploring northeast of Entro, around Hill 5630, and checkout the Boblett Cemetery, so that was a bummer. Hopefully the land eventually transfers to park land, not destroyed by developers. 👋

I barely stopped on my way back along the Iron King Trail, making the four miles to Santa Fe Station Park in only 75 minutes.My average moving speed for the day was 3.2 mph. On the way back down I-17 towards Phoenix, the Tiger Fire ( https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7595 ) west of I-17 had grown considerably, but thankfully not enough to close the freeway. I love being home before noon!

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/570677294
Meteorology
Meteorology
Moon
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Light in first mile west of the traffic circle. Nothing the next two miles to Peavine Trail. Plenty of silverleaf nightshade. Fair number of southwestern prickly poppy. Some obviously planted species. Scattering of other wildflowers, including globemallow.
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Jun 25 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
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 Photos 9,111
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59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Sundog TrailPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 25 2021
kingsnake
Hiking10.99 Miles 1,279 AEG
Hiking10.99 Miles   4 Hrs   3 Mns   2.71 mph
1,279 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
On Monday, the Coconino National Forest and Kaibab Forest closed due to extreme wildfire threat. I was planning on hiking around Knoll Lake, on the Mogollon Rim, which is on the border of the Coconino National Forest and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. I began looking for something else to do.

On Tuesday, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest closed. On Wednesday, the Tonto National Forest closed. I checked the Prescott National Forest site, and they were still open. So, I looked over there. On Thursday, the Prescott National Forest closed. (As well as all BLM and Arizona State Trust land.) The Coronado National Forest, if it is still open, is 4+ hours away. Basically, there’s nowhere to hike in Arizona this summer that is under 100℉, unless it is a city park in Flagstaff or Prescott.

I had planned on hiking the Sundog Trail and Badger Mountain Trail portions of the Prescott Circle Trail (PCT) a month ago. I double-checked the route, and it is all outside Prescott National Forest land. I messaged my hiking buddy Paul (aka @prescottstyle ), and it was on.

We started hiking from the Pow Wow Trailhead at 8:30 a.m. It was immediately obvious that Watson Lake was very low. So low, I seriously think I could have walked across it.

After a mile, Sundog Trail crosses a pedestrian bridge over Granite Creek. Just past the bridge, turn right before you get on the Peavine Trail. At 1½ miles, Sundog Trail passes under Prescott Lakes Pkwy. At two miles, make a quick left-right to get on the old rail bed. Cross Sundog Ranch Rd. a few hundred yards later, to get on proper single track trail.

The Prescott Circle Trail is optimized for mountain bikes, so there are plenty of switchbacks as Sundog Trail makes three 200 ft. climbs in the next four grassy miles, winding past the old city dump, the juvenile jail, Prescott Lakes Pkwy., and an odd checkerboard area near the Lowe’s Home Improvement, to AZ-69. 🤔

Thankfully, clouds had rolled in, as it was toasty and the only real shade on Sundog Trail was the tunnel under AZ-69.

Badger Mountain Trail starts on the south side of the AZ-69 tunnel. It immediately climbs 100 ft. before levelling out for a ½ mile. That is followed by a steady, and of course switchbacked, 400 ft. climb over the next two miles. Like Sundog Trail, it’s still a great trail surface, but the ground cover has changed from grass to shrubbery, like scrub oak, manzanita and the occasional juniper.

Due to the increased elevation, and lack of overhead cover, Badger Mountain Trail has some of the best views in Prescott. At its high point there is a rest bench. Just past the bench, there is a MTB rollover gate that marks no government boundary I can determine. Certainly not closed Prescott National Forest land. 😇

From the gate, the route is all downhill to Turley Trailhead. In 150 yds., Badger Mountain Trail crosses the summit access road. (It is a ½ mile and 300 AEG to the top.) Two thirds of a mile past that, split right onto the Turley / Badger Connector. (Left stays on Badger Mountain Trail.) Turley Trail is in another ⅓ of a mile: Turn right towards Turley Trailhead — which actually has better views of the white stone “P” than back up on Badger Mountain Trail.

After we finished, Paul and I repaired to La Casa Prescottstyle for rehydration. 🍻

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/568182065
Culture
Culture
HAZ Food Humor
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Wildflowers Observation Light
The majority of the flowers on this segment of the Prescott Circle Trail were on Sundog Trail, and most of those between Watson Lake and the old city dump, where I saw beautiful deeply purple thistle. The most common flowers were field bindweed, followed by buffalo gourd, sacred datura, and southwestern prickly poppy.
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Jun 10 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
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59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Blue Ridge Trail #107Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 10 2021
kingsnake
Hiking10.54 Miles 865 AEG
Hiking10.54 Miles   3 Hrs   50 Mns   2.75 mph
865 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Assuming the highway is not blocked due to a wildfire — more on that later — it is a 3½ hour drive from Phoenix to Pinetop-Lakeside. To maximize my drive time ROI, I tend to avoid drives longer than three hours, so I usually only hike the White Mountains once per year. In 2020, I hiked Buena Vista Trail #637 [ photoset ] ; this year, Blue Ridge Trail #107.

There were only two other vehicles at Blue Ridge Trailhead #2 when I started hiking at 9:40 a.m. It was breezy, but not too windy, and partly cloudy. Despite the 86,000+ acre Telegraph Fire blowing smoke from the Pinal Mountains northeast towards Pinetop-Lakeside, I saw no haze. The sky was beautiful blue. 🤗

Other than a few scattered fleabane, all the flowers I spotted were in the three miles between Blue Ridge Trailhead #2 and the Billy Creek Connector. (Or in the final half mile of the loop, from FR 9274J back to the trailhead.) The only significant flowers I remember on the other two-thirds of Blue Ridge Trail #107 were the ceanothus near Blue Ridge Trailhead #1 and the twistspine pricklypear a ¼ mile further northeast. Apparently, I am the first Hazard to photograph a pygmy bluet?

While hiking Blue Ridge Trail #107, I saw only two mountain bikers (both polite): no horse riders, dog walkers, trail runners or other hikers. Springs Trail #633 was busier.

Pines predominate on the eastern half of Blue Ridge Trail #107, with scrub oak being more common in the western half. There is enough shade to take a relaxing break, but never enough for more than a second of relief if you are moving. 😅

From Traihead #1, other than a few photos, I motored up Blue Ridge Mountain's 550 ft. in two miles climb. (I don’t recall using my hiking poles all day.) The summit of Blue Ridge Mountain is 50 yds to the north of blaze B8. I could not find a geocache. Supposedly, the summit has views, but all I saw were trees. Maybe that is why the local fire lookout is on 450 ft. lower Springer Mountain?

For once, I finished a hike quicker than expected, returning to Blue Ridge Trailhead #2 at 2:15 p.m.

Just like last week on East Clear Creek, I carried both my Garmin 62s and my new Garmin 64sx. They both seem to be fairly accurate regarding time, distance and AEG on short hikes, where I do not stop. On an “away” hike, where I am constantly stopping to take photos, things get crazy. The Garmin 64sx keeps a more accurate track — and thus more accurate (but not exact) mileage — but it keeps clocking moving time for 10+ seconds after stopping, whereas the Garmin 62s stops within a second or two. The Garmin 64sx altitude is also consistently out of whack by ~50% extra AEG. And I don’t want to keep carrying them both!

On the drive home, we ran into a traffic jam in Heber-Overgaard. Turns out there was a brush fire blocking east bound AZ-260 at MP 302, just past the last Circle K in town. We crept along for 10 minutes. Then, over the course of a few more minutes, four firetrucks and a deputy sheriff headed past us, away from the fire. After that, we did not move at all for 10 minutes. Niiiiiice. I decided to cut my losses, turn around, and take the long route back to Phoenix via Holbrook and Flagstaff, adding over two hours to our trip. We did not get home until 8:30 p.m. 😴

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/562783398
Named place
Named place
Blue Ridge Mountain
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Fleabane were by far the most common, followed by alpine false springparsley and showy phlox
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Jun 03 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
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59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
East Clear Creek - Dry Lake LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 03 2021
kingsnake
Hiking10.48 Miles 634 AEG
Hiking10.48 Miles   3 Hrs   42 Mns   2.83 mph
634 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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When I got home from my last hike, my Garmin 62s was missing. Not in the car, not in our house, nowhere. 🔩 me. My wife has Amazon Prime, so I used her account to buy a new GPS. Though it’s out-of-date and — unfortunately — a Garmin, I ordered a 64sx. At least it has the same buttons in the same places. Muscle memory is important.

The next day, I found my Garmin 62s. Of course. 🙄

At least now I am able to set up the 64sx as close as possible to the 62s, and on today’s hike tested them side-by-side for accuracy.

Considering Memorial Day — the traditional beginning of “summer” — was last weekend, I was surprised how few RVs were camped along FR 141. There was nobody at Dry Lake, and only two ATVs rode past my patient wife while I was gone.

In the drainage blow FR 612B, there were quite a few Rocky Mountain iris just before ECC: Mostly violet, but some were pure white.

As I reached East Clear Creek, I almost bumped into someone. He had a clipboard, instead of hiking gear. Turns out he was doing forest research, though I neglected to ask if he was researching trees, critters or flowers.

Speaking of flowers, I found a fair number of species on the East Clear Creek – Dry Lake Loop, but visual coverage was minimal. Small white asters were the most common. Besides avoiding tripping hazards, another reason I pay such close attention to where I am stepping is finding what flowers there are. And that is why, hidden under some grass, I saw a brief glimpse of purple that turned out to be tiny aspen pea [ photo ] . 🔎

Despite my concentration on my footing, travel at the bottom of East Clear Creek was as easy as could be.

The ECC cave looks more like two hills mooshed together to form a slot canyon, than a cave cave. It is much cooler inside, and there is not too much bat or rat poo. I went as far as I could without low-crawling.

I took a short break at Jones Crossing, before I started hiking forest roads back to Dry Lake. Imagine my surprise: I did not see one vehicle the 30 minutes I was on FR 141!

Comparing my old Garmin 62s and new 64sx [ photo ] there are elevations of 7318, 7314 and 7311 — meaning the 64sx isn’t even agreeing with itself! The correct elevation is 7314. The “total ascent” (i.e. AEG) differ by 50%. The actual AEG is 634 ft.

Distance more closely matches, as 11.3 miles (62s) is only 3% less than 11.6 miles (64sx). I attribute the difference to the number of data points each GPS recorded, 1061 (62s) vs. 1715 (64sx). More frequent sampling should be more accurate for distance, but it wasn’t, being off .76 miles to 10.84 (62s) and .83 miles to 10.48 (64sx).

I started hiking at 8:08, taking three 10-minute breaks and shooting numerous photos, before finishing at 1:18 p.m. (A duration of 5:10.) The moving time, stoppage time, and total time — 5:04 (62s) and 4:55 (64sx) — wildly vary. I didn’t think to use my watch’s chronograph for comparison. I’ll do another test next week, when I hike Blue Ridge National Recreation Trail #107 in the White Mountains.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/559626173
Named place
Named place
East Clear Creek
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
May 19 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
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 Photos 9,111
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59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Mountain Village, CO 
Mountain Village, CO
 
Hiking avatar May 19 2021
kingsnake
Hiking2.99 Miles 561 AEG
Hiking2.99 Miles   1 Hour   2 Mns   2.89 mph
561 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Second acclimitization hike around Mountain Village, this time on the "Village Trail", which is partly on off-season Telluride ski runs. Afterwards, we drove "around the mountain" to Silverton for lunch. (12 miles as the crow flies; 73 by road.) The Million Dollar Highway beween Ouray and Silverton is beautiful -- especially snowy Red Mountain Pass -- but requires caution due to steep drop offs and lack of a guard rail. Red Mountain Pass is also the start point for Black Bear Pass Rd. to Telluride, the "most dangerous road in Colorado", for those with hc 4x4 and brass huevos.

Driving Telluride-Silverton (for normal people): https://vimeo.com/554036181
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
May 18 2021
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
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 Photos 9,111
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59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Mountain Village, CO 
Mountain Village, CO
 
Hiking avatar May 18 2021
kingsnake
Hiking3.07 Miles 383 AEG
Hiking3.07 Miles      56 Mns   3.29 mph
383 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I got a really good deal on an off-season short term rental in Mountain Village (a “suburb” of Telluride), so my wife and I took a road trip north, to spend the week in southwest Colorado. Besides trying out what restaurants might be open in the off-season, and driving on scenic roads, I planned to hike Bridal Veil Falls. As the falls are around 9,500 ft. el., I figured it would be better to do some morning walks to acclimitize, rather than just ride a gym bike. So, I went for a walk through Mountain Village.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Quite a few dandelions, but not much else. The fact there were any flowers at all was suprising as we had snow or hail three out five days.
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
May 17 2021
kingsnake
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59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Bridal Veil Falls - TellurideWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar May 17 2021
kingsnake
Hiking5.68 Miles 1,070 AEG
Hiking5.68 Miles   2 Hrs   19 Mns   2.45 mph
1,070 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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After driving nearly 500 miles up from Phoenix, my wife and I were spent the week in Mountain Village, the ski resort above the city of Telluride. As with most of our other trips, I wanted to get a hike in while I was there.

When my wife and I arrived at the east end of Telluride, a San Miguel County road crew had the road blocked off for yearly maintenance, so we parked on the road, west of Pandora Mill. At 9:00 a.m., on a off-season Thursday, there were four other vehicles there.

My plan was to hike Bridal Veil Trail at least as far as in the Ingram Creek crossing and, if safe, all the way to Bridal Veil Falls. If Ingram Creek was too dangerous to cross, I would double back to the trailhead, then hike up Black Bear Pass Rd.

The first 100 yds. of Bridal Veil Trail stay close to Black Bear Pass Rd. before turning south towards Ingram Creek. Mind your footing with roots and stepping between rocks. Ingram Creek is in ⅓ of a mile. Crossing it was no problem at all. “Hazardous stream crossing” is way over blown. (Unless there is a flash flood.)

The vegetation is a mixture of fir trees, aspen and small evergreen shrubbery. I saw two species of flowers, but neglected to photograph them. While laying on the ground, a pair of hikers stopped to ask me if I was okay. “Yeah, just taking pictures of these tiny molds.” “Cool!” But it was nice of them to check. 👍

300 yds. past Ingram Creek, there is a 30 ft. waterfall. (Marked as Side Falls #1 on my GPS route.) The temperature drop in the waterfall’s vicinity was noticeable. Speaking of temperature, I had been worried that I was under-dressed with only a hoodie, as it was quite chilly when I started. But other than the waterfalls’ microclimate, it warmed up enough to be a pleasant late morning hike.

300 yds. past the first side waterfall, was a second, slightly taller and less vertical waterfall. Both are on Bridal Veil Creek. Just beyond Side Falls #2, is the signed junction of Ingram Spur Trail. The sign marks the ¾ mile point of Bridal Veil Trail. I stayed right on Bridal Veil Trail. ↗️

… Which I soon lost in a snow bank. Bridal Veil Falls is visible from much of the Bridal Veil Trail, and the way up the drainage was fairly obvious, but I wanted to lay down an accurate track, so instead of bushwhacking, I doubled back to the sign., following Ingram Spur Trail along a contour to Black Bear Pass Rd.

I got a kick out of finding a snowman on Black Bear Pass Rd. ⛄️

At the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls, I found the top of Bridal Veil Trail, so I doubled back to where I lost it — I recognized a crushed bush — then headed back up to the falls, laying down an accurate final ¼ mile of GPS route.

I spent about 20 minutes at the base of Bridal Veil Falls. There’s a lot of mist, so I tried to time the swirls to get a relatively clear shot. By the time I was done, I figured it was enough for the day, so I skipped hiking four more Black Bear Pass Rd. switchbacks to the top of the the falls. (Just under 500 ft. and another mile.)

On the way back down Black Bear Pass Rd., there was a steady trickle of people heading up. There were a ton more cars parked near the Pandora Mill. I imagine it would be a zoo on the weekends!

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/555442675
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Two species I don't remember on Bridal Veil Trail. Fair amount of dandelions on Black Bear Pass Rd.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bridal Veil Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
The top of the mountains still had snow, but only spot snow lower down. So, I imagine flow was near peak with spring melt.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ingram Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
May 06 2021
kingsnake
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59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Bear Canyon Lake Trail #112Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 06 2021
kingsnake
Hiking5.79 Miles 556 AEG
Hiking5.79 Miles   2 Hrs   41 Mns   2.16 mph
556 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Before heading down FR 208, I first checked out the trailheads on FR 89A. All three pit toilets were locked for "Covid 19". Good thing I didn't need to use it.

Starting at 8:45, I told my wife I’d be back about 11:30. I planned to also explore the two drainages which feed the lake: Up Bear Canyon to its southwest, then down the unnamed wash to its southeast.

The trail descends a steep & fairly rocky 180 ft. in a ¼ mile to a open area on the south shore of Bear Canyon Lake. I hiked counter-clockwise, to take photographic advantage of the morning sun. There was water in the southeast drainage, but I crossed it dry. Turning north, I edged past a couple guys fishing for rainbow trout. 🎣

The unnumbered trail on the east side of Bear Canyon Lake does get indistinct at times, but generally speaking is within 30 ft. horizontal and 10 ft. vertical of the lake surface. Sometimes the trail is right next to the lake, literally within inches. It’s not a scramble, but I took care negotiating rocky outcroppings to avoid a wet tumble.

The Mogollon Rim got snow just a week ago, so I was not expecting a good flower hunt. I was happy I found what I did. Spotted along the middle third of both banks of Bear Canyon Lake, Arizona valerian was the only flower I noticed in more than one place. I found about nine species, all told. Lichen were common though.

While I was hiking up the east side of Bear Canyon Lake, I saw an Arizona DPS rescue helicopter, no more than 500 ft. up. He did a lap and a half around the lake, then disappeared. My wife said later she worried he was looking for me! 🚁

I got to the dam at the north end of Bear Canyon Lake at 10:30. Hiking the east side took longer than I expected. I knew I wouldn’t have time to explore the drainages and be back to FR 208 by 11:30. (My wife had an early flight on Friday, and I wanted to be considerate, as she makes so many of my hikes possible.)

Halfway south on Bear Canyon Lake Trail #112, there was some kind of rope & stick contraption tied to a tree. It looked like a booby trap, but I’m sure it was a rope swing. Despite being more distinct, there were still a few places where you could lose Trail #112. If you stay within 50 ft. horizontal and 30 ft. vertical of Black Canyon Lake, and look for the next blue diamond, you’ll be okay.

When I arrived back at the south end of the lake, it was already after noon. It was unseasonably warm for the Mogollon Rim — 81° on Rim Road an hour later — so imagine my surprise at finding snow along the bank of the creek. Schweet! 🤗

-----

My wife & I stopped at Fatso’s Pizza on way home, to pickup dinner and knock off the sweat with an ice cold Pabst. Fatso’s is a casual neighborhood place, not a dive bar. While waiting, the weirdo next to me was talking to himself. Not just one muttered curse at a strikeout on the TV, but a whole conversation. I swear, if Milton had mumbled about his red Swingline stapler I would have lost it!

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/547129273
Fauna
Fauna
Osprey
Named place
Named place
Bear Canyon Dam Bear Canyon Lake
Meteorology
Meteorology
Snow
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Arizona valerian, woodland strawberry, Canadian white violet, alpine pennycress, and three species I am not as sure of. (See photoset.)
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Apr 22 2021
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Antelope Hill to Antelope Creek Rd, BCTPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 22 2021
kingsnake
Hiking8.33 Miles 729 AEG
Hiking8.33 Miles   3 Hrs   2 Mns   2.75 mph
729 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Due to lack of rain during the winter monsoon, this spring has been no super bloom. Rather the opposite. But I closely follow the Maricopa County rainfall data ( https://alert.fcd.maricopa.gov/alert/Go ... /gmap.html ) any time the clouds darken, and I’ve noticed that the heaviest rainfall is usually north of Phoenix, in the Black Canyon area. With an extra week’s warming, I headed norh to Bloody Basin Rd.

Starting at 7:30 a.m., I knew I would finish the 7.7 mile segment to Big Bug TH well before noon, so after the hike I also planned to scout the next BCT segment, which doesn’t have the easy road access the first 66 miles do.

Because I was not expecting a lot of quality photo ops, the first couple of miles I was shooting stills and video, while trying think of some decent patter to dub over the video. To me, a video requires more time to convey the same amount of visual info as a still photo. So, I can keep my hike videos bite size, rather than rambling, disjointed and 90% unwatched like they were when I started in 2013. 😏

The first two miles to Dripping Spring were on jeep trail. There is a trail a short way down to Dripping Spring, but to stay on schedule, I skipped checking it out. At the top of that small canyon is a corral with a broken Aermotor windmill. The jeep trail continues, but the Black Canyon Trail splits left onto singletrack foot trail.

Almost the entire Black Canyon Trail from Cordes to AZ-69 passes through rolling, juniper-dotted grassland. The only climb of any sort is 200 ft. in a mile, north from Dripping Spring corral. After the climb, the BCT descends the next ¾ through a beautiful little valley to Antelope Creek, which showed zero sign of recent water. The valley reminded me of California. The junipers provided enough shade that I took a break. 🌳

As the trail rises out of the creek bed, it passed through a dense field of dry, brown, fallow New Mexico thistle. It would have been spectacular if the thistle were blooming.

After crossing Antelope Creek Rd., the BCT returns to singletrack for the final 2½ miles to Big Bug Trailhead. The trail curls around a small hill, then passes under powerline & phone lines, before crossing Big Bug Creek. On the north side of the creek, there is a buried pipeline and a mountain bike-optimized rollover gate. (I saw no MTBs, or hikers, all day.)

There were three cars at the Big Bug Trailhead, but they were all using the pit toilet as a rest stop, not for hiking. My wife was not among them. Somehow, she was 15 miles north in Dewey-Humboldt. But I was not angry, as without her loving help, I would not be able to do the hikes I do. 😘

After getting picked up by my wife, I did a scouting drive up Old Sycamore Road and AZ Hunt Club Road to see if the way was open to where the Black Canyon Trail crosses under the power lines over Brushy Wash. It’s seven miles north of Big Bug Trailhead, so that stretch would be another decent BCT segment. Unfortunately, two miles short of the BCT, the road was gated — with a keypad passcode! — private property. That’s a puzzle I’ll need to solve …

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/541360853
Culture
Culture
Windmill
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Redstem stork’s bill was by far the most common flower — easily over 90% of the blooms. Tiny ones, that were hard to photograph! Strawberry hedgehog were not frequent, but they were the second most common flower I found. I saw a few desert globemallow, but only two blooms.

Desert woollystar looked like redstem stork’s bill, except blue, rather than violet; I only saw a few, north of Antelope Creek. I spotted a couple of rough menodora, just east of the Big Bug Creek Trailhead. I saw two silverleaf nightshade: The first one by the dry corral above Dripping Springs canyon, which I forgot to photograph, and the above near Mayer, which I did not.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Apr 15 2021
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Brown's Mountain Summit via Upper RanchPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2021
kingsnake
Hiking8.63 Miles 861 AEG
Hiking8.63 Miles   3 Hrs   9 Mns   2.74 mph
861 ft AEG
 
1st trip
After returning from Easter in Maryland, bougainvillea were doing great in our neighborhood, so I decided to take a crack at another local flower hunt.

Brown’s Ranch Trailhead was about half full when I started hiking at 8:45 a.m. Just gazing out at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, I did not see any flowers, so my hopes were not high.

I headed out on Upper Ranch Trail. After a ⅓ of a mile, Upper Ranch Trail passes under power lines. That is when I started finding some small flowers here and there. The strawberry hedgehog mostly had flowers, but they were smaller, and not fully open. The ocotillo were outstanding. 👍

It was interesting to watch Brown’s Mountain change shape throughout the day, as I rotated around it.

Corral Trail has some nice views north to Cave Creek, but also travels through some lower areas, so there was more grass & shrubbery along it, particularly acacia, which as bright green as I’ve ever seen them. The creosote were still blooming. 🌿

There is little shade anywhere in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, so I took advantage of what I could find for brief break in a wash at the east end of Teddy Bear Ridge.

In the Brown’s Ranch area I found collapsed barbwire fence, an old feed hopper, a sunken foundation, a dry cinder block cattle tank, two dry cement spring boxes, and some other odds & ends. I somehow missed the ranch house remains, which are on the west side of Brown’s Ranch Road.

Just after I turned onto Brown's Ranch Road for the second time, I got rattled for my first time this year, by a small, but very angry, western diamondback. Thankfully, we were on opposite sides of the road, about 10 ft. apart. I didn’t get closer, but when I crouched down to take a photo he quickly slithered along his side of the road in my direction. That got my attention! 😳

After the snake and I parted ways, I finally started to encounter mountain bikers and other hikers.

I found the best strawberry hedgehog of my hike on the way up Brown's Mountain Trail.

Brown’s Summit Spur is short, but steep — 180 AEG in only 250 yds. — and slippery with pea gravel over rock. The summit is larger than it looks from below, with plenty of good sitting rocks. Being free standing, Brown’s Mountain has 360° views. Four Peaks was obvious to the east, but the only mountains I took time to identify were to the south: East End Mountain, Tom’s Thumb, Troon Mountain and Pinnacle Peak.

After photos and a snack break, I headed carefully down the summit spur to the saddle, then continued south on Brown’s Mountain Trail. As turned right onto Brown’s Ranch Road for the third time, I was sideswiped by a mountain biker blasting along the road. Not a technical track: A flat road. What a hero. 🙄

After I finished my hike, I was going to stop at Mickey D’s for my traditional post hike lunch: Filet-O-Fish and large fries (extra salt), but I realized I was totally cashless, having donated my last $3 to the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, who maintain the park. I call that a win. 😇

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/538411770
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Some of the best ocotillo I've ever seen. Many blooming strawberry hedgehog with smaller, not quite as open flowers. Creosote still doing well. Brittlebush flowers withering. Two clusters of desert wishbone bush. Scattered, not very fluffy, desert marigold. One miniature woollystar cluster. Flat top buckwheat have small clusters. A few small desert globemallow. A single New Mexico thistle. One cluster of pink / violet six-petal flower I could not identify.
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Apr 05 2021
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
C&O Canal MP 44.6-58.1, MD 
C&O Canal MP 44.6-58.1, MD
 
Hiking avatar Apr 05 2021
kingsnake
Hiking15.49 Miles 351 AEG
Hiking15.49 Miles   4 Hrs   43 Mns   3.28 mph
351 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Thankfully, this morning was 15° warmer ( [ photoset ] ), so I was able to hike to the Weverton Cliffs without any extra layers. Don’t get me wrong: I thought about wearing my hoodie, but it was expected to warm up quicker, and to a higher temperature, than on Friday. In the meantime, I could overcome mid-morning coolness by generating body heat.

Per my usual on “away hikes”, I carried no hiking gear, just a 20 oz. bottle of water and a snack — which in this case was gorp made by my mom, and included a note, just like she used to pack lunch when I was in grade school. 🤗

There were some rather large trees along the Noland’s Ferry to Weverton Cliffs segment of the towpath: One had a “cave” in it that two hikers and their gear could have sheltered from the rain in! Coincidentally, that tree is also about where the train tracks and C&O Canal basically merge. (The towpath on the Potomac River side of the canal; the tracks on the other side of the canal) Between CSX, the MARC commuter line, and Amtrak, 35-40 trains pass by each day, but I only saw maybe four in five hours. The tracks continue to follow the C&O Canal until they split off into Harpers Ferry. 🚂

The well hand pump at Calico Rocks Campground (MP 47.6) had no handle. I wonder if the handle broke, was stolen, or if it was removed because maybe the well freezes in winter? I suppose, if necessary, you could filter from nearby Kanawha Spring.

When I first planned this hike several years ago, today’s segment was shorter, and included a short diversion up to the Point of Rocks Overlook, which has good views of the US-15 bridge, and passing trains. With many more miles ahead, I forged on.

The well hand pump at Bald Eagle Island Campground (MP 50.3) was also missing its handle. Gotta be some seasonal park service shenanigans. What the campground does have is a picnic table, grill, firepit, direction & distance sign, doggie doo bag dispenser that was empty and a portapotty that was full. (Though not to the level of Easterville, in northern Manitoba: There was no pit below the seat, so when crap piled up to ass level, they picked up the outhouse and moved it over a few feet. No lie.) 💩

When hiking the C&O Canal Towpath, I normally don’t spend much time reading the many history signs. Though not as spectacular as the Monocacy Aqueduct, I made an exception for the Catoctin Aqueduct (MP 51.5), which was restored, stone-by-stone, in 2005, after being collapsed for decades. The towpath detours around the next stone bridge, which is itself collapsed. This is about where the Brunswick Railyard begins. The “seven mile long” railyard was apparently the largest owned by a single company (the B&O Railroad).

For that ¾ of a mile, from Brunswick Family Campground (MP 54.0) to where “Canal Towpath Road” turns into town, the hiking trail is down the middle of the gravel road. I took a final break at the Brunswick Boat Ramp (MP 55.0), finishing my sandwich. I don't spend enough time just sitting in parks.

I only noticed there is an old hobo camp at MP 57.1 because there was a tiny icon on whatever GPS map set it is I have loaded on my crappy Garmin 62S. I tried balance beaming across the watery canal bed, but ended up getting muddy. All that’s left of the hobo camp is random bits of rusty equipment.

There were a lot of people walking and biking between Brunswick and Lock 31 (MP 58.0), which is halfway from Brunswick to Harpers Ferry. Considering how far I walked, I felt pretty good. After drinking my traditional post hike V-8 (for sodium and potassium replacement), I changed into loafers, and my wife & I were off to our hotel in Hagerstown, to get a good night’s sleep before flying home to Phoenix the next day. ✈️

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/536331335
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
At least a dozen different species, including Virginia bluebell, Dutchman's breeches, common grape hyacinth, purple dead nettle, arrow-leaved violet, wild daffodil, cutleaf toothwort, spring beauty, lesser celandine (fka fig buttercup) and speedwell.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Apr 02 2021
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 95
 Routes 227
 Photos 9,111
 Triplogs 718

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
C&O Canal MP 77.0-88.1, MD 
C&O Canal MP 77.0-88.1, MD
 
Hiking avatar Apr 02 2021
kingsnake
Hiking12.83 Miles 289 AEG
Hiking12.83 Miles   3 Hrs   58 Mns   3.23 mph
289 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
The distance from MP 77.0 to MP 88.1 is 11.1 miles. Duh. But my mileage is greater due to exploring, and backtracking. 😉

-----

in 2019, I decided to day hike the C&O Canal Towpath during our biannual trips to visit family in Hagerstown. My plan was to do two 8-12 mile segments on each visit, finishing in Spring, 2025. Then, Chinese Lung AIDs happened. My Easter, 2020, hikes got delayed to Halloween. Trying to make up for lost time, I stretched my next hike from Edward’s Ferry to Noland’s Ferry ( [ photoset ] ), got a massive blood blister, and had to cancel my second hike. 🤨

That second Halloween, 2020, from Noland’s Ferry to the Weverton Cliffs, was supposed to be this Easter’s first hike. But it was so cold in Hagerstown before Easter, that I did today’s shorter / closer to town hike first, so I could start later in the morning, when — theoretically — it had warmed up.

When I arrived at Snyder’s Landing, on the outskirts of Sharpsburg ( [ photoset ] ), at 9:50, it was 27℉, by three degrees the coldest I’ve hiked. (The Appalachian Trail, on South Mountain, from Crampton Gap to Turner’s Gap.) At least this time I was smart enough to layer up.

⅔ of a mile past the Horseshoe Bend CG (MP 79.7), on the river side of the trail, a rusty fifth wheel trailer frame is wrapped around a tree. Wrecks are a fairly common find in the wilds of Arizona — heck there are three in the small canyon behind my house! — but that is the first I’ve seen along the C&O Canal. 👨🏻‍🔧

About a mile past Big Woods CG (MP 82.5), on the canal side of the towpath, I spotted a cave with a steady trickle of water running out of it. The inside of the cave was wet & slippery, so I only went in about 50 yards. 🔦

Dam 4 (MP 84.6) is heard before it is seen. The original Dam 4 was rebuilt in 1856, after being destroyed by floods. The current hydro-electric gravity dam was built in 1913 and modified in 1994. Dam 4 is 800 ft. across the Potomac River and 20 ft. tall or — more accurately — deep, as none of it shows above the river’s surface. The wooden building over the C&O Canal is the winch house for the stop gate, which prevented river floods from entering the canal channel. The calm waters above Dam 4 is Big Slackwater.

200 yds. past Big Slackwater Boat Ramp (MP 85.5), is Guard Lock 4, its control gate and inlet weir. Together, they allowed boats and water back into the C&O Canal.

Big Slackwater was necessary for canal boats to navigate in the Potomac River, as cliffs made digging a canal bed cost prohibitive. However, the boats still needed to be towed, and starting at MP 86.6 the towpath hugs the cliffs. In 1996, severe flooding wiped out the dirt towpath. From 2010-2012, a new concrete path was built. The wind was strong enough, I could hear waves lapping the underside of the path, like a boat dock. The temp had warmed up to 34℉, but the windchill sucked. 🥶

I don’t like hiking on roads, but the Big Slackwater concrete path was the highlight of my day!

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/535242698
Meteorology
Meteorology
Icicle
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
I had only been hiking on the C&O Canal Towpath for a few minutes when it became obvious that there were two species of flowers which were loving the freezing temperature: common grape hyacinth and Virginia bluebell. Both were common, the latter moreso, and often found in large patches from Snyder’s Landing until the canal disappears at Big Slackwater.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
average hiking speed 2.56 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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