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685 triplogs

Nov 18 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Dixie Mine Trail - MMRPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 18 2020
kingsnake
Hiking11.65 Miles 1,460 AEG
Hiking11.65 Miles   4 Hrs   21 Mns   2.68 mph
1,460 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
After two weeks of minimal physical activity, including seven days sitting in my car, driving to & from Maryland, I needed to do some real physical exercise. Not just walking around my neighborhood, or to the post office. With November temperatures in the Phoenix area typically a moderate mid-70s, I figured it was time to start my winter routine of lower elevation locals hikes.

Since I hiked the Windgate Pass-Bell Pass Loop, in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, around this time last year, I figured I would return to the area. My orginal idea was to hike up Thompson Peak, but I reconsidered after comparing my lack of recent climbing to a hike that has been described as “extremely steep” and “laughably steep”. ✋

The easy first 2.5 miles of the Thompson Peak climb are actually on Dixie Mine Trail, so I settled for doing that out to Dixie Mine, then looping around the hill that hosts the mine on Prospector Trail, Bell Pass Trail, Windmill Trail and Coachwhip Trail, ending with a short mine explore, before heading back to the Golden Eagle Trailhead.

The Golden Eagle Trailhead has his & hers restrooms, but some gentleman chose to instead use the baby changing station. 🥴

Walking along the sidewalk, I dreamt about hitting the PowerBall, so I too could afford one of the luxury villas. 💰

On Thompson Peak Rd., I was passed by a work pickup, that took longer driving up to the antenna farm than I did hiking up to Prospector Scenic View.

As I was hiking clockwise, Prospector Trail was the only real climb of the day, gaining 500 ft. in 1.3 miles. The scenic view was okay, but there is no shade or rest bench. In fact, no shade anywhere on the Dixie Mine Loop, other than in the wash below Dixie Mine’s tailings pile.

Other than an occasional wash crossing, from the southeast slope of McDowell Peak, it is gradually downhill all the way back to Golden Eagle Trailhead.

It never occured to me there might actually be a windmill along Windmill Trail, but there is: If you turn right into the wash just past the tool box, the windmill is about 200 yds. “downstream”. No idea what remains of it.

The McDowell Fire burned 615 acres just to the north of the Coachwhip Trail back in August. Since our summer monsoon was non-existent, I could still see some of the red retardant drops.

I turned right back onto Dixie Mine Trail, from which you can see the tailings pile most of the way. In ¾ of a mile, it rejoins Thompson Peak Rd. After just a few feet, turn right up a rough path. In 300 yds., you will be at the top of the Dixie Mine tailings pile. I found a few feet of wood oar cart tie and several small concrete foundations. The shaft was covered with both chicken wire and, atop that, a heavier, wider-spaced, rebar “net”. The rebar could handle human weight, and you won’t fall through the space, but I didn’t feel comfortable stepping into the middle, so I flattened myself and crawled out to take down-shaft video. There was water at the bottom. 📸

I waited for the famous Fountain Hills fountain to erupt at the top of the hour, but could not see it from the top of the mine. Instead, I headed down into the wash, where there are two adits: The smaller just “no trespassing” signed; the larger gated & locked. The highlight though, was the really cool mine diagram (see photos).

After checking out Dixie Mine, I booked it back to the Golden Eagle Trailhead, whose baby changing station hadn’t been cleaned. After a swing by the Fountain Hills Mickey D’s for my standard post-hike Filet-o-Fish meal, with large fries, extra salt, I was back home by 2:30 p.m. And THAT is my favorite part of locals hikes: An early end to my day. 😁

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/482268881
Flora
Flora
Saguaro
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunrise
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
Nada ... unless you count the purple ones planted along the sidewalk in Eagles Nest.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Nov 04 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Tucker Creek TrailCentral Little Rock, AR
Central Little Rock, AR
Hiking avatar Nov 04 2020
kingsnake
Hiking6.36 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking6.36 Miles   1 Hour   48 Mns   3.53 mph
50 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Flying is miserable enough without adding coronavirus masks, and subtracting airport bars. So, I decided to drive 2,200 miles from Phoenix to Hagerstown, MD, for Halloween.

I was going to leave on Monday, but then I saw a forecast for an ice storm in the southern plains, and I wanted to get ahead of it, so I threw a bag together and headed out the door. I made 700 miles to Amarillo the first day. On 4½ hours sleep, and despite three hours of driving in that ice storm across the Panhandle, followed by 10 hours of heavy rain, I made 940 miles the second day to Terre Haute, IN. Even though I-70 is one long construction zone across Indiana, the third day was a relative breeze. But it was a lot of driving. 🌨

After Halloween, and another hike along the C&O Canal, I took four relatively leisurely days to drive back to Phoenix. I spent the second night in Conway, AR, but I arrived at only 2:30 p.m., so I decided to go for a leg-stretching hike. (Read the description I just added.)

The Tucker Creek Trail rail is is clean as it winds through some nice neighborhoods. There is some garbage in Tucker Creek though.

Something I forgot from the description, is that there was a bicycle tire pump stand along the path.

The water was enough that I spotted both a heron and an egret. I’m sure there’s frogs or toads as well. 🐸
Named place
Named place
Tucker Creek
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation None
I could tell the hills of Arkansas would have been spectacular a month ago, but there was very little color left.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Kinda late in the year.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Oct 30 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
C&O Canal MP 31-44.6, MD 
C&O Canal MP 31-44.6, MD
 
Hiking avatar Oct 30 2020
kingsnake
Hiking15.23 Miles 208 AEG
Hiking15.23 Miles   4 Hrs   40 Mns   3.26 mph
208 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I had originally planned to hike the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath eleven miles from Edward’s Ferry to Monocacy Aqueduct for my first Easter hike, and then nine miles from Monocacy Aqueduct to Lander Lock 29 for my second Easter hike, but the coronavirus panic scotched those plans.

I really want to be able to complete the C&O Canal’s 184 miles with two day hikes, twice a year, so to get back on schedule I planned two 14-mile hikes for our Halloween visit: First Edward’s Ferry (MP 30.9) to Noland’s Ferry (MP 44.6) on Friday, then Noland’s Ferry to Lock 31 (MP 58.0) at Weverton Cliffs on Monday. 💪

Since the C&O Canal is basically flat as a board, and the towpath is smooth & obstacle free, that effort was within the gift of a 58-year old fat man’s abilities.

This year, rather than flying, I drove from Phoenix to Maryland. Having passed through the hills of southern Ohio, West Virginia and western Maryland, the fall color was well past peak. Basically browns, with only scattering of rotten banana yellow leaves. So, I was not expecting much from hiking the C&O Canal, other than the usual array of interesting engineering and Civil War markers. (Primarily from the Antietam Campaign.)

At Edwards Ferry, we saw some folks walking in the door of Lockhouse 25, , so we followed them, figuring it was a tour. Nope! They were staying overnight as part of the Canal Quarters program. That was embarassing … 😊

There is some controversy over whether the C&O Canal structure at Broad Run was a culvert or aqueduct. There are tons of culverts along the towpath, but none I have so far seen have the heavy stone structure that is at Broad Run. On the other hand, if Broad Run was an aqueduct, it’s awful small compared to Seneca Creek Aqueduct or Monocacy Aqueduct.

At Whites Ferry, it was cold enough, I bought a hot coffee in the bait shop. (There is a restaurant open in warmer months.)

Woods Lock 26 had a lockhouse, but all that’s left is the foundation. I assume all locks had a lockhouse at some point, but many I’ve spotted on my C&O Canal hikes have not. The cool part, though, was that perched on the edge of the lock, right in front of a spooky old tree, somone had left three jack-o’-lanterns. 🎃

Rather than refilling my water bottle from an iodine-treated campground well pump, I met my wife at the Dickerson Conservation Park trailhead for a fresh bottle. My left foot was getting tingly, but with only a ⅓ of my hike remaining to Nolands Ferry, I pressed on.

Where the trees were mostly empty of leaves early on, the fall color got steadily better — though never great — the further I hiked.

The massive 853MW Dickerson Generating Station is powered by coal, gas & oil. The plant borrows up to 400 million gallons of water out of the Potomac River every day, to cool steam pipes. The warmed water is returned to the river via a 900 ft. long concrete discharge channel lined with boulders. The discharge channel doubles as an Olympic-level kayak course. I was not expecting to see any kayakers training, but was hoping to at least take a look at the course. No such luck: It was gated & locked. 😕

By the time I got to Spinks Lock 27, I was starting to suspect my left foot tingle was more than just a hot spot: It was getting painful to walk on.

The Monocacy Aqueduct — whose seven arches span 516 ft. — is one of the highlights of the C&O Canal. Each aqueduct was made of whatever stone could be locally quarried, white & pink quartz sandstone in Monocacy’s case. Of particular note, Monocacy Aqueduct is so massive, Confederate general D.H. Hill was unable to blow it up during the Civil War. 🧨

My ever faithful shuttle driver, aka wife, was at Nolands Ferry waiting for me. I had left loafers and regular socks in my SUV. When I took my left hiking shoe off, I discovered a massive blood blister under my big toe callus. Yikes! Even after two days of resting, I did not think it was wise to push the matter and do my second planned 14-miler to Lock 31 on Monday. Relucantly, I cancelled. Not sure what I’ll do now about completing my C&O Canal “thru” hike …

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/477365633
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Oct 19 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
North Mountain - PhoenixPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 19 2020
kingsnake
Hiking2.55 Miles 624 AEG
Hiking2.55 Miles      45 Mns   3.40 mph
624 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Got some travel coming up, so not going for an “away” hike this Thursday. Instead, I will be climbing North Mountain by the steep dirt trail that heads up from near the National Guard armory.

In preparation for that, a few weeks ago, I figured I ought to start including some elevation gain amongst my normal weekly expeditions to the Mogollon Rim. Per usual, I take the less steep paved access road.

Today, I set personal best time, falling a hair short of the sixteen minute barrier at 16:10. 💪

So, that’s the only reason for this blog. 😆
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Oct 15 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Loy Canyon Trail #5Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 15 2020
kingsnake
Hiking8.39 Miles 1,064 AEG
Hiking8.39 Miles   3 Hrs   9 Mns   2.66 mph
1,064 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Google Maps recommends getting off on AZ-260 in Verde Valley, but then you have to negotiate traffic and a bajillion roundabouts in Cottonwood. Instead, I got off at Cornville Rd., and that went smoothly. My wife dropped me off at the trailhead, then went to explore the Honanki Ruins. (Which has pit toilets.) 🚻

The ranch dog barked at me as I hiked along the Hancock Ranch fence line, so I did not stop to photograph the buildings against Loy Butte. Hancock must not be a working ranch, as I did not detect the presence of any cattle (i.e. no cow pies).

The first ½ mile of Loy Canyon Trail #5 is through typical desert scrub. Despite previous triplogs to the contrary, I found the next 3½ miles, to the foot of the switchbacks, has mostly pretty good shade throughout the day. Just hints of fall color on some of the smaller shrubs. After a dry summer monsoon, flowers were scarce.

The best red rock photos were on the west side of Loy Canyon, partly because the canyon wall is closer to the trail, and partly because the sun is not backlighting it. The trail passed within feet of several interesting rocks, the first a red sandstone alcove, the second a lichen-spotted number at a wash crossing. All the wash crossings were bone dry.

The further the trail goes, the canyon walls start changing from orange- to cream-colored.

At the foot of the switchbacks, I swapped water bottles, then started back down. I figured I'd save the Secret Mountain-top trails for a drive down FR 538 from Flagstaff. On the way back to the trailhead, I took a longer (15 minute) lunch break back at the alcove. No vinegar chips, because for some reason the QT had been out. 😢

On the drive back home, we saw a big, dark, smoke column that from our angle was rising over I-17 at Sunset Point. "Thankfully", rather than being the daily I-17 blockage, it was the Horse Fire, deep in the Bradshaw Mountains. 🔥

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/469547237

(My first new video posted to Vimeo: I've been gradually posting my catalog there, and updating Haz triplogs, as YouTube still has me suspended ...)
Named place
Named place
Loy Butte Secret Mountain
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
1 archive
Sep 30 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Maverick Canyon - Merritt Draw LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 30 2020
kingsnake
Hiking6.24 Miles 453 AEG
Hiking6.24 Miles   2 Hrs   44 Mns   2.28 mph
453 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
On the drive up AZ-87, my wife & I hit a construction delay a mile north of Payson. In 10 minutes, no car moved either direction. Thirty more cars had arrived behind us. So, I doubled back into town, then took paved Houston Mesa Rd. to Whispering Pines, then dirt Fire Control Rd. / FR 64 to the town of Pine. The bypass doubled my distance, and halved my speed, but at least my wife & were moving. 🚧

As I’ve mentioned several times this year, Rim Rd. / FR 300 is in the best shape I’ve ever seen it. Despite being in such good condition, as we passed by Milk Ranch Point, it was obvious there had been even more recent construction, including fresh gravel. At the top of Miller Canyon, we had to stop for another road crew. At least were the only vehicle waiting, and we enjoyed chatting with the flag guy.

Four hours into a three hour drive, we finally arrived at the head of Merritt Draw, parking at the intersection of FR 139 and FR 9735P. After my hike, rather than repeat the agony of construction delays, we headed east to the end of Rim Rd. / FR 300 — stopping at Woods Canyon Lake along the way 🍦🍺 — to AZ-260, then back into Payson. It was longer, but took less time, due to no construction.

There are three “corrals” in the prairie, I assume to protect the vegetation. The corrals are each surrounded by 6 ft. high non-barbed fencing, that used to be electrified:

Corral #1, at Whistling Spring, was 72 paces wide by 214 paces long. (So, about 200 x 600 ft.) Corral #1 contained a small cluster of youthful aspen that had not yet turned.

Corral #2, at Merritt Spring, was 78 x 142 paces. There was some, but not much, water in the drainage below Merritt Spring.

Corral #3, the largest at 78 x 342 paces, has no named spring. There’s a gate at the southwest corner, but I did not open it. On the south edge, there is a small, non-functional, solar panel that used to power the fence. Inside the corral, several trees were individually fenced. Odd. 🤔

After checking out the bird station, I left the prairie, crossing FR 9735P into the tighter part of Merritt Draw. Though it never got really bad, I did feel the effort of low crawling several logs, as I had not hiked the previous two weeks. (House issues. Yippee.) There is a goat trail up the west bluff a ½ mile before Maverick Canyon, that looks like it connects to FR 9732P or FR 9709F. There were several small pools of water, but no flow.

At the junction of Merritt Draw and Maverick Canyon, bailing up the bluff did not look difficult at all. On satellite view, Maverick Canyon looked more tangled than Merritt Draw, but from the junction it at least started out okay, so I continued my fall colors search up Maverick.

Whereas Merritt Draw was mostly pine (with a few aspen), there was oak, and especially bigtooth maple, on the floor of Maverick Canyon. The first 200 yds. or so, there was some early color high up in the maple, but none yet in the oak. After the maple, Maverick got a bit congested. I side-sloped for maybe a half mile, before it opened back up. From that point back to FR 139, Maverick was smooth sailing, as clear as Merritt Draw had been, but with more golden, fallow, bracken fern. 🍂

A mile up Maverick Canyon, it splits: Grasshopper went left; I went right, and am glad I did. In another half mile, I encountered a grove of bigtooth maple that was only a mile from my trailhead, if I'd gone clockwise. Gorgeous trees full of lime, yellow, orange and crimson. Often mixed amongst each other for bold contrast. I was the best fall color variety I have experienced in 10 years of hiking Arizona! 🤗

-----

Unfortunately, YouTube has "suspended" me, for what I do not know. Especially given I don't talk politics, post pr0n, harass / cancel people, or anything similar. (Social media companies rarely tell you what you did wrong: The fear of the unknown causes most to self censor themselves. Hopefully, I get unsuspended, but in the mean time, I am looking around for a new video hosting site. Probably Vimeo.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/464744541 ⬅ My first Vimeo effort, so please give it a 👀 and let me know if it works / how it compares. Thanx! 🙂
Culture
Culture
Cag Shot HAZ Food
Named place
Named place
Maverick Canyon Merritt Draw
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate
Two spots in Maverick Canyon -- one near the top, the other near the junction with Merritt Draw -- are really good for maple right now.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
I found one paintbrush (at Corral #3), occasional dandelion, one Richardson's Geranium (in the dense part of Merritt Draw), light fleabane, one Canada violet, and one small cluster of Wheeler's thistle in Maverick Canyon.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Maverick Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Merritt Spring Dripping Dripping

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Whistling Spring Dripping Dripping
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
Sep 10 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Medlar Springs Trail #9706Prescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 10 2020
kingsnake
Hiking7.54 Miles 913 AEG
Hiking7.54 Miles   3 Hrs   27 Mns   2.19 mph
913 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Mid-week, Phoenix was in the midst of an unseasonable, but welcome, cold snap. Well, “cold” by Phoenix standards: Overnight lows were in the mid-60s! 🥶

In researching Medlar Springs Trail #9706, I chanced upon a map of the Prescott National Forest’s 2017 plan for the Black Canyon Trail: https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www/n ... 990062.pdf . All the trails in the Black Hills, both motorized and foot / hoof were included. Trail #9706 seemed to indicate it was being decommissioned. Satellite view showed minimal trail, other than where Trail #9706 was co-located with forest roads skirting a ranch. Further, HikeArizona only showed one triplog for Trail #9706 and two or three for Ash Creek Trail #9705 — none more recent than 2014.

I was not expecting much.

And I found it.

Driving in, I stopped short of the trailhead at a “No Trespassing!” sign. I knew I was on Prescott National Forest land and was probably okay to at least hike down FR 531 to the Medlar Springs Trail #9706 trailhead, but I opted for discretion, working my way around the fence. Twenty minutes and ¾ of a mile later, I was where I wanted to start … Which still wasn’t the official trailhead, which is just feet from the ranch house. Close enough. I don’t like guns being pointed at me. 🚫🔫

I followed a horse trail north across a meadow, but when I realized it had begun bending west, I started bushwhacking east. I low crawled a barbed wire fence, then worked my way around a spur into the dry bed of Ash Creek.

There was some nice pines and shade along Ash Creek, but I still was not actually on Medlar Springs Trail #9706, which is supposed to be jeep trail as far as Ash Creek Well. After low crawling another barbed wire fence, I was where I was supposed to be all along. The well is at the 1.5 mile mark, but it took me 2.5 miles to get there.

Ash Creek Well serves as the trailhead for Ash Creek Trail #9705, and the trail appears to continue that way, but, ducking under another barbed wire fence, I instead turned northeast towards Medlar Springs. 🧭

Medlar Springs Trail #9706 only appeared in short bits the mile between Ash Creek Well and the spring. Otherwise, it was more bushwhacking, or rocky creek bottom travel. (Though not too rocky.)

Besides the usual array of scratches and scrapes, I twice banged my head hard on heavy branches and cracked my shin hard enough it was still sore 60 hours later. The one that pissed me off though was the tension tab on my Leki hiking poles snapping off, gouging my hand. I’m sick of tension settings on hiking poles that collapse the pole (usually at very inopportune moments). My old Black Diamond poles did that as well, until I duct-taped the 🎃s into permanent position. I need to find pinned hiking poles.

Officially, Medlar Springs Trail #9706 is 2.4 miles long. By my route, it was 3.3 miles, and with no pay off at the end: It was bone dry, with little shade and minimal view. Rather than dally, I took a few quick photos and bailed back to Ash Creek Well for my break. 🍺

Properly refreshed, and with no desire to double down by continuing up Ash Creek Trail #9705, I was back at my SUV in an hour, then home by 2:00 p.m.

Most of the trails I hike have something for everyone. As I alluded to above, this has nothing for anyone.

Unless you like cattle corpses, not recommended.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/465388999
Fauna
Fauna
Cow
Named place
Named place
Ash Creek Well Medlar Spring
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
None that were worth photographing.

dry Ash Creek Well Dry Dry
Does not look like it has pumped water in decades.

dry Medlar Spring Dry Dry
No evidence of water at, or below, the spring.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
1 archive
Sep 03 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Gentry CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 03 2020
kingsnake
Hiking14.11 Miles 835 AEG
Hiking14.11 Miles   5 Hrs   23 Mns   3.76 mph
835 ft AEG   1 Hour   38 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I've been hitting the Mogollon Rim pretty hard this year, but I need to up my game if I will ever reach my goal of hiking all the its named canyons. This week's objective was Gentry Canyon. I hiked options 3 and 4. If you are wondering why my mileage and AEG are greater, it is because of all the wandering back & forth I do, checking routes, looking for the best photo ops, etc. 📸

I started hiking from the same trailhead as my Open Draw and Turkey Creek hikes. I could have headed straight across FR 91, towards the low ground, but instead headed north along FR 91 to the first unnamed tank, where I turned left down an unnumbered jeep trail. Gentry Spring, at the north end of the prairie, had a small pool of muddy water; no flow. A tree was fenced off for a reason I could not determine; it was kinda scraggly. There were vehicle tracks across the prairie. 🤭

Travelling along Gentry Canyon, a small black bear ran across the grassy shelf 150 yds. ahead of me. It was my first bear sighting since Moscow Peak in 2015 ( [ photo ] ). I didn't see mama, but I had my head on a swivel for the next ten minutes! 🐻

After 3.8 miles of hiking, I reached Bessemer Crossing. I turned left (west) up FR 40. Double Cabin -- which I assume is two cabins -- is not where the single topo stone building symbol ■ says it is. All I found there was an old fence post, with some scraggly barbwire. The remains of the large log cabin are, in fact, quite obvious and directly across from Double Cabin Spring. I assume what remains of the "other" cabin is a nearby broken cement foundation. The spring is fenced off with relatively fresh barbwire, so I don't know if it is flowing. The spring box was dry & dusty.

A ½ mile north of Bessemer Crossing, Gentry Canyon tightens up for the final mile to Open Draw. There are shallow, clear, pools with barely perceptible flow, but travel is still not bad.

I ate lunch just short of Open Draw, then headed 150 ft. up the elk trail to FR 40G, which follows the contour line for 1¼ miles southwest to FR 40, just above Bessemer Crossing.

Check out the Guide I just added. 👆

¾ of a mile south of Bessemer Crossing on FR 40A, the jeep trail splits: The obvious trail is left, but that is FR 40A1. Note the "1": It matters. I was a ½ mile up FR 40A1, before I realized my mistake. I could have continued up to FR 91, then back to the trailhead, but that was not my plan, so I doubled back. Instead, split right. 🧭

The 4¼ miles of FR 40G, FR 40A and FR 91M were shady, smooth, almost flat, and showed no signs of recent vehicle traffic. Anyone could walk it. 👍

But my favorite part of hiking at the east end of the Mogollon Rim is making a post-hike stop at the Woods Canyon Lake bait shop for ice cream (strawberry shortcake) and ice cold hiking beer (Sam Adam's Octoberfest Märzen). 🍦🍺🤗

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/465866171
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Orange agoseris, hills lupine, yellow salsify, western dayflower, Wheeler's thistle, Hooker's Evening Primrose, mullein, western wallflower, linearleaf four-o'clock, Richardson's geranium, dandelion, coneflower and fleabane.

dry Double Cabin Spring Dry Dry
The spring box was bone dry, but there was more evidence of puddling below the spring in Gentry Canyon, than above Bessemer Crossing.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Gentry Spring Dripping Dripping
I did not see any flow, but there was a small, muddy, puddle at the source. (Presumably, the outlet was underwater ...)
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Aug 20 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Sandys Canyon Trail #137Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 20 2020
kingsnake
Hiking9.77 Miles 481 AEG
Hiking9.77 Miles   3 Hrs   44 Mns   2.62 mph
481 ft AEG
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I’ve been to the top of Fisher Point before, and it has beautiful views of Walnut Canyon, but this trip I was concentrating on hunting flowers, so I skipped it.

Sandys Canyon Trail #137 had dense patches of several different species of yellow flowers along the side, and middle, of the jeep trail. I spotted white prairie aster, pineywoods geranium, spreading fleabane, velvety goldenrod, showy goldeneye, broom-like ragwort, skyrocket, yellow salsify, Wheeler’s thistle and my favorite, violet-blue Lewis flax.

From Fisher Point to where I turned around in Walnut Canyon, the flowers I spotted included sulphur buckwheat, cliff-rose, western yarrow, common sunflower, field bindweed, mexican elderberry, and virgin's bower. I saw quite a few of a wild yellow-tipped pink flower, each covered in bees, that I later learned is the appropriately named “bee spiderflower”. There were tons of thicket globemallow (aka Fendler’s globemallow) and skyrocket. (One patch of skyrocket was so large, I marked it on my GPS route.)

The singletrack through Walnut Canyon is more up & down, but nothing major. Rolling. There are lots of leafy deciduous trees, but also some massively thick pine. Plenty of brush, which the trail avoids. The trail peters out at the (R) symbol on my GPS route. @joebartels and @the_eagle were able to follow the trail another six miles back in 2013: [ photoset ] and [ photoset ] . I did not feel like doing 20+ miles, so I turned around.

On the way down Sandys Canyon and Walnut Canyon, my 💩y Garmin 62S had kept a fairly accurate track, but on the way back — over the same route — it started going bonkers. At one point, it claimed I was 150 yds. away, up a 300 ft. cliff!

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/466154515
Geology
Geology
Cross-bedding
Named place
Named place
Fisher Point Walnut Canyon
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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Aug 14 2020
kingsnake
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 Guides 90
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 Photos 8,634
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58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Upper Miller CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 14 2020
kingsnake
Hiking8.33 Miles 538 AEG
Hiking8.33 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   2.38 mph
538 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I have to take Miller Canyon in bite size chunks because it is a 13-mile canyon and a 26-mile round trip is wa-a-ay more than I could chew. No need to repeat my adventure in Willow Springs Canyon ( [ photoset ] ) a month ago. 👋

I started my hike, heading west from the trailhead into an intially steep, but short & obstacle-free draw. In 100 yds., I picked up an obvious old road, that is not on any map. The road petered out in a ¼ mile at a dry tank. Immigrant Spring is 200 yds. past the dry tank, amidst a dense patch of bracken fern, but I could not find it. FR 9366T is on the west side of Immigrant Spring. 🌿

The canyon bottom "downstream" of Immigrant Spring was dry, and there were no flowers.

The first flowers I found in upper Miller Canyon were coneflower, a ½ mile north of Immigrant Spring. I found tons more coneflower the next three miles to FR 141H.

After dodging a few minor obstacles the next ¾ of a mile, upper Miller Canyon opened up quite a bit. Halfway across the ½ mile long open area, I began encountering occasional small pools. (No flow.)

My favorite part of the upper Miller Canyon open area was a 200 ft. long section of exposed creek bottom slick rock. The slick rock marks two miles from the trailhead.

A ¼ mile after the slick rock, following the game trail, while passing by a dead tree trunk, I ducked my head under a branch … right into a swarm of bees. Holy crepe! 🐝

I got out of there quick, but deliberate, being careful not to wave my arms too much, not even normal walking arm swing. I thought I had successfully avoided the swarm, when I came upon the best coneflower patch of the day … where there were more bees. The bee area — marked on the GPS route attached below — is on the east side of upper Miller Canyon, so if I were you, would hike that section on the west side of the creek.

When I reached FR 141H, I’d been hauling a heavy elk rack with me for the past mile, and it was getting much warmer than I expected. (It was in the low 90s). After eating lunch in the shade, rather than follow the long & winding jeep trails on the west side of Miller Canyon, I instead took my more direct alternate route back to the trailhead.

I walked south, up FR 141H, which climbs 300 ft. in 1½ miles, before levelling out a bit. I was looking for a secure spot to stash the elk rack, but didn’t find an easy to spot, easy to remember, but well hidden, location until I came to the cattle gate where FR 141H intersects FR 320. I hid the elk rack behind a burnt log. 👀

The 1½ miles south on FR 320 back to the trailhead are nearly flat, rising only 80 ft. They are, however, quite rocky, so after rehydrating, I took my time driving back to the cattle gate to pick up my prize.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/466543008
Culture
Culture
Balloon
Named place
Named place
Miller Canyon Mogollon Rim
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Tons of coneflower, and plenty of Richardson’s geranium. Plus New Mexico checkermallow, Columbian monkshood, hoary tansy aster, towering Jacob’s ladder, western yarrow, western dayflower, hairy golden aster, and bull thistle.
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Aug 08 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
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58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Clark Spring Trail #40Prescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 08 2020
kingsnake
Hiking5.83 Miles 1,059 AEG
Hiking5.83 Miles   2 Hrs   28 Mns   2.36 mph
1,059 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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@prescottstyle & I started hiking from the Metate Trailhead, near Granite Basin Lake, at 8:25 a.m. It was a bit confusing at the start, as we first started down a wash marked with blue ribbons, and marked on the topo as “FR 374C”. Then we went past a row of boulders, starting up Granite Mountain Trail #261. Then I spotted the Clark Spring Trail #40 sign, on the right side of the trail, rather than on the left where the trail actually goes. Eh. Only lost a few minutes. No big. 🧭

Clark Spring Trail #40 climbs 700 ft. in the next two miles. The first mile has spot shade, but is mostly exposed. The next ¾ of a mile, switchbacks through shadey pine, oak and juniper. Two of the juniper — one living, one dead — are massive. (Though not as large as the Granite Mountain Hotshots juniper.) The final ¼ mile to the Granite Mountain Wilderness boundary gate is exposed, as is the rest of the climb to the summit of Little Granite Mountain.

The Clark Spring Trail #40 switchbacks do not do much to slow down mountain bikes bombing down the trail, so keep your head up, and your ears open. Besides two MTBs, we also encountered a couple and their pair of friendly dogs. We chatted with them for a few minutes, and it turned out they were the folks who maintained Trail #40, which they said had been rough and overgrown just a few months ago. Now, the trail is in great shape! 👏

At the wilderness boundary gate, Paul realized one of the bolts was falling out of the trail sign. The washer and nut were still in the back of the sign, so I screwed them back on as tight as I could, squeezing my fat fingertips into the small hole.

We turned north on Little Granite Mountain Trail #37.

From the gate, Little Granite Mountain Trail #37 climbs 100 ft. in a ¼ mile to the top of a spur. If you continue on Trail #37, it descends 700 ft. in 1½ miles to Upper Pasture Trail #38. Instead, at the spur, turn right, off trail up the spur. In 100 yds. is a barb wire fence. I suppose we could have stayed on the east side of the boundary gate, and followed the fence up, but Paul & I did not.

We arrived at the fence just after 10:00 a.m. It was already quite toasty. Paul had been under the impression we were doing the Little Granite Mountain Loop again, not a summit. Combined with the temperature being higher than expected, he was low on water. Rather than cause a heat injury, I suggested we bail. 🥵

On the way back down, heavy clouds started coming in. The two rain drops I felt were no relief from the heat. It was already 90℉, heading for 95 at 3:00 p.m., when Paul & I got back to the Metate Trailhead at noon. Rehydration commenced soon thereafter at La Casa Prescottstyle. 🍻

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/466859410
Culture
Culture
Cag Shot Humor
Meteorology
Meteorology
Moon
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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Jul 30 2020
kingsnake
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 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Woods Canyon Lake Trail - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 30 2020
kingsnake
Hiking5.90 Miles 282 AEG
Hiking5.90 Miles   2 Hrs   8 Mns   2.77 mph
282 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Every other time I hiked the Woods Canyon Lake loop I hiked it counterclockwise. Today I hiked it clockwise. Because a trail changes when you hike it the opposite direction, here’s what I noticed that was different:

First, there are two dry creek crossings at the west end of Woods Canyon Lake. Hiking clockwise, the southern of the two is Woods Canyon. The obvious, well worn, trail actually continues west, up canyon, through a dense False hellebore (corn lily) patch. It is easy to get wander off the “wrong” direction there, so look for the next blue diamond trail marker. 🔷

Second, there were a couple of downed trees across the trail at the west end of Woods Canyon Lake. One log near the second creek crossing was large enough that I could not climb over it. The other couple of trees were more easily avoided.

Finally, at a trail split on the north side of Woods Canyon Lake, there was a blue diamond with a black arrow pointing right. I started to go right, but then realized the next blue diamond was to the left. “Somehow”, the arrow sign had fallen off the upper nail, rotating it 180°. I did my best to put it back. Hard to get lost, though, if you always keep the shoreline on the same shoulder. 😉

I arrived at Woods Canyon Dam a little over an hour after I started at the bait shop. Looking south, down canyon, I followed a trail from the top of spillway to the canyon bottom, then across the cienega.

I stuck to the east side of the Woods Canyon, in the shade, as it was already getting warm. The first ½ mile, there was plenty of water in the creek, though the flow was imperceptible. The water often looked greasy, probably engine runoff from the lake. The few flowers were scattered Richardson’s geranium and western yarrow.

Woods Canyon tightened up after a ½ mile. Strollers will want to turn around at that point, however the trail continues for another ½ mile across scattered boulders, stagnant pools, bracken fern and false hellebore (corn lily) patches. Unlike nearby Willow Springs Canyon two weeks ago, none of the corn lily were blooming.

After a mile, the trail disappeared as Woods Canyon became bouldered up. (Difficult terrain which continues all the way down canyon, five more miles to the junction with Willow Springs Canyon and Chevelon Canyon.) The canyon walls are a climbable 100 ft. bluff; I elected instead to backtrack the trail. ↩️

Once back at Woods Canyon Dam, I followed the shoreline to the baitshop, where my wife was waiting for me with an ice cream drum stick and a hiking beer: A Budweiser, so I’m not sure if she loves me, or was trying to poison me. 🤔

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/467061775
Named place
Named place
Woods Canyon Woods Canyon Lake
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Saw one small cluster of Mexican silene on the loop trail; scattered western yarrow and Richardson's geranium below the dam.
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Jul 23 2020
kingsnake
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 Guides 90
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 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Milk Ranch Point, AZ 
Milk Ranch Point, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 23 2020
kingsnake
Hiking10.39 Miles 552 AEG
Hiking10.39 Miles   3 Hrs   38 Mns   2.86 mph
552 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Tonto NF is closed. Luckily, I had a Plan B: Explore Milk Ranch Point, at the top of the Mogollon Rim, in the Coconino National Forest. I didn’t have a route loaded in my GPS, so I figured I would just wing it.

I basically walked south along Milk Ranch Point Rd. for almost four miles. FR 218 is in better shape than Rim Rd. / FR 300 usually is. (Though Rim Rd. is currently in the best shape I've ever seen.) FR 218 is easily SUV-able as far as I walked it, and even cars would have no problem if it’s dry and they mind their speed.

The views above West Webber Creek are SPECTACULAR. 🤗

There are informal car camping spots all along Milk Ranch Point Rd., mostly on the east canyon side of the road. But there were a lot fewer fifth wheel RVs than at formal campgrounds, such as nearby Kehl Spring. I think I got passed by two vehicles all day, and they were driving reasonable speeds, not channelling their inner Sebastian Loeb. 👍

Although nowhere near urban levels of garbage, there was more trash than I expected given the low population density along Milk Ranch Point Rd.: Plenty of discarded beer cans, tins of mystery meat, and even rain-bleached toilet paper. But don’t let that dissuade you from a visit!

A ½ mile south of the corral is the prairie known as Dickenson Flat. In the middle of the prairie, I saw some white rocks arranged in some sort of design. Crossing the muddy, elk-poo strewn, flat I found that the rocks spelled “PPA” and “PHX :next: 75”, with the arrow pointing southwest … towards Sun City. Obviously, some sort of old aerial navigation aid, but whoever followed the arrow would have faced a long, hot, thirsty 18-mile hike across then virgin desert to 1930s Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Missed it by that much. 👌

A ⅓ of a mile south of West Webber Trail #228, Milk Ranch Point Rd. intersects several forest roads and a trail marked by nothing more than a generic white hiker on brown background sign. (Which turns out to be Donahue Trail #27, down to the town of Pine.) It had started sprinkling 30 minutes before, and by the time I got to the intersection it was raining pretty hard, so I bailed. A few minutes later it stopped raining. 😏

On the way back to the FR 218A trailhead, I did about 2½ miles of mostly very easy off trail hiking. No views, but I wanted to confirm that the interior of Milk Ranch Point was as obstacle free as it appeared from the road.

Hard to believe I hiked over 10 miles, especially given my knees still being achy after last week’s adventure. Next time I explore Milk Ranch Point, I’ll do it from a forward trailhead, probably at the top of West Webber Trail #228, so I can spend more time off trail and still get to enjoy the mesa’s expansive southern views. 🤗

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/467152247
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
Three flowers is more than none, but less than "isolated". If there are flowers on Milk Ranch Point, July is the wrong time for year for them.
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Jul 16 2020
kingsnake
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 Guides 90
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 Photos 8,634
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58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Willow Springs Canyon - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 16 2020
kingsnake
Hiking6.62 Miles 516 AEG
Hiking6.62 Miles   4 Hrs   42 Mns   1.41 mph
516 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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The less said, the better.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/467335664
Culture
Culture
Dam - Rock
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Some new flower IDs to me, but Richardson's geranium; tons of tall, blooming, corn lily; tons of sneezeweed (?); tons of coneflower; common pipsissewa (?), Arizona thistle, tons of wild bergamot. Others. Great flower hike if you turn back before the 2-mile mark. **** Rating is for the flowers.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Willow Springs Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
Flow the whole way down to Chevelon.
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Jun 26 2020
kingsnake
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 Guides 90
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 Photos 8,634
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58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Mount TritlePrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 26 2020
kingsnake
Hiking8.46 Miles 2,215 AEG
Hiking8.46 Miles   4 Hrs   18 Mns   1.97 mph
2,215 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I’ve been in the Mount Tritle area several times before, but it was so long ago that I hadn’t figured out how to edit videos, so I just uploaded a random segment I shot on my iPhone. I figured it was time to return. 😁

Mount Tritle is named after Frederick Augustus Tritle (1833-1906), the sixth governor of Arizona. Tritle was a lawyer, banker and financier, who operated mines in Nevada and Jerome, Arizona. I learned something new today! 👨🏻‍🎓

Rather than starting from the “forward” trailhead at Kendall Camp, I started hiking a ½ mile back, at the intersection of FR 79 and FR 79A. I figured I could use the extra mile of exercise, but by the time I reach Mount Tritle’s summit, I was wishing I had parked a bit closer. 😅

I took plenty of 30-second breathers on the climb up Mount Tritle. Even though it was only 64℉ when I started, the direct sunlight, in the thinner high-altitude air, made it seem warmer. The plentiful shade provided by the pines, juniper and oak were a big relief. The bestest, mostest shadiest pine of all was on Mount Tritle’s summit.

The summit of Mount Tritle was mostly covered with scrub, most of it stabby, but a lot less grabby & painful than catclaw. The true summit is 100 yds. southeast of where the USGS topo claims it is. The topo summit is marked by an old 3′ x 3′ antenna base marked “W7GOK / K7EUR”, the initials “BL”, “TB” and “JS”, and is dated “6-25-61”. A quick google search confirmed my suspicion that the code letters were amateur radio “ham” callsigns: W7GOK was James H. Schultz, and K7EUR was Bill F. Lesko, both of Phoenix. No idea who “TB” was. 📡

Mount Tritle’s true summit is marked by a small cluster of exposed rock, 100 ft. south of the shady summit pine. According to the topo, there is a wood shack on the summit, but it disappeared years ago. (Topo information can lag reality by as much as 50 years.) There is a 3 ft. high cairn where the shack used to be.

At various spots along the ridge, Maverick Mountain, Spruce Mountain, Lookout Mountain, Moscow Peak, Mount Davis, Mount Union, Granite Mountain, Thumb Butte and Glassford Hill are visible. Also, there are great views southwest, past Wagoner and Walnut Grove in the lush Hassayampa River valley, towards the Weaver Mountains, including Antelope Peak and Yarnell Hill. I could clearly see the large gold & silver surface operation at Zonia Mine, midway between Walnut Grove and Peeples Valley. Closer, a mile down Dosoris Canyon, I could see active operations on lower parts of the Davis-Dunkirk Mine. There was quite a bit of shooting down there. Maybe claim jumpers. 😈

After lunch under Mount Tritle’s shady summit pine, I started back down. Still taking plenty of breathers, and even a 10 minute break near the Maverick Mountain saddle. I put out a cap filled with gatorade, hoping to attract a hummingbird. No luck: The only thing that flew by were a pair of fighter jets. I looked, but could not spot them -- only the bluest sky I have ever seen in my life. 🤗

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/467518712
Fauna
Fauna
Ladybug beetle
Meteorology
Meteorology
Moon
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
A couple of prickly pear, a few penstemon (but VERY red), butterfly weed, some light purple thing I think might be a wire lettuce, and a light blue/purple shrub flower that sprinkled all along FR 9403C.
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Jun 18 2020
kingsnake
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 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Kehl CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 18 2020
kingsnake
Hiking9.67 Miles 796 AEG
Hiking9.67 Miles   4 Hrs   48 Mns   2.01 mph
796 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Due to the Bush Fire preventing all traffic along AZ-87, we took I-17 and AZ-260 to the Mogollon Rim. Traffic was normal in the morning, but heavy late afternoon on our way back on AZ-260, as Payson-bound traffic routed around the road closure. Just before we reached Kehl Springs Campground, I stopped to video the Bush Fire smoke ( [ youtube video ] ), which obscured all views south, even though the fire front was 40 miles away. 🔥

Kehl Canyon is immediately tighter than the beginning of any other Mogollon Rim canyon I’ve so far hiked. Not bad, but tighter, with no shelves or meadows to speed travel. I don’t know if ferns can “peak” like spring flowers, but there were tons of them. False hellebore / corn lily were also plentiful. The most common actual flower was yellow columbine, followed by some white thing that was neither daisy, lily, poppy nor fleabane. I also spotted western wallflower and Richardson’s Geranium.

There was evidence of water the first 1.6 miles down Kehl Canyon, and a small, but loud, pour to a clear, waist deep, pool at the junction with Middle Kehl Canyon. The junction would make a great campsite.

The next 1.3 miles of Kehl Canyon considerably tightened until I came to a waist deep pool flanked by steep rock formations. I didn’t want to get wet, but neither did I want to bail, so in I went. On a smaller scale, it reminded me of hiking the Gila River — literally, hiking the river — in 2015 ( [ photoset ] ). Having gotten soaked, I didn’t hesitate to splash right through any further pools. 💦

I wanted to stop for lunch at the mouth of West Kehl Canyon, but didn’t find just the right combination of shade, soft ground and a decent back rest until I was a half mile up West Kehl. My photos don’t bear it out, but it was slow travel, with uncertain footing, pools, deadfall, etc. In other words, “tight”.

A mile up West Kehl Canyon, it began opening up. By the time I reached bone dry Mud Spring, FR 6110 was just a few yards away, in a small meadow. I didn’t want to do any more canyon crawling than necessary, so the solution was obvious. 😁

After a ½ mile on FR 6110, I turned left onto FR 308E, which was quite rocky for the ½ mile I was on it. Okay for walking, but I wouldn’t drive my SUV up it. Where FR 308E turns north, I took a short break before dropping into Middle Kehl Canyon for my final canyon crawl of the day.

Like West Kehl Canyon, I remember the initial stretch of Middle Kehl Canyon being more congested than my photos otherwise suggest. A ½ mile south, there was a leaning, but still standing, pine with the largest trunk I’ve seen on the Mogollon Rim: It was at least 60″ diameter! Speaking of which, most of the trees in the various Kehl Canyons are pine, with few oak or other deciduous species. 🌲

A ¼ mile south of the massive pine, Middle Kehl Canyon intersects FR 308B, by which point the canyon bottom travel is fern patches. Instead of heading up the spur on FR 308B, I continued at the bottom of Middle Kehl on an unnumbered jeep trail.

After another ½ mile in Middle Kehl Canyon, I turned off the unnumbered jeep trail, up an obstacle-free draw, before crossing a burn area on FR 308A, back to the Kehl Springs Campground.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/467721921
Culture
Culture
Cag Shot
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Ferns, corn lily, western wallflower, yellow columbine, Richardson's Geranium, others.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Kehl Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Middle Kehl Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

dry Mud Spring Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max West Kehl Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
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Jun 08 2020
kingsnake
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 Guides 90
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 Photos 8,634
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58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Buena Vista Trail #637 - Show LowPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 08 2020
kingsnake
Hiking11.53 Miles 1,277 AEG
Hiking11.53 Miles   3 Hrs   54 Mns   2.96 mph
1,277 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The past year or so my regular hike day is Thursday. But Arizona temperatures were scheduled to peak on Thursday — including 90℉ in Show Low. However, temps were supposed to drop 5° on Friday, and another 10° Saturday through Tuesday. Then again, the north country is a zoo on the weekend, as Phoenicians jam I-17 and AZ-260 heading to points north and east. The more I can avoid other people, the better. So, I waited until Monday. 🌡

After the three hour drive from Phoenix, my wife & I arrived at the trailhead at 9:00 a.m. For a small trailhead, in a small town, it was packed: I counted at least 10 vehicles. (There may have been more, but I ran out of fingers.) ✋🤚

Despite the crowded trailhead, I only encountered two hikers about halfway, two hikers near the end, three ATVs moving too fast for conditions, and no mountain bikes, dog walkers, or horse riders. Only three vehicles were left at the trailhead when I returned at 2:00 p.m.

There’s good maps posted at the trailhead, and apparently some are occasionally available to take along. However, I recommend carrying a GPS: The official loop is criss-crossed by uncountable other jeep trails and mountain bike paths. I hiked 1½ extra miles due to wrong turns, and the couple I met near the end had just gotten un-lost. 🧭

The 1,200 ft. of AEG on Buena Vista Trail #637 mostly occurs in a half dozen 150-200 ft. climbs. Nothing too strenuous. The best views on the loop, occur from a clear “summit” 4.0 miles into the hike. The hospital in Pinetop-Lakeside was obvious, as were the antennas on Porter Mountain and the quarry at First Knoll.

I finished the Buena Vista Trail #637 loop in 3h 54m, which — math 😣 — is 2.96 mph, a speed akin to my neighborhood walks during the week. The hike is is not spectacular by any means, but I enjoyed the pleasant stroll. 🙂

On the way home, I diverted off AZ-260 in Pinedale so I could drive through the covered bridge — apparently the only one in Arizona — just for my loving & supportive wife, who had always wanted to drive through a covered bridge. Happy birthday, Schnook! 🤗

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/468117220
Named place
Named place
Hansen Tank Porter Mountain
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
I was surprised by the wide variety of flowers along Buena Vista Trail #637: Lupine and western wallflower were among the more numerous, while a saw only one or two penstemon, paintbrush and prickly pear flowers.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Hansen Tank 1-25% full 1-25% full
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
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May 28 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Watson Lake LoopPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar May 28 2020
kingsnake
Hiking5.75 Miles 530 AEG
Hiking5.75 Miles   2 Hrs   6 Mns   2.74 mph
530 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Pretty warm, even in the morning, with plenty of humidity. I was a sweat hog. Enjoyed the shady Watson Dam area. Instructions to follow white dots are BS: EVERY trail has white dots! I added a mile to my distance for the at least eight times I followed the wrong white dots. Good thing I had a GPS. I could see someone getting lost in there. Climbing dells in the northern half of the loop better workout than the meager AEG would indicate. Scenic as expected. Stopped by south boat ramp to chat with Karts Huseonica, who is canoing the Yukon River this summer https://www.yukon2020.com . (A year or two ago, Karts set the age record for oldest AZT yoyo.) Afterwards, cookout and desperately needed adult beverages at La Casa Prescottstyle.
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Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
May 21 2020
kingsnake
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 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Juniper Flat - Sierra AnchaGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 21 2020
kingsnake
Hiking8.32 Miles 629 AEG
Hiking8.32 Miles   4 Hrs   14 Mns   1.97 mph
629 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I don’t get out to the Sierra Ancha too often, as it is a three hour drive from Sunnyslope, despite being only 67 miles away as the crow flies. Or hawk, as I would later discover.

Exploring Juniper Flat is a total, but mild, bushwhack.

From the trailhead, I headed northeast, making sure to stay on the Juniper Flat side of the unnamed canyon that separates it from Elephant Rock Mesa.

Besides simply enjoying the day, my main objective was to see if there was a way down to the mines / caves, I had previously spotted from Elephant Rock Mesa ( [ photoset ] ). They were on the Juniper Flat side of the canyon, maybe 200 ft. down from the rim. When I got near to where they should be, I would get closer to the edge, peer around, move over a bit, repeat, etc. There were some cracks in the rim that I could have scrambled down to about the right level, but didn’t want to waste the energy if I didn’t see the caves first. It might be a small, unnamed, canyon, but it is sheer & rugged.

Moving along the rim of the unnamed canyon, and Cherry Creek into which it feeds, had both the most tangled vegetation on Juniper Flat, and also the most open movement. Where it was tangled, I would “dip in & out” from the rim, as I sought a less tangled path — which is why the attached GPS route looks so jagged. Where the rim was clear, it was smooth sailing across flat stone outcroppings.

Juniper Flat has much less wildfire damage than Elephant Rock Mesa, so there is plenty of shade. Still, I got quite sunburned from spending so much time on the exposed rim of Cherry Creek.

3.0 miles into my explore, I found two cairns about 25 yds. apart: one regular size, one with large stones. I couldn’t figure out their purpose, nor that of an obviously placed wood pole at the 3.4 mile mark. The wilderness boundary was nearby, so maybe that is why? 🤔

A ¼ mile west of the wood post is a beautiful, layered, dryfall that would be spectacular if water was running. I got buzzed by an irate hawk (see video below), who must have had a nearby nest. As I had already been exploring three hours, I decided to skip the northern half of my planned Juniper Flat figure 8.

The first 3.5 miles of my Juniper Flat exploration were in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. I crossed the wilderness boundary two other times, and approached it a third, but never saw a fence of any sort, other than by the trailhead, and along the Young Highway / AZ-288. There is no fence along the Cherry Creek rim, nor where the dirt road crossed the wilderness boundary. (It ends in a loop a ¼ mile into the wilderness.) With no barrier, it was no surprise to see an OHV exploring the dirt road.

After walking the dirt road’s length, I again headed off trail, searching for Juniper Flat Tank — which is not where the map claims it is. I did, however, find a land survey monument and the cadastral survey marker for the northeast corner of the Cagle Cabin admin site.

What I assume is Juniper Flat Tank, was 200 yds. away. It was a large, waterless, clearing with two large water bladders, wood benches, an upright metal tank, a small metal tank on a trailer, and an old home site with two concrete foundations, a stone grill / BBQ pit, and a mostly intact stone chimney. From Juniper Flat Tank, it was under a mile back to the trailhead.

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/468947017
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Wildflowers Observation Light
Juniper Flat has quite a bit of vegetation, mostly pine, pinyon, juniper, manzanita, etc. No catclaw that I recall. The few cacti were mostly prickly pear, which had some amazing flowers. Fleabane and some yellow flower I can never remember the name of were quite common. The manzanita were blooming their tight clusters of white & pink flowers. I also found New Mexico thistle, indian paintbrush, century plant, and an absolutely stunning purple number that I believe was a Gunnison’s Mariposa Lily.
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
2 archives
May 14 2020
kingsnake
avatar

 Guides 90
 Routes 208
 Photos 8,634
 Triplogs 685

58 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Open Draw - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 14 2020
kingsnake
Hiking11.18 Miles 653 AEG
Hiking11.18 Miles   4 Hrs   13 Mns   2.65 mph
653 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Check out the Guide I just added. 👆

Continuing my quest to hike every named canyon on the Rim between AZ-87 and AZ-260 ...

You can chop 2.8 miles round trip off the distances of the loop options in the Guide by parking at the FR 91 intersection with FR 40F. I hiked from the official trailhead near FR 115. When I started hiking at 8:30 a.m., there was no traffic, and only one RV camping along FR 91.

In Open Draw, I saw a few flowers too small to photograph, but 90% of the blooms were dandelions. Some people call them “weeds”, but I think dandelions are pretty. 🤗

The only other flower I saw in any quantity were pine thermopsis, a member of the pea family also known as golden pea. I saw pine thermopsis here & there in Open Draw, but there were several large, dense patches along FR 40F.

I took a snack break, and swapped water bottles, just past the small check dam (which is no bigger than a cement curb). Unfortunately, no hiking beer, as I thought I needed the pack weight for an extra water. Turns out I only drank 1.5 liters all day!

After negotiating the tightest part of Open Draw -- the final ½ mile -- I arrived at Gentry Canyon. Rather than eat lunch there, I instead took an animal trail 250 ft. up the bluff to the north end of FR 40E. I crossed a meadow, and FR 40G, about halfway up.

There were a number of very old, abandoned, log decks along FR 40E. It has been so long since the road has seen vehicles, that FR 40E is covered with a half inch of pine needles. Fire appears not to have touched Open Draw, or the forest roads on this hike, so there was plenty of shade. 🌲

Where fire did touch was the car -- fully-engulfed -- along AZ-87, near Sunflower, on the way home. That was in addition to the four (4!) emergency vehicles that passed us on Rim Rd., heading towards Bear Lake (or points west), just an hour earlier. Exciting end to the day! 🚙🔥

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/469123982
Meteorology
Meteorology
Moon
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
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average hiking speed 2.41 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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