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18 triplogs

Sep 02 2019
johnny88
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 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Horse Crossing Trail #20Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 02 2019
johnny88
Hiking1.50 Miles 500 AEG
Hiking1.50 Miles
500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This weekend, I went to check out some of the East Clear Creek trails to see how they fared the Tinder Fire of May 2018.

Horse Crossing: the trail down to the creek is severely burned. The trail is mostly still easy to follow, but I did lose the trail a couple times as I got nearer to the creek. The creek bottom has some burned and some unaffected areas. The water in the creek was very cloudy and dirty. I hiked down-creek a couple miles before turning around. Hiking back out was much hotter without the shade. I only saw 2 other people.

Kinder Crossing: the road to the trailhead is same as pre-fire. The hike down to the creek seems mostly unchanged, only a couple small burned areas. Conditions along the creek are a mix of burned and unaffected areas. I went down creek almost to the Horse Crossing trail and then turned around. Water along this stretch was also very cloudy and dirty. I saw many people on this hike, including a huge group of backpackers (Scouts? Church or community group?).

East Clear Creek looked better than I expected after the Tinder Fire. I thought the whole area was going to be severely burned. I'm no fire expert and I couldn't tell where the fire originated. The area along the creek seemed more overgrown than what I remember. I'm not sure what caused the poor water quality in East Clear Creek - the Tinder Fire, the more recent fire South of the area, monsoon rains? It made the creek crossings much more difficult as I couldn't see what I was stepping on. The water looks much clearer in the other post-Tinder Fire photoset.

I used to frequently fish East Clear Creek, and I saw absolutely zero signs of fish activity in the creek. The only signs of life in the water I saw were some crawdads and some ducks.

When I was a couple of miles down-creek of the Horse Crossing trail, I ran into a particularly brushy section. I couldn't see much besides the tall brush when I heard something growl at me (or make some kind of noise). Startled me yelled at the startled animal, and then I heard it run away through the brush and splash across the creek. About a 1/4 mile later, I saw a dark animal way on the other side of the creek - I'm guessing this could be the same animal. It's in my photoset. My first thought was "bear", but after looking at it more closely, I think it may have been a dog. It stared at me for 10 or 15 seconds before turning and running away. If it was a dog, I didn't see any people nearby. The next day I ran into a set of bear tracks.
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6 archives
Sep 01 2019
johnny88
avatar

 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Kinder Crossing Trail #19Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 01 2019
johnny88
Hiking1.95 Miles 584 AEG
Hiking1.95 Miles
584 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This weekend, I went to check out some of the East Clear Creek trails to see how they fared the Tinder Fire of May 2018.

Horse Crossing: the trail down to the creek is severely burned. The trail is mostly still easy to follow, but I did lose the trail a couple times as I got nearer to the creek. The creek bottom has some burned and some unaffected areas. The water in the creek was very cloudy and dirty. I hiked down-creek a couple miles before turning around. Hiking back out was much hotter without the shade. I only saw 2 other people.

Kinder Crossing: the road to the trailhead is same as pre-fire. The hike down to the creek seems mostly unchanged, only a couple small burned areas. Conditions along the creek are a mix of burned and unaffected areas. I went down creek almost to the Horse Crossing trail and then turned around. Water along this stretch was also very cloudy and dirty. I saw many people on this hike, including a huge group of backpackers (Scouts? Church or community group?).

East Clear Creek looked better than I expected after the Tinder Fire. I thought the whole area was going to be severely burned. I'm no fire expert and I couldn't tell where the fire originated. The area along the creek seemed more overgrown than what I remember. I'm not sure what caused the poor water quality in East Clear Creek - the Tinder Fire, the more recent fire South of the area, monsoon rains? It made the creek crossings much more difficult as I couldn't see what I was stepping on. The water looks much clearer in the other post-Tinder Fire photoset.

I used to frequently fish East Clear Creek, and I saw absolutely zero signs of fish activity in the creek. The only signs of life in the water I saw were some crawdads and some ducks.

When I was a couple of miles down-creek of the Horse Crossing trail, I ran into a particularly brushy section. I couldn't see much besides the tall brush when I heard something growl at me (or make some kind of noise). Startled me yelled at the startled animal, and then I heard it run away through the brush and splash across the creek. About a 1/4 mile later, I saw a dark animal way on the other side of the creek - I'm guessing this could be the same animal. It's in my photoset. My first thought was "bear", but after looking at it more closely, I think it may have been a dog. It stared at me for 10 or 15 seconds before turning and running away. If it was a dog, I didn't see any people nearby. The next day I ran into a set of bear tracks.
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Jan 16 2016
johnny88
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 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Almost Powers Garden, AZ 
Almost Powers Garden, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 16 2016
johnny88
Hiking
Hiking
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I had planned on this trip being a backpack to Powers Garden; however, after seeing the amount of snow and slop still out there, I decided to turn it into a car-camping and day-hiking trip. I drove into the Deer Creek trailhead on Friday night and got caught in an unexpected rain/snow storm. The road in was muddy in some spots and fine in others. It was gouged in the muddy spots by a set of deep tire tracks. Overnight low was in the upper 20s - enough to freeze the mud and make walking around camp easy.

General theme of the trail: lots of water! The Deer Creek Trailhead had a small river running through it. I drove through the river, parked my car, and set off on the trail to Powers Garden via Mud Spring and a short section of Sycamore Canyon. We started the hike around 8am. Up until about Mud Spring, the trail alternated from frozen mud to solid sheets of ice to snow and back to frozen mud. There was about a 20' section of trail near the first gate which was dry :) Every little creek/drainage had a strong flow of water in it. Very cool - I've never seen these flowing before.

After Mud Spring, the trail steepens and the snow picked up. I would guess snow depth averaged around 4'' - 6''. Some shaded areas had me post-holing almost to my knees. My dog bulldozed her way through these parts. After briefly going the wrong way at the saddle, we hiked down into Sycamore Canyon. Again, lots of water here. And lots of snow and ice. We turned around near the "Dam" on the map and hiked back to the trailhead.

While the dog and I were hiking through the snow, the first couple miles of icy trail melted and turned to mud. It was nice to get back to the car, put on some dry shoes, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon out there.
Named place
Named place
Santa Teresa Mountains
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2 archives
Apr 25 2015
johnny88
avatar

 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Escalante Natural BridgeSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2015
johnny88
Hiking27.00 Miles 50 AEG
Hiking27.00 Miles
50 ft AEG27 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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A couple friends and I did a 4-day backpack along the Escalante River. I am posting this trip report under the Escalante Natural Bridge hike because it is very close by. We started our hike at the Escalante Town trailhead (just East of Escalante, UT) and hiked West along the Escalante River. This was our basic trip:

Day 0: drive to trailhead (about 8 hours from Phoenix), car camp near trailhead
Day 1: hike approx 7.5 miles to where the Escalante River meets Death Hollow, set up camp
Day 2: day-hike into Death Hollow
Day 3: day-hike to Escalante Natural Bridge, move camp to large overhang
Day 4: hike out, drive home

It was an exceptionally beautiful and enjoyable backpack. Most of my trip story is in the photoset. When we started our hike, we had a Pacific cold front sweeping through the area, bringing cold winds and rain. We got dumped on when car camping and driving up. If we had started the drive an hour later, we probably would have gotten snowed on near Bryce. Towards the end of day 2, the cold front had passed, the sun came out, and the temperatures began to warm up. We were worried about the rain bringing flash floods, but the river level hardly seemed to rise (maybe by 1-2 inches). There are ample places to get to safety along the Esclante River though, presuming you can see the flood coming.

We saw about 2-3 groups per day. Most people were just passing by. One was a very large group of horse-riders (riding in the river and letting their horses poop everywhere :( ). Plan on getting everything covered in sand. The river water was actually very clear. We brought one Sawyer filter and used it to filter water for 3 people and 2 dogs without ever needing to backflush it.

Some general thoughts about the trip:

Late April seemed like a good time to visit the Escalante. If you want to avoid the heat and bugs, go in early April. If you don't mind the heat or bugs, go in mid-May and have warmer river crossings. I imagine early Fall may be a good time to go too. Summer would be too hot for me, and I'd be worried about flash floods

A permit is required for overnight backpacking, but they are free and unlimited. There's a permit box at the Town Trailhead

Fishing was okay in the Escalante River (I suspect it's better in warmer weather with more bugs out). But note that fires are not allowed here

There are many route options for the Escalante River, especially if you add in the nearby Boulder Mail Trail. I could see myself returning for a grand loop/tour and spending many days out there. Have fun planning your trip!
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Dec 19 2014
johnny88
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 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Derrick - Horton LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 19 2014
johnny88
Hiking8.80 Miles 2,130 AEG
Hiking8.80 Miles
2,130 ft AEG22 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
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Note: I still have a smudge on the right side of my camera lens, so some images are blurry (thought I got it cleaned!)

This past weekend (12/19 - 12/21), I made my final backpacking trip for 2014. My basic route was:

Day 1: hike the Derrick Trail to the Highline Trail, head East on the Highline trail and camp near Chistopher Creek
Day 2: hike the See Canyon Trail up to FR300, hike West along FR300 for a few miles, then take the Horton Creek trail down the rim and make camp near Horton Creek
Day 3: hike back to car

This loop has been on my “to-hike” list for a couple years now, and I'm glad I finally hiked it. It is a great connection of trails less than 2 hours from Phoenix.

Day 1: given last week's weather, I had no idea how much snow to expect on the trail, so I came prepared to hike and camp in several inches of the stuff. Starting off on the Derrick Trail, I saw almost no snow and felt over-prepared. However, as I got closer to the rim and met up with the Highline Trail, the snow increased and so did the mud. Both of these made this section of the Highline Trail much more interesting than I remember it. Hiking was smooth and generally easy, but with about half a mile to reach Christopher Creek, my shoes reached terminal mud. I am certain my shoe weight quadrupled. Thankfully the trail dried out a little more as I descended to Christopher Creek. I found a nice spot on the East side of the creek, setup camp, and managed to get a fire going (which was difficult given that all the wood was soaked). I went to bed shortly after dark (thermometer already read 35F) having seen no one the entire day except at the trailhead. Around 8 pm, I woke up to someone walking around my tent and shining a flashlight on it. I said “hello” and received no response. Strange...And then around 11 pm, I was again woken up to flashlights on my tent by people on the other side of the creek, I presume looking for a camp site. They gave up and left after a few minutes.

Day 2: in order to make the long 13+ hour winter nights bearable, I get up early, eat breakfast, and pack up in the dark so that I am ready to go near first light. This morning was a cozy 28F, made apparent by the sparkly interior of my frosty tent. To warm up, my dog and I set off on the beautiful See Canyon Trail. If I were to repeat this loop, I would not camp near the Highline Trail and Christopher Creek; instead, there is a nice spot to camp just a 1-2 minute walk North of the See Canyon trailhead which should be much more private. An even better option for backpackers may be the small camp site just past the intersection with the trail that goes off to See Spring. As I hike along the See Canyon trail, gradually climbing, I think I am making good time and will be at the top of the rim soon. After all, the sign only said “2 miles”. Pretty soon though, I am walking through more and more snow and the trail gets significantly steeper. The path is fairly well-marked and I only lost the trail a half dozen times or so. Whenever I lost the trail, I just looked for sawn logs, which are the most obvious man-made feature when everything is covered in snow. My dog is also pretty good at sniffing out where to go.

Eventually, I reach FR300! Upon stepping foot on the road, I immediately see a car and think that it will be a long few miles avoiding vehicle traffic. But that would be the only car I'd see the entire time. My dog and I walk along the snow-covered road at a brisk pace, making good time thanks to the compacted snow in the tire tracks. After the climb up to the rim, I am glad for some easy miles. FR300 actually makes for quite the pleasant hike in the winter time. Pretty soon, we reach the Horton Creek Trail sign and begin our descent. I had no idea if this trail even really existed and I was happy to find it pretty well maintained. It was easier to follow than the See Canyon Trail and there was less snow. I think this trail is more frequently traveled by Elk than by people – there was tons of Elk poop along almost the entire length. The descent is steep, but we reach Horton Creek, check out the spring, have some food, and then hike on another mile or so. I manage to find a nice spot on the East side of Horton Creek and set up camp. As I am eating dinner, a group of around 12 Elk walk within 50 feet of me. They seem not to care about me or my dog. As soon as I greet them with a “Hello Elk!”, they all trot away up the hill.

Throughout the night, I would occasionally hear the sound of wood snapping and rocks tumbling as elk made their way along the nearby game trail. It was a cold day and I went to bed early (my thermometer read 34F at 3pm!). The only person I saw the entire day was the lone car on FR300.

Day 3: not much here. The temperature only dipped to 30F over night. I eat breakfast and pack up in the dark again, then quickly hike out the remaining few miles to the car, again seeing no one.
Fauna
Fauna
Dog
Meteorology
Meteorology
Icicle
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Nov 09 2014
johnny88
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 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Ash Creek - GaliuroTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 09 2014
johnny88
Hiking6.00 Miles 987 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles
987 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Note: my camera has a smudge on the inside of the lens, so some of my pictures are blurry near the right side

This is a continuation of my trip around the Galiuros. After hiking Kennedy Peak the previous day, I drove to Ash Creek. It was a Saturday evening and I was surprised to find the area almost packed. I saw many groups and picked the most private site I could find. All the groups, to their credit, were pretty quiet. By 7:30pm, when I went to bed, I couldn't hear any one. Maybe it was the cooler weather (it got down to 41 F at night), but I slept great out there! Really almost better than I do at home.

After some coffee, I continued driving up the road to the trailhead. I soon reached a closed gate, which I assumed marked the beginning of the trail, so I parked my car and started hiking. I would soon discover that you can drive up the road for about another mile. Oh well, I was already parked and ready to hike. The road to the gate was only mildly difficult. One small section was a little tricky for my Subaru, and it seemed to cause multiple vehicles a bit of tire spinning and bottoming-out (given the noises I would hear - I was only camped a hundred feet away from this part of the road). But everyone seemed to make it up or down eventually. I saw all sorts of cars drive by: huge pickups and SUVs, jeeps, cute 'utes, and a station wagon. On my way out, I actually several sedans fairly far into the road, even beyond the gate. Personally, I thought the road was too rough for your average sedan. I think my Subaru could have made it all the way, and you typical AWD cute 'ute (Honda CRV, RAV4, etc) could also probably make it with some caution.

Ash Creek is what I would describe as a very pleasant and enjoyable hike. It's not difficult, and you pretty much just meander back and forth across the usually dry creek bed. It seems Fall has not peaked here yet - there was still a lot of green. Maybe in a couple weeks there will be more color. I was pleased with the small sections of color that were out though. Starting early was a plus - I only saw one group on my way in, but several on the way out.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
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Nov 09 2014
johnny88
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 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Redfield Canyon Attempt, AZ 
Redfield Canyon Attempt, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 09 2014
johnny88
Hiking
Hiking
 no routesno photosets
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After hiking Ash Creek earlier in the day, I planned to see if I could make the drive to Jackson Cabin, setup camp, and do some hiking through Redfield Canyon. I really wanted to hike the southern end of the West Divide Trail. However, Forest Road 691 had other ideas! With a bit over 12 miles left to go, I encountered a steep hill of hard-packed dirt with a boulder in the middle of it. I tried a couple times, but I could not make it up this hill with my Subaru. This is the section of 691 just after you have to sign in to cross the ranch.

I didn't expect to be able to make it all the way to Jackson Cabin, but I also didn't expect to be thwarted 12 miles away! Does any one know if it is legal to over-night park on 691 near where you sign in? I was thinking about returning, parking my car there, and just biking in to Jackson Cabin.
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1 archive
Nov 08 2014
johnny88
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 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Kennedy Peak Trail #287ATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 08 2014
johnny88
Hiking0.30 Miles 257 AEG
Hiking0.30 Miles
257 ft AEG
 no routes
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Note: I have a smudge inside my camera lens, so the right-side of most images is a little blurry.

My first stop in my "tour of the Galiuros" was Kennedy Peak. I drove in the night before my hike and camped near the Deer Creek trailhead. I was surprised to see 3 other groups in the area (all hunters - I was the only hiker), so I had to spend a little time searching in the dark for a spot to camp. After a good night's sleep, my dog and I drove to the trailhead and began our hike.

Previously, I have done a 4-day backpack out of Deer Creek to Powers Garden. And I've done another 4-day backpack to Powers Garden through the North end of Rattlesnake Canyon. So I knew a little about what to expect on this trail. I had my topo maps and a route planned out, but was prepared for some vague-ness. The first mile of trail is pretty easy and well-marked, but then I came to an intersection with a sign. It pointed to Kennedy Peak, so I followed the trail. For the next couple miles, the trail would sometimes be right on target with where my map said trail existed. And sometimes I would be several hundred feet off where the trail was supposed to be. The trail was usually pretty easy to follow.

Once I made my way to the main small canyon (where the trail begins to get a lot steeper), the trail matched up quite well with my map. Hiking through the burned areas posed some small challenges: mostly stepping over downed trees and some occasional hunting for the trail after a creek bed crossing. Nothing too serious, in my opinion. The hike up to the ridgeline is quite steep and it always seems like you are *just* about there. But then you realize you still have more to climb. Eventually, we made it to the top of the ridgeline. From there, we turned left and began the last bit of hiking to get to Kennedy Peak. The trail along the ridgeline was easy to find and passed through burnt and unburnt areas.

The last bit of hiking to get to Kennedy Peak was the most challenging for me. I could not find where the trail to the summit left the ridgeline trail (hint: it was where the old sign on the ground lies). Once you find the trail, it is easiest to just make sure you stay on it. As they say in navigation, "stay found" and it is not so bad. A little climbing over downed trees was required. My dog was no help in finding the trail here. Upon reaching the peak, I enjoyed a celebratory lunch and took a bunch of pictures. I find more and more that "peak" photos simply don't capture the grandeur of the view. Everything seems much smaller and less spectacular than I remember it. Maybe I need a better camera or the photography skills to capture a better picture?

The hike down was uneventful and took me about 3 hours. Finding the trail on the way down was much easier than on the way up. Towards the end, it was getting quite hot and windy. We would see no one else the entire hike. I will note that wildlife was pretty minimal. I saw 2 deer, 1 lizard, and a bird.

I would love to come back here and backpack more of the East Divide Trail. I think water availability is the only thing holding me back.

Also of note is the road into Deer Creek. It actually seemed better than I remember. Even the part of the road that crosses the initial wash was smoothed over and packed down hard. I would say that, with some caution and slow going, your average passenger car could make it to the trailhead. That opinion could change, however, if you're going when it's wet.
Fauna
Fauna
Dog
Culture
Culture
Campsite HAZ Rides
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Oct 05 2014
johnny88
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 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Pecos Baldy LakeNortheast, NM
Northeast, NM
Hiking avatar Oct 05 2014
johnny88
Hiking14.00 Miles 2,000 AEG
Hiking14.00 Miles
2,000 ft AEG26 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
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In early October, I went on a planned 4-day backpacking trip to the Pecos Wilderness near Santa Fe, NM. My basic route was:

Day 1: hike from Jack's Creek trailhead to Pecos Baldy Lake
Day 2: hike from Pecos Baldy Lake to Truchas Lakes
Day 3: hike from Truchas Lakes to Beatty's Flats
Day 4: hike back to car

I ended up combining Days 3 and 4 for one long 16-mile day.

The drive to the trailhead took me about 9 hours. I car-camped at Jack's Creek campground (a nice little place) before setting out on the trail the next morning. Fall color on the way to Pecos Baldy Lake was abundant. Golden aspens were everywhere. Despite the section of burned trail from the 2013 Jaroso Fire, it was a very pleasant hike. I feel as if I hit the weather jackpot that day, as the temperature ranged from mid-30s to mid-60s with only light wind. I was able to find a nice, protected camp site about 200 yards from Pecos Baldy Lake and then spent the remainder of my afternoon wandering around the lake, relaxing, and reading. I finished off the night by cooking over a camp fire then making a night-time visit to the lake.

I slept incredibly well that night and didn't wake up until almost 7 AM. After breakfast in bed, I packed up and began hiking the Skyline Trail. I was soon on the Trailrider's Wall, which I consider some of the most spectacular hiking I have ever done. It presents incredible views and scenery the whole way, and is just generally fun. I bet this section of trail, however, could feel incredibly different if a monsoon was headed your way! I saw two horse riders out hunting for elk that morning and would see no one else for about another 30 hours. I also saw a group of bighorn sheep near the Trailrider's Wall.

After descending back to the trees, it's a couple miles left still to Truchas Lakes. Surprisingly, I had a hard time finding a camp site here. There were lots of dead trees which seemed ready to fall and lots of boulders. It seemed all the good and safe spots were closer than 200 yards to the water. I finally managed to find a semi-flat site free of nearby dead trees. After finishing my camp chores, I went for a walk around the lake and visited the smaller Upper Truchas Lake. I surprised to find it much less windy up there. I took advantage of the good weather and sat and read for awhile before returning to camp. At this point, the wind was really beginning to pick up. It was too windy to have a fire, so I simply ate dinner and went to bed.

The wind howled all night long and I ended up waking up early, eating breakfast and packing up in the dark. I was back on the Skyline Trail around first light. Once on the trail, I found a much more protected and less windy camp site about 1/4 - 1/2 mile North of Truchas Lakes. The hiking along this section of trail is great. It's only moderately hilly and you have a good mix of forest hiking and expansive views. Pretty soon, I was near the Santa Barbara Divide and took Beatty's Trail South. I would love to return here and hike more of the area near the Santa Barbara Divide.

Beatty's Trail felt like a veritable highway. It was almost all well maintained and was typically slightly downhill or pretty flat. With the cool weather, we made good time and were at Beatty's Flats in another couple hours. I had originally planned on camping somewhere outside the restricted zone at Beatty's Flats, but it was so early and I still felt good, that I just decided to keep on hiking. So on I went. The trail south of Beatty's Flats is pretty nice. I was worried about water, but even in October I would occasionally pass by small streams. There were a few places to camp along this section of the trail, but none very close to water.

Eventually, I was only a few miles from the car, so I decided to just hike back to the car and camp at Jack's Creek campground again. The last few miles were tough, but the thought of beer and dinner spurred me on to the finish. That and the scenery wasn't too bad :)

In summary: if you live in Arizona and are looking for a multi-day, alpine-like hike, head to the Pecos! I think early October is the best time to be there. Some old-timers I spoke to said the first bits of snowfall usually come around this time. I think I could easily spend a week out there


A correction to the trail description though: dogs ARE allowed on this trail.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
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Mar 22 2013
johnny88
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 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Old Baldy - Super Trail LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2013
johnny88
Hiking12.40 Miles 4,210 AEG
Hiking12.40 Miles
4,210 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I am not sure where to post this trip report, but the "Old Baldy - Super Trail Loop" seems most appropriate. Please let me know if I should post it somewhere else. Anyway, last weekend, I went for a 2-day backpacking trip in the Santa Rita mountains. My dog and I arrived at the Madera Canyon trailhead around 7:30 AM on a Friday. There were only 3 or 4 cars at the trailhead, a big change from the normal crowd it sees on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

From the parking lot, we started hiking up the Super Trail. We hiked in the shade of the canyon almost the entire time and were at Sprung Spring before we knew it. Sprung Spring had a good flow of water and was overflowing its little tank. Additionally, the creek South of the Super Trail had intermittent flows and pools of water along its first couple of miles. Always a good sign in southern AZ. After passing Sprung Spring, we came to Josephine Saddle where I talked to a couple of other hikers at the saddle as well as one guy who was already coming back down from Mt Wrightson. He was fast! From Josephine Saddle, I hopped on the Old Baldy Trail. This section of trail was much steeper than the Super Trail, but the great views of the Santa Rita crest and Mt Wrightson kept me going.

Maybe half a mile after leaving Josephine Saddle, I encountered my first small patch of snow. And after taking a short snack break, I reached Bellows Spring just before 11 AM. Bellows Spring had a strong flow from the pipe as well as from the little waterfall just above it. I do not know how much of the waterfall was snowmelt and how much was spring water. Since this would be my last reliable water source until halfway through my 2nd day, I had to tank up with a total of about 8L of water - enough to get me and my dog through the rest of day 1, that night, and then most (if not all) of day 2. While I had a nice light load before, this water pushed my pack weight to somwehere around 35 lbs, and all before the steepest part of the hike!

So I left Bellows Spring, watered up and feeling heavy, and slowly made my way to Baldy Saddle. The climb actually ended up proving to not be that bad, or so I thought at the time. I had lunch and changed socks at Baldy Saddle, all while watching dozens of birds dive bomb the Western side of the crest. It was very windy on my climb up to the saddle and even windier where I had lunch. Everything had to be secured so that it didn't blow away. I walked around Baldy Saddle for a little bit, checking out potential camp sites, but I decided to hike along the Crest Trail 2 miles to Florida Saddle and camp there for the night. I had always wanted to do the Crest Trail in the Santa Ritas so I was excited to get going. On my way to Florida Saddle, I jumped off the trail a couple times to see a view or check out a camp area next to the trail.

The first 1.5 miles of the Crest Trail north of Baldy Saddle were actually really nice. I hiked in and out of burn areas, but I remember it as being mostly forested and easily hiked. I saw a small group of hikers about 0.25 miles from Baldy Saddle, and they'd be the last people I'd see all day. After about 1.5 miles, I reached a large saddle which was extremely windy - so windy I pretty much just hiked past it as fast as I could. Once I got past that saddle, the trail changed briefly for a little bit. Here, there were many logs blocking the trail and it was overgrown in places. It made for some challenging steps for me, but easy crawls underneath for my dog. As I worked my way down to Florida Saddle, I realized I was entering another burn area. And when I reached Florida Saddle, the wind was still blowing very hard. I looked around for a little bit, but I was unable to find a good place to pitch my tent - one that was protected from the wind and safe from any falling dead trees. So despite my legs being quite tired and it being about 2 PM, I decided I would have to hike back along the Crest Trail to one of the sites near Baldy Saddle.

My hike back along the Crest Trail was fairly uneventful. I had not realized how much I had descended in elevation from Baldy Saddle, so the climbs were pretty difficult for me. I was glad to have my dog pulling me along, as she seemed completely unfazed by our day's journey thus far. Whenever I slowed down on a hill, she'd look back and seemingly ask me why I was stopping. By the time I reached Baldy Saddle (again), I realized I had hiked over 9 miles and climbed something like 5000 feet, with the last few miles being at high elevation and with lots of water in my pack. Upon reaching the Baldy Saddle area, which was also very windy, I searched for the most protected camp site that would be safe from falling trees. I eventually selected a flat little spot without any nearby trees but with several bushes near it. These bushes would not prove to block the wind as much as I had hoped.

Setting up my tent was quite the challenge, but after a few minutes my tent was all set up and I proceeded to place big rocks over all my stakes. I was glad I had brought a low-profile teepee-style tent that used my trekking pole to support it; I pitched it tight to the ground, and while it would flap around a little bit, it wasn't going anywhere. After a cold dinner (the wind made it difficult to cook and I wasn't about to risk having a camp fire), I watched a fantastic sunset and then went to bed. I had wondered why I felt a little cold when watching the sunset, and I just attributed it to the wind. But then I saw my little thermometer said it was already down to 42 degrees.

I had hoped that the wind would die down as night came, but it only seemed to blow stronger. I would be sleeping just fine and then suddenly awakened by a huge, loud gust. I will forever remember how loud the wind was that night. It would eventually get down to about 28 degrees, but I managed to stay warm inside the tent. The loud and constant wind finally caused me to get up at about 5 AM. When I finally emerged from my tent to pack up camp, the cold temperature and high winds caused my hands to quickly chill. I had forgotten my shell mittens and really wished for them then! I ate a quick breakfast, filtered my last bit of remaining water, and then broke camp. I hit the trail with a significantly lighter pack, refreshed legs, and colds hands - all things which allowed me to quickly reach the top of Mt Wrightson, despite a couple of little snowy and icy parts. The views from Mt Wrightson are always stunning and this morning was no different. It was nice to have the top to myself, but the wind eventually drove me off after a few minutes.

Once I reached Baldy Saddle (for the 3rd time!), I decided to take the Super Trail back down. This proved to be a pretty good decision over all. This section of the Super Trail (between Josephine Saddle and Baldy Saddle) is noticeably less traveled than the lower section. I had to travel over many downed trees in the first mile on my way down, and then through some overgrown sections a couple miles later, and then I had to climb over more downed trees in the overgrown section. That said, the Super Trail was very pretty, particularly the last 1.5 miles before reaching Josephine Saddle. I would just recommend wearing long pants. You can certainly count on seeing less people than you would on the Old Baldy Trail.

Once I reached Josephine Saddle around 10 AM, I encountered lots of people. Some were turning around, others were continuing on to Mt Wrightson. I was glad to see so many people enjoying their time hiking on a Saturday. From there, I took the Old Baldy Trail back to my car. This section of trail seemed to go down forever, and by the end of it, my legs were feeling pretty tired. All in all, it was a pretty good trip, albeit very windy, and I'm happy to have had a nice little tour of the Santa Ritas.
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Mar 16 2013
johnny88
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 Photos 857
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31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Reavis Ranch via 109 NorthGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2013
johnny88
Hiking18.60 Miles 2,824 AEG
Hiking18.60 Miles
2,824 ft AEG23 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After my last attempt at getting to Reavis Ranch was thwarted by rain, I returned a couple weekends ago to make the hike. My dog and I got off to an early start and didn't see any one on the trail until we passed by a couple of backpackers breaking down camp just after the turnoff for Reavis Falls. I was surprised by how much green grass there was around the trail in this section. There were also a few parts of trail which had small streams of water running down them, I'm guessing a result of the previous weekend's rain/snow.

As we rounded our way past Castle Dome, I was glad to have a little shade before descending to Windy Pass. It looked like there were a couple of good spots to camp near Windy Pass, and the creek along the trail in this section had some good water in it. I decided to stop and take a snack break under some trees near the water and it was here that I found a full length reclining lawn chair. I am amazed at what people bring with them on the trail - what could this guy have been thinking??

After the break, we made good progress to Reavis Ranch. Once we were within about a mile, a scout troop and a couple small groups of backpackers passed us on their way out. I guess every one hit the trail at about the same time. I was relieved to find water in Reavis Creek as well as shade on the trail. Although it was only in the upper 60s or low 70s, the shadeless trail on the way in felt pretty hot to me, so this was a nice change.

I walked along the trail for about another half mile, exploring various parts of the Reavis Ranch area. I can see why it's a popular place - there's nice water, dozens of large camp sites, shade, and good scenery. It would be a nice place to spend a day or two and hike the surrounding the trails. Unfortunately, I only had 1 night, so I hiked back a bit further North and found a nice place to set up camp near Reavis Creek. That night, my little thermometer would record a low of 37 degrees. A little unexpected given that it got up to almost 80 during the day, but I stayed warm nonetheless.

I got up, had breakfast, and packed up camp in the dark. I wanted to get an early start back to beat the heat (not sure how I'm going to survive this summer in Phoenix...) and we hit the trail again just after it was light out. Without hiking too quickly, we made good progress all morning, although the last 2 or 3 miles seemed to go on forever. After passing several backpackers near the trailhead, we arrived back at the car again, ready to return home.
Fauna
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Feb 07 2013
johnny88
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 Photos 857
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31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Powers Garden Trail #96Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 07 2013
johnny88
Hiking8.11 Miles 963 AEG
Hiking8.11 Miles
963 ft AEG34 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This long-winded trip report is about a 4-day backpacking trip I made into the Galiuro Mountains with my dog, two friends, and a friend's dog in early February 2013. This trip marks our 2nd visit to the Galiuros; to hear about our first trip to the range in March 2012, you must hike to the cabin at Powers Garden and read the log book yourself. For our first trip, we hiked into Powers Garden via the Deer Creek trailhead. This time, we decided to try hiking in from the North via Rattlesnake Canyon. If this trip report is too long or I have posted too many photos, someone let me know and I can trip it all down.

Day 0: Our trip began on a Thursday night. I drove down to Tucson to pick up my friends, and after a slight delay, we began the 4 hour drive. We stopped at Willcox, the last real city we'd see before arriving at the trailhead, for some gas and some food. Between trips to the Gila and the Galiuros, I'm amazed at how many times we've eaten at the Salsa Fiesta and McDonalds in Willcox now. A short while later and we were on Bonita Aravaipa Rd, which seemed smoother than it was last year; we'd see no other cars the rest of the night. After turning onto Rattlesnake Road, we signed in for a ranch pass and continue our drive in the dark. Up until Rattlesnake Hill, my friend's truck handled Rattlesnake Road just fine. I think that with some care, a small SUV could make it; a car would have some difficulty in a few spots and might come away damaged. Once we arrived at Rattlesnake Hill, we decided to see if his truck could make it all the way to the Powers Garden trailhead, 2.5 miles away. This idea quickly disintegrated after the first turn when the truck's headlights revealed several mighty obstacles. We decided that only a modified truck or ATV should attempt the final 2.5 miles of Rattlesnake Road, and made camp at Rattlesnake Hill. Here we would eat dinner #2 while listening to nearby cows moo-ing. Strangely, we were eating steak and lots of garlic and squash.

Day 1: Friday morning began early. After a windy night, I woke to a great AZ sunrise and some stormy looking clouds. After having breakfast and packing up, we secured everything else in my friend's truck which now smelled strongly like garlic. Hoping that cows are not attracted to the smell of garlic, we left his truck and began our hike along Rattlesnake Road, which would prove to be some of the best "road" hiking I've ever done. The road is quite hilly and really more of a wide trail in many parts; along it, you are constantly bombarded with panoramic views of the Pinalenos and Santa Teresas. Propelled by the excitement of the first day, we quickly reached the end of the road at Powers Hill. We took a quick snack break and then made the short but steep descent into Rattlesnake Canyon via Powers Garden trail #96.
Upon reaching the canyon floor, we were greeted with an entirely different world - pines and sycamores surrounded by tall rock formations - and delighted to find flowing water. Our hike through Rattlesnake Canyon was pleasant and pretty easy (substantially different than our hike from the Deer Creek trailhead last year). The abundance of leaves, crisp air, and barely overcast sky made it feel like October. I was constantly reminded of the Middle Fork of the Gila River (which you should hike if you haven't), along which I've spent a total of 7 days and have many good memories of. As we carried on, we continued to find the occasional pool and short section of flowing water; a couple pools were probably 4 or 5 feet and quite clear. At some point, we got passed by some day hikers who surprised us. As I said earlier, most of the water was clear and perfectly drinkable, but one section of water had a foul smell (almost like sulfur) and was oddly colored; it wasn't warm. Somewhere around the turn off for Pipestem Canyon, we saw our last bit of water.

With lunch and a mid-day nap under our belts, we arrived at Powers Garden at about 3 pm. It would be dark in a few hours, so we quickly began setting up camp. Instead of staying in the cabin, we chose to pitch our tents just south of the corral. Last time we were in the Galiuros, we never really found Powers Spring and got our water from natural rock tanks. This time, however, we found Powers Spring without issue (a special thank you to RedRoxx44 is in order here - she gave me some helpful directions). To find Powers Spring, you basically walk South to the corrals and make a left onto the obvious trail, from which you follow along the wash until you find water (provided that water is actually there to be found - I understand it may be dry some parts of the year). We found Powers Spring to have fairly good water. It was stagnant and there was some algae, but the water came up clear! After fetching water, two other backpackers walked by our site; they were out for an overnighter and were staying in the cabin. With our tents pitched and water secured, we had a nice evening with a fire. We enjoyed some Hottie Totties, my new favorite backpacking drink. All it takes is 1 cup of hot water, 1 packet of cider mix, a little cinnamon, and some whiskey and you have a delicious and warm drink.

The Galiuros have some of the darkest skies I've ever seen. When I'm out there, I can see the Milky Way and stars I never knew existed. When we went to bed that night, the sky was particularly clear and there was only a light breeze. Given these conditions, I left the door to my Tarptent Rainbow wide open and my friend left the fly off his tent. And this is why I was particularly surprised to awake in the middle of the night to wet snow falling on my face through the mesh. I wasn't really sure what was going on at first so I just rolled over and went back to sleep. A short while later around 4 AM, I decided I'd have to get up and pitch the door; my friend managed to get his fly on a little earlier. Lesson learned: weather changes. The weather report stated there was a 0-10% chance of precipitation for Tucson for the next 10 days when we left.

Day 2: It continued snowing the remainder of the night, and pretty soon my tent was covered and I could see that a couple inches had piled up outside. Just after 7 AM, I began banging the walls of my tent to knock the snow off. At this point, one of the backpackers we had met the previous night came by our camp site and kindly invited us into the cabin where they had the wood stove going. How could we resist?! Within minutes we packed some stuff up and walked over to the cabin. We only saw a low of about 27 F that night, but we were quite happy to enter the warm cabin where temps were in the upper-40s. Upon exiting my tent, I saw that Powers Garden and all of the surrounding mountains were covered in a beautiful layer of fresh snow. It was a great surprise and I feel lucky to have seen the area in rare form.

After having breakfast and sending off the other 2 backpackers (the last people we would see that weekend), we took down our tents and moved into the cabin. We decided that with the snow and cold temps, it would be nice to have a dry and warm place to spend our next 2 nights in, a decision that would prove to be quite wise. For our second day, we planned to do a day hike. We planned to hike the Tent Lookout Trail, take the West Divide Trail North for a mile, and then return via the South Field Canyon Trail. So at about 10 AM, we finally hit the trail. By this time, it had stopped snowing where we were; however, it looked like places to the North, South, and West of us were still getting some.

It's always a great feeling when hiking along a trail with fresh snow. The cold air feels great and you're propelled forward if for no other reason than to keep your hands and feet warm. The first mile or so of the Tent Lookout trail was well maintained and relatively free of brush. After the first mile, we were frequently plowing our way through catclaw and Manzanita. The trail would be clear for 50 feet, then have 5 feet of thick brush (this was, however, somewhat made up for by expansive views of the Galiuros we were treated to along the trail). It was like this all the way until we met up with West Divide trail. Upon reaching the West Divide trail, we realized we were able to see the Catalinas (which were also getting a good snow). From here, we headed North for about 50 feet until we lost the trail to brush. After several minutes of scouting, we were unable to determine where the trail went - it simply seemed to fade away. We decided to try hiking South along the West Divide trail instead. This proved to be a good decision and yielded us better trail, but after about a 1/4 mile, we decided to turn around and return to camp via the Tent Lookout trail.

With our shoes soaked and hands cold from the melting snow, we arrived back at the cabin at Powers Garden around 3 PM. A friend and I decided to go fetch us a bunch of water from Powers Spring while my other friend would gather and chop firewood for the night. We all tried our hand at using one of the axes at the cabin to chop some wood; it was fun but hard work. My friend had spent some time chopping wood in Germany so he was able to instruct us (and do most of the work). By 5 PM, the sky had filled with gray clouds. It looked like we were about to get another round of snow/rain/sleet/hail, so we settled into the cabin for the night and got the wood stove started up.

We spent a great evening in the cabin waiting for the storm to come, but it never did. My friends propped their shoes near the stove to dry them off, but I used the plastic bag technique which has worked quite well for me: I put on my thick and dry sleeping socks, slip a plastic bag over each foot, and then stuff them in my trail runners. This keeps my feet warm and dry for very little weight/bulk, and it'll dry off my shoes in just a few hours. I prefer to use those plastic veggie bags, but I just used some Ziplocs this time. It was nice having the wood stove to cook on (and by cook, I mean boil water). We loaded it before retiring for the night; we would see a low of about 47 F in the cabin that night, with a low of 17 F outside.

Day 3: Staying in the cabin and not having to pack up snow-covered tents, we got a much quicker start this morning. Our plan was to day-hike to Powers Cabin and Powers Mine, a little over 10 miles round trip. We tried making it to Powers Mine last year but ran out of daylight and had to turn back just half a mile shy. The morning's hike through Rattlesnake Canyon was awesome. We walked along the trail, covered in about 1-2 inches of untouched snow, and were able to see many animal tracks including some from a mountain lion. Rattlesnake Canyon is like the highway of the Galiuros in my mind, providing a fairly easy path through part of the range. We saw some spots of lightly flowing water from the melting snow, as well as the usual assortment of odd cabins and mining equipment along side the trail. How on earth did they get that giant ball mill out there?? I really need to read up on my history as I'd be interested in learning more.
We reached Powers Mine in about 3 hours. Two of us decided to venture in while the other stayed outside with the dogs. After passing through a heavy section of flies, we found a deep hole and some cart tracks. Why they decided to mine at this particular location is beyond me, but it is sure an eerie place to visit. Unsure of how far back the mine goes, we turned back not very far from the entrance. We then visited Powers Cabin. I am amazed they managed to eek out an existence in this place and it makes me wonder what the water situation was like then. My life seems easy in comparison. I am not sure if I'd have the courage to head into an unknown mountain range and make the place my home.

Glad that we were finally able to see the mine and the cabin, we decided to head back. The small layer of snow had melted significantly that afternoon, particularly where we hiked along the trail. Our loss of snow cushioning and the "warm" temperatures (maybe in the 50s), made our afternoon hike back seem a little more difficult than the hike in. Regardless, we still made it back to camp around mid-afternoon. After gathering and chopping some more wood, we went into the cabin for our final night. We expected it to be a cold one, seeing as how it was already below 30 F by 5 PM. Another round of hottie totties was enjoyed and we went to bed. Outside, it would get down to 17 F that night, and only about 44 F in the cabin.

Day 4: A little sad to leave but excited to return to civilization (as is the case with all my backpacking trips), we packed up quickly, tidied up the cabin, said our farewells, and began the hike out. Due to the cool temperatures, we kept a fairly brisk pace for the first hour through Rattlesnake Canyon. Again, the trail was great and even had little spots of snow still left. In one patch of snow, we found some large footprints. I think they were from a bear, but they could have been from a mountain lion. We also noticed that the water levels at several of the crossings were higher than on our way in. Before we knew it, we reached the spot where we have to hike up to Powers Hill.

Once at the top of Powers Hill and out of Rattlesnake Canyon, it became apparent that a big storm was headed our way. There were dark gray clouds East, South, and West of us. The approaching spurred us on and we ended up hiking the remaining 2.5 miles back to the car in just over an hour. We did stop at least once to look at a cow and change layers. Once we got back to the car (which smelled a little less like garlic now), we changed clothes and took some celebration photos. At this point, it began snowing on us and we decided it would be a good time to start the drive back to Tucson.

While we were on Rattlesnake Road, the storm caught up with us and we saw snow blowing around us on all sides. We eventually made our way out of the snow and got to Bonita Aravaipa Rd just fine. Hungry for food, we stopped by Salsa Fiesta in Willcox before continuing on. Surprisingly, we also ended up driving through snow on the I-10 near Vail. Regardless, we all made it back home safely, marking the end of our adventure.

My 4 day trip was awesome; however, 4 days is simply not enough time to explore the Galiuros. The Galiuros are a challenging range: water can be hard to find and trails can be overgrown or hard to find. They are also incredibly remote and should not be tackled by the lighthearted. Still, I find myself drawn to them. I hope to make it back to the range again next year as there are many trails I still wish to hike and areas I still wish to explore.
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Feb 02 2013
johnny88
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31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Barnhardt Trail #43Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 02 2013
johnny88
Hiking12.40 Miles 1,912 AEG
Hiking12.40 Miles
1,912 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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On my weekend between backpacking trips, I decided to go on a day hike. I figured the Barnhardt Trail would be as good as any for my first foray into the Mazatzals. When I arrived at the trailhead, I was suprised to see a large number of cars. I would only see about 6 people on the trail, however, so I assume they were hiking elsewhere. It had rained significantly the weekend before, which meant I got to hike through small patches of snow, little bits of ice, and small waterfalls - quite a varied trail! Some parts were a little precarious, but nothing too bad. The first couple miles were all uphill, but the scenery was so pleasant I really didn't notice the climb. I had planned on making it all the way to the Mazatzal Divide Trail, but I decided to turn back when I was within about 3/4 miles; I had a strong craving for hamburgers. As I often find, the downhill proved to be more tiring than the uphill. On my way down, I ran into a father-son backpacking team who were headed to Chilson Spring - hope they made it. Overall, it was a pleasant hike and I hope to return to the Mazatzals for a longer trek in the future.
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Jan 26 2013
johnny88
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 Photos 857
 Triplogs 18

31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Reavis Ranch via 109 NorthGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 26 2013
johnny88
Hiking18.60 Miles 2,824 AEG
Hiking18.60 Miles
2,824 ft AEG24 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A few weeks ago, two of my friends and I decided to try backpacking to Reavis Ranch for an overnighter. This would be our 2nd attempt at the trip, with out first attempt failing due to scheduling conflicts.

Two days before the trip, there was a 0% chance for the next 5 days. 1 day before the trip, there was suddenly a 100% chance of rain for Saturday and a 90% chance of rain for Sunday. We took this to mean that it would be a typical Southern Arizona winter rain - one that is light and putters on and off - so these "forecasts" did not deter our plans.

Around midnight the morning before we were supposed to leave, it began raining. Little did we know it would rain nearly continuously for the next 48+ hours. When we woke up at 5 am to leave for the trailhead, it was still raining. The Superstitions greeted us with many clouds and damp roads, for the rain was just beginning there. It made for a pretty drive. But by the time we had put on our packs, the rain began falling steadily. A few pictures near the trailhead and we were off on our way to Reavis Ranch.

30 minutes later, the rain began falling heavier. Figuring that this was only a passing cloud we could wait out, I quickly set up my tarp which provided shelter for me, my 2 friends and their packs, and the 2 dogs (although my dog mostly chose to stand out in the rain). I just left my pack out in the rain. An hour later, the rain was still going. We were clearly in the middle of a cloud which decided to park itself for the day. We sat there and ate and drank coffee for another couple hours while the rain continued, watching the ground around us fill up with puddles. At this point, we decided to call it a day and head back home. While we were all fairly well prepared, the thought of eating and drinking in a warm, dry space that evening was much more pleasant than huddling under a tarp that night.

And so back home we went. We saw a few cool waterfalls on the drive back and had a couple of lightly flowing washes to drive through. Reavis Ranch will have to wait for another time.
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Jan 10 2013
johnny88
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 Photos 857
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31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Taylor Cabin via Dogie Trail - Sycamore CanyonSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 10 2013
johnny88
Hiking18.90 Miles 2,350 AEG
Hiking18.90 Miles   50 Hrs      0.38 mph
2,350 ft AEG27 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Despite the expected winter storm, I decided to take advantage of a long weekend I had to backpack to Taylor Cabin. This trip was just my dog and I. After driving on the surprisingly well maintained dirt road, we hit the trail around 9 AM. The wind and gray clouds in the distance immediately spoke of the incoming storm, so we hiked briskly all day, reaching Taylor Cabin around mid-afternoon. The hike in had fantastic scenery almost the entire time - truly never a dull moment on the trail.

Anyway, given the previous photosets from this time of year and the amount of snow I saw during my hike in, I expected there to be water in the pools near Taylor Cabin (at least some!). But the pools were bone dry. I looked around the river bed for about an hour trying to find water, looking near spots of green and beneath snow, but never found any. With the winds constantly gusting, the clouds getting closer, and the sun setting, I set to work gathering snow in a bunch of plastic bags and gathering some fire wood so I could get some water. I was certainly glad that Taylor Cabin had a fire place with a working chimney. It made melting snow during the storm quite pleasant as it rained and hailed outside. I couldn't figure out how to work the wood stove. Taylor Cabin has to be one of the best and cleanest backcountry cabins I've seen in AZ - I certainly tried taking good care of it and appreciated all the work that has obviously gone into maintaining it.

Once I'd eaten and obtained a lot of water, my dog and I went to bed in our tent to see a low of 27 F. I had planned on day-hiking from Taylor Cabin, but given the water situation, I decided to break up the hike back to my car into 2 days (I had spotted a pool of iced over water a couple miles from the cabin on my way in which I would take advantage of). Day 2 was nice and sunny, but windy yet again. I saw a high of about 40 degrees and by 5 pm it was already down to 30. My little thermometer recorded a low of 17 F in our tent that night, but my dog and I managed to stay surprisingly warm.

I started packing up camp on day 3 while it was still dark outside - this was a very cold morning, somewhere around 10 degrees, but it would eventually warm up to 20 degrees in the sun on our hike out.

Overall, the hike proved to be quite an adventure. I saw no one the entire time and thoroughly enjoyed the beauty this wilderness had to offer. The trail was in pretty good shape and mostly easy to find, but a couple spots were terribly over grown (almost impassible). I would love to return and do this trail again, hopefully when there is water near Taylor Cabin (I will certainly be packing in more for reserve next time).
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Dec 30 2012
johnny88
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 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Horton Creek Trail #285Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 30 2012
johnny88
Hiking6.70 Miles 1,183 AEG
Hiking6.70 Miles   24 Hrs      0.28 mph
1,183 ft AEG24 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I ended up with some unexpected extra time off work, so I decided to squeeze in one last backpacking trip before the new year. I wanted to see some snow and I didn't want to drive very far, so I decided to return and hike the Horton Creek trail again. The ranger I talked to on the phone told me to expect "almost no snow" along the trail. I am glad I didn't fully believe her.

After arriving at the trailhead, it was quite apparent there would be lots of snow and that a storm was coming. It would be overcast the entire trip. I like hiking in snow, so I had a nice afternoon making my way down the trail. The forest certainly looked much different than it had in late October. The first mile had intermittent snow and spots of either frozen or muddy ground. As I continued on, the snow grew a little deeper, but the trail was still easy to find.

I had expected the snow to slow me down more, but I reached Horton Spring in just 2.5 hours. I guess I kept moving to keep my feet and hands warm. The snow around here was quite deep, almost to my knees in some places. Horton Spring was gushing as always. I hiked around the area a little bit and found where I had camped last time. I thought of camping in the same spot again, but the snow was quite deep there. Plus it was still kind of early so I decided to start my hike back.

It took me awhile and a couple miles, but I finally found a small, level, and snow-free place to make camp. I had to cross the creek to get there (which was quite cold, by the way), and I was near some obscenely large man-made structure. But my site seemed fairly well protected from wind and safe from deadfall so I was happy. By this time, the storm looked ever closer. I made myself a hot meal, drank a nice cup of tea, and then heated up some water to make a hot Nalgene bottle. I then crawled into my tent, read a little bit, and fell asleep. After a couple hours, I woke up to the sound of a light rain. And then a couple hours later, I woke up and realized my tent was much darker than normal. This was because it had been covered in snow. I banged off a bunch of the snow and went back to sleep. This continued for the rest of the night as the snow just kept falling. I would see a low of 25 degrees inside my tent that night but I stayed ridiculously warm.

By morning, it had stopped snowing so I quickly packed up camp and hit the trail. I was amazed at how much different the forest looked. The fresh snow was gorgeous! It only took me a little over an hour to hike back to my car (which was covered in snow), but it sure felt good getting inside and turning up the heat! This trip turned out to be a great little adventure. I was glad I went. Surprisingly, I saw no one the entire time.
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Dec 09 2012
johnny88
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31 male
 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Parsons Trail #144Prescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 09 2012
johnny88
Hiking8.00 Miles 600 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   26 Hrs      0.31 mph
600 ft AEG23 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This is from an over-nighter I did along Parsons Trail. After briefly getting lost in Cottonwood, my dog and I arrived at the trailhead around 9 AM. Most of the dirt road on the way in was in pretty good shape, but the last few miles were a little rough on my two wheel drive Rav4. Mainly just bumpy, with a couple spots being fairly steep. I wasn't sure where to park, so I just pulled over next to some bushes near the road.

The view from the top of the trailhead was great, and from there, I made the quick descent to the canyon bottom. I found the next half mile or so of the trail to be very pleasant hiking - slow moving bodies of water connected by little streams, all covered with some nice trees. I took my time here. The next few miles would be just as beautiful and would provide more varied hiking. I managed to use a combination of rocks and logs to avoid getting my feet wet during the first 3 stream crossings, but I found no other way than to go straight through on the 4th stream crossing. On this 4th crossing, my dog apparently thought that a bunch of leafs on the still water meant solid ground, so she took the leap for them and fell right through! A short dog paddle brought her to the other side. She seemed so confident in her jump, but once she was out of the water, she looked as though the earth had fallen out from under her.

The final 2 stream crossings were easy, and I found a place to camp shortly afterwards. While the weather during the morning and early afternoon was pleasant and sunny, the wind picked up significantly as soon as I set up camp. The wind was so strong I didn't want to try making a camp fire, and I began to worry about all the trees around where I had set up my tent. I decided some of them looked likely to fall if the wind kept up, so I moved my tent to the safest location I could find, which happened to be right near the water and on a bit of a slope.

The strong winds continued until about 6 pm when I decided to go to sleep. Shortly afterwards, the wind stopped and I'd hardly feel so much as a breeze the rest of the trip. Go figure. Anyway, I must have had a long week at work or something because I slept the entire night (almost 12 hours). I really felt refreshed in the morning and didn't realize how cold it had gotten - my little thermometer recorded a low of 32 degrees in my tent, something my ill-gloved hands would verify as I ate breakfast in the dark while packing up camp. Around first light, I was back on the trail.

Hiking always seems to go the fastest in the morning, and I was back at my car in just a few hours. Overall, the trail was great. There was only one part where I got off track (just before the 2nd stream crossing), and judging by how well-worn the false trail was, it seems like many others have too. Surprisingly, I saw no one the entire time. I would certainly like to come back and hike this trail again, but unless I missed something, I didn't see very many good (and legal) camping spots besides the place I stayed, so I think a hammock would be better here if you're going with a group.
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Oct 28 2012
johnny88
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 Photos 857
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 Joined Jan 17 2011
 Phoenix, AZ
Horton Creek Trail #285Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 28 2012
johnny88
Hiking6.70 Miles 1,183 AEG
Hiking6.70 Miles   26 Hrs      0.26 mph
1,183 ft AEG21 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This is from an easy overnighter I did on the Horton Creek trail in October. My dog and I hit the trail around 10 AM on a Sunday. On our way in, we saw lots of great fall color and quite a few backpackers on their way out. After some lazy and pleasant hiking, we reached Horton Spring in the early afternoon, so I decided to keep on hiking East along the Highline trail for awhile. While there were lots of people on the Horton Creek trail, this trail was empty. It too had quite a bit of fall color. After about 1.5 miles, I turned around and headed back to Horton Spring where I filtered some water and made camp for the night. When I was filtering water, a lady was fairly aghast I was planning to drink the water. I couldn't help but think to myself that the water from Horton Spring is probably cleaner than my local tap water though. Anyway, after a semi-difficult night of sleeping due to the ridiculously bright moon (oh what a trouble! haha), I woke up early the next morning, packed up in the dark, and was on the trail shortly after first light. I saw no one on the hike back to my car, perhaps because it was a Monday morning. It didn't seem like that cold of a night/morning, but my car said it was 30 degrees when I reached it.

The Horton Creek trail really is a rarity in Arizona - a pretty easy hike along a constantly flowing creek, shaded by pines almost the whole way. It's easy to see why it's so popular. I probably took too many photos, but everything was just so pretty!
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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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