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Aug 06 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Pass Mountain Loop Trail #282Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 06 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,194 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   1 Hour   39 Mns   4.85 mph
1,194 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Nice early morning trail run from the Meridian TH. Arrived around 6 am. Was a little surprised how many people were on the loop for a day with the scheduled high of 108 degrees.

Took the loop CCW and reached the pass before hitting the sun. And the mountain provided shade on the western side of the loop.

Always enjoy watching the morning sun light up the mountain—and everything was green with the recent rains.
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Jul 30 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Usery Mountain South SummitPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 30 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking3.40 Miles 951 AEG
Hiking3.40 Miles   1 Hour   18 Mns   2.62 mph
951 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Did a bike and hike. Started on the bike at Las Sendas and rode the Usery Loop (17 mi.). Then drove up to Hawes and knocked out some quick elevation gain on this summit.
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Jul 23 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Lone MountainNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 23 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking2.00 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking2.00 Miles      45 Mns   2.67 mph
800 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A very muggy bike and hike. Biked the Usery Loop from my house (35 miles). Midway through, I donned the hiking shoes and hit up Lone Peak. It’s a nice climb in a short distance.
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Jun 18 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Parsons Trail #144Prescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 18 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking4.30 Miles 517 AEG
Hiking4.30 Miles   4 Hrs   40 Mns   1.68 mph
517 ft AEG   2 Hrs   6 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Took a small group of youth to visit the swimming hole. Left the Valley early to avoid anticipated crowds, but the crowds never materialized .... :y:

The road in was rougher than I remembered--especially the a few sections in the last couple of miles. 4WD not needed, but anything with low clearance would take a bit of a beating.

Hit the trail just before 8 am. There clearly has been some major flooding through the area since I was last here in 2020. Debris and logjams everywhere, and in several places requiring rerouting of the trail (or climbing over big debris piles).

Summer Spring was still beautiful, but a little less so with the debris and washing out of some of the surrounding vegetation.

The swimming hole had a little less water in it, but still plenty for jumping, with the main spot having at least 12 feet of depth.

After 20 minutes at the swimming hole to ourselves, another couple joined, and then two more small groups. We passed a couple of groups on our way back to the TH, but relatively few out on this trail today. Maybe the rough road or flood damage (or both) have discouraged visitation.

Weather was cooler than expected, with the breeze and intermittent cloud cover.

It rained on the way back to the Valley--especially hard in the Camp Verde area. Hopefully, Flagstaff got some rain as well, to help with the fires ...
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Jun 13 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Walnut CanyonFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 13 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking1.54 Miles 447 AEG
Hiking1.54 Miles   1 Hour   24 Mns   1.25 mph
447 ft AEG      10 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Took the grandkids out to Walnut Canyon while their parents and others in our family reunion enjoyed the ziplines and adventure course at Flagstaff Extreme.

We tried to enjoy ourselves, despite the billowing Pipeline and Haywire fires burning in the background. The wind was fierce in Walnut Canyon, so I can only imagine how crazy it was on the Peaks. :-(

In my photoset, I include a pic I took on my run earlier that morning from MacMillan Mesa, in which the fire seemed to have calmed down overnight from Sunday to Monday. But when the wind picked up an hour or so later, all heck broke loose. A couple of photos are from the Sams Club parking lot as we headed over to Walnut Canyon. The high billowing curls of smoke were what met us as we drove back into town.
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Jun 11 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Lava River Cave TubeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Caving avatar Jun 11 2022
ddgrunning
Caving1.50 Miles
Caving1.50 Miles
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Met up with several family members at the Lava Tube as a pre-family reunion activity. Quite a few cars in the parking area, which has expanded since I was here last.

It was hot outside, but as soon as we got next to the cave opening, the A/C turned on. :-)

Lots of folks enjoying the cave, and few if an opportunities to turn off your headlamps and experience total darkness.

Despite the crowds, we had a fun time. And this one is always good for younger hikers.
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2 archives
Jun 08 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Y Mountain TrailMountainlands, UT
Mountainlands, UT
Hiking avatar Jun 08 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking7.21 Miles 3,364 AEG
Hiking7.21 Miles   3 Hrs   20 Mns   2.30 mph
3,364 ft AEG      12 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Up in Utah for a half marathon last weekend and a conference later this week. Hit up a friend for an early morning, mid-week hike, and Y Mountain was a great choice. Weather was perfect, and we enjoyed shade almost the entire hike.

The trail is well defined, though steep as advertised--particularly once you hang a left at the Y mountain turn off and make the final push up to the summit.

Was back in time to begin the work day (remotely) at 9 a.m. (AZ).

I'm always a little envious of the locals here, who have the amazing Wasatch Mountains literally in their backyard.
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May 28 2022
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 Guides 3
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 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Peters Canyon-Tortilla Creek, AZ 
Peters Canyon-Tortilla Creek, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 28 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking10.56 Miles 1,919 AEG
Hiking10.56 Miles   6 Hrs   25 Mns   1.79 mph
1,919 ft AEG      32 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Another weekend ..., another canyon to explore in the Supes. Last Saturday, I hit up Lower Fish Creek. On the way back, I decided a return trip was in order to do some exploring from Tortilla Flats.

I parked at the back of the parking area and initially got turned around as to where to find the trail. At first, I continued up the "road" from the parking area, but immediately noted that it was off track from the GPS route I had downloaded. Thinking that the track just started from the Tortilla creekbed, I reversed course and walked back down to the creek crossing and up the creek. I saw that I was now off track in the other direction and ended up climbing up the side of the drainage to finally intersect with the trail.

As it turns out, the trail DOES start by going up the road from the parking area, but it's just rerouted a bit from the the official GPS route. (The return on my posted route shows the correct/current trail alignment).

OK on with the story ...

The first section of the trail goes over a hill and cuts off a couple of bends in Tortilla Creek before dropping you off again in the bed of Tortilla Creek. The creek walking from this point to the turn off to Peters Canyon is so-so in terms of scenery. Very little water left in the creek (a few small, stagnant pools).

Once you make the turn off up Peters Canyon, the scenery gets more interesting--as does the route. Navigating the boulder field was a fun challenge, followed by the slickrock section, where pools of water became a little more frequent (all getting more stagnant by the day, but filterable if needed).

The approach to the cave, and the 1/2-3/4 mile beyond are the highlights of this hike. The canyon narrows up, and the morning light on the canyon walls made for some nice scenery.

The cave was kind of cool. I expected it to be further up on the side of the canyon, but it's really just a very short climb. At the cave itself, there is a rotting sleeping bag, fuel cannisters, and a bunch of trash from someone who apparently made this a home for a bit (and then definitely "left a lot of traces" :( ).

In addition to the "big" cave, there are several other smaller caves along this section of the canyon. Just beyond the big cave, there are marks on the canyon walls indicating the location of some impressive waterfalls if you happen to catch them at the right time.

Speaking of waterfalls, not too far upstream from the cave, in the creekbottom itself, there is a narrow section where a nice waterfall drops into a deep pool. The waterfall was dry today, but the deep pool still had a fair amount of water, though diminishing daily. Bypass of the falls is on the left (going upstream) via a semi-exposed scramble.

All of this made me take a mental note to revisit this area after some good runoff. I'm sure it's delightful with a good water flow.

After nearing the end of the gps track on the Peters Cave route, I retraced my steps to the point where the creek makes a sharp turn and decided to attempt the crossover into the Tortilla Creek drainage by an off-trail scramble over the intervening ridge. I initially started scrambling up the south side of the drainage, but then thought the north side looked more promising (with less vegetation). So I gave up a little elevation gain to cross over the drainage and try the other side.

I was successful in making the ridgeline traverse to Tortilla Creek, but it was a hard-won battle, and I have the scrapes, scratches and cuts to prove it. In short, it was not fun, and I don't know that I would recommend this route (maybe stick with my initial south side approach?). That said, I can at least say that the traverse is do-able. And that is something, as I feared I would bushwhack my way down the drainage on the Tortilla side, only to find myself cliffed out and having to retrace my steps through the scratchy jungle I had just traversed. Thankfully, the backtracking was limited, though I will say that my final descent into the drainage that eventually dropped me into Tortilla Creek did involve an 8-10 foot drop on a sheer section that had me hanging onto a tree branch for some support and which, if the branch had not held, I might have been in for an unpleasant fall.

Once I (finally!) reached Tortilla Creek, I took a few minutes to shake out my shoes and de-burr my socks, which had accumulated quite a following during the bushwhack.

From there, I decided to head up-creek, as the topo suggested there were some narrows further upstream.

There was also a lot more water in this section of Tortilla Creek, though nothing really running--just lots of pools.

The area turned out to be a lot more bouldery than I was anticipating (much like the entrance to Peters Canyon). I came across a pair of hawks/eagles/falcons (not sure) who were protecting a nest up high in an old cottonwood tree. They were not very happy about my presence and repeatedly circled overhead, screeching loudly. Beautiful birds. Wishing I had had a camera with a better zoom to capture them.

A little further on and still navigating major boulder falls, and considering my water situation and the increasing heat of the day, I decided that I would need to reserve further exploring up canyon to another visit.

I turned around and headed back down canyon. Below where I had dropped over the ridgeling from Peters Canyon, Tortilla Creek was chocked with a solid field of reeds, which made navigation more brushy than I had expected--but at least the reeds were not poky!!

The bottom part of Tortilla Creek was just a grind and after all the bushwhacking and creekbed travel on constantly uneven surfaces/shifting rocks, I was happy to finally reconnect with the short trail over the shortcut back to the parking area.

Didn't encounter another soul on the trail.

It was approaching 100 degrees at that point, and I was glad to have finished up the hike. I'll be back in this area after some good monsoon rains.

The drive back by Canyon Lake revealed the expected Memorial Day weekend zoo.
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1 archive
May 21 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Fish Creek Lower CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Canyoneering avatar May 21 2022
ddgrunning
Canyoneering13.01 Miles 1,721 AEG
Canyoneering13.01 Miles   5 Hrs   34 Mns   2.42 mph
1,721 ft AEG      12 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hadn't ever ventured downstream from the Fish Creek bridge and decided today was the day.

Arrived at the overlook by 6 am. One other car was in the parking lot, and I met its occupant 10 minutes into my hike down Fish Creek Hill. He was on his way up, and I suspect he had ventured down in search of a nice sunrise photoshoot.

From there, I didn't encounter a soul for the next 10 miles or so.

What I did encounter was:

--Fish Creek Hill still eroding and blocked by the boulder slide.

--Intermittent water in the creekbed that became surprisingly consistent for late May. Nothing to splash around in, but plenty to filter from, if needed.

--A nice diamondback rattlesnake. Probably the closest I've been to an unpleasant encounter. He was lying across a dry section of the creekbed, somewhat obscured from view by surrounding vegetation, and I didn't see him until I was about one more footfall from stepping on him. I must have startled him as well, as he didn't rattle and immediately began scurrying for cover in the nearby undergrowth. He cooperated with a few photos and then I was on my way.

--Three cardinals. Love seeing these guys. There red hue stands out in stark contrast to the surroundings. They do seem particularly flightly, making it tough to get a decent photo/video.

--An owl! there is a cool narrow spot in the drainage that goes on for a several hundred feet. As I was walking through and admiring, the owl popped off the cliffside and flew down stream out of sight. Kind of unusual during the day.

--On the way back upstream, I once again came across my diamondback friend--now warmed up and ready to rattle. He was about 150 feet from our last encounter and out in the open with plenty of warning for both of us. He shook his rattle; I took some pictures, then he slithered off into the nearest crack in the rock, all the time rattling away like he was ready to fight, but clearly communicating that he'd rather just get out of the way.

--On the return, I headed up the unnamed canyon west of the Fish Creek overlook. Near the mouth I encountered my only other humans--a couple that was descending. The climb up included some decent bouldering (especially in the bottom section), with a couple of class 4 moves here and there, but nothing technical. There are a couple of dryfalls that would be fun to see when water is running. Both are fairly easily bypassed.

--At the lower end of the canyon ascent, I heard a helicopter and turned to see a low-flying craft headed up Fish Creek. It looked more commercial than SAR, but not sure. I hope all was okay ....

A quick road walk once emerging from the canyon brought me back to my car.

I had flirted with making my way all the way down to Canyon Lake, but given my water levels, the increasing heat of the day, and the unknown nature of my ascent up the side canyon on my return--and my hiking solo--I decided to turn around early. One of these days, I'd like to finish off that last mile or so of the drainage. Another time ....
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1 archive
May 14 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Cactus to CloudsBig Bear - Jacinto, CA
Big Bear - Jacinto, CA
Hiking avatar May 14 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking22.12 Miles 10,667 AEG
Hiking22.12 Miles   14 Hrs   23 Mns   1.98 mph
10,667 ft AEG   3 Hrs   12 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Our adventure began on Friday afternoon, as we left the East Valley around 2 pm and made the 4-5 hour drive to Palm Springs to a VRBO home we had rented for Friday and Saturday nights.

I wasn't generally worried about my overall fitness, BUT, unavoidable work commitments had me working 15-20 hour days, with very little sleep the entire week leading up to the trip. So, I was pretty sleep-depleted going into the weekend. After finishing work on Thursday, I was hoping for a good night's sleep, but somewhat surprisingly, I didn't actually sleep all that well.

Back to the drive, it ended up taking a little longer because we had to fight rush-hour traffic to get out of Phoenix.

We arrived in Palm Springs around 7-ish. We didn't actually stay in Palm Springs, but rather "across the freeway" in Desert Hot Springs, where the rental prices were a little better.

We stopped for dinner and then picked up some last-minute supplies from the grocery store and admired the substantial homeless population in the area :-/

We had originally planned to be on the trail at 4 a.m., but with the temperature in Palm Springs scheduled to spike to 106 degrees on Saturday, we decided to move our start time to 3 am instead. That meant getting up at 1:45 a.m. to get our packs ready, etc. so we could leave by 2:30 am, as it was a 20-30 minute drive from our rental to the trailhead.

We arrived at the TH just before 3 am and were a little surprised to see so many cars filling the roadside parking area. Luckily, we were able to squeeze into a spot just outside the no parking zone.

There was a solid moon in the sky and but for the fact that it was setting behind the western side of the mountain, it likely would have dispensed with the need for headlamps.

We got on the trail right about our planned 3 am start time, and with headlamps on, we started the climb. And climb we did--right out of the shoot, the first mile gained close to 900 feet. We were keeping a pretty good pace, and despite it being 3 am, it was already warm. While I'm not a fan of white dots on the rocks, they did help us avoid taking the plentiful spider paths over the first section of the trail in the dark.

At the mile mark, my brother almost decided to turn back, saying that he was not prepared to keep that kind of a pace going. I was just feeling the adrenaline rush and told him we could dial back the pace. With a little encouragement, he decided to soldier on, and we did slow down our pace.

We made good progress and were about 4,000 feet up before the sun broke the horizon around 5:45 a.m. Prior to that, we enjoyed the views of the city lights below, as well as watching the dawn come on and the sun finally announce the arrival of the day.

Shortly after that though, my brother began having trouble with his nutrition and was struggling to keep any food or liquids down. At about the 4,500 mark, he began throwing up. We were little concerned but just took it even more slowly with more breaks, including a stint where we took a 20 minute break in the shade and he just rested.

Passing the two emergency rescue boxes, we found both full of water and related nutrition to help under-prepared hikers.

At about the 6,000 mark, we came across a hiker doing even worse than my brother. The guy was laying face down in the middle of the trail in the shade of a manzanita bush, with his shoes and socks off, dealing with severe dehydration/heat exhaustion. His hiking group of 4-5 people were there with him and had already called for an emergency rescue. We offered to help, but they indicated they had what they needed to care for him as best they could until the rescue team arrived. So, we carried on, and my brother could at least console himself that he wasn't anywhere near that stage!

As we continued up to the 7,000 foot level, we saw the helicopter hovering down below and eventually extracting the hiker (we learned later from one of the people in his group that he was taken to a hospital and, hopefully, will be okay).

Meanwhile, we had reached the most difficult part of the climb up to Grub's Notch, consisting of a narrow chute next to the prominent rock outcropping named Coffman's Crag, and which climbs Flatiron-like up 1100+ feet in a mile before reaching Long Valley--the first "flat" section of the hike and the location of the upper landing for the Palm Spring Tramway. Taking several breaks and relying on willpower, my brother made it up to Long Valley--despite not being able to keep any fuel down.

At the top of Grub's Notch, there is a group of rocks named "Hallelujah Rocks," as they mark the end of the intense 8,000 feet of climbing from the TH. We joined in the hallelujah chorus as we enjoyed the new sensation of walking on nearly level ground for the first time since setting foot on the trail.

It was a short .4 of a mile to the base of the tram station, where we left my brother to recover and either wait for us to summit/return, or take the tram down and coordinate a pick up by my wife and another friend who were on shuttle duty.

From there, the remaining three of us stopped at the ranger station to fill up on water, get a permit, and fuel up for part two of the hike--an 11 mile round trip to the top of San Jacinto Peak at 10,834 feet.

From the tram station/ranger station at 8,300, we still had another 2,500 feet of elevation to gain. Thankfully, the trail from this point was not quite as steep, with the elevation gain a little more spread out. Plus, by that time, we were up in the shade of the pine trees and the temperatures were much nicer.

There was still snow on the climb, but the trail was mostly clear (just a few patches to hike over--no need for microspikes). The climbing went fine until about a mile before the summit when I, unexpectedly, bonked. I hit the wall and struggled to have the energy to keep going. But there was no way I was NOT going to make the summit, and with a little mental engagement and a few more breaks, we eventually got there. Being that close, I didn't really consider NOT summiting, but it was more taxing than I imagined. This may have been my weeklong sleep deprivation kicking in, but I also think I may have not paid close enough attention to my hydration strategy after leaving the ranger station. I also think the extra hours on the trail due to my brother's struggles may have also played a part.

Over the last mile, we visited with several hikers descending from the summit, including a guy form Sweden (living in San Diego) who was pushing for a fast time, but came up short of expectations--though still a solid time, and a guy from England who was hiking solo at that point but with his wife and a few friends another half mile or so back. He was so full of energy and excitement that he apparently really ticked his pregnant wife off and he decided he needed to "create a little space" on the return hike. We promised to put in a good word for him when we passed her later on. We tried, but I don't think it worked--she still seemed rather mad at him :lol:

In any event, we finally did make it to the summit--YAY--at about 3 pm, 12 hours after starting our hike. The summit was relatively crowded (mostly with folks who were making the climb from the tram station or from the Round Valley campground--including a group of 30 girl scouts).

We took summit photos and tried to enjoy the moment, but I still was not feeling good at all, so I rested and tried to get a few more calories and liquid in for the descent.

Although I wasn't feeling well, going downhill proved much more doable, and I managed to keep a good 20-minute mile pace on the way back to the tram station.

At the tram station, there is a long set of paved switchback ramps that were agonizing to go up after all of that climbing. Then, after you enter the tram station building, you have climb another set of stairs to purchase your tickets!

It felt good to be done, but I was ready to get back to a hot shower and start recovering with some Sprite and Pringles--my go to options for settling my stomach after an exhausting hike.

The tram ride down was cool. The sheer steepness of that ravine is impressive. Also, they blared "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang from the speakers, which was an appropriate conclusion to this epic adventure.
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May 07 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Pass Mountain Loop Trail #282Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 07 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,194 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   1 Hour   31 Mns   5.27 mph
1,194 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Final tune up before cactus to clouds next week. I have a half marathon in early June, so needed to get run in as well, so I figured I'd combine hiking/running with a trail run. This loop is always a good workout. 10+ cars at the meridian TH by 6 am. Still not too hot if you get out early.
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May 01 2022
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 Guides 3
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 Photos 5,065
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51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Lower Calf Creek FallsSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking avatar May 01 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking7.52 Miles 1,295 AEG
Hiking7.52 Miles   3 Hrs   3 Mns   2.59 mph
1,295 ft AEG      9 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
After hiking Coyote Gulch the day before, my Utah companions headed home. But, wanting to make a worthwhile weekend even worthwhil-er, I stayed another night and decided to hit up Lower and Upper Calf Creek Falls before making the long drive back to Phoenix.

I was hoping to get a camping spot at the campground by Wide Hollow Reservoir just outside of Escalante, but it was full. I was ready to just do another night of at-large camping just off Hole-in-the-Rock road (I noted several others doing this on our drive back out from Coyote Gulch), but passing back through town, I found Escalante Cabins & RV Park, which offered campsites for $29, and I went that route instead. Turned out to be a good choice, they had nice hot showers in a private-use restroom right across from my campsite. After spending two days on the trail, the shower felt great. And the campsite was great and very functional.

I got up early the next morning, hoping to secure some solitude on the trail, as I know that this is also a popular hike in the area--with easy access and a trail that is relatively low on the difficulty scale.

At the register, I noted a couple had signed in before me. As it turned out, they passed me on their return, so I had the falls to myself and didn't see anyone else on my hike in.

At the TH, there is a nice brochure that links up with numbers posts along the trail, pointing out various sights along the way. Among the more interesting are some giant pictographs on the opposing canyon wall, some granaries, a description of how the "desert varnish" forms on the canyon walls, beaver ponds, etc.

I arrived at the falls in solitude, and they were spectacular. The pool beneath the falls is perfect for a swim and the surrounding "beach" with shade trees makes this a perfect spot for enjoying a solid afternoon.

But, with a 9+ hour drive back to Phoenix on the agenda, plus another hike to the Upper Falls, I skipped the swim. (Also, it was still early and a it would have been a chilly swim).

As I began my hike back, I came across 3 wild turkeys out for their morning stroll and munch. Cool.

Other than that, the return hike was uneventful, other than passing a good number of people making their way to the falls.

There's a good reason this is a popular spot. Well worth a visit.

At the TH, I jumped in the car and headed off to Upper Calf Creek Falls, the TH for which is a few more miles up the road.

FYI: The Lower Calf Creek TH requires $5 per car.
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Lower Calf Creek Falls
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May 01 2022
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 Guides 3
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51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Upper Calf Creek FallsSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking avatar May 01 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking2.76 Miles 809 AEG
Hiking2.76 Miles   1 Hour   22 Mns   2.33 mph
809 ft AEG      11 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Final hike of an amazing weekend.

I didn't see any signage for this one while driving on the road. In fact, initially I passed the turn off and had to turn around.

The trailhead is just a short distance off the road--where there is signage and a small parking area--that was nearly full.

Unlike Lower Calf Creek falls, this one deals some significant elevation loss/gain in a short period.

My intel on the hike was that the trail took you to the top of the falls where there was a decent swimming hole. This is true, but just the beginning. Immediately upstream from this hole next to the falls is an even more impressive swimming hole with crystal clear water, fed by a nice 15-foot waterfall and plunging into a deep pool. Again, if I wasn't on the clock, I would have taken a couple of jumps and enjoyed the water.

On my way back, I decided to look to see if there was a way to get down to the bottom of the falls. I probably shouldn't have been surprised to find out the answer is yes.

It is cairned over the slickrock and my exit route on the gps track follows it best.

Unlike the upper pools, where there was a decent crowd (including a boy scout troop), I had the base of the falls to myself. While not quite as impressive as Lower Calf Creek falls, this is certainly still a very worthy destination. Again, the pool at the base of the falls would make for a nice swim.

On the opposite side of the creek was a larger alcove that, if I had had m ore time, I would have loved to explore. Next time ....

The hike out (UP) was a solid workout. Once on top of the rim, the wind was whipping about--something that became a theme for the entire drive home. I don't think I've ever seen so much sand blown across the road on the drive from Page to Flagstaff.

Speaking of Flag, I drove through the burn area from the Tunnel Fire. There's a decent scar across the road, but honestly, I was expecting worse--I'm sure it is worse down the road to Sunset Crater.

Arrived home in good time around 9 pm. Gone from Friday morning to Sunday night. 18+ hours of driving. Hikes to: Peekaboo and Spooky Slots; Coyote Gulch; Lower Calf Cree Falls; Upper Calf Creek Falls. Worth it!
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Upper Calf Creek Falls
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Apr 30 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Coyote GulchSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking avatar Apr 30 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking15.57 Miles 3,736 AEG
Hiking15.57 Miles
3,736 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Day two of my quick weekend trip to Grand Staircase Escalante area. This was the main event!

After finishing off Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons the afternoon before, our group found a nice camping spot for the night and enjoyed the sunset and a nice fire.

We weren't in a hurry in the morning, but hit the road to the trailhead around 8:30. After dropping a car at the sneaker route trailhead, we arrived at the crack route trailhead and were on the trail by 10 am-ish. surprised at the number of cars at both trailheads.

Before dropping into the crack route, we took a slight detour at the rim for a fantastic view over the precipice and down to the Escalante River basin.

The crack route was fun! Once we emerged from the crack, one other of our group and I decided we wanted to hike down to the confluence of Coyote Wash and the Escalante and then up to a view of Steven's Arch from the river. In an effort not to end up too far behind our group, we jogged down the sand hill. It was actually fun to run down the trail, as the soft sand made for carefree running, without worrying about rolling an ankle or jamming up the knee joints.

That hill would be an exposed, hot and miserable mess to climb up in the summer heat, and we were glad we were travelling in the opposite direction.

Once we hit Coyote Gulch, we saw that the gulch had a nice flow in it. We immediately embraced getting our feet wet, which was the right choice, since staying dry wasn't really going to be an option.

The hike down to the confluence involved a downclimb or two and the first taste of some beautiful scenery.

At the confluence, we hiked up the Escalante River, which was only knee deep to a nice view of Stevens Arch.

Returning to the Gulch, we caught up to our party and continued up the Gulch. It reminded me of Aravaipa, though with a different flavor and beauty.

Cliff Arch, Coyote Natural Bridge, the Black Lagoon, Jacob Hamblin Arch, and the [huge] Alcove, were all spectacular.

Weather was perfect, and the water flow was great.

The sneaker route exit had a helpful rope. Although not totally necessary, the rope sure made the exit easier.

The final few miles back to the TH were a bit of a grind, but man, what an amazing area!

Free permits available at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center, including overnight permits. As of now, no limits on the permits. And while there were a "lot" of people in the Gulch, it wasn't overly crowded and there was still solitude to be had.

After the hike, the rest of my group (from Cedar City, UT) headed home, while I camped another night with the goal of hitting up Lower and Upper Calf Creek Falls the following day.

Plenty more to explore here. I'll be back!
Culture
Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] HAZ - Selfie
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Apr 29 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Slot Canyons of Dry Fork Coyote GulchSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Canyoneering avatar Apr 29 2022
ddgrunning
Canyoneering6.17 Miles 872 AEG
Canyoneering6.17 Miles   3 Hrs   1 Min   2.15 mph
872 ft AEG      9 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
The afternoon before our Coyote Gulch hike, we decided to hit up Peekaboo and Spooky Slot Canyons. These are a popular destination in the area. They have moved the trailhead from where it was previously and added bathrooms and a large parking area (with overflow about a quarter mile back). There were several cars at the TH.

The most interesting improvement is a narrow metal "gate" with signage that warns if you can't get through this, don't go into Spooky Slot, as you might get stuck and need rescue. I'm sure it's a sign that was the product of some sad past experience.

Luckily, all of our group made it through the gate (though it was a closer call for some : wink : ).

The location of the TH made for a long-ish approach to the slots. It's along a rim area, and relatively flat till you drop down to the floor of the canyon.

We went up Peekaboo first. Wow. So cool. Several mini-arches and some fun obstacles.

After exiting the top of Peekaboo, we traveled back down to the start from above and observed some of our companions making their way through below.

Next, we headed over to Spooky. This one indeed has several narrow spots--mandatory sideways scoot without your pack, and dragging my wide-brimmed hat on both sides. Lots of fun. Near the upper end was a rock jam at which some rope was placed. Not strictly necessary, but helpful.

On the way back out, I ventured briefly up Dry Fork Slot. It was not as narrow at the mouth, but still very cool. Will plan to explore this further next time!

The hike out was fine, and the sun setting on the benches of the Gulch made for some nice views.

After piling in our cars, we headed west from the TH a couple of miles and set up our camp for the evening.

An excellent hike!
Named place
Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Coyote Gulch
Meteorology
Meteorology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Sunset
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1 archive
Apr 23 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Mount Ord from Slate Creek THPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 23 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking16.72 Miles 4,010 AEG
Hiking16.72 Miles   5 Hrs   23 Mns   3.25 mph
4,010 ft AEG      14 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
First time hiking Ord since the fire. The road/trail has taken a beating with washouts, with an especially deep one that crosses the road completely at about the 2.5 mile mark. I was pleased to see that most of the damage to the trees doesn't seem to have affected the roots, which are sprouting new growth.

I arrived at the TH at 6:15 am. Another group of 3 was just getting geared up to head out and there were two other cars already there.

Above the junction with FR 626, the fire seemed to bypass the forested areas to the up to the summit.

Weather was nice for a day on this trail. The summit was slightly breezy and actually a little chilly.
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Apr 16 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Flatiron Hike - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 16 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking6.92 Miles 3,045 AEG
Hiking6.92 Miles   3 Hrs   44 Mns   1.97 mph
3,045 ft AEG      13 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Getting some training in for an upcoming Cactus-to-Clouds attempt. Hit the trail a little after 5 a.m. Full moon was beginning to set, but even without that light, it was already getting light on the eastern horizon. Summer in the Valley is upon us.

Passed a couple of even earlier risers around the Gatekeeper, then didn't see a soul till popping out of the drainage, where I passed a guy heading down.

Got to the tip of the Flatiron just as the sun was hitting it.

Headed up to Peak 5024 and then wandered out the peninsula north of Flatiron, before descending. On the way down the trail was predictably getting crowded.

Done by 9 am.
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Apr 09 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Devil's Canyon HikeGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Apr 09 2022
ddgrunning
Canyoneering6.83 Miles 1,865 AEG
Canyoneering6.83 Miles   8 Hrs   1 Min   1.37 mph
1,865 ft AEG   3 Hrs   2 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Talk about a hike that exceeded my expectations by a mile, this is it.

Getting to the TH is definitely a 4x4 experience.

Given the ho-hum winter, I wasn't sure how much water would be flowing, but as it turns out, quite a bit. And the evidence was clear that recently it had been even much higher.

After entering the canyon, we navigated the 40-ft semi-dry fall. There was some water running down the rocks and made for one spot that was semi-precarious and required long legs, and assist, or a small leap of faith.

Below the dryfall, the Hackberry Creek drainage is a fun bouldering adventure. Nothing crazy, and no need to get wet.

Just before the junction with Devil's Canyon, there is a nice-sized pool, which we navigated around a little higher on the left.

Once in Devil's Canyon is quite a lush riparian area with lots of cottonwood trees and shade. The bushwhacking through here was not as bad as I was anticipating. It's still early in the spring, so perhaps it will be more overgrown as the summer comes on.

We mostly stayed on the west side of the creek, though in one or two spots tried the east side. Generally, we were happy with that navigational choice.

Within the last mile before the pools are two cascades that I felt merit particular mention. One is a 9-10 foot fall that cuts through a narrow crack worn in the rock and drops into a small pool below. The other is a stair-step drop at the edge of a large pool, that runs over like the "edge" of a zero-edge/infinity pool.

Overall, I kind of anticipated the hike to the pools to be kind of a grind, and mostly a means to an end. But it was quite scenic and enjoyable. Lots of cottonwoods and other foliage in the drainage. I managed to avoid the poison ivy, which was present but not ubiquitous.

We reached the first pool in about 2 hr. 20 min.

Pool #1--A nice little waterfall feeding into a deep pool. Great little cliff jump, as the hike description notes. There was a bolted anchor on the left with several ropes in various stages of health. But one was an actual climbing rope and in good order, and combined with the rest, provided ample support for the short climb back up to the top of the pool.

Pool #2,aka, the slide. The slide was in full operation. Sufficient water to support the growth of slippery moss, which aided the slip. Fun little spot.

Pool #3--Where setting up a rope is mandatory--as there is no way to get back up from pool 3 to pool 2 by hiking/climbing around--OR so we thought. More on that below. The drop here is relatively small. A fun cliff jump as well, and a nice deep pool. Two bolts for anchoring on the left. No anchor material was present on the bolts. We rigged some webbing and set up a short rope and left it there for the return trip.

Pool #4--The crown jewel of the hike. Here is the 60-65 ft rappel down the side of the waterfall to the largest and most impressive pool. And impressive it was! The bolts at the top of the falls were in good order. There was a webbing anchor set, with a ring. I added some additional webbing as back up, and we used our long rope for the rappel. What a rush! Once down at pool level, an alcove behind the waterfall made for a fun spot to look through the falls, etc.

Pool #5--We had one more rope, so we left the rope in tact at the top of pool 4. Rappelled down the first section above pool #5 with our final rope, then pulled it and cliff jumped 30 ft or so in to the fifth pool, which was also a beauty!

The scramble out from pool 5 is on the left and climbs up a short rocky section to the base of a small ridge from which you can walk to the edge and look down below pool 5. Turning in the other direction, use a large fallen tree to help scramble up onto a ledge, then veer slightly left and up steeply, with some steep and loose scrambling to where you can level out with the top of pool #4.

From there, we retrieved our rope and swam back across Pool #3 to our final rope. But, we struggled to climb up to the top. The location of the anchor was such that as we got close to the top, the rope pulled us towards the waterfall where there were no footholds. :-0 In hindsight, or for next time, I would have used my webbing to create a ladder out, or used a longer piece of rope to loop back up a top-rope belay and we could use to hoist each other up.

But, as it was, we were looking for other options. My daughter found a crack on the right side of the canyon wall (facing upstream) and free soloed up about 15 feet and then another of our party did the same and was ultimately able to get over the top and back down to the base of pool #2. With him on top, we were able to get out. Next time, I'll rig it up differently, but this "little" 12-15 foot climb turned out to be the hardest part of the trip.

The climb out from there was uneventful, other than seeing a couple of nice sized hawks taking advantage of the updrafts in the canyon. Oh, and we also were buzzed by 3 fighter jets screaming through the canyon. From prior triplogs, it looks like this is a favorite alleyway for training runs. They definitely get the blood pumping when they come flying "out of nowhere."

Other than the jets, we didn't encounter another soul the entire day.

I'll be back!
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Apr 02 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 02 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking9.61 Miles 2,137 AEG
Hiking9.61 Miles   2 Hrs   58 Mns   3.58 mph
2,137 ft AEG      17 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
I had a 9 am appointment, so I in an effort to get back in time, I got up extra early and arrived with my two hiking companions at the parking area outside the gated community at 5:15. As we proceeded towards the gate, the security guard at the shack ran out and forbade us from entering because the the gate wasn’t open till dawn.

After a short debate about when dawn was, we went back and sat in the car for another 40 minutes before “dawn” was proclaimed to arrive.

Being behind schedule, We hoofed it to the top and back. The goal was to get some elevation gain in, and this hike delivers.

If only the approach were shorter—and didn’t involve a gated community. ….
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1 archive
Mar 26 2022
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 Guides 3
 Routes 232
 Photos 5,065
 Triplogs 416

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Flatiron Hike - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 26 2022
ddgrunning
Hiking8.17 Miles 3,154 AEG
Hiking8.17 Miles   4 Hrs   22 Mns   2.07 mph
3,154 ft AEG      25 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Tried a new variation on this old favorite. Loved it! Started before dawn and didn’t see a soul till up on the flatiron itself.
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average hiking speed 2.08 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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