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509 triplogs
Jul 18 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Bonanza Bill Trail #23Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 18 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking5.00 Miles 500 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles
500 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I made a detour down to the lower Blue and headed over towards Pueblo Park to check out a lead on some ruins on our third day in the Blue Range. I found the ruins, but the approach looked too rough for the pups, so I decided to leave them for another day.

On my way back I decided to stop at the Bonanza Bill Trail to let the dogs stretch their legs and stretch their legs they did. I was reading through the register when we got there to see if anyone noted any fire damage on the trail. I had heard from a Hannigan employee that there was a fire near the trailhead last year. I did not see any mention of fire damage, but did come across a couple of wolf sightings and then comments left behind by someone with the wolf project. While I was reading the comments Blanco took off, but not like squirrel take off, but like something big. Dot followed right behind him as he ran down the trail. Blanco stopped with a stern yell, but Dot peeled off into the woods and I heard a lot of crashing. I assumed it was just elk, but then Dot let out a few barks from the trail before heading back and I could still hear a lot of branches breaking.

I immediately leashed Dot and Blanco and walked down the trail to check it out. The first thing I saw was two cubs climbing high into a tree. I had a moment of panic because I had no idea where the mom was. Then I noticed much lower on the tree a big bear just hugging it and hanging out. I did not want to stress the mom out too much so I gave her a wide berth and her and the cubs down climbed pretty quickly and then just kind of meandered away like nothing had happened.

I decided with reported wolf sightings and the nice bear sighting that we should just camp near the trailhead and hike the nice trail again in the morning. The morning hike just involved some elk and was a much more normal hike. A pleasant hike too. This trail is great for a low committing stroll in the pines.

Note:

I have heard howling twice now while camped in this area. Once at the trailhead and once in the backcountry near Hinkle Spring. I have always just dismissed it as coyotes, but I am starting to wonder with the wolf project entries in the register, if maybe I did hear the elusive howl of the Mexican Grey Wolf?
Fauna
Fauna
Black Bear
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2 archives
Jul 17 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Blue Peak 9355Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 17 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking2.95 Miles 621 AEG
Hiking2.95 Miles
621 ft AEG
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I was happy to hear in a previous triplog that the McKittrick Trail had been cleared. I was hoping it was cleared beyond the fire tower, but it wasn’t. Oh well the pups and I still enjoyed this 3rd trip to the highest point in the Blue Range. Or is it my fourth? Can’t believe I forgot to sign register. The forest service did an amazing job on this trail. I thought they were clearing for a new road at first!
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Jul 17 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
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39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
KP South ForkAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 17 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking2.00 Miles
Hiking2.00 Miles
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
It’s hard not to take at least a small stroll down this trail, if you are in the area.

With each trip this area seems to show more signs of new life and recovery. The cienega was green and the flowers are coming out. Even with the recent rain, the creek levels are low. This area seems to have got enough rain to prevent a big fire this summer, but now they need some gushers to get these drainages flowing a little more robustly for a bit.
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Jul 16 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
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39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Raspberry Trail #35Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 16 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking
Hiking
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Raspberry Trail was one of the trails that was recently cleared by the FS. This may have been motivated by the fact that last year gila trout were planted in Raspberry Creek. I only hiked in 2.5 miles, but the trail was in great shape. I did not reach the perennial Raspberry Creek, but will def be back to hike the entire length of the trail to the Blue River.

I camped at the Strayhorse Campground my first two days, so I would have access to one of the shelters, it rained a lot on and off those first two days out there.
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Jul 10 2020
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Island Lake, WY 
Island Lake, WY
 
Backpack avatar Jul 10 2020
friendofThundergod
Backpack26.22 Miles
Backpack26.22 Miles2 Days         
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
After our Haystack climb, Katie and I packed up camp and headed to the Pole Creek Trailhead for a backpack into Island Lake. I would have loved to get Katie into Titcomb, but we were a little beat and not feeling the extra miles.

We camped at Seneca Lake and then day hiked to Island Lake. Our campsite on Seneca was amazing, but the mosquitoes were relentless. We had to retreat to our tent for most of our stay there. In fact, we even ate dinner in the tent. Yes we chose dinner in the tent in bear country over sitting outside with the mosquitoes. The hike to Island Lake was as amazing as I had remembered. We stopped and took an extended break on some slab over looking Island Lake. The lake blew me away again and Katie was equally as impressed.

On our hike out we made the worthy detour to the Sweeny Lakes and Miller Lake. We then opted for a longer return via the Sweeny Lakes Trail and finished at the Elkpark Information center.

A visually stunning backpack as was expected, but the bugs were bad. If I could quantify it, I would say twice as bad if not more than last year. The trailhead was not as packed as I thought it would be, but its still a little early in the year for some of the backcountry destinations in this area. This area simply has some of the most stunning views I have ever seen. The beauty and settings of some of these lakes can elicit emotional responses when you view them. I have tremendous feelings of calmness and contentedness out here. I have no problem admitting it almost feels spiritual to me. No range in the contiguous U.S. compares to this place.
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Jul 09 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
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 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Haystack Mountain - WyomingCentral, WY
Central, WY
Hike & Climb avatar Jul 09 2020
friendofThundergod
Hike & Climb1.00 Miles 1 AEG
Hike & Climb1.00 Miles2 Days         
1 ft AEG
Onsight II G  • Trad • 5.6 Granite Excellent • 600 Feet 5 Pitches
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Pro: standard alpine rack
A year ago when we backpacked into the cirque, I told Katie I would be climbing there next summer. She joked, “I’ll take your pictures.” I said something to the extent of or you will be right next to me climbing. Nearly a year from that moment and we have completed our first of what I hope to be many more climbs in the Winds. We did not get into the cirque, but we climbed and equally aesthetic and fulfilling granite behemoth, Haystack Mountain, 11,979 feet. Or more appropriately the north tower of Haystack Mountain.

Day 1:

Day one was an easy stroll to the inlet of Clear Creek. The trails were immaculate and the hiking generally easy. However, the weight of our packs led to frequent breaks and a slower pace. I carried the rack and Katie carried the rope. We brought a double rack from .1- BD #3 and a single four, along with 11 alpine draws, plus harness, shoes and helmet. Katie carried a 70m rope along with her personal climbing equipment.

After reaching camp and a long nap, we made the scramble up Haystack’s left shoulder to recon the route on the north face. The recon was successful, but truthfully I left with some trepidation. The route was steep, formidable looking and it’s location served as a bit of a natural wind tunnel.

Day 2:

We crawled out of our tent to a chilly morning around 5:30 and were off on the approach by six. There are a few climber trails that take you to the slabs that lead to the base of the climb, but even if you don’t hit one, just head for the obvious weakness in Haystack’s left shoulder.

The Climb:

We did not waste much time when we reached the base, as the goal was to finish the climb before the wind picked up. The guidebook states that if it’s windy anywhere in the world, it will be windy on the north face of Haystack, so the wind was definitely on our minds. We started the climb to a light breeze and in the shade. Pitch one yielded the usual first climb jitters. It only goes 5.4, but it was a little awkward, the granite felt slick and I was cold. However, shortly in I was feeling strong and confident. I had visions of combining the first into a rope stretching 200 plus foot pitch, but came up just short of a nice ledge and had to build an awkward belay stance. Bomber but awkward. Once I got Katie up to me, I led the final little portion to the ledge and built us a much more comfortable belay station. The following pitch offered some of the nicest climbing of the route. It was varied climbing and fun; highlighted by a semi heady traverse with great hands. I got a little off route on the fourth pitch, but Katie was steady on belay, as I had to down-climb a bit and make a traverse to get back on route. The rest of the pitch went more smoothly. We went right at the roof and then I brought Katie up for the final technical pitch. I stayed on belay for the start of the 5th pitch, but I quickly realized we were done climbing and now scrambling. We backpacked the rope and made the scramble to the top of the north tower.

The north tower summit was pretty spectacular and the views were incredible. We did not stay long due to the high winds and cold, but we did take a minute to sign the register and snap a few pics. We descended the prominent north gully, which is also a 5.2 route to the summit. We down climbed a bit and then rapped the rest off some old slung tat.

In order to make time for a backpack into the Titcomb area, we determined if we had enough energy after the climb, we would hike out the second day. That proved to be a good idea as the mosquitoes woke up the moment we reached camp. The wind had kept them down the previous day, but they came back with a vengeance and were relentless at times on the hike out. No amount of deet or permethrin works when the sky is blackened with them. The mosquitoes and heavy packs made the hike out drag a bit. We were both a little fatigued from the long day and happy to finally reach the trailhead.

Final Notes:

This climb was a such a fulfilling experience on so many levels for myself and Katie and we left with a great sense of accomplishment that is hard to articulate. Climbing above 11k feet is a truly memorable experience and literally a little breathtaking. There was not a single bolt on the route and the lack of a detailed topo added to the adventurous feel of the climb. Its nice to see some of my hard work pay off and Katie is proving to be a steady belay and great partner. I can´t wait to get back to the Winds after another year of work
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1 archive
Jul 07 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Green River Lakes to Summit LakeCentral, WY
Central, WY
Hiking avatar Jul 07 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking10.71 Miles 1,209 AEG
Hiking10.71 Miles   5 Hrs   13 Mns   2.18 mph
1,209 ft AEG      18 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
We did not go to Summit Lake, but our day hike included sections of the above linked descriptions. We hiked around Green River Lake and made stops to see the Slide Creek Falls from a distance and then hiked to the raging Porcupine Falls, which requires a little off trail scramble to see properly. We completed our loop by using the Lakeside Trail on the west side of the lake.

I find this area to be simply stunning and I am already going over the routes for climbing Squaretop and hope to return to this area next year for some climbing and/or trips into the backcountry.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Clear Creek Falls Medium flow Medium flow
Raging
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1 archive
Jul 01 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Dome Rock TrailSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Climbing avatar Jul 01 2020
friendofThundergod
Climbing1.40 Miles 121 AEG
Climbing1.40 Miles
121 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Katie and I camped near Dome Rock for three days. We made a couple of sunset hikes to the summit and climbed there two days.

We climbed the classic four pitch Tree Route on July 1st and then cragged it up at the base of Dome Rock on the morning of July 2. This was my first time on Sierra Granite and I am hooked.
Named place
Named place
The Needles
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Jul 01 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Lower Peppermint Falls, CA 
Lower Peppermint Falls, CA
 
Hiking avatar Jul 01 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking
Hiking
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Not everything needs a line drawn to it, so I will just go with the generic name. The falls are not hard to find with a quick google search anyways. We were surprised at how few people in general frequent the area where we stayed for seven days and I would like to go back and experience the same lack of people one day. If anyone wants more specific directions to falls, just PM me.

The hike in is short. There is no signed trail, or formal trailhead, but its only a short walk to the falls from a pullout along the road. Not far from the base of the falls is private property, but you can miss the signs. The falls were spectacular and the swim holes were superb.
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Jun 30 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Trail of 100 GiantsSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 30 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking1.40 Miles 156 AEG
Hiking1.40 Miles
156 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Cool trees, but too crowded of a scene for me, even on a weekday. The prevailing theme on the plaques was, “if these trees could talk.” Something tells me if these trees could talk, they would tell us thanks for ruining an awesome planet assholes.

Standard tourist trail, unnecessarily paved trails and anything made of wood has been carved with initials and names, also due to a lot of charcoal laying around from prescribed burns, nearly everything else was written on with black charcoal, so that was cool to see.

People suck.
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Jun 29 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Lewis Camp Trail to the Little Kern RiverSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Backpack avatar Jun 29 2020
friendofThundergod
Backpack12.00 Miles 2,600 AEG
Backpack12.00 Miles2 Days         
2,600 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Katie and I headed to the Southern Sierra Nevada for seven days last week. On our third day there we did an easy overnight trip into the Golden Trout Wilderness with our unruly pack of four dogs. This was hopefully the first of many backpacks for Dot and a great backpack for my aging pup, Mr. Blanco. This was my first time backpacking into the Golden Trout Wilderness and I was impressed. I can´t wait to get back there one day and do some more ambitious backpacks sans the limitations of dogs.

Day 1:

Day one was cruiser to the Little Kern. It was all downhill and the trails were immaculate. The views into the distance were great up high and the forest setting was absolutely idyllic at times, as old growth sequoias and stately sugar pines lined the trail in many spots. This area of the Little Kern can be very busy and I would not recommend on weekends, however, we had the place essentially to ourselves. We swam all day and relaxed at our amazing site along the Little Kern. Merle Haggard once said he would never swim the Kern River again, but I can definitively say, if given the chance, I will swim the Little Kern River again.

Day 2:

We hiked out the same way we hiked in on the second day and despite the significant AEG, the climb out was not too bad, due to the thoughtful grade of the trail and its immaculate condition.
Flora
Flora
Giant Sequoia
Culture
Culture
Intrepid Back Shot
Named place
Named place
Little Kern River

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Jug Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Jug Spring and its drainage were flowing for most of the final few tenths of a mile to the Little Kern River.
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Jun 28 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
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39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Clicks Creek TrailSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 28 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking7.28 Miles 2,236 AEG
Hiking7.28 Miles   4 Hrs   7 Mns   2.45 mph
2,236 ft AEG   1 Hour   9 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We completed this pleasant hike on our first full day in the southern Sierras. The trail was in excellent condition and the forest was impressive. We found a nice cascading swim area on Clicks Creek and spent an extended time there playing in the water with the pups. I would love to come back to this area and make a backpacking loop with this trail, as there are a lot of possibilities for reaching the Little Kern and visiting some of the popular meadow areas, as well as making more ambitious treks towards the national park boundary.
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Jun 27 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Jordan Peak Lookout TrailSierra Nevada, CA
Sierra Nevada, CA
Hiking avatar Jun 27 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking1.75 Miles 550 AEG
Hiking1.75 Miles
550 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Nice views. Hiked to the lookout to stretch the legs after over nine hours in the car.
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Jun 19 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Newton ButteNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hike & Climb avatar Jun 19 2020
friendofThundergod
Hike & Climb
Hike & Climb
Onsight I G  • Trad • 5.7 Good • 2 Pitches
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Pro: Single Rack BD .3-#3 will do.
Sometimes I go to the Canyon in June to remind myself its still hot in the summer. It is indeed still hot if anyone is wondering. Carlos, myself and Pernell teamed up for this pretty cool summit off Shoshone Point.

We met at the Shoshone Point Trailhead at 4:30 a.m. and started at 4:45 a.m. The Shoshone Point descent was a real treat. I had been meaning to do this off trail descent since reading about Buchart´s account of it several years ago. It was well worth the wait. The smoke from the Magnum Fire made for a surreal descent. It was almost as if the sun´s rise was delayed.

I grabbed the lead for the first pitch, which is known for a bit of a spicy traverse that is protected by an old pin. I did not actually find the traverse overly tough though and found some finger size cam placements along the way after the pin to protect the traverse and guide the rope. Carlos took the easier climbing second pitch and we soloed the rest of the route, which might have amounted to some light class five in spots. The summit provided some excellent albeit eerie views. We replaced the old register with a new copper box, took an extended break and then headed for the rap stations.

It took us two raps to reach the base of the climb. We rapped an approximately 35 m upper portion of the climb and then eventually dropped nearly exactly where we started after another 20m rap.

The climb out was a bit of a slog at times, but scrambling the ridge livened us up some. The heat was a bit suffocating at times, but some nice breezes provide relief along the way.
Named place
Named place
Newton Butte
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4 archives
Jun 12 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Bridgers KnollNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 12 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking8.00 Miles
Hiking8.00 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I knocked out this quick and easy summit on my second day on the north rim. I had been kicking myself for not making the quick detour to the summit of Bridgers when I backpacked through here a few years ago, so it was nice to finally tick it off, despite its generally underwhelming nature.

Early start. Turned off for the summit at about 2.7 miles, the off trail approach is pretty straightforward. If you start scrambling a lot, there is a probably a better way, as it’s pretty much class three to the summit. After a quick break on the summit, I returned the way I came. It took a little less than five hours, car to car.
Named place
Named place
Bridgers Knoll
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Jun 11 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
ColonnadeNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 11 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking14.60 Miles
Hiking14.60 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
seanpeters
I teamed up with Sean and Kieth for this nice summit off the north rim. We drove up Wednesday night and started just after 4 a.m. Thursday morning.

This was my first time hiking the Widforss and I was impressed. The trail passes through a nice, rolling forest and is obviously well maintained. We left the trail at 4.5 miles and began a southwest course to the rim. Upon reaching the rim, we dropped down off the west side and traversed over to the break in the coconino and crossed the saddle to reach the base of The Colonnade’s north prow. Some how neither one of us read the approach beta and upon reaching this spot we were not sure exactly what to do. Long story short, we added some length and bushwhacking to our approach and a little easy 5th class. As it would turn out, the base of the prow that we were standing at was the way. We enjoyed the summit for a bit and then returned the way we came. I took a little longer on the hike back to take some pictures and catch my breath, as Sean and Kieth move quick.

A great summit overall, great views, rewarding and I appreciated not having to carry any climbing gear after a streak of seven technical summits. It was humbling and enjoyable to get out with a couple of vet canyon crushers too and hear about their past exploits.
Named place
Named place
The Colonnade
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4 archives
Jun 06 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
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39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
O'Neill ButteNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hike & Climb avatar Jun 06 2020
friendofThundergod
Hike & Climb0.17 Miles 304 AEG
Hike & Climb0.17 Miles
304 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
After sitting out the Canyon for nearly 8 months due to a knee injury and then a pandemic, I finally found myself below the rim of the Grand Canyon again.

Katie and I met Pernell and a friend of his for a quick trip up O’Neill Butte. The South Kaibab trail benefitted greatly from a spring without its usual mule and human traffic. It was in great shape, we got an early start and cruised to the base of the climb, for a quick trip up the north face route. This was my third time up O’Neill and Katie’s first Grand Canyon summit. She performed admirably and even snagged the lead on the famed squeeze pitch. I felt a little out of shape coming out, but the knee generally did well. It felt really good to be back in the Canyon again. There were times leading up to my knee surgery when I wondered if my days of doing things in the Canyon might be over. It’s good to know that may have been a bit premature thinking on my part.

We toured the fun spots along the rim afterwards and enjoyed a relatively empty Grand Canyon.
Culture
Culture
Intrepid Back Shot
Named place
Named place
O'Neill Butte OOH AAH Point
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May 31 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 28
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39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Reynolds Creek Trail #150Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 31 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking7.00 Miles 1,375 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles
1,375 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I almost forgot how nice this trail was.

Started at the ranch and hiked to just short of the wilderness sign on the lower end of the trail. The trail is a little brushy up top, but generally in good shape, with some signs of recently cut logs. The raspberry bushes are beginning to overgrow the trail in their usual spots. This trail might pass through some of the nicest forest in the Ancha.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Knoles Hole Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
full and creek is flowing
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May 22 2020
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 Guides 28
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39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Return to the Blue, AZ 
Return to the Blue, AZ
 
Backpack avatar May 22 2020
friendofThundergod
Backpack61.50 Miles 10,500 AEG
Backpack61.50 Miles5 Days         
10,500 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I have envisioned this backpack, or variations of it for several years now. But ambitious summer trips, climbing, terrible trails and dogs always prevented the idea from coming to fruition. However, the stars began to align for a proper return to the Blue earlier this year when my interest in the area was reignited by a quick weekend trip there in the spring and when I got word that some of the upper trails had been cleared.

Day 1: 13.1 miles

Our backpack began and ended at the Steeple/Foot Creek Trailhead. We started off on the Steeple Trail #73 and cruised down to the junction for the primitive Upper Grant Creek Trail. Steeple endured some winter deadfall, but the trail showed signs of having been worked on and was generally in great shape. The Upper Grant Creek trail has been transformed since the last time I saw it and is in great shape. It was definitely not the trail Blanco and I turned around on dejectedly several years ago while trying to reach the Grant Creek Cabin. From the Grant Creek Cabin, we took the always pleasant Paradise Trail to Paradise Park and the Grant Creek Trail. We made a stop at White Oak Spring along the way and then I showed Katie some granaries I had found in the area a few years ago. My memory of where the granaries were remained good, however, my memory of the distance was not so good. I told Katie about a tenth of a mile off trail and they proved to be about a steep and loose half mile off trail. My favorite camping spot along lower Grant Creek was taken by a local family, so we resorted to camping among the cows and their shit.

Day 2: 15.75 miles

After wading through a few hundred herd of cattle we reached the Blue early on the second morning. The road was mundane and a little warm despite the early start. It was familiar trails to Bear Valley and they all were in great shape. We enjoyed a nice afternoon in the valley of the bears and a long night of sleep.

Day 3: 12 miles

We began day three with the short, but stunning section of the Little Blue down stream of Bear Valley. After that we took for my first time an informal trail just numbered 609 on my map to the Cow Flat Trail. Trail 609 proved to be more than just a number and was actually quite pleasant for the majority of the trail. Cow Flat was a lot greener than the last time I hiked it, so that was nice, but I still found the trail a tad mundane and it seemed to drag on a little in the heat. After a stop at my favorite spring and waterfall, we finally started making our way up the Blue. We were a little beat upon hitting the Blue and took a couple of extended breaks along the way with some swimming. We ended up calling it a day near Tornado Canyon and made camp by the old barn.

Day 4: 13 miles

We got an early start on the fourth morning to go explore a side canyon that was alluded to in an archaeological report written about the area in the early 1900s. Apart from being referred to as a geological wonder, the canyon was said to house at one time the largest known prehistoric ceremonial cave in the southwest at 10,000 square feet. Everything written about the canyon long ago was true.
...a canyon which, though short and shut in by very steep walls, contains scenery worthy of the highest admiration for its combined beauty and grandeur.


A trickling three-tiered slick rock waterfall guarded the entrance to the canyon and we had to take a bypass just to reach the interior. By this point we were already satisfied with our exploration, as we were immediately able to confirm that the window we saw in a distance from the Blue was actually a very large arch. Naturally, we made the scramble to the base of the arch to investigate. The scramble was steep and loose and required a little class four climbing to reach, but it was worth the effort. The arch was tall and dramatic and a pretty stunning feature to stand under. Further exploration up canyon revealed the cave to us. Like any cave, the cave was hard to capture, but stunning to stand in. The cave had been pretty badly picked over by ranchers and pot hunters over the year, but some crumbling walls helped the imagination. We spent as much time in the cave as we could and I found some other crumbled walls under many overhangs throughout the canyon, but we knew the hardest part of our day loomed ahead, as we still needed to begin our relentless climb of the Steeple Trail.

The climb up to KP and Steeple Mesas was as relentless as I had remembered. However, a few years of recovery and a much greener backdrop, led to the climb being more scenic than I had remembered. We ended our day at Mud Spring. The spring´s name did not inspire much faith in the area being nice, but overall it proved to be a very pleasant destination. The spring had good camping and was flowing nicely. The area represented an almost exact line of where the forest had suffered near 100 percent devastation and where a pocket of trees had survived. Luckily, the camping and trees were under the pocket of trees that survived.

Day 5: 8 miles

We had two options to complete our backpack. There was the Paradise Trail option back to Moonshine Park and then the same stretch of Grant Creek we began on to finish, or a commitment to nearly four miles of unknown trail via the Steeple Trail back to the rim. We went with the Steeple finish because I had never traveled that section of trail and I was interested to know if Steeple went cleanly all the way to the Blue. As it turned out that stretch of Steeple was by far the worst trail we encountered in our five days. The New Mexican Locust has literally devoured the trail in spots and it was a constant bushwhack to the rim. The locust was so bad in spots that we had to detour to the burnt hillside for awhile to bypass it. The tread however, was still generally there. There is just a tremendous amount of overgrowth on and across the trail. Through a little grit though we finally reached the intersection with the KP Rim Trail where the FS had quit with their maintenance of Steeple a year ago. From there is was cruiser to the trailhead.

Final Notes:

It was nice to finally knock out the entire length of the Steeple Trail. The trail is not impassable from Mud Spring to the KP Rim intersection, but I would not recommend it. If making a loop with rim in this area, the best bet most likely seems to be utilizing the Moonshine Park route back to Grant Creek.

Upper Grant Creek Trail is a worthy destination again. The trail is still considered a primitive trail, but the FS has that one in great shape again.

The cattle are ruining lower Grant Creek. I have never seen so many cattle in the Blue before. They have eaten everything green down there except the poison ivy. How is having this many head of cattle grazing there helping with restoring Grant Creek post Wallow Fire?

Eastern Trails were in great shape.

The Blue is back. Well not all the way, but I know for myself I am not excited to get back out there and continue to utilize some of these newly cleared trails. Likewise, the forest is finally starting to rebound at a more noticeable level. The aspen are coming in nicely in spots and there are far more signs of green life than when I started going to the area in 2014.

Katie is really into birds. I am becoming a reluctant birder. I am only really into hawks and eagles. On this trip we saw a: Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Ferriginous Hawk, Red Tailed Hawk and a Common Black Hawk.
Flora
Flora
Yellow Columbine
Fauna
Fauna
Wild horse

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Auger Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
Deep pool of water in natural, ¨tank¨

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bear Valley Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Large section of canyon and spring is flowing nicely.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Dutch Oven Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max KP Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ladron Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Same steady, consistent flow as always.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Ladrone Canyon Light flow Light flow
Flowing from spring to Blue

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Little Blue Creek Light flow Light flow
Flowing nicely for a mile or so out of Bear Valley

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Maple Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Mud Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Creek bed is flowing near spring, and mud bank is dripping steadily. Good camping near spring.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Raspberry Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Strayhorse Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 White Oak Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Two over-flowing troughs

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Willow Spring Dripping Dripping
A few deeper mud puddles, but I would not count on for water.
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May 17 2020
friendofThundergod
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 AZ
Big Creek Trail #320ATucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 17 2020
friendofThundergod
Hiking3.20 Miles 823 AEG
Hiking3.20 Miles
823 ft AEG
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I made it back to Graham for the first time since the fire over the weekend. I spent three days there and did a combination of sight seeing, tour guiding and light hiking with the dogs. We did this hike Sunday morning.

The first section of this trail is still a little chaotic. Erosion from the fire has created a couple of deep washouts to navigate on the way up. The upper sections of the trail burned badly, however, the aspen are coming in strong. We took an extended break at the meadow and then found some lingering snow for the pups to play in.
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2 archives
average hiking speed 2.32 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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