Did some exploring on the rim today, both on foot and in vehicle. Rim road was fun with all the ice, snow and mud. Decided to visit the land of moss and mushrooms (See Canyon) and see what it looked like with a coating of snow. It was 36 degrees when I started on the trail and stayed in the 40s. The weather was a constant cycle of freezing rain, clouds and even a couple minutes of sunshine. Still comfortable in basketball shorts and a pair of trail runners. Elk had torn the trail up since it was mud anyway. The last burst of freezing rain was accompanied by thunder and hit heavily right before I reached the vehicle on my way out.
Quick trip up to See Spring/Christopher Creek to soak in a cold pool after training legs a little earlier in the day. Water flow has greatly reduced since last month but it felt nice. Didn't see anyone else on the trail/TH which was appreciated. Parking area needed a little maintenance but is now free of trash.
This was an absolutely beautiful hike. 75 degrees today and not a cloud in the sky. Wildflowers and other flowering shrubs were exploding with color. There was a sweet/slightly citrus scent in the air for about 90% of the hike. The wildflower bloom must have been the reason for so many butterflies. I had complete solitude on the trail other than the critters. Trail is easy to follow in some spots and requires some route finding & boulder hopping in others. The system of cairns is extensive and will get you out of any spot where you think you might have lost the trail. I started from Deer Creek Trail #45 and hiked up canyon on South Fork Trail #46 to the wilderness boundary then back out on South Fork #46. Would've liked to connect to another trail and make a loop of it but I'm easily distracted by water holes and found myself dipping into a few of them. Highlight of the trip was the millions butterflies. They were even crawling on me while I ate lunch half submerged in the creek.
Took the youngster out this a.m. for a nice family friendly hike up and back down Horton Creek. The weather has warmed up today so we took a break at almost every pool deep enough to jump in and made a day of it. Water feels great right now, not too cold, but refreshing. Although not as green and lush, I enjoy the spring time vegetation as it is all coming back to life. Squirrels, birds & butterflies were our only company on the trail until about the last 1/4 mile when we ran into another hiker with a kid and let them finish it out together.
Nice little early season loop hike. Weather was perfect (high of 72). Started at See Canyon TH where I quickly crossed the creek and jumped on the Highline to Drew. Went up Drew Trail, across the rim via General Crook and then back down See Canyon Trail to the TH. Lunched on the rim and was planning on making it my only break but once I made it back down to Christopher Creek I just had to jump in and enjoy the cold water. There were a few campers down by the creek but otherwise I enjoyed total solitude on the trails today (other than the blue jay that started laughing as soon as I got naked to change out of my wet shorts)
Spent the day at WCC hiking, wading and rock/cliff jumping. Just doing what we do and tearing up the water holes. The water was cold but not too bad compared to some of the places I've swam lately. Wildflowers galore and total solitude today, had the place to ourselves. Bull Pen Rd is in good shape right now but the Easter weekend crowd left behind plenty of trash the closer you are to the trailheads/roads. Minkis was able to haul out a couple bags full.
Took advantage of the cooler weather today and hit the trail at about 930am. Roads are all in good shape. Tonto creek is flowing over the road/bridge so I just crossed at the usual spot and my feet were wet before even starting up the actual trail. The trail is shaded and was breezy today so we started in sweaters. Although easy to follow, the initial climb is steep especially with a 5yr old holding my hand. We scuffed our way up at a very slow pace until reaching the first ridgeline. We wanted to continue but by then my only concern was child safety so we started back down at an even slower pace. Definitely one of the more rugged areas he has ever hiked but he's been hiking since he learned to walk and it certainly paid off today. Needless to say, I was relieved when we reached the creek again. By then the sun was out in full so we climbed down creek from the campsites and went for a swim in one of the deeper pools to cool off and have lunch. The trails in and around Hell's Gate wilderness are quickly becoming favorites of mine, but not kid friendly unless you plan on just hanging by the creek (as I learned the hard way). Tonto creek was flowing nicely and a passing fisherman had a couple rainbow trout on his stringer. The day was still a success in my book. Be back next weekend for a solo adventure either back on Bear Flat Trail or Hell's Gate #37.
Good place for a jaunt with a swim. Easy hike on an easy to follow trail. We stopped at the first big swimmer and jumped in from every angle and every rock/cliff. While we dried out on the rocks and had a snack the fish started jumping left and right. Nice sized trout but neither of us brought our backpacking rod. Before leaving we decided to venture up stream some more and found another swimming hole calling our names so we jumped back in. It was a little chilly this time because of the lack of sunshine in the canyon so it wasn't long before we got dry and started back up the trail. The hike back out is just enough to get warm before reaching the vehicle.
Went for a morning hike/swim from the Water Wheel TH with accompanying 5yr old. We started in sweaters but it warmed up quickly (about 65 degrees) so we were able to jump into a few pools along the way. Had a quick snack at the falls after jumping off the log. Although we had the place all to ourselves, the weekend crowd left behind plenty of trash, so we filled our backpack with water bottles and beer cans on the way out.
Great place for a day hike. We hiked down and spent a couple of hours at the creek. Swimming in the deeper holes. Waded an additional half mile barefoot down the creek and although painful, it paid off with a nice swimming hole. The water was cold but very clear. A few springs were running and others just a drip. There wasn't a whole lot of vegetation along the creek this time of year but it's coming to life. Left with sore feet and deer antlers we found near the top of the canyon.
We decided to squeeze in an afternoon trip to See Spring after spending the majority of the day swimming at Christopher Creek gorge. Starting from the See Canyon TH, we encountered only one small group of people enjoying the creek near the parking lot, having the trail all to ourselves after that. The spring grasses and a few wildflowers were sprouting but otherwise the leaves had yet to return to the trees (besides the pines and junipers). It was nearly 70 degrees on this beautiful early spring day and the water was cold! The short hike to the spring was just enough to get warmed up before we stopped at a familiar water hole and submerged ourselves for as long as we could tolerate. Leaving ourselves enough time to dry off, fill up a canteen & eat a quick snack, we hiked back towards the vehicle under the setting sun. The solitude and cleanliness of the trail and surrounding tributaries on this day was much appreciated.
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.