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65 triplogs
Oct 16 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Haunted Canyon Paradise Loop, AZ 
Haunted Canyon Paradise Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 16 2021
John10s
Hiking17.54 Miles 2,599 AEG
Hiking17.54 Miles   9 Hrs   19 Mns   2.30 mph
2,599 ft AEG   1 Hour   42 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners partners
TboneKathy
I'd had Haunted Canyon on my list for quite a while, and this seemed like a good time of year to finally check it out. We started from the eastern trailhead, and it was surprisingly chilly...nearly 70° when we left the valley, but just above 40° when we started hiking. The was a little water in Pinto Creek early on, but that first stretch following the dirt road along the creek wasn't my favorite area with all the pipes and fenced-in areas for valves and other mining structures. It got a lot more scenic once we were on the actual trail and started the climb up above Haunted Canyon.

There was quite a bit of catclaw along the trail, though it wasn't terribly overgrown and was mostly avoidable. Once the trail descended back into the creek bed, there was poison ivy everywhere. It was impossible to avoid touching it completely, so we had to just minimize contact with it and hope for the best...a few days later and no reactions, thankfully :). At least the a lot of the poison ivy was turning yellow before the other plants, so it tended to stand out.

I had a general sense where the Jose Periz homestead was located, but we had a lot of ground to cover, so we didn't take the time to look for it. I confirmed later that I had the right area in mind, so we'll have to visit it on a future trip. On the way to Toney Cabin, I saw Skull Cave in the canyon wall, so we went over for a closer look. There's one break in the cliff that offers a straightforward scramble up to the cave, and it's surprising how deep into the mountain it extends. As I entered the cave, something big flew deeper in ahead of me, likely a bat. I didn't go very far inside knowing there was stuff flying around back in there...no need to risk ending the day with a rabies shot :). I've read that the cave extends back ~100 yards, but I was satisfied just exploring closer to the entrance. Whatever flew in later flew back out over my head as I ducked down. I didn't get a good look, but my partner had waited down below and said it looked like an owl...

There was a full basin at Toney Ranch Spring, but the pipe feeding the basin wasn't flowing. The next stop was Toney Cabin, and it was a really nice setting for a homestead. We explored the area and signed the register inside. I found it interesting that SALT has no trespassing signs outside, but one of the first entries in the register notebook inside, from 2015, was from an executive director at SALT encouraging people to donate money, and there were donation slips on the table nearby. So...don't trespass, but if you do trespass, please donate to SALT? :)

After leaving the cabin, we continued west on Haunted Canyon Trail. We'd considered a longer loop back, taking Bull Basin to FR 287A, but we weren't sure about the trail conditions and what the pace would be on Bull Basin, so we stayed on #203 but did add some distance by taking Paradise Trail back to the road. Near the intersection of #203/#271, Dirt Tank had quite a bit of water in it...a surprise since a lot of the springs to that point had been mostly dry. Paradise Trail was a little overgrown in some places, but never consistently bad, and not too many thorns or spines in the brush. Paradise Spring had a few small pools, and there was a clearing nearby with a tent set up, though we didn't see anyone at the campsite.

We completed the loop along FR 287A, where we saw a few ATVs/vehicles over the last few miles. I'm not a big fan of road hiking, but there was some nice scenery along this one aside from the Pinto Valley mine operations that came into view again as we appeached our starting point. We only saw a few campers and two other hikers all day, and it's an area I'd like to come back and explore a little more, with Periz cabin, some potential ruins/pottery sites, and other points of interest we didn't get to look for today.
Flora
Flora
Poison Ivy

dry Bath Tub Spring Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dirt Tank - Haunted Canyon 26-50% full 26-50% full
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

dry Haunted Canyon Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Haunted Canyon Spring Dripping Dripping
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout A few small pools nearby


water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Paradise Spring Dripping Dripping
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Small pools

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Tony Ranch Spring Dripping Dripping
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

dry Wood Creek Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout
1 archive
Oct 09 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Hardscrabble Alder Lasso Loop, AZ 
Hardscrabble Alder Lasso Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 09 2021
John10s
Hiking12.25 Miles 1,842 AEG
Hiking12.25 Miles   5 Hrs   54 Mns   2.36 mph
1,842 ft AEG      42 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
The weather is cooling off, but before we get back to hiking more in the lower deserts, we decided to head north again this weekend and chose a loop off Hardscrabble Road in Pine. Driving through the residential area near the pullout where we parked, we saw a few elk among the houses, then got a quick glimpse of a coyote (or maybe a fox?) around the next bend...nice to see some wildlife before even starting the hike.

It was a mostly cloudy morning with comfortable temperatures in the mid-50s, and we started clockwise on Oak Spring Trail from Hardscrabble Road. It was mostly flat, easy hiking past Bear Canyon, and we took the short spur to Oak Spring--the concrete basin was full and there was quite a bit of water in the low areas. From there, Walnut Trail had a steady incline to the top of the mesa, where the views of the rim and the Mazatazals started to open up a little more. There are a lot of tanks along the route--we passed Ridge Tank first, then took a little detour off Walnut Trail and followed the forest roads past East Tank before reconnecting with our originally planned route.

On our way to the out-and-back spur to Alder Ridge, we passed Bee Tree Tank, which was further off the trail but appeared to have quite a bit of water. The stretch on Alder Ridge ended up being one of the most beautiful parts of the hike--that area was covered in yellow wildflowers and offers even better views of the Mazatzals. We saw a large tarantula there and ended up seeing two more later in the loop portion of the hike--first a baby, and another full-size but dead tarantula in the road.

The sun finally broke free from the clouds for good, and we eventually decided to turn around and head back to complete the loop since we had some other stops we wanted to make around Pine after the hike. We passed two more tanks along FR 1654 that weren't on the map, the second of which had a sign labeling it as Turkey Tank, along with a game camera and some cattle nearby.

We hadn't see anyone all day, but we started to encounter a lot of people as we approached Pine Ridge Tank and reconnected with Hardscrabble Road. That tank has a large corral next to it, and we passed a few people with ATVs near that intersection, then a few campers, vehicles, and off-roaders along Hardscrabble. The final stretch was noisy with traffic and workers clearing brush with chainsaws, but the views overlooking Pine were nice. Overall, it was a pleasant, easy hike--nothing jaw-dropping or overwhelmingly beautiful, but consistently nice views and weather. After the hike, we headed to some Native American ruins in a residential area in Pine, then to Naco Paleo site along Highway 260.
Fauna
Fauna
Cow Elk Tarantula

dry Bear Canyon Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bee Tree Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

dry Clover Spring Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max East Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Oak Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Full basin and water in the low areas

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Pine Ridge Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Ridge Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout
2 archives
Oct 09 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Pine Native American Ruins, AZ 
Pine Native American Ruins, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 09 2021
John10s
Hiking0.55 Miles 274 AEG
Hiking0.55 Miles      33 Mns   1.38 mph
274 ft AEG      9 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
We hiked Bearfoot Trail a few weeks ago, and when I looked at the route afterward, I noticed some Native American ruins marked on Google Maps in a neighborhood near the trail. We were in the area again today hiking a loop near Hardscrabble and decided to check out the ruins since they were only ~10 minutes away. It took a little longer than usual to drive through town because this weekend was Pine's fall festival, but Pine traffic jams only delay things by a minute or two :).

We parked near the gate to the gated community and followed an unmarked trail up the hill and connected with a steep stone stairway up to the top. The ruins had three distinct rooms with a few doorways and well defined walls, and the westernmost room had a little mortar remaining on some of the interior walls. We thought we'd read that there were five rooms, and we saw the faint remains of a fourth room separate from the largest structure, but we didn't see a fifth. Father along the stone pathway are three picnic tables that provide some nice views overlooking the houses scattered around the hills in that area.

I haven't read many details about the site, but I assume these are Sinaguan ruins. Overall, they were in much better shape than expected, especially sitting on an exposed hill in an easily accessible area as they are. It's a nice stop if you happen to be in the area. This was my first time visiting ruins in a gated community...not quite the same experience as visiting ruins out in remote areas in nature, but I'm glad the developers left them intact and open to visitors :).
2 archives
Oct 09 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Naco Paleo Site - HWY 260Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 09 2021
John10s
Hiking0.39 Miles 52 AEG
Hiking0.39 Miles      20 Mns   1.67 mph
52 ft AEG      6 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
After hiking near Pine and a stop at some neighborhood ruins in town, we visited Indian Gardens Naco Paleo Site on the drive home. As the official guide for this "trail" mentions, this isn't really a hike, just a short walk from the parking lot to an open area for fossil hunting. I was surprised to see a few vehicles in the lot when we arrived, and a few more arrived in the short time we were there...I didn't realize fossil hunting was so popular.

Near the entrance was was a sign with pictures of the common species found at the site. We walked a little further beyond that, but the area closer to the lot seemed to be the best location for fossil hunting, with more exposed rock/gravel. We only spent a few minutes there to see what the site was about but did find one brachiopod. I'm not really a fan of sitting around hunting for fossils for any extended length of time, but I was glad we made the stop just to see what was there.
Oct 02 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Sierra Ancha Cliff Dwelling Bushwhack, AZ 
Sierra Ancha Cliff Dwelling Bushwhack, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 02 2021
John10s
Hiking3.20 Miles 1,107 AEG
Hiking3.20 Miles   5 Hrs   14 Mns   0.98 mph
1,107 ft AEG   1 Hour   59 Mns Break
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
ishamod
This was my third attempt to reach a cliff dwelling in the Sierra Anchas that I'd researched and previously only seen from a distance. Weather interrupted the first attempt, then I ran out of time on the second try. This time, my friend and I took advantage of a closer starting point to cut the mileage and hopefully leave more time to spend at the ruin. I knew exactly where it was located; it was just a matter of getting there, and this approach gave us plenty of time.

Some of the brush was still trimmed out of the way from my last attempt in August, but I told my friend to bring gloves and handheld clippers, and we did a lot more clearing as we worked our way off-trail toward the ruin, but we still picked up a lot of scratches along the way. Trees and brush blocked our view of the cave where the ruin is located for much of the way, so we could only aim in the general direction as we scrambled up a steep slope with brush and talus, but we ended up exiting the brush in a decent spot and emerged directly below the cave entrance to make the final climb. If I go back, I'd probably take a slightly different, more direct route to avoid some of the brush, but this worked.

I was pleased to see that there was a lot more to the dwelling than we'd been able to see from a distance. From zoomed-in pictures I'd taken previously, all I could see was a single wall with a hole where a wooden beam once rested. There were two other small walls near the cave entrance, and there was a passageway on the left side of the cave that led to a back room with a wall with a nice doorway, framed by wood on two sides, that turned the back part of the cave into a separate room. I noticed later that there was a hole drilled in one of the wooden pieces along the door where archeologists took a sample to date the wood.

[ youtube video ]

I'd read that the roofs of the structure were destroyed in a fire nearly 100 years ago, which was too bad--the front room, especially, was probably much more impressive when it was fully intact. Based on the spider webs in the cave, it doesn't get many visitors, which makes sense given the remote location. There were quite a few large pot sherds in the cave, and the mortar on the walls of the structure had a lot of visible finger marks where the mud was pressed against the rocks during construction. Outside the cave was a wide ledge that extended to the west, and there was another small wall there, though it looked like it might be of more recent construction.

The downside of the site was the wasps...we noticed a lot of them as soon as we arrived, and we were lucky we were able to explore the cave at all with so many flying around. We spent quite a bit of time inside, and the wasps seemed curious but not threatened at first, but the longer we stayed, the more they were hovering around our faces, landing on our packs, and taking more interest in us than we liked. We ended up sitting down below the ledge outside the cave and away from the wasps to eat something before we started back down the slope, but the wasps started finding us there, too, and we postponed our break until we were out of there. Fortunately, neither of us ended up getting stung.

We took a more direct route down the talus slope to avoid some of the brush on our way back. We explored another large (but empty) cave before we finished off the hike. It was a low-mileage day, but they were mostly slow, hard-earned miles, and I was happy to finally see this site up close on the third try. This was the second cliff dwelling site I've visited of the three main ones in the general area. Now I can turn my attention to the final site. I have a general idea where that one is located, and it should be a fun search...
Fauna
Fauna
Horned Lizard
Culture
Culture
Salado Habitation
3 archives
Sep 21 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Blue Pools Arch, UT 
Blue Pools Arch, UT
 
Hiking avatar Sep 21 2021
John10s
Hiking3.93 Miles 456 AEG
Hiking3.93 Miles   1 Hour   55 Mns   2.38 mph
456 ft AEG      16 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
We were looking for a short hike on the drive from Kanab back to Phoenix after a multi-day trip, and this fit the bill nicely. Blue Pools Slot Canyon looked interesting but is a technical canyoneering route, but we saw a triplog from a few years ago with a route to the arch nearby. We parked at a small, unsigned pullout off Highway 89 and picked up the trail on the west side of the highway that led down into the dry wash and followed that past a variety of spires and hoodoos.

The trail leaves the wash just under a mile from the highway, but we stayed in the wash a little longer to explore one of the canyons. It narrowed to a dead-end pretty quickly, and we weren't going to take the time to try to climb up through the narrow passage, so we returned to the trail and followed that up to the top of the mesa. The trail faded up there, and we explored the big open area on top. We didn't initially see the arch, but we spotted it as we made our way over to a point along the cliff at 4235 with views of Lake Powell and Lone Rock.

We then backtracked to the arch, which had a big cairn on top. The scenery is similar to Skylight Arch--not surprising given the proximity--but Blue Pools Arch is a smaller. The gap between the arch and the ground behind it is small enough that it's hard to get pictures where the arch really stands out from the background, so it probably looks more impressive viewed from the bottom of the cliffs looking up. The area offered great views of the surrounding white/light gray canyons and cliffs north of Page--lots of interesting colors and formations out there. We took the same route back down into the wash and followed that to the highway. We didn't see the actual Blue Pools Slot Canyon, which I believe is a little further south along Highway 89 from where we started, but this was a nice short, uncrowded hike to break up a day of driving.
1 archive
Sep 21 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Sand CavesSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking avatar Sep 21 2021
John10s
Hiking0.72 Miles 78 AEG
Hiking0.72 Miles      33 Mns   3.09 mph
78 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
On our last morning in Kanab before driving back to Phoenix, we made a quick stop at Sand Caves at sunrise to avoid the inevitable crowds that would show up later. The early start paid off, and we had the caves to ourselves...I first visited the caves two years ago, and it's incredible how much busier these spots have become in such a short time.

We headed south along the base of the cliff and made the short scramble up to the ledge and followed that across to the entrance. It's disappointing to see all the graffiti carved in the rocks, but not surprising given the traffic and easy accessibility from the highway. Still, it's a nice spot, with multiple windows looking out from the caves and the sandy floor inside. When I was here last time, there was a tent set up in the back of the cave, but that was gone, so we went all the way to the end...not much back there, just less light and less graffiti. The caves are worth a visit it you're in the area and driving by...especially if it's early and there aren't crowds :)
Sep 20 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Coyote Buttes SouthNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 20 2021
John10s
Hiking15.39 Miles 2,103 AEG
Hiking15.39 Miles   9 Hrs   14 Mns   2.18 mph
2,103 ft AEG   2 Hrs   11 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
TboneKathy
After receiving permits to The Wave a few months ago, we'd been periodically checking for Coyote Buttes South permits to see if anything opened up the weekend we were going to be in the area. About a week before the trip, permits became available for Monday, just two days after our Wave permits, so the timing ended up working great with our existing plans.

We had permits for Paw Hole Trailhead, but given the sandy conditions on BLM 1079, rather than risk getting stuck in the sand, we decided to park at Lone Tree Reservoir and hike to Paw Holes, which would add ~ five miles roundtrip to the hike. It would make a long day to hike up to Southern Wave and back, so we got an early start and were hiking the road as the sun came up. It was very peaceful, and we saw all kinds of animal tracks in the sand along the way. There were a few spots with deep sand, but we probably would have been fine driving the road (we saw a stock Jeep Cherokee driving in without issue in the afternoon), but it wasn't worth the risk, and we didn't mind the extra mileage.

From the trailhead, we explored Paw Hole, which was dry, and Paw Hole Buttes, then headed north around the west side of the cliffs toward Southern Alcove. Along the way, we encountered a herd of 30+ bighorn sheep at the bottom of the cliffs, including a few with some impressive horns...also impressive was their agility in climbing up and down the cliffs. They watched us closely and continued to keep an eye on us from a distance as we made our way north.

Southern Alcove was a nice spot, with a lot of impressive fins in the rock, a feature we'd see throughout Coyote Buttes South. We made our way over to Yellow Stripe, another area full of interesting color bands and streaks in the buttes [ youtube video ] . We took a short break there and then headed northeast toward the next set of features, making our way over and under several barbed wire fences. There are obviously no trails out there, but the desert brush was pleasantly light on thorns and spines and heavy on flowers, so the trek wasn't too bad.

We passed a few interesting but unnamed (as far as I know) features, then got into the next set of landmarks, including Olympic Torch and The Hydra [ youtube video ] . That, too, was another area with incredible geology and all kinds of unique spires and buttes. We could see White Pocket off in the distance to the east, and we saw other people for the first time to our north, heading toward Southern Wave.

We moved in that same direction, and the entire area up there was incredible, with a seemingly endless expanse of jaw-dropping geology. That vicinity had the highest concertation of colors, spires, fins, and crazy features--in three different spots, I looked at the best scenery of the day and thought, "This must be Southern Wave," only to find something even more impressive :). There were two other groups near Southern Wave (one couple and one large group with a tour guide), both of which had driven to Cottonwood Trailhead and hiked from there.

We explored the area around Southern Wave [ youtube video ] and then went above/south to check out Control Tower and Witch's Hat. That area had some cool fins and other unnamed formations. From there, I headed down to the waypoint I'd marked for the dinosaur tracks and found one distinct print before we had to start back toward Paw Hole. On the way, I took a quick detour to see Half & Half, a rock streaked half in pink, half in orange, and we took one more break at Southern Alcove for a snack on the hike out. We saw two other people around Paw Hole who'd driven to the trailhead in the Jeep Cherokee.

We made it to all the landmarks I'd hoped to see today, but there's still a lot more to explore for a future visit. Overall, Coyote Buttes South greatly exceeded my expectations. I went in thinking this would be a lesser version of Coyote Buttes North since those permits are tougher to get and The Wave gets so much attention. The Wave is arguably the most beautiful formation in the area, but it's concentrated in that one spot, and I felt like Coyote Buttes South had the advantage in terms of the amount/total area of unique and beautiful geology. I now understand comments from those who say that they prefer Coyote Buttes South...regardless, they're both impressive, and I was lucky to be able to visit both sites in the span of three days.
Fauna
Fauna
Bighorn Sheep
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunrise

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Lone Tree Reservoir 26-50% full 26-50% full
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

dry Paw Hole Dry Dry
2 archives
Sep 20 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Paria Townsite, UT 
Paria Townsite, UT
 
Hiking avatar Sep 20 2021
John10s
Hiking0.21 Miles 30 AEG
Hiking0.21 Miles      12 Mns   1.26 mph
30 ft AEG      2 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
We made a quick stop at the Paria Townsite area on our way back to Kanab after a hike at Coyote Buttes South earlier in day. I wouldn't call this a hike, but we got out and checked out some of the (heavily worn) signs about the history of the site and got a close up view of the "rainbow mountains" nearby. I'd visited the site with a friend when I was in the area two years ago, and it has some very unique, colorful geology and interesting history, and it's just a few miles off Highway 89. The townsite ("Pahreah") grew as large as 47 families and included a mix of settlers and Paiutes, but it dwindled in size in the late 1800s after a major flood and problems growing crops. On a future visit, I want to spend more time exploring the old movie site nearby.
Sep 19 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
La Verkin Creek - Kolob ArchSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking avatar Sep 19 2021
John10s
Hiking14.71 Miles 1,908 AEG
Hiking14.71 Miles   6 Hrs   42 Mns   2.57 mph
1,908 ft AEG      58 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
This was our second full day of hiking on a multi-day trip in southern Utah/northern Arizona. We ended up choosing to hike La Verkin Creek to Kolob Arch instead of hiking at Snake Gulch, despite that one being a shorter drive from Kanab. This was a longer trail, and I wanted to hike in Zion after more than two years since my last visit.

We started at Lee Pass Trailhead, and the route to the Kolob Arch viewpoint is roughly shaped like a lopsided 'U'. The trail starts heading south with steady downhill, eventually following Timber Creek, which was dry, and passes Shuntavi Butte. To the east, we had fantastic views of the red cliffs that are common in Zion. We didn't see many people early, and the trail itself is in good condition, with mostly smooth, packed dirt.

The trail turns east for the lower part of the 'U' and continues descending toward La Verkin Creek. We started to see more traffic on the trail along this stretch, including several backpackers. The most recent trip logs were more than four years old, so I wasn't sure what to expect for water levels in La Verkin Creek, but I could hear it flowing as we approached the spot marked "falls" on the topo map. We took the small spur to the falls...they were small, but it was a beautiful area with cool, clear water and the red cliffs in the background. The only downside was that we'd seen a sign at the trailhead warning about toxic algae in the water.

[ youtube video ]

The trail generally followed La Verkin Creek east/northeast from there, with a lot of nice greenery and the sound of flowing water for much of the route as we passed the turnoffs to the numbered campsites. In a few places, the trail followed the steep bank of the creek and was very narrow...a few more years of rain, and it's not hard to imagine sections of the trail getting washed out, though the west is getting less and less rain these days...

A little before campsite #10, we made the final turn north for the 0.7-mile leg that forms right side of the "U" toward the Kolob Arch viewpoint. That section of trail was very pleasant, with a lot of pine trees and water flowing in the creek bed. That was also the rockiest section of the trail...nothing too difficult, but more ups and down as the trail followed the banks of the creek. The arch was impressive--as others have mentioned, Kolob is the sixth-longest arch in the world.

It's possible to hike further into the side canyon to get closer to the arch, but there was a sign at the "official" viewpoint saying that further travel was not recommended to help avoid erosion and vegetation destruction, though a faint trail continued toward the arch. We stopped there for some pictures and a lunch break, and we had to continually shoo away an obnoxiously aggressive squirrel that was obviously used to receiving handouts from humans, not unlike it's Grand Canyon brethren to the south.

One other person showed up before started the hike out, and a few others weren't far behind him. We had clear skies and comfortable temperatures all day, but I could see where the southern part of the trail along La Verkin Creek could get toasty on hotter days since there are stretches without much shade. Overall, this was a very scenic and enjoyable trail, though it was busier than I'd expected--we saw well over 20 people by the end of the hike. I wasn't exactly expecting a remote hike on a Zion trail, but several trip logs mentioned that this was a less popular area that didn't get much traffic, but I assume it's grown in popularity over the last 4+ years, like most places. We finished early enough that we decided to drive the longer, scenic route back to Kanab through Zion and the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel, which was a nice way to finish the day.
Sep 18 2021
John10s
avatar

 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Coyote Buttes North - Wire Pass THSouthwest, UT
Southwest, UT
Hiking avatar Sep 18 2021
John10s
Hiking9.42 Miles 1,548 AEG
Hiking9.42 Miles   6 Hrs   29 Mns   2.07 mph
1,548 ft AEG   1 Hour   56 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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TboneKathy
For the second year a row, one of my hiking partners won permits to The Wave and invited me to join, so I was fortunate enough to visit a second time in ~16 months. With permits on Saturday, we planned a five-day/four-night trip around Kanab to see a few different areas around northern Arizona/southern Utah. The weather was perfect when I visited in May last year...unfortunately, the forecast this time had high probability of rain starting around noon. And when permits are involved, postponing until the weather improves isn't an option. All we could do we get an early start, hope the forecast was wrong, but prepare for rain and see as much as we could see...

We left Kanab very early and were on the trail before sunrise, starting the hike by flashlight/headlamp. Light rain started before 7AM, and we had to pull out the raincoats less than half a mile into the hike. Fortunately, that first round was light and short-lived, and we ended up having a nice sunrise as the clouds started to break up a little. We skipped Mini Wave and headed straight for The Wave, hoping to have it to ourselves for at least a few minutes since we'd seen another group behind us on the trail. It was an advantage having been here before, and we followed a better route that avoided some of the slower sandy areas and stayed on the rocks most of the way.

We were lucky enough to have The Wave to ourselves for 15-20 minutes before anyone else showed up, so we explored and took a bunch of pictures. Mid-day is typically the best time to visit The Wave for the sun angle, but the slightly overcast sky worked to our advantage and blocked what would have been harsh morning shadows at that time of day. As people started to show up, we moved on toward Second Wave, and there were a few small pools above The Wave that provided some nice reflections. We had Second Wave to ourselves for a while, too, and ate a quick snack there before more people started showing up.

Last year, I didn't get to see Melody Arch or The Alcove--my friend and I tried to take a direct approach going south from The Wave up the cliffs, but the route was very steep and we ran out of time. For this visit, I mapped out a route around the east side of the cliffs, so we headed around that way and a found an easy route up on top of the cliffs. Our first view of the window at Melody Arch/The Grotto was an optimal illusion that looked like a dark stain on the rock wall, but once we got closer, we could see blue sky up through the window.

There were two other groups at Melody Arch when I got up there, but they soon took off, and we had that area to ourselves, too. That ended up being one of the highlights of the day--between the arch and the window, The Grotto is an impressive spot, we could see Hamburger Rock/Big Mac to the south through the window. From there, I went north and saw The Alcove from above, and we made our way down and around inside. There was a lot more to it than what I'd been able to see from the ledge above--there was an undercut area with beautiful, streaked sandstone formations and a small pool of water with tadpoles.

Melody Arch: [ youtube video ]
The Alcove: [ youtube video ]

We'd been keeping an eye on the clouds all day, and the southwest sky started to get dark quickly as we left The Alcove, so we knew we needed to get going. As we made our way back toward The Wave, it continued to get darker, and we could see the mass exodus of people streaming north to get out of there as the storm approached. It started sprinkling near The Wave, so we pulled the rain jackets out again, and we talked briefly with the volunteer checking permits before we took off in hurry.

Thunder started soon after that, then strong winds and sheets of heavy rain hit. We paused to put our important stuff in a dry bag and pushed ahead, keeping up with the large stream of people ahead of us. It was incredible how quickly the weather turned and how much water accumulated in just a few minutes--there were heavy streams of water flowing down the cliffs and large pools forming on the rocks, and I started to wonder if the washes ahead of us would flood and block our exit. Off to the east, there were waterfalls cascading down the cliffs, but the strong winds were blowing the water back up and over the tops of the mountain, making it looks like the water was flowing in reverse--it was an incredible scene.

[ youtube video ]

That first storm let up and the rain stopped, and the first main wash we needed to cross had some water accumulating but was passable. We heard one of the guides for the other groups up ahead say that there was another round of storms coming. With about a half mile to go, the rain started again, and we heard the guide yell for everyone to get out of the wash we were following.

As we crossed Coyote Wash for the final time across the road from the trailhead parking lot, it was starting to flood and had a few inches of water, but it was still shallow enough to cross safely...it was a good thing we hadn't waited any longer to start back from The Alcove :). We debated whether to try driving out or wait for the storm to pass--a sign on House Rock Road just off Highway 89 warned, "Road Impassable When Wet." A small SUV started driving back toward the highway, so we switched on 4x4 and followed them...we'd be able to see if they had any trouble on the road, and if they could make it with lower clearance, we'd be fine. There was one muddy stretch where we did some sliding, but the water was low in the washes, and we made it back to the highway.

The storm cut our day short, so we didn't have time to see The Boneyard or the dinosaur tracks, which was disappointing. But I'd seen those last year, and the storm, the flooding, and the "reverse waterfalls" were an incredible experience that was probably more unique than seeing those places for a second time. The effect of the increase in daily permits was obvious with the number of people I saw this time compared to last year...not sure how I feel about that, though the permit increase may have been the reason I was able to come back a second time. Regardless, it was another memorable experience at The Wave, though very different from last year.
Fauna
Fauna
Tarantula
Geology
Geology
Natural Arch
Named place
Named place
Top Rock
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunrise

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Coyote Wash Medium flow Medium flow
Dry on the way in, starting to flood on the way out
Sep 17 2021
John10s
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 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Wildcat Tank HoodoosNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2021
John10s
Hiking1.68 Miles 223 AEG
Hiking1.68 Miles   1 Hour   5 Mns   2.46 mph
223 ft AEG      24 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
This was the second of two short hikes on a day spent mostly driving to northern Arizona/southern Utah for a multi-day trip. We parked ~ three-quarters of a mile from Stud Horse Point where the road started to get rough and sandy and hiked over to the hoodoos. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the scenery and the geology made it a worthwhile stop. I hadn't thoroughly read the guide for this spot and didn't realize until later that the hoodoos can also be accessed from below, near Wildcat Tank just to the north.

The road that we hiked was mostly in good shape; there was just one very rutted, sandy, steep area that validated our decision to hike the road rather than try driving it...looking at the one other triplog/photoset for this hike, I think that was the same spot where PaleoRob pulled someone's truck out of the sand in 2011. We had nice views of Lake Powell, Lone Rock, and a large spire/column nearby. The low water level in Lake Powell was obvious right away--the lake looks a lot smaller than what I remember seeing when I was in the area last year.

The hoodoos were up on a ridge overlooking a deep alcove of gray rock, and the formations were reminiscent of Toadstool and Wahweap Hoodoos. We spent a little time exploring and taking some pictures, and it looked like there were social trails that continued farther west around the rim of the canyon/alcove to more rock formations. This was another nice, short stop to stretch the legs and see some interesting landscape, and it was nice and quiet--we didn't see any other people or vehicles when we were out there.
Named place
Named place
Lake Powell Lone Rock
Sep 17 2021
John10s
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 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Hanging Gardens - PageNortheast, AZ
Northeast, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2021
John10s
Hiking1.29 Miles 89 AEG
Hiking1.29 Miles      30 Mns   3.10 mph
89 ft AEG      5 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
This was one of two short hikes on the drive north for a five day/four night trip to northern Arizona and southern Utah. It's a very fast, short, and easy hike just off Highway 89A near the Glen Canyon Dam. The views to the west aren't great, with a lot of buildings and power lines, but looking east toward Lake Powell and the white cliffs and rock formations is more scenic.

There were a few other hikers on the short route to Hanging Gardens, and it was a nice oasis in an otherwise extremely dry area, with cool shade and some greenery where water seeps out of the rock. The trail itself isn't terribly exciting, but we saw a chuckwalla, and this was a nice spot to stretch our legs on a day with a lot of driving.
Fauna
Fauna
Chuckwalla
Geology
Geology
Cross-bedding
1 archive
Sep 16 2021
John10s
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 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Boynton Bushwhack, AZ 
Boynton Bushwhack, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 16 2021
John10s
Hiking7.63 Miles 1,253 AEG
Hiking7.63 Miles   6 Hrs   10 Mns   1.91 mph
1,253 ft AEG   2 Hrs   10 Mns Break
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ishamod
A good friend and former co-worker decided to move back east where he grew up, so we organized a farewell hike before he leaves Arizona in a few days. I hadn't seen him or hiked with him since early March last year, right before the pandemic hit. With this being a weekday and since Boynton is always flooded with tourists on the weekends, I figured this could be a good chance to try to reach the large "cracked wall" cliff dwelling that I located but ran out of time to visit in late July.

Finding a good route up to the ruin last time made this a more efficient hike, and we headed directly to the side canyon I used last time to get up on top of the cliffs where it's located. The pools that were in that side canyon six weeks ago had dried up, but we still had to dodge poison ivy along the way. Once on top, we made our way through manzanita to the base of a rock formation with a small ruin where I turned around because of approaching last time. We took a break there while we planned out a route over to the cave, which would require navigating some thick brush and then some climbing. It looked like it could be quite a vertical scramble just to reach the ledge where we'd have to climb up into the cave. Based on descriptions I'd read about the difficulty, I had doubts that we'd actually be able to get inside, but we had to try.

As we got going, the brush was worse than expected. I was clipping the worst of it out of the way, and we all stomped through dead branches and picked up a lot of cuts and scratches. The brush opened up a little as we reached the bottom of the slope leading up to the cave. I stayed to the left and picked up a faint trail that avoided most of the foliage on the climb...one of my friends followed me; the other tried a different route to the right. I was pleasantly surprised by the climb up the slope--it wasn't as steep as it appeared from across the canyon, there were solid footholds in the steepest parts, and we reached the ledge below the cave without too much trouble.

To the left and below the large cave was a smaller one that had remains of two walls, some wooden beams, a bunch of corn cobs and pottery sherds, and part of a metate. That cave had some interesting erosion on the ceiling and extended far back into the wall but became too narrow to get back very far. From below the large cliff dwelling, we could see some Purtymun inscriptions on the right side of the cave...these were from Floyd and Swelle (?) Purtymun, and at least one other name that I couldn't make out--Stanley (something). The dates were a little hard to read, but one said 1926 and the other looked like 1917. The Purtymuns really did a lot of exploring (and vandalizing) in their time--this is the third canyon where I've seen their names inscribed at various ruins sites. And it must have been a big family--I've found different first names at every site.

We worked on climbing into the cave and tried various routes on the left, right, and center. Each area had surprisingly good hand/footholds partway up the wall, but it consistently felt like we were one final, solid hold away from being able to pull ourselves up any of the routes. I was about to give up, but my friend was determined to get at least one of us up there. He ended up getting down on all fours, and while I stood on his back, my other friend used his hands to give me an extra foothold as I tried again. I was finally able to get a solid grip on a large boulder and pulled myself up and in.

The ruin was very impressive--the front wall still has a lot of mortar intact but has "foundation problems" and has cracked from settling/sliding forward in the cave. That wall has two vents/lookout holes in it. A middle wall is fairly deteriorated, but there's a back room with an extremely well preserved wall and doorway, with a wood frame on the top. The glass jar with the register was located on the right side of the cave and had four or five loose pages in it. It was hard to read the names because the pencil in there wasn't great, but the most recent entries I found were from 8/29 and 9/2 this year. I had my friend throw a pen up to me, and I added our three names and wrote a farewell message to my friend who's moving.

Getting down wasn't as bad as expected...the only unsettling part was putting all my weight on the same boulder I'd used to pull myself up. The whole right side of the dwelling looks like it could slide out the front of the cave, and that boulder is heavy and sturdy, but it's sitting at an uncomfortable slant. In the position I was in, I didn't really have any choice but to trust it with my weight. Thankfully it held, and using my friends' hands and back again, I made it down. It was some great teamwork--it took three of us, but we got someone up and down safely, something I had serious doubts we'd be able to do today :).

We went over to the small cave and relaxed and ate lunch in the shade there before we started the descent. We found a less brushy route back to the smaller ruin, which saved us some time and scratches, then we headed back down the chute to the side canyon. On the hike out, my friend noticed a distant rock and thought he saw another ruin wall. I zoomed in and took a picture but didn't see anything of interest, but looking at the image later on a bigger screen, it turned out he was right--there was a small ruin wall halfway up a cliff...another one to explore :).

When we got back to the parking lot, someone named Kristen had left a note under our windshield wiper with her phone number and email address. It said that she was the person we'd talked to earlier with the dog, and she was wondering if we'd be her tour guide for a hike sometime. That was very strange, because we hadn't talked to anyone with a dog all day--or really anyone at all, for that matter--so it was probably a case of mistaken vehicle identity...

It was a great day, but a bittersweet farewell for my friend. I was happy we got to hike one last time before he moves away, and it was a fitting goodbye to sign our names in the register after I literally stood on his back to get up there. I'd been looking for and then trying to get into that cliff dwelling for almost 10 months, and it's one of the best I've seen in Sedona. Hopefully my friend will be back to visit often.
Named place
Named place
Boynton Canyon
2 archives
Sep 11 2021
John10s
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 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Bearfoot - Pine Canyon, AZ 
Bearfoot - Pine Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 11 2021
John10s
Hiking19.27 Miles 2,630 AEG
Hiking19.27 Miles   8 Hrs   51 Mns   2.35 mph
2,630 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
It was another hot weekend in the valley, so we made a last minute decision to try Bearfoot Trail near Pine, with a few different options to add some mileage on other routes as time permitted. The first 1-2 miles of the hike have a lot of power lines and road noise from the highway down below, but it gets a lot more enjoyable farther in. As others have noted in the guide/trip logs, Bearfoot features many seemingly unnecessary switchbacks as it meanders across relatively flat terrain. There are a lot of nice cabins/houses visible from (and in some cases very close to) the trail.

We were able to cover a lot of ground relatively quickly on Bearfoot, so we turned north onto Pine Canyon Trail just past the foot bridge, and we saw some temporary course markers for the Mogollon Monster 100km trail race that Aravaipa Running was hosting this weekend...fortunately, we didn't encounter the runners :). We took a quick detour over to Tiny Cave, which lived up to its name. It's a fairly deep cave, but the opening is only 12-18 inches in either direction, and I think the trail sign for Tiny Cave was actually larger than the cave opening itself.

The hike along Pine Canyon Trail was really enjoyable, with more shade and foliage than Bearfoot, taller trees, various types of mushrooms, and several stretches along the flowing creek, although there were a few areas with brown, dying ferns that looked out of place. We took another detour over to Parsnip Spring, which had a pool feeding into a small stream of water along the trail in that area. We were still making good time past Stradling Canyon, and it looked like we'd have plenty of time to hike to the north end of Pine Canyon Trail near Highway 87.

The majority of the elevation gain came on the final stretch up the switchbacks, and we enjoyed some of our best views of the day in that area--there are some nice rock formations and great views out over the mountains. I reached the top just before we needed to turn around to start back. There were a few campers up there, plus a pair of tents set up for the trail race that I believe started earlier that morning.

It as a pleasant hike out, and we only saw a handful of people on the trails all day. We passed a few elk, and about a mile before getting back to the Bearfoot Trailhead, I noticed a random Buddha statue perched on some rocks in the trunk of a tree...I hadn't noticed that the way in. Bearfoot had been our main destination for the day, but I ended up enjoying Pine Canyon Trail even more, and it was nice to get some elevation gain and some views from higher up on the rim, which wasn't part of the original plan. But most of the route was easy enough that we moved quickly and were able to cover a lot of ground, and it exceeded expectations.
Geology
Geology
Cross-bedding

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Parsnip Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout


water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Temple Canyon - Pine Creek Medium flow Medium flow
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout
1 archive
Sep 05 2021
John10s
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 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Keyhole Sink TrailFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 05 2021
John10s
Hiking1.64 Miles 169 AEG
Hiking1.64 Miles      48 Mns   2.40 mph
169 ft AEG      7 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
We took a quick detour over to Keyhole Sink before hiking Sycamore Rim Loop later in the morning. There's plenty of parking across the highway from the trailhead at Oak Hill Snow Play Area, and it's a flat, easy 0.8-mile hike through the forest to the box canyon with the petroglyphs. The seasonal waterfall at the the pool wasn't flowing, unfortunately, but I suspect it sees most of the action during the snow melt.

There were a few panels of petroglyphs along the left side of the small canyon, near the large boulder piles. Most of the panels were faded and a difficult to see clearly, but the largest panel further back had been "enhanced" in 2010 and had a lot of very clear, visible drawings. Based on diagrams we'd seen of the box canyon, it looked like all the rock art was on the back wall and left side, which was interesting since the right side had plenty of flat surfaces. We didn't wade into the murky pool to look for the drawings on the back wall :).

On the way out, we hiked up above the canyon to get some views looking down from up there. We had the place to ourselves and saw two other people hiking in our way out. Overall, it's quick, interesting stop to add to another hike if you're in the area, and I'm sure it's even more impressive when the waterfall is flowing.
Sep 05 2021
John10s
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 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Sycamore Canyon Rim LoopFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 05 2021
John10s
Hiking12.13 Miles 1,132 AEG
Hiking12.13 Miles   5 Hrs   27 Mns   2.55 mph
1,132 ft AEG      42 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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TboneKathy
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
We hiked Sycamore Rim Loop around this time last year and decided to come back and see if the falls were flowing after all the rain this summer. Our first stop of the morning was Keyhole Sink, then we drove over to Dow Spring Trailhead, our same starting point as last year. Even on the drive to the trailhead, the wildflowers were fantastic, and that continued throughout the hike. There was so much more color than our visit last September, when everything was dry and the sky was a hazy gray because of all the wildfire smoke...this time: a lot more green, more wildflowers, and a clear, blue sky.

We hiked the loop clockwise this time and did the lower/flatter part of the loop first, and there was a fair amount of water around Dow and L.O. Springs. I had a feeling Sycamore Falls wouldn't be flowing, though, when some of the areas of Sycamore Creek on the eastern part of the loop only had a trickle, not much different from last year. We took a short break at Sycamore Canyon Vista and enjoyed the overlook, and the trail was mostly empty to that point, with only two other groups of hikers.

We started to see more hikers and climbers near Sycamore Falls, which, as expected, was dry again this year. We did spend a little more time in that area and went over to the west side of the canyon and got some better views looking down into the canyon at the creek. The Pomeroy Tanks area had a lot of water and greenery, and there were some huge tad poles in the pools.

The mosquitoes were out of control on K.A. Hill, which was strange because that's one of the driest parts of the hike. We didn't take any time to enjoy the views up there since stopping meant getting immediately swarmed by mosquitoes...not that moving helped much anyway--I picked up a lot of bites along that part of the hike. The bug situation improved as we came down the other side of K.A. Hill, and the area around K.A. Trailhead was very green and beautiful--a lot more water and greenery there, too.

Even though Sycamore Falls wasn't flowing, this is always a really nice hike, and it was great to see all the flowers and bright colors. We'll have to come back during the snow melt sometime to see the falls. And we got lucky with the Labor Day traffic on I-17, with only a few slowdowns.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Double Tanks 26-50% full 26-50% full
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

dry Dow Spring Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Isham Spring Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Some nice big pools in the area, but didn't see any flowing water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Pomeroy Tanks 51-75% full 51-75% full
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout
Sep 04 2021
John10s
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 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Dome Mountain LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 04 2021
John10s
Hiking10.74 Miles 2,446 AEG
Hiking10.74 Miles   8 Hrs   19 Mns   1.90 mph
2,446 ft AEG   2 Hrs   40 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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ishamod
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
It was a hot weekend in Phoenix, but my friend didn't want to battle Labor Day traffic on I-17 to hike somewhere cooler up north, so we decided to stay local and start early to beat the heat. After doing a loop hike in the Goldfields in March, I've had my eye on Dome Mountain and suggested that for today. We started at Bulldog Canyon Gate, and there was only one other car in the lot when we started north on FR 10 and FR 1356, making our way around the west/northwest side of Dome Mountain. Early in the hike, we saw a huge scorpion squashed in the road, probably the victim of an ATV, and a frog that had suffered the same fate. We also saw some wildlife that wasn't dead--a frog or toad with red markings near the eyes hopped across the road.

Bulldog Canyon Wash was full of butterflies and moths, and there were a few pools of water along the way. We didn't bother going over to the cave that was marked on the official route--I'd seen it before from a distance, and it was a unique rock formation but didn't look particularly cave-like. We left the wash and went up and over the ridge with Mask Arch, stopping for a few photos there before continuing back down the other side and reconnecting with FR 10.

Once we were west of Dome Mountain, we left the road again and started making our way up the drainage, circling back to the southeast toward the saddle. The route had a lot more brush than I'd expected and really slowed down our pace. The temperature wasn't too bad, but the humidity was terrible--it didn't take long before our shirts and shorts were completely soaked, and the bill of my hat was dripping with sweat.

We picked up a lot of scratches on the slow hike up the drainage, and near the top, I heard a loud rattle that lasted 15+ seconds coming from some bushes up ahead. We never got a look at the rattlesnake but were happy to have the warning and steered clear of that area. The last mile up to the saddle took over an hour, and it was clear we were in for a longer day than originally planned. We took a break at the saddle and then did an out-and-back up to peak 3269 to the southwest, which was marked with a large cairn. It was a steep, rocky ascent with more brush, and I went over to 3239 a little farther south to check out the views before we headed back down to the saddle.

From there, we did a second out-and-back up to the summit, where we signed the register and took a break while enjoying views of the Superstitions, Four Peaks, and Red Mountain. We headed back down to the saddle and hoped the descent off the south side would be less brushy than the climb up the north side had been. The brush wasn't quite as bad, but the pace was still slow because of the steep slope and loose rock. Partway down, I heard my friend call out from behind, "I think I'm in trouble!" His legs were cramping so badly that he couldn't walk. Unfortunately, we were still on the steep slope--not in a position where I could safely help him or try to support his weight.

He was laying in the shade under a small tree, and I sat down with him while he slowly drank water. I had cell reception, so it was going to be easy to call for help if needed, but I hoped his leg cramps would pass so he could hike out on his own, or at least get to flatter terrain so I could do more to help him walk. I don't know how long we waited there, but his leg cramps eventually improved enough to try standing again, and we got off the steep, loose part of the slope.

We eventually connected with one of the forest roads that was visible from the saddle, and on a short uphill stretch, my friend's leg cramps returned again, so we took another break in the shade until they passed. Once we got going again, Route Scout failed on both of our phones, which I suspect was heat-related since the camera app on my phone had warning messages about overheating issues. The app still seemed to be recording, but the route I'd downloaded on RS had partially disappeared from the screen, and the app wasn't showing our position or zooming in/out correctly. My friend's phone screen wouldn't turn on at all, but RS was still announcing waypoints and mileage, so it was still active.

There wasn't any risk of getting seriously lost since we could just hike south and hit neighborhoods, but it wasn't a day when we wanted to add any unnecessary time or miles given my friend's leg cramps. Fortunately, the area was familiar enough that we made it back without any issues. The parking lot was still empty when we finished, and we'd only seen one ATV and two dirt bikers all day. It's a beautiful area, but not a hike I recommend on hot/humid days like this one...things got a little more interesting than I'd expected, but I was just happy my friend was able to walk out on his own.
Flora
Flora
Ocotillo
Geology
Geology
Natural Arch
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunrise
Aug 21 2021
John10s
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 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Sierra Ancha Cliff Dwelling Bushwhack, AZ 
Sierra Ancha Cliff Dwelling Bushwhack, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 21 2021
John10s
Hiking9.84 Miles 2,514 AEG
Hiking9.84 Miles   7 Hrs   55 Mns   1.55 mph
2,514 ft AEG   1 Hour   33 Mns Break
Linked none no linked trail guides
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TboneKathy
During the Tonto National Forest closure earlier this summer, I spent some time researching the locations of a few of the lesser-known cliff dwelling sites in the Sierra Anchas and came away a pretty good idea where two or three of them were located. We set out today looking for one specific site that I'd spotted from a long distance on a previous hike. Even though I'd seen it from far away, getting over there was sure to be challenging...it always looks simple from a mile away, but the brush and the terrain are rarely simple up close. Studying topo maps, I drew up a route and hoped for the best...

After all the rain this summer, the Sierra Anchas had more water than I'd ever seen and plenty of wildflowers. The trail was extremely overgrown, to the point that it was almost nonexistent in a lot of places, and I had hedge clippers out most of the day, clearing a path along the way. The last stretch of trail before we exited toward the ruins was rough, with several areas where rocks and trees had fallen across the trail toward steep drop-offs and talus slopes.

Shortly before we left the trail, I noticed a large cave up in the canyon wall that I recognized from an old photo I came across during my research, a location that has another cliff dwelling. The cave was so high in the wall and the trees and brush on the steep slope leading up to it were thick enough that we couldn't see anything inside, but we decided to explore that on the way out and continue toward our first destination.

The on-trail portion of the route was already overgrown, but the off-trail stretch was essentially a wall of thorn-covered branches that felt like nature's version of a barbed wire fence. As soon as we left the trail, we were crossing a rocky slope covered in thick thorns. I continued trimming branches as we inched along, but that killed our pace. We were approaching our turnaround time, and I could tell the bushwhacking would take more time than we had today. My partner waited in a small clearing while I pushed through more brush and continued exploring in the direction of the ruins for a few more minutes. The brush finally opened up a little, and I ended up ~0.15 mile from the waypoint I'd marked, but it was still going to take a lot of time. I couldn't see through all the trees up toward the cliff wall with the ruins, but I suspected it was a few hundred feet above and further along the wall. Close, but not enough time today...

As I headed back into the brush toward my partner, I heard a rattle and saw a fairly large rattlesnake 5-10 feet away. It wasn't coiled and slithered away. Going through all that brush today without being able to see what we were stepping on most of the time, we got very lucky that we didn't have any closer encounters with snakes than that...

We bushwhacked back to the trail and headed back to explore the cave we'd spotted on the way in. Given our time constraints and the steep approach, my partner stayed behind while I started up. The first 15 feet of the climb were the most challenging, with lots of loose dirt and rock...higher up, the slope leveled off slightly and there were more trees to grab onto. When I reached the base of the cliff, I found a metal memorial sign to the left of the cave that said, "Herb, 56 99, Outdoorsman." If anyone knows the history behind the sign, I'd love to hear it.

The cave was enormous, but the opening was ~15 feet up from the base of the cliff and not easily accessible. Standing directly below it, I still couldn't see inside. The vertical wall just left of the cave looked reasonably climbable, with quite a few hand and footholds, and someone had piled rocks at the base of the wall for better access to the footholds. I'm sure decent climbers would have no problem going up, and I desperately wanted to make the climb, but being up there by myself, I figured it wasn't wise to take any chances and risk a crippling fall, lest I end up with a memorial next to Herb's :).

[ youtube video ]

I looked for alternate routes into the cave from the right side and from directly below it, but that vertical wall on the left looked like the best option...but not today. Based on the research I'd done, I think there's two-level cliff dwelling in that cave, so it was disappointing to get so close and walk away...another site I'll have to come back and visit on a day with more time and when I can bring partner(s) up there so we can try to make the climb. I need to plan a camping trip out there to give myself a full day to explore without the long drive at both ends of the day.

By the time we wrapped up the hike, we'd covered almost 10 miles, many of those very slowly through thick brush. At the end of the day, I was covered in blood, scratches, and tattered clothes...I looked like I'd spent the day in a small room with a bunch of angry cats :). Even though we came up short on both sites (~0.15 miles from the first site, and ~10 yards below the second one ](*,) ), I always enjoy days like these, exploring hard-to-reach destinations. And finding a second ruins site en route to the first one was an unexpected bonus...I'll hopefully be back soon to try it again.
Flora
Flora
Indian Paintbrush
Culture
Culture
Memorial
Aug 01 2021
John10s
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 Routes 22
 Photos 1,371
 Triplogs 77

37 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Reynolds Rain Out, AZ 
Reynolds Rain Out, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 01 2021
John10s
Hiking4.42 Miles 1,225 AEG
Hiking4.42 Miles   3 Hrs   9 Mns   1.83 mph
1,225 ft AEG      44 Mns Break
1st trip
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ishamod
TboneKathy
The forecast in the upper Sierra Anchas was a little questionable going into the day, but late morning/afternoon rain chances were in the 15-30% range early in the morning, so we decided to go for it. Driving east on Highway 60, we saw the lingering effects of the flash flooding around Miami a few days before. With a wetter/more active monsoon season this year, there was more water flowing in Reynolds Creek along FR 410, a lot more green foliage, and more downed trees, though they'd all been cleared off the road. We saw a few campers parked along FR 410, and one vehicle with campers in the small parking area at the trailhead.

Before we even got on the trail, we had concerns that the weather might cut our day short, with dark clouds and thunderheads already starting to gather ~8AM. I've hiked from Reynolds Creek Trail five times now, and the first half mile was more overgrown than I'd ever seen it. Most of it was soft leaves and branches, but there were also stretches that were thick with wild raspberries with sharp thorns that were no fun to push through. The early creek crossings had water flowing, the first time I'd seen that here, and Reynolds Creek Falls was also flowing. The biggest part of the falls is tucked so far back in the narrow canyon that it's not visible from the trail, and with the weather looking like it was, we didn't take time to go over there for a closer look and just snapped a few pictures of the smaller, upper falls from a distance.

The trail beyond the falls was even more overgrown, to the point that it was almost invisible in places, but the benefit was a variety of wildflowers everywhere. We turned onto Center Mountain Trail, which was also extremely overgrown with wild raspberries, and picked up a lot of scratches as we trimmed branches out of the way as we hiked. It started sprinkling along that stretch, let up for a while, then started up again as we got up to the edge of the canyon with incredible views over Cherry Creek down below. The clouds were beautiful but provided more signs that our day was going to get cut short--more rain clouds and thunderheads building everywhere.

The rain got a little heavier, and we waited under some trees to see if it would pass and started packing stuff into dry bags, but we ultimately decided to call it a day and head back since it looked like it would continue well into the afternoon, and lightning was a concern, as was flooding if the rain kept up. Any doubts about out decision to start back disappeared quickly as the sky opened up and it started thundering. We got absolutely soaked on the way out, and it was surprisingly chilly hiking back in soggy clothes. The falls were flowing even heavier with the rain, but we were focused on getting out and didn't take time to stop.

The rain let up and the sun came back out over the last few tenths of a mile, and we finally paused near the final creek crossing to enjoy the water. Back at the parking lot, there were two other vehicles, and a third pulled in as we packed up. Early on the drive back out on FR 410, there was a large tree blocking the road, which must have fallen in the few minutes between the other vehicle arriving and us leaving. We were able to clear out some of the larger branches, but the main tree trunk was too heavy to move...luckily, we had just enough space to squeeze past it.

Since the hike got cut so short, we stopped at a few lookouts along 288 with views of Roosevelt Lake, Four Peaks, and Hog Canyon. It was still relatively early, and we considered exploring some of the ruins sites down Cherry Creek Road, but it was getting hot at the lower elevations, and the sites we wanted to see were going to take more time that we had today. Having exhausted other options, we stopped at Tonto National Monument, which was open until 5PM, but when we pulled in, a sign said that the cliff dwellings close at noon. Not sure why the monument stays open later than the cliff dwellings...that's like a grocery store staying open into the evening but cutting off food sales at noon :).

When we set out in the morning, the plan to spend most of our time doing some off-trail exploring, but the day didn't turn out as expected, and we had to head back just as we got to the most scenic areas. Even though it ended up being a short hike, it was certainly a memorable one. We technically started and ended in the sunshine, but the middle was a little unpleasant :).
Meteorology
Meteorology
Cumulonimbus Thunderhead
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Reynolds Creek Falls - Sierra Ancha Medium flow Medium flow
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout
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average hiking speed 2.01 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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