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Coon Spring Trail #124 - 6 members in 20 triplogs have rated this an average 3.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Apr 04 2020
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 74
 Photos 1,014
 Triplogs 132

35 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Parker - Moody - Coon Loop, AZ 
Parker - Moody - Coon Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Apr 04 2020
jacobemerick
Backpack30.02 Miles 7,970 AEG
Backpack30.02 Miles2 Days         
7,970 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Souped-up version of a classic Sierra Ancha lasso. I can imagine this being done as a day hike if one trimmed some extra out.

Parker Creek #160
This trail was a dream, if a cold one. Creek was rushing loudly and trail in 'okay' shape - some non-prickly overgrowth and at least a dozen deadfall - on the way up to the saddle. Can imagine this being a real winner in the summer months. Past the saddle the overgrowth got more pokey and that last little climb from the Rim Trail junction is just mean. Reached the east end and pulled some water from a spring off of FR 487 before Peterson TH.

Abbey's Way #151
First half mile was fantastic, open meadows and seeping water around the old ranch site. Sections of the trail were flooded. Then the climb starts, and with it the deadfall and prickly stuff. Trail is in much worse shape than it was in the summer of '18 during my last visit. It's not bad enough where you'll get lost or have to route-find, just be ready for bloodshed and tears, etc. On Aztec Peak I stopped for third-breakfast at the stone patio area and shivered in the wind. Descended down FR 487 to the ranger cabin and the unmarked Moody TH.

Moody's Point #140
Dreary switchbacks through heavy fire damage for the first mile. Well-maintained, and good views, but dreary surroundings. Glad I did this section heading downhill. Closer to Rim Trail things liven up, mixed forests and plenty of green, and I was back in love. Trickling water along sections of trail east of Rim. Once I dropped off the 'tip' I was shocked to see recent maintenance on the trail, huge cairns and clean tread. It was fabulous. The maintenance stopped about 500' above where I turned around last month... yeah. That burned. Fought for a half-mile through thick stuff and then cruised along the ridge. Having now finished this trail, I'd say that's no worse than any other trail out here, get the right mindset and push through the half-mile of nasty.

Deep Creek #128
Little roller coaster through numerous tributaries of Deep Creek. After the visual overload of the last few hours this one felt a bit bland. Plus, there was no flowing water on the creek beds, only a few standing puddles, which, given the busy state of Parker Creek, I had been expecting more. Never Go Dry made for a decent water-pull / lunch spot. Oh, and there were some neat campsites along the tributaries. Cruised the last few miles to the TH and debated life decisions.

Coon Creek #124
First 1.5 miles was easy going on the old roadbed and I kept staring ahead at Coon Creek canyon, wondering if it was reasonable to attempt tomorrow or if bailing on forest roads made more sense. Then the trail twists and plunges down to the creek itself, and half of the descent was cairn-less guesswork down washed-out gullies. Found a few markers before the creek and pulled to full capacity before climbing the other side. Either the afternoon shade or the frequent copses made the climb much more pleasant than the drop had been. When I got to the wilderness boundary I found a used campsite with a flat pad and decided to call it for the day.

Camp: did a basic cowboy setup, as it's lighter than my current hammock gear. Used a new pad and melatonin to attempt to get a decent sleep - as an anxious side-sleeper, I rarely get more than hour-long stretches outside. Vast improvement. Woke up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle Coon Creek.

Coon Creek #254
Returned to junction and sped north. First half mile, over the saddle and down to the drainage, was pretty darn easy, and the saddle itself was dreamy. The drainage is where route-finding starts to get difficult, with brush and disuse hiding the way forward. Had to stop frequently to look for cairns. The burn got bad 1.1 miles from junction, where the pines were scorched, and route-finding got more difficult, as sections of tread were washed out. At 1.5 miles the trail drops down to the creek and it stays there, jumping back and forth on frequent crossings. I lost count after a dozen. Sometimes I followed it on the banks until I lost it (or the thorny stuff got too painful), other times I'd just rock-hop. The trail is definitely still there, and with a trimmer and some rebuilding of creek-crossing cairns it could be revived, and I saw no evidence of major wash-out or irrevocable damage. Pretty sure it jumps up on the west bank around 6155' and stays there, though I stuck to the creek bed until the far side of Trailside Spring drainage (where the creek flow pretty much trickled to nothing), and had to do some mild scrambling before hacking up to the old trail and crawling/crying through large swaths of truly terrible thorny thickets. At least I think I found Mud Spring along the way.

Parker Creek #160
Switched over to auto-pilot mode. This is a fun one to trot down. Two groups of day-hikers, the only other people I saw all weekend #socialdistancing

Sierra Ancha Miles: 38.8/59.1 (65.6%)
Culture
Culture
Campsite
Meteorology
Meteorology
Snow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Coon Creek Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Creek and spring and tank were all quite full / overfull.

dry Deep Creek Tank Dry Dry
Like, super dry.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Hunt Spring Dripping Dripping
Few puddles at Rim Trail crossing. Still haven't found the 'real' dependable source.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Mud Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Water trickling down rock face into Coon Creek, lots of grass and moss makes me feel like this could be dependable throughout much of the year.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Never Go Dry Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
Both tanks along trail full, source of tanks was trickling clear water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 South Fork Parker Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
Great flow throughout the entire creek.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Upper South Fork Parker Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
_____________________
May 19 2018
CannondaleKid
avatar

 Guides 43
 Routes 138
 Photos 21,830
 Triplogs 2,216

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Coon Creek Butte - Aztec Peak Quad, AZ 
Coon Creek Butte - Aztec Peak Quad, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 19 2018
CannondaleKid
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,749 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   5 Hrs   46 Mns   1.43 mph
1,749 ft AEG      10 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
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trixiec
Another peak on my list for far too long... probably due to not worth the long drive just for one peak.

Well then, let's make a weekend of it. So we drove up Friday afternoon, found a nice shady spot just over a quarter mile from the Oak Creek Cabin and set up camp.
(Surprisingly, the cabin was practically spotless inside, with no evidence of critters, but with no a speck of shade within a hundred yards, we settled for our tents.)

Up with the sun, we hit the trail not long after 6 am,leaving plenty of time for extra wandering. We followed Coon Spring Trail 124 from the cabin to the intersection with the now-decommissioned Coon Creek Trail 254. At that point we set off for the climb up Coon Creek Butte.

I had spent plenty of time on Route Editor using both Topo and Satellite view hoping for a relatively easy ascent. Initially we thought following cow paths would lead us through the worst of the thick vegetation but that didn't last long. While the route we chose had the mildest slope, the trade-off was thickets of among other vegetation, the dreaded mature holly and manzanita.

Knowing this wasn't Tracey's favorite kind of hiking, I thought ahead and had my titanium-blade shears, so when faced with a seemingly dead-end, out came the shears and even 1-1/2" holly or manzanita were cut through like nothing. Thankfully we reached the rocky cliff-like area where there were what seemed like a series of steps and soon we were into the very mild slope of grass. (Yup, I brought gaiters for Tracey, so no fox-tail complaints today)

Once up top things opened up, probably due to it being so flat and many areas with exposed flat bedrock. Since we approached from the northwest we had a nice walk to the summit, wherever it was... it was so flat there I could walk hundreds of feet in any direction with no more than a 1-foot change in elevation on the GPS. There was no summit cairn or log to be found so Tracey found a nice smooth boulder to take a break while I did my usual summit photos and video before joining her in admiring the western view.

As usual, in hopes of finding more items of interest we took a different return route. Shortly before dropping back down we encountered some well-used deer/elk trails, which made for much easier going than the climb was. We considered ourselves lucky those trails led us to one of the very few gaps in the cliff-like rocky areas. We still had watch every step through the boulders, but once through, it was pretty clear sailing, taking the shears out only where the game trail went against the grain in a few places.

Since we took a different route down, we had a longer walk to reconnect with the Coon Spring Trail, but once we reached it, rather than turn back we decided to follow it farther east, seeking a shady spot for our lunch. But since the trail was more open, there was no shade, and the farther we went the hotter it got. So we turned around and went back to the last shade on some flat boulders in the drainage adjacent to the trail.

After our lunch-break we took a leisurely stroll along the trail back to the cabin.
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CannondaleKid
1 archive
Apr 20 2018
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 374
 Photos 6,634
 Triplogs 491

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Upper Coon Creek Ruin, AZ 
Upper Coon Creek Ruin, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 20 2018
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking6.00 Miles 1,333 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   7 Hrs   12 Mns   0.83 mph
1,333 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
Grasshopper
Ssk44 found another ruin on Google Earth for us to go check out. This one was on a ridge overlooking upper Coon Creek, hence the name. We started the hike at the Bull Canyon TH on 203A and then took the Coon Spring Trail #124 to where we would start off trail. GH had led ssk44 and Randal_Schulhauser up to this same area 6 years ago looking for cliff dwellings with no luck. [ photoset ] Could ssk44 be getting back at GH for leading them on that fruitless boon doggle years ago? :-k That thought briefly crossed my mind but I quickly dismissed it. We used GH's gps track from that adventure to guide us and it proved to be helpful in finding a route through the thick scrub oak and manzanita that covered much of the off-trail portion of our hike. We were surprised to see the occasional beer bottle or can marking our route. It appears that others, perhaps hunters, have been attracted to this same remote off-trail area.

The seemingly endless thrashing through the brush slowed us down considerably so we were approaching our turn around time as we neared the ruin. With one last obstacle, a deep ravine, to cross and running out of time and energy we decided to turn around and head back without reaching the ruin. However we were close enough to see the ruin across the ravine and get some zoomed photos to prove its existence. Based on those photos and the Google Earth image I estimate that the ruin had about 6 to 8 fairly large rooms and was a pueblo style ruin with no surrounding defensive wall. The walls had mostly collapsed but had sections that were 3 to 4 feet high. The large amount of rocks mounded up where the walls had collapsed indicated it had fairly massive and high walls back in its day.

So, another one of ssk44's GE ruin finds confirmed. Although we couldn't make it all the way to the ruins, the views along the way as usual in the Sierra Ancha, still made the hike a success. I've lost track of the number of ssk44 GE ruin finds that have been confirmed in the last year between the three of us (GH, ssk44 and myself). But I think it's been at least 8.

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3 archives
Mar 03 2018
MountainMatt
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 Guides 3
 Routes 192
 Photos 3,331
 Triplogs 500

28 male
 Joined Jan 24 2016
 Arizona
Southern Sierra Ancha Tour, AZ 
Southern Sierra Ancha Tour, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 03 2018
MountainMatt
Hiking11.84 Miles 3,377 AEG
Hiking11.84 Miles   8 Hrs   40 Mns   1.81 mph
3,377 ft AEG   2 Hrs   7 Mns Break30 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
BethMarie
A weekend in paradise!

Arrived at the our 5 star Air BNB late Friday night and slept in luxury which led to a fresh early start.
This was my first time in this area and I was in awe of how beautiful and rugged the terrain looks as we descended down to upper Coon Creek spring.
Rather vague cow paths and a bit of bushwhacking with steep gain after crossing the creek and heading up #124 just as the description states which at the time of the hike I had no idea someone had done a portion of this specific route/agenda before.

Even in the morning the sun exposure was a bit rough until reaching the shaded forest immediately after crossing a side canyon which at that point most of the climb was already over with.

Saw a shiny new 4Runner at the remote TH and left them some fruit snacks because I figured they would enjoy a sugary treat.
Not a cloud in the sky and not much wind made for such a surprisingly warm day, 82oz of water was packed but complete lack of shade during high sun seemed to drain us all.

The remnants of the ancient civilization housing was amazing as expected and would love to spend some more time climbing around and inspecting other areas of interest nearby.

We had agreed about the idea of not wanting to do an out and back throughout the day and were willing to take on the challenge of taking it off trail in the Anchas.
Again the sun exposure was an issue and it just felt downright hot as we descended and fought through some gnarly vegetation.
Cliffed out the Coon canyon edge but continued downstream and it was that point I was literally praying we would find surface water near the lower spring.

Caught a glimpse of slick rock and saw what I was hoping was water and not a crude mirage and after a few more minutes we were splashing around in a cool bounty of much needed H2O.

With relief we took a much needed break in the cool shade, filtered and loaded our bottles and marched up and out back towards home.
After that it was more of them same going up and down through some rough land but after many scratches and pricks we finally made it back to our homestead.

We had company over at the house Saturday night as we were joined by two bearded beer beasts and a legendary schnauzer.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Coon Creek Spring Dripping Dripping
Reliable pools of water above and below the Lower Coon Creek Spring.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Coon Creek Spring Dripping Dripping
Stagnant spring box water, nothing in the creek bed.

dry Oak Creek Dry Dry
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http://www.mattwhelanphotography.com/
2 archives
Mar 03 2018
BethMarie
avatar

 Photos 11
 Triplogs 1

35 female
 Joined Feb 27 2018
 Flagstaff, AZ
Coon creek to Nordhoff Hope cliff dwellings, AZ 
Coon creek to Nordhoff Hope cliff dwellings, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 03 2018
BethMarie
Hiking11.80 Miles 3,377 AEG
Hiking11.80 Miles   8 Hrs   40 Mns   1.36 mph
3,377 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I'm not 100% sure how to use this site yet but here is my attempt at posting pictures and a trip-log.
This was my second venture into the southern Sierra Ancha mountains, and involved a partial on trail loop
and partial "shortcut" which is always a mistake.
Coon creek is beautiful and really has some great views and shows the ruggedness of these mountains,
and takes you through multiple different types of terrain as you dip down toward the creek bed and
climb to the rim.
The Nordhoff-hope ruins are impressive in how many rooms you can find, but leave you with plenty of
cactus needles and cat claw scratches as souvenirs. They are very exposed and do not have as many
standing walls as I had hoped, but were still amazing.
1 archive
Apr 18 2016
Craigbhikin
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 Photos 321
 Triplogs 43

57 male
 Joined Apr 11 2011
 Mesa, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 18 2016
Craigbhikin
Hiking4.40 Miles 1,357 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles
1,357 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Great hike, and great weather. About 1 quart per minute from the spring, but a good amount flowing through the creak. Stopped off to see the ruins.
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Craigbehikin
Apr 01 2012
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 321
 Photos 6,886
 Triplogs 515

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 01 2012
DarthStiller
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,288 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   1.64 mph
1,288 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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Alex
Alex and I had this hike planned last month, but I woke up that morning to find that my vehicle had a flat tire. Making a trip out this far doesn't seem like a wise idea, so we postponed. Then, the day before this trip, I pulled a back muscle while doing yard work, causing some lower back pain and back spasms. However, I was undeterred. No way was I going to cancel this twice. Plus, I knew that keeping active is actually somewhat helpful for this sort of thing. Hiking or jogging usually loosens my back up when it acts up like this.
The ride to the trailhead had some discomfort. Pretty much a dull ache sitting in the car. The bumpy dirt road didn't do much to help it. Normally I hike with one hiking pole, but today having two seemed like a pretty good idea, even a requirement. Once we started out at the Bull Canyon TH, I was already feeling better. About a half mile in, everything felt almost normal.

The trail gets pretty faint during the switchback section just before you reach Coon Spring and Coon Creek. That campground area was very nice and had a lot of shade. There was a metal and a concrete trough there. On the concrete trough was a pottery shard. Odd that someone placed it there. Just past Coon Creek we saw what we think were mountain lion tracks and a lot of elk tracks. At one point we saw a glimpse of a deer running through the pinyon pines a hundred yards or so away. We also saw a fir tree, which looked really out of place in this area. I wondered if a seed got inadvertently left from a hiker's boot from a previous hike.

The junction with the Coon Creek Trail #254 was easy to spot, but the sign looked pretty beat up. Seeing at this trail fades away pretty fast (according to the triplogs), we decided not to explore it. After we got to the other trailhead, we walked a little further to the Oak Creek Cabin and had lunch in some actual chairs and at a table. The graffiti inside the cabin was pretty entertaining.

Even after just a brief break for lunch, my back had tightened up again. Luckily we had that section of road to walk to give it time to loosen up again before we got to the more narrow trail. As we got to the end of the hike, the wind began to pick up.

Originally we planned to hit the Norhoff-Hope Indian ruins. After how tight my back was after lunch I didn't think this was going to be an option. Once we got to the car, however, I decided to make quick drive over to see if my back could handle it. (See next triplog).
Flora
Flora
Mariposa Lily
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Apr 01 2012
Alex
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 Photos 101
 Triplogs 16

55 male
 Joined Feb 23 2008
 gold canyon
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 01 2012
Alex
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,290 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   1.64 mph
1,290 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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DarthStiller
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Mar 17 2012
ssk44
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 Guides 19
 Routes 12
 Photos 2,283
 Triplogs 285

46 male
 Joined Mar 31 2008
 Gilbert, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 17 2012
ssk44
Hiking6.50 Miles 2,000 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles   8 Hrs      0.81 mph
2,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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Grasshopper
Randal_Schulhauser
Coon Spring Trail #124 - East


Ruin hunting with Hank and Randal

We didn't find the smoking gun on this outing. I did find a definite maybe. I prefer to use my imagination at times. It makes it more fun and helps justify the 50 degree scree/boulder slides and nasty bushwhacking that come with the deal on this type of stuff. Saturday was a great adventure and I'd do it all over again. If you keep throwing darts at a wall, a few are guaranteed to stick. Persistence wins in this game. The Sierra Ancha Mountains are full of surprises.

Thanks for inviting me on this one Hank. It was nice meeting you Randal. :D


Eric (ssk44)
Named place
Named place
Coon Creek Coon Creek Butte
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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ISAIAH 6:2-3 / MATTHEW 11:28-30
Mar 17 2012
Randal_Schulhauser
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 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

60 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 17 2012
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking7.58 Miles 2,441 AEG
Hiking7.58 Miles   8 Hrs      0.95 mph
2,441 ft AEG
 
Partners partners
Grasshopper
ssk44
In Search of Ancients - Coon Spring Trail #124 March 2012


A trek to the Sierra Ancha led to some speculative talk about the potential of unknown to us cliff dwellings in a seemly prime location => http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=245315

I sent a PM to Hank (aka Grasshopper) =>

With my curiosity piqued with this "find", I spent the evening pouring over my dog eared copy of Rich Lange's "Echoes in the Canyon". From what I can tell, Lange didn't venture up the Coon Creek drainage beyond Coon Spring.

The only cataloged cliff dwellings in Coon Creek are Nordhoff-Hope http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=15349 and Hematite House http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=765

I was trying to place your photo location onto a topo map. I think the alcove in the photo located approximately @ 33.789765 and -110.907145

Thoughts? You can twist my arm for a reconnaissance mission. No hockey games or opera this weekend...


Randal




Hank digitally enhanced some images and put together an off-trail route to this promising alcove. With an agreed upon rendezvous at 7am Saturday at the Holiday Inn at Hwy 60 and Country Club, Hank, Erik (aka ssk44), and I consolidated our gear into my F150 and we were off to the Bull Canyon TH at the edge of the Sierra Ancha Wilderness.

We start off on the quarter mile segment of Deep Creek Trail #128 and soon reach the intersection with Coon Creek Trail #124. Another mile along Coon Creek Trail #124 where we see a likely game trail to take us up along the planned ridgeline bushwhack up to the alcove. We come across evidence of a hunting camp (left over sleeping bag, beer cooler, and coke cans - come on, pack out your shit!) - or was it a feeble attempt at some cannabis farming? We soon come upon "Elk Dell" with plenty of evidence of elkian (is that a word? http://www.rmef.org/AllAboutElk/ElkHabitat/ ) habitation - elk pellets, antlers, maybe a vertebrae or two... => http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=246552

We then come upon an expansive scree field making for some interesting scrambles up to the cliff line and the alcoves. With much "poking around" and some debate about are we or are we not at the alcove depicted in the digitally enhanced photo. A hidden cave shows some promise, but no obvious evidence of ancient habitation. The collapsed overhang could have buried all evidence of the ancients. We saw no rock art, no ceramics, no corn husks or other evidence...

With 2:30pm upon us and our agreed turnaround time, we head down stream to a potential minor cliff line to rule out one last possible location. Nothing there and we join our GPS path back to the trail head.

Well we leave with no definitive proof of ancient habitation at these sites, but we certainly had an exhilarating trek into the Sierra Ancha! Couple of choice beverages at the TH after an estimated 8+ miles off-trail and 2600+ feet AEG until Hank posts the actuals from his GPS. We head out along FR203A and FR203 in darkness and an approaching winter storm. Our efforts to get a meal in Miami, Superior, and Gold Canyon are all thwarted - what's with everyone closing kitchens at 8pm on a Saturday night? Oh well, great excuse getting together with Hank and Erik again to hit the trails and finish up with a choice meal (before 8pm)...

PS. See that Hank posted the GPS route for FR203A drive to the TH => http://hikearizona.com/map.php?GPS=11767 and our off-trail hike => http://hikearizona.com/map.php?GPS=11769
Flora
Flora
Alligator Juniper
Culture
Culture
HAZ Rides
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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Mar 17 2012
Grasshopper
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 Guides 45
 Routes 472
 Photos 8,616
 Triplogs 533

75 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 17 2012
Grasshopper
Hiking7.60 Miles 2,441 AEG
Hiking7.60 Miles   8 Hrs      1.32 mph
2,441 ft AEG   2 Hrs   15 Mns Break
 
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Randal_Schulhauser
ssk44
Sierra Ancha Wilderness- Coon Spring Tr#124 from Bull Canyon TH- "Off Trail" hike search for possible Salado Cliff Dwelling Site--> http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=246579

Six days prior-to this Saint Patrick's Day-3/17 hike, Randal and I hiked in from the west- the Oak Creek TH for an out and back 3.6 miles one way of this 4.6 mile Trail#124. On this previous 3/11 day hike I was particularly interested in capturing in pics some of the outlying cliff face areas that were along our trail route. Since my very first visit to this scenic and remote Sierra Ancha area in April'08, I had often thought of returning to this area for some "off trail" hiking in search of possible lesser know Salado Cliff Dwelling Sites.

Here is the "chain of events" that prompted our return visit on this Saint Patty's Day-3/17 :) :
..With my 3/11/12 picset posted on HAZ there was much interest (me and other HAZ members) in my pic#28 area.. http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=245315 ;
..I received an unexpected PM from our HAZ-Outdoor Lover(Pam) congratulating me on possibly locating a cliff dwelling site (ie, this pic#28) :-k Pam & I later discussed on a phone call;
..I forwarded my original of this pic#28 to our HAZ-ssk44(Eric) for another opinion;
..Eric replied back to me with this above linked pic copy of my digitally enhanced and sharpened pic#28; Eric also felt very positive regarding this possible cliff dwelling location;
..I forwarded this same digitally enhanced and sharpened pic to Randal for another opinion;
..Randal reviewed this pic and it prompted him to review a copy of Rich Lange's bible "Echoes in the Canyon". From what he could conclude, Lange didn't venture up the Coon Creek drainage beyond Coon Spring;
..Randal offered to drive :lol: ;
..On Fri-3/16 I invited Pam and Eric to join Randal and myself for this 3/17 mostly "off trail" adventure; Unfortunately, Pam had just completed two straight days of hiking some tough stuff on 3/15-16 and was just not able to join us for this Saturday with such short notice;

We three had a grand adventure, a long day & a tough off trail, but a very rewarding area.

Unfortunately, we could not confirm a Salado Cliff Dwelling site at our destination, but we did confirm up close and personal on 3/17 what we were seeing from a distance in my 3/11 picset within pic#28 that prior-to our 3/17 visit appeared to be a possible cliff dwelling site:
It was actually the alcove overhang and cliff wall (right side) that shows up well in Eric's picset pic#15 linked here--> http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=246560

We shall return..the hunt continues.. :)
Named place
Named place
Coon Creek
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
Mar 11 2012
Randal_Schulhauser
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 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

60 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 11 2012
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking6.71 Miles 1,783 AEG
Hiking6.71 Miles   5 Hrs      1.34 mph
1,783 ft AEG
 
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Grasshopper
Coon Springs Revisited - March 2012

Hank (aka Grasshopper) PM'd me asking if I'd be interested in getting out to the Sierra Anchas. With a Coon Springs Trail #124 objective, I saw this as an opportunity to see where our original trail description "bushwhack" lost the now cairned trail.

A rendezvous at the Holiday Inn where we consolidated items into my F-150 and we were headed to the Oak Creek Cabin TH. Down to the spring in good time allowed Hank to check out the spring source and log it for future reference? We crossed Coon Creek as I recalled on my earlier trek and saw the game trail heading straight up that seemed to follow the pack trail markings on my old topo map. The "real trail" heads slightly north and proceeds to take a number of switchbacks. The lack of use and much overgrowth can make it very easy to lose the trail. We managed to do this a couple of times, but recovered.

As you exit the switch backs, you soon follow what I believe is an old mining road as evidence by the mining audits found along the way. We took our lunch break at one of the filled audits.

With the Bull Basin TH across some uninteresting open chaparral, we turned around and headed back to the truck. Nothing like a trail head BBQ to end a nice trek!

See Hank posted our route (6.71 miles, 1,783 AEG) => http://hikearizona.com/map.php?GPS=11705

FR189 was lined with wildflowers. Caught a couple of images on the drive out. Photos to follow...
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Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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Mar 11 2012
Grasshopper
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 Guides 45
 Routes 472
 Photos 8,616
 Triplogs 533

75 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 11 2012
Grasshopper
Hiking6.70 Miles 1,783 AEG
Hiking6.70 Miles   5 Hrs      1.68 mph
1,783 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 
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Randal_Schulhauser
From my first trip log visit in April'08 to hike this Trail#124 which still applies for this second visit-

"Another grand day and trail hike in our Tonto NF-Sierra Ancha Wilderness. This Coon Creek and springs area offers some excellent perks, like: relatively easy off road access to remote Oak Creek TH at 4715' elev(via a high clearance vehicle) with stellar views for the entire ~4.7ml drive to the TH; Along the way and close too this TH are a select few campsites, some nicely oak shaded, and an old historic wooden cabin that has been restored for camping (with major scenic area views, a full roof, entrance door, repaired walls, clean cement floor, and with replaced windows).. an excellent "first come-first serve" and FREE weekend camping escape with a view!"


I invited Randal Schulhauser (hike description author) to join me and then I asked him if he would also consider driving us in his fancy new, roomy 4-door Ford F-150 4x4. Thank you Randal. For our 2 hour and 45 minute one way drive, thanks too for your interest in asking me to name the
"Ten Essentials" of hiking which allowed me all the time I needed to :SB: these ten and "beyond the ten".. I know you were relieved when we finally arrived at the TH :lol:

There are thirteen published Tonto NF hiking trails in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness and this one is in my top four. I particularly enjoy this hiking area for the reasons stated above and for its remoteness and numerous classic Sierra Ancha rugged canyon views which must hold some ancient Salado Indian Ruins yet to be discovered in our 21st century (maybe :) ) not to mention the extra nice, large oaks and Alligator Junipers located mid-way along our hike at the perennial Coon Spring riparian area.

For this second hike visit I was particularly interested in capturing in photos some of the off trail, more remote, and rugged canyons for intended return visits to check out areas for possible cliff dwelling sites. Approximately 3.6 miles into our planned 4.6 mile out and back hike, we had reached the section of hiking trial that did not offer much additional canyon views so we stopped for our lunch break. While I was semi-enjoying my normal trail lunch of beef jerky with peanut butter crackers and cheese, Randal mentioned to me that he normally does not have a filling trail lunch since he most always looks forward to a nice TH ending day Bar-B-Que. I looked up hill at the additional one mile we had to hike to arrive at trail end at the Bull Canyon TH and then looked down at my beef jerky and.. off we soon headed back to the nice setting with Coon Butte as a backdrop at our beginning Oak Creek TH..
http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=245233
http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=245325

Randal, thanks again for your company, for driving, and for feeding me too.. an awesome day!
Flora
Flora
Blue Dicks
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Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Coon Creek Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Appears to be a perennial spring; Main spring source flow was not visible, so perennial flow could be more than a quart per minute;
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(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
May 09 2010
Randal_Schulhauser
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 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

60 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 09 2010
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking4.29 Miles 644 AEG
Hiking4.29 Miles   2 Hrs      2.15 mph
644 ft AEG
 
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Grasshopper
Back on the trails after a little shut-down period.

Hank and I took the side trip to the Nordhoff-Hope Site V:1:170 off FR203A near the Bull Pass TH (think Hank may be doing a hike description). Hank posted the GPS route => http://hikearizona.com/location_g.php?GPS=9025&M=3

Bee sting almost ruined it :( (ha ha!), but thankfully a Benadryl took the edge off.

Next stop, Coon Creek Ruins... :)
Culture
Culture
HAZ Rides
Named place
Named place
Zimmerman Point 6871 - Sierra Ancha
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Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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Apr 11 2009
Grasshopper
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 Guides 45
 Routes 472
 Photos 8,616
 Triplogs 533

75 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Coon Creek TR#254 (Sierra Ancha)Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 11 2009
Grasshopper
Hiking4.10 Miles 850 AEG
Hiking4.10 Miles   3 Hrs      1.37 mph
850 ft AEG
 
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topohiker
Some new lessons learned and some reconfirmed ;) :

.. When you chose a hike location where the latest weather report says 100% chance of rain with snow 5000ft elev & above, then there is a good possibility your hike is going to be wet & cold;
.. When you chose the above and also include hiking for the first time on a "decommissioned" trail, there is a good probability that your hike will be even more difficult;
.. When the above two are a given, always have an alternate hike in mind and try not to be inflexible when making a final call on which hike makes better sense;
..When considering the extra cost vrs actual waterproof protection for Gortex lined hiking boots, the extra 15 to 30 minutes of waterproof protection is not really worth the extra cost;
.. Bring extra gloves and extra socks on a cold, rainy, snowy hike;
.. If you enjoy taking pictures on a beautiful alternating rainy-snowy wilderness hike, draped in a rain pancho with heavy gloves on, then accept the fact that you are going to be forced to miss a whole lot of cool pic scenes;
..A five(5) hour roundtrip drive to/back from a TH for a three(3) hour, four(4) mile roundtrip hike on a planned five(5) mile one way hike, may not be worth it;
..Where the possibility of rain, mud, & snow exists when having to drive 4.8mls in on an unmaintained FR, be sure to have your hiking partner drive their vehicle;
..Always remember to wash/clean your very muddy boots & other gear as soon as you arrive back home.. don't ever wait until the next day as I did;
Culture
Culture
Wooden Dwelling
Named place
Named place
Coon Creek Butte
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Wildflowers Observation Light
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(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
Apr 26 2008
Grasshopper
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 Guides 45
 Routes 472
 Photos 8,616
 Triplogs 533

75 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 26 2008
Grasshopper
Hiking10.20 Miles 2,200 AEG
Hiking10.20 Miles   6 Hrs   15 Mns   1.63 mph
2,200 ft AEG
 
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topohiker
Another grand day and trail hike in our Tonto NF-"Sierra Ancha Wilderness". This Coon Creek and springs area offers some excellent perks, like: relatively easy off road access to remote Oak Creek TH at 4715' elev(via a high clearance vehicle) with steller views for the entire ~4.7ml drive to the TH; Along the way and close too this TH are a select few campsites, some nicely oak shaded, and an old historic wooden cabin that has been restored for camping (with major scenic area views, a full roof, entrance door, repaired walls, clean cement floor, and with replaced windows).. an excellent "first come-first serve" and FREE weekend camping escape with a view! There was a couple taking advantage of this cabin offering when we arrived.

We parked at the old cabin area and walked the additional .28ml 4x4 access road(faster to walk than to drive) to our beginning TH of Coon Creek Tr#254. As Randal explains in the hike description, this #254 connector trail intersects Coon Springs Tr#124 approx .9mls up. We calculated the entire trail#254/#124 combo to be 10.2mls R/T from the old cabin to the western TH end at Bull Canyon TH(off FR203/203A) and back. Perennial Coon Springs & adjacent Coon Creek(flowing nicely this day) at 1.95mls in(4460') with nicely shaded, grassy camping spots, with huge oak and sycamore trees is a great perk on this hike and resting point before crossing Coon Creek and starting your 770' scenic 1.9ml climb to a trail highpoint at 5230'.

Another perk of this trail hike and area is the opportunity to visit the ancient Indian Ruins described in Randal's hike description. This trip we had plans to visit these ruins, but we seem to always try to put too much in a one day visit.. but then again, this wonderful wilderness area offers so much to see and do that it is easy to overload!

Also, just when we thought we were close to the end of new trails to explore in the Sierra Ancha, we find another one :) : this above mentioned Coon Creek Tr#254 is actually a "decommissioned" trail that runs for a total of 4.9mls north to connect with Parker Creek Tr#160 at the Rim Tr#139 intersection..for us- another must do !
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Apr 26 2008
topohiker
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 Guides 14
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male
 Joined Oct 29 2005
 Scottsdale, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 26 2008
topohiker
Hiking10.20 Miles 2,200 AEG
Hiking10.20 Miles   6 Hrs   15 Mns   1.63 mph
2,200 ft AEG
 
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1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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"Everywhere is walking distance...If you have the time"
-Stephen Wright
Jun 16 2007
Randal_Schulhauser
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 Guides 71
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 Photos 9,967
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60 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 16 2007
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking2.50 Miles 644 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles   3 Hrs      0.83 mph
644 ft AEG
 
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Mike Mattes
Revisited the Nordhoff-Hope Ruins with Mike Mattes on an early morning hike. Combined this with a hike to Workman Creek Falls later in the day.
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Jun 10 2007
Randal_Schulhauser
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 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

60 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 10 2007
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking4.29 Miles 644 AEG
Hiking4.29 Miles   4 Hrs      1.07 mph
644 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Access via Bull Canyon TH at the end of FR203A. The drive along FR203A is simply stunning! Should have enough material now to do a Hike Description justice.

Found the corral and side trail to the Nordhoff-Hope Site V:1:170 thanks to a major tip from Dr. Rich Lange. Will be back again soon for a more thorough examination of the ruins...

I've also found reference to "indian ruins" near Oak Creek Cabin. We didn't notice any evidence of these ruins when we visited the western TH back on April 7th. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who knows anything about this site...
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Apr 07 2007
Randal_Schulhauser
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 Guides 71
 Routes 98
 Photos 9,967
 Triplogs 1,009

60 male
 Joined May 14 2003
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Coon Spring Trail #124Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 07 2007
Randal_Schulhauser
Hiking6.00 Miles 644 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   6 Hrs      1.00 mph
644 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I recently received a copy of Dr. Rich Lange's new book "Echoes in the Canyon - The Archeology of the Sierra Ancha".

Link

One of the more intriguing cliff dwellings described is the "Nordhoff-Hope Site V:1:170" located in the upper Coon Creek drainage. Although the exact location is not disclosed, there are photos and detailed site maps. The text also mentions that;

"The Nordhoff-Hope Site is at a relatively low elevation in the Coon Creek drainage. It is on the east side of Coon Creek, in a cliff with typical southern exposure. At least 20 rooms and spaces are mostly contiguous along the base of the cliff. The site has a commanding view down Coon Creek and over toward the Coon Creek Butte area. One can easily see the cliff area where Hermatite House ruins is located downstream."

With this basic information we scoured topo maps of the upper Coon Creek drainage and discovered Coon Spring Trail 124 within the Sierra Ancha Wilderness Area that joins FR189 (located off the Young Highway SR288) to FR203A (located off Cherry Creek Road FR203).

Wendy, Mike, Clark, Fabian, and I met early Saturday morning at a local Starbucks. We pooled into 2 vehicles and headed towards the Young Highway. FR189 is unmarked just beyond a hairpin curve on one of the major switch-backs along SR288. FR189 was remarkably well maintained without any washouts! This made for a pleasant adventure to the Oak Creek Trail Head.

From the west TH, we hiked down to Coon Spring. Multiple corrals and camp fire rings are located at Coon Spring. Spring water is piped into water troughs (caution - very foul smell).

We headed south down Coon Creek, boulder hopping all the way until we tracked a side drainage on the east side. We made a hellish scramble up the slope through hackberry and manzanita on an intermittent game trail. We tracked along the cliff band for about a mile without any luck locating the cliff dwelling...

Oh well, it's the thrill of the hunt. Stay tuned, we'll be back soon! Hopefully we'll have enough info to post a HAZ hike description...

http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/wilderness/sierra_Ancha/Sierra_A.htm

PS. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone that has been to the Nordhoff-Hope Site.
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average hiking speed 1.36 mph

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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