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Houston Bros Trail #171 / McFarland Spr Loop - 5 members in 10 triplogs have rated this an average 3.6 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 15 2020
ALMAL
avatar

 Routes 8
 Photos 2,091
 Triplogs 196

55 male
 Joined Oct 17 2010
 GILBERT
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 15 2020
ALMAL
Backpack27.00 Miles 950 AEG
Backpack27.00 Miles3 Days         
950 ft AEG
 no routes
Started up Colonel Devin from a full parking lot at WP on Friday at 2PM. The road section is nice if only for the views, down to Houston Brothers. I had a slight detour on 300G looking for a shortcut, nothing doing, wasted an hour is all. There was a nice filterable flow just before the intersection with Barbershop Trail. I continued on Houston Bros and settled into a Grasshopper recommended campsite right at dusk. Would be a very nice spot with a fire... Broke camp at 6AM and continued on past an empty Aspen spring area, and 1 couple camped at Pinchot. I cruised up 95 and down 139A to it's northern terminus. There was a couple of inflatable paddle boaters camped half way down the Rock Crossing trail, but the spots at the end were empty. I settled into my favorite. Lots of kayaks and canoes out on the lake as you would expect. People ended up filling all of the usual camp sites in this area, and some found new ones. Pretty cold night actually. Broke camp at 7AM and backtracked towards Fred Haught. The 95 wash out is more difficult to negotiate as it continues to erode on both sides. The road has lots of weeds growing in it from inactivity. Smooth sailing all the way back to the rim with plenty of people loaded up heading in for a few nights. Numerous people climbing Colonel Devin as I descended. The 3 crossings of East Verde were ridiculous, probably a thousand cars between the three crossings parked along the road because the lots are taped off, people everywhere, what a zoo. North bound 87 had a brush fire caused traffic jam for 5+ miles north of Mt. Ord. Southbound 87 had a truck and camper roll over traffic jam south of Mt. Ord. Next weekend, Monday afternoon, could be epic!
_____________________
You aren't late if you don't show up!
1 archive
Aug 18 2015
AZWanderingBear
avatar

 Guides 27
 Routes 61
 Photos 2,620
 Triplogs 700

64 male
 Joined Jan 23 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Aug 18 2015
AZWanderingBear
Backpack18.13 Miles 2,689 AEG
Backpack18.13 Miles3 Days         
2,689 ft AEG
 
Day 1: Critter Day

After breaking camp over at Pivot Rock Canyon, I headed out to backpack the eastern lobe of the Cabin Loop. Parked at the intersection of FR 139 and the Barbershop and headed out counter clockwise. Was a bit warm for my taste, but so much better than down in the desert. Barbershop Spring was flowing and the little meadow was all fern and sunflowers about chest high. Always take a deep breath here, listen to the wind in the pines and smile knowing I'm away from it all and back in the big country.

Hit the edge of a meadow and stopped to take a photo, but picked up some movement. A nice looking coyote was cruising the meadow and hadn't seen me. I watched him from about 250 feet away for a few minutes until he finally spotted me and dashed. Not much farther up the trail, I ran into two elk, the first of 15 on the day's relatively short hike. It obviously isn't hunting season yet. For one group of five, I just happened to see an outline of a head with two big ears up slope. This big cow and four others were laying out the midday heat. We all watched each other for a few minutes until I moved and they departed the area. Near the intersection of the Barbershop and U-Bar I spotted a turkey hen. Moved quietly and got close. She noisily took off right and her brood of teen turkeys quietly slipped away left. Add in hundreds of squirrels and thousands of birds, the day turned out to be a critter watching bonanza. Seeing all this is another benefit of solo trips -- less noise means more animals.

Made camp at Dane Spring. The cabin there is a bit more dilapidated than when I saw it last. The spring had a good flow of cold clear water running from the pipe. Still lots of watercress growing, but looked a bit ragged since it likes cooler weather. I'd planned to steam up some with my meal, but declined. It will be there next time.

Set camp and broke out the food bag. Peanut butter and a packet of honey liberated from the Starbucks in the San Jose airport provided an appetizer. Cooked up some fantastic dehydrated cream of broccoli soup. The main course was salmon and ramen with two packets of hot sauce freed from the Popeyes in the Vegas airport. I forage wherever I find myself. LOL. Some apple cider after night fall completed the gastronomic tour de Dane.

While having dinner I heard a very large tree crash to the ground across Dane Canyon. Looked around with a more critical eye and moved my hammock, one large snag being a bit suspect. With a cold spring water bath, I turned in to be serenaded by elk and coyotes off and on during the night.

Day 2 - The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday

Was trying out a new under blanket for my hammock. It worked great, but during the night I'd pulled out the sleeping bag and draped it over me. The morning was cool enough to make me hit the snooze button when the sun rose. Finally coaxed myself out of the hammock knowing I had Dane and Barbershop Canyons to cross and hoped to do both before the day warmed. Oatmeal (scorched the bottom of it, dang it), cowboy coffee, hydrated up, broke down the camp, loaded the pack, headed out.

Slipped into that mode where you just churn the legs and admire the surroundings and otherwise just go into your head. Cleared Dane Canyon quickly and soon found myself at the bottom of Barbershop Canyon, one of my favorite places. Stopped for some fuel and fluid, filtering out some more water for the afternoon push to Aspen Springs. Walked upstream just to admire the creek. A really nice pool held minnows, some 5 inch trout, and crawdads. Looked inviting for a cool down, but I resisted.

Approaching Pinchot Cabin I saw smoke north and close. Moved on to Pinchot quickly and dropped my pack to go check it out. The fire was large, but mostly burned out up against the north side of FR 95. This was the General Fire, I just didn't know it would get this far south. Didn't see any Forestry Service folks around. The smoke was blowing north and the fire looked contained, so I kept to my plan. After a break at Pinchot, the Houston Brothers Trail took me south to the meadow at Aspen Springs.

Set up camp across the draw from Aspen. I am in my summer shape, which is horrid, and thus the day's miles were long and the pack was heavy. Lounged in the hammock a bit to rest the tired legs and aching feet and let the day cool. Went to filter some water later and made friends with a brave little ground squirrel who was quite the poser. Some snacks and rehydrated baked ziti served for dinner. Watched a hawk hunting near the spring and then the bats came out.

Made some hot chocolate and took it over to the big rock near the old barn. Wonder how many people over time have sat on that boulder contemplating whatever they felt like contemplating? For me it was reaccessing my relationship with the back country. How far had I come in fitting in here, becoming part of the land and its inhabitants as opposed to just a visitor, learning to forego contrivances and affectations when venturing out. That journey is not yet complete to my satisfaction, but the chasm between me and the worthy goal is not as deep nor as wide as before. The night cooled considerably and I slept hard.

Day 3: Exiting Eden

All things come to an end. My other world was waiting. Today was a short hike out and a drive down to home. Did a cold breakfast, filtered some water, and packed up camp. Felt good but the legs just weren't too motivated. Hiking south on the Houston Brothers is uphill and the legs felt every foot of the climb. With a humid morning, I was soaked in sweat with in minutes.

Marveled at the shoulder high ferns. It seems the trail is used more by wildlife than humans. The mud held a huge variety of tracks - elk, squirrel, coyote, wildcat, human, mountain bikes. The southern portion of the trail is a moist conglomeration of trees, shrubs, mushrooms, moss, and rot. I scared up one elk and one something. I only got a quick glimpse of the something -- very black it seemed. Sounded more like an elk in retreat than a bear, but it was black. Don't know.

Turned east at the the junction with the Barbershop and found the old Jeep right where I left her three days earlier. Changed clothes and slipped into my old Keens for the drive. Took the long way north up FR 95 to further explore the fire and delay the inevitable just a tiny bit more. Called home when the phone announced cell service to let the concerned know I was safe. Of course there's far more danger driving the highway than hiking along a trail, but emotion and imagination trump reality.

The 4-day retreat calmed the soul. Can't ask for much more than that these days.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Aspen Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Pools to filter from

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barbershop Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Pools can be filtered

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Coyote Spring Dripping Dripping

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Dane Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Pipe is running pure and clean

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Houston Draw Head Dripping Dripping
Pools below that would work in an emergency

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max McFarland Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Pinchot Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
with good flow down as far as Pinchot Cabin. Lots of deep pools.
_____________________
All you have is your fire...
And the place you need to reach
5 archives
Jul 12 2015
BiFrost
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 Guides 4
 Routes 361
 Photos 7,786
 Triplogs 925

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Bear Canyon (Middle) - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 12 2015
BiFrost
Hiking10.66 Miles 1,453 AEG
Hiking10.66 Miles
1,453 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Great hike in Bear Canyon with Lee and the dogs. We had been working on getting out there with the pups and Bear Canyon with all the water was perfect hike. Bruce did this hike recently and it looked like a winner especially for Cup...she loves the water! Bear Canyon is definitely the nicest of the rim canyons I've seen so far with some rocky cliffs and interesting pools to navigate.

After exploring Bear we linked up with Houston Brothers Trail which is cool in it's own right. Lunch was at Aspen Spring with large meadows and an old cabin site. We continued up Houston Brothers enjoying more meadows and tall ferns along the way before dropping back down into East Bear Canyon. Once in the bottom we followed it downstream back to where we hiked out at the Bear Canyon - East Bear Canyon confluence. On top it was short hike back to the vehicle and some beverages to finish off a great day of hiking :D
Named place
Named place
Houston Draw

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Aspen Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
decent flow out of the rock source

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max East Bear Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
good flow...plenty of water with numerous pools

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Houston Draw Head Dripping Dripping
small pool that could work in a pinch

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max McFarland Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
a bit muddy but the spring had some flow
_____________________
1 archive
Jul 12 2015
slowandsteady
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 Routes 67
 Photos 966
 Triplogs 694

46 female
 Joined Jan 05 2012
 Phoenix,AZ
Bear Canyon (Middle) - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 12 2015
slowandsteady
Hiking10.66 Miles 1,453 AEG
Hiking10.66 Miles
1,453 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
We were going to do Bruce and Kyle's loop, but after Kathy, full of grace, fell in immediately and was slow going down the canyon, the guys took a few miles off.
It's always fun to hike with Cupcake and Blanco, and Lee too!
_____________________
Jul 09 2015
The_Eagle
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 Guides 7
 Routes 799
 Photos 9,897
 Triplogs 1,392

64 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Bear Canyon - Houston Draw Loop, AZ 
Bear Canyon - Houston Draw Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 09 2015
The_Eagle
Hiking13.88 Miles 2,000 AEG
Hiking13.88 Miles   7 Hrs   35 Mns   2.10 mph
2,000 ft AEG      58 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Kyle invited me for a walk in one of his favorite areas. Do I want to spend the day at 106 or 76 degrees. Duh.

We dropped into Bear Canyon off of FR95 at FR9737M (as depicted on the TOPO maps) There was actually a Forrest Service sign for this road, but no road. We picked a pretty good route just making our way down the side of the canyon.

The Bear Canyon drainage was flowing pretty good the entire length we were in it. It was green, green, green! You can find game trails to navigate most of the way, but still need to cross over the drainage many times. It's easy making your way down there, but slow going.

We crested a bit of a rise in the drainage, to a small grassy meadow. We were both surprised to stumble on a huge Bull Elk, still in velvet, feeding in the grass, not more than 50' away. He was gone before I could get the camera going.

We only had one spot where we had to go up to avoid a swimmer. Would have been a good swim if it was warmer.

Out of the drainage and on our way to Pinchot Cabin, it started to rain lightly. Perfect timing as we'd planned to stop at the cabin for lunch anyway. It rained and thundered while we ate lunch under the awning of the cabin. It was actually a bit cold.

On the Houston Brothers trail we made up some time.

We dropped into East Bear Canyon following a side canyon down. The Elk have made a decent path to the hill. A few more miles in the canyon and I was ready for the climb out.

A pretty hike, in great temps. Lots of tiny strawberries along the entire hike. Lilly did great on the hike. Even all the off trail stuff. Thanks for the hike and driving Kyle.
Named place
Named place
Aspen Spring
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Aspen Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Plenty to filter

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max East Bear Canyon Light flow Light flow
Plenty to filter

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Houston Draw Head Quart per minute Quart per minute
Plenty to filter

dry McFarland Spring Dry Dry
Did not get off trail to check it, but plenty of water in the area

dry Pinchot Spring Dry Dry
Did not get off trail to check it, but there was plenty of water in the area

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max West Bear Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
Plenty to filter
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
Sep 01 2013
matthewkphx
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 Photos 5
 Triplogs 3

49 male
 Joined Dec 16 2012
 phoenix
Houston Bros Trail #171 / McFarland Spr LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 01 2013
matthewkphx
Hiking3.10 Miles 331 AEG
Hiking3.10 Miles   1 Hour      3.10 mph
331 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Pleasant, easy hike. We car-camped about 1/4 mile north of the trailhead to the west of 139G and then completed the hike in a counter-clockwise direction. Finding FR9616E coming up the hill took some time to find so it might be worth completing the loop in the clockwise direction.

On our way out we saw two families riding gas powered Mule-things (what are those called?) skidding thought the mud on FR139G onto the road down to Aspen Spring. The stayed down there for about 10 minutes and then ripped back up the hill spewing noxious race-fuel exhaust. I did not hike down to see if they did any damage and did not feel like having a confrontation/education talk with them in the middle of nowhere. The gate at the top of the road is in disrepair as are many other gates and fences in the area.
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Jun 21 2010
Grasshopper
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 Guides 45
 Routes 473
 Photos 8,649
 Triplogs 535

75 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Houston Bros Trail #171 / McFarland Spr LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 21 2010
Grasshopper
Hiking3.10 Miles 331 AEG
Hiking3.10 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   2.07 mph
331 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
If you're ridding around checking out the forest roads in our Mogollon Rim- Cabin Loop Trails area or camping in this area and have ~1.5 hours to spare, then I would recommend checking out this short and pleasant loop hike. This hike originates off of FR139G Parking/TH Start and makes a loop back to include a shorter access route to historic and perennial Aspen Spring/Cabin Complex, some of Houston Brothers Tr#18, then a short, easy to navigate "off-trail" section across always lush-green Houston Draw to perennial McFarland Spring.

This short hike description with all details posted via my GPS Routes and pic set/captions can be completed as a clockwise or counter-clockwise (as described here) "loop" or as a more remote and peaceful "in and out" hike to the Aspen Spring area and then on to McFarland Spring and back.
Culture
Culture
Wooden Dwelling
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Aspen Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max McFarland Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
_____________________
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
2 archives
Jun 16 2010
Grasshopper
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 Guides 45
 Routes 473
 Photos 8,649
 Triplogs 535

75 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Camp Grasshopper 6/16 to 6/22 off FR139G, AZ 
Camp Grasshopper 6/16 to 6/22 off FR139G, AZ
 
XC Skiing avatar Jun 16 2010
Grasshopper
XC Skiing
XC Skiing
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
gpsjoe
MEWhiteman
First true week of summer 2010 and my first planned 6nt/7day camping-hiking trip to our Mogollon Rim-Cabin Loop area at 7350' for some needed R&R.

Four of us enjoyed one of my favorite areas to be in the summer and autumn seasons. The four of us enjoyed five different hikes during our stay. The temps were great, the hiking wonderful, the food plentiful, and the company excellent.

Due unfortunately to an unexpected pine tree bark beetle infestation at this favorite campsite, I need to devote some time this trip to locating a new campsite area for our next visit. It was fun driving around on some new(old) forest roads in-search of a new primo site. I succeeded in finding it--> http://www.hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=143378 This new site will provide some new areas to explore up and down Barbershop Canyon for some possible new HAZ hike descriptions :D
_____________________
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
Sep 24 2009
Grasshopper
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 Guides 45
 Routes 473
 Photos 8,649
 Triplogs 535

75 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Houston Brothers Trail #171Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 24 2009
Grasshopper
Hiking3.40 Miles 487 AEG
Hiking3.40 Miles   2 Hrs   15 Mns   1.51 mph
487 ft AEG
 
Partners partners
blk
Our Mogollon Rim- Cabin Loop Area is a great location to practice GPS route finding skills. One of my friends Beverly(blk) has had a nice Garmin Etrex GPS for a couple of years and has only used it a couple of times for a bare minimum of it's capability. I got the idea to do some "off trail" exploring and navigating off this Houston Bros TR, and also take the time on this planned loop hike to teach Bev some important uses and features of her Garmin. With at least two hours of free instruction from someone still learning too, we succeeded in doing both!

We were on a 5nt/6day car camping and hiking trip in this M/Rim-Cabin Loop Area, camped up FR139G at what is becomming my second or third AZ wilderness home along with Byous Butte in the Superstitions :) .

Our hiking loop route for this day was: From our FR139G campsite to Aspen Spring/Cabin to connect with Houston Brothers Trail south to off-trail to perennial McFarland Spring to off-trail to FR139 north to off-trail from FR139 through Richard(Dick) Hart Draw back to our beginning campsite location. Beverly learned how to use her GPS "go to" waypoint function and she did most of the successful "leading the way" on the off-trail segments.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max McFarland Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
_____________________
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
Jun 25 2009
Grasshopper
avatar

 Guides 45
 Routes 473
 Photos 8,649
 Triplogs 535

75 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Houston Brothers Trail #171Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 25 2009
Grasshopper
Hiking4.80 Miles 587 AEG
Hiking4.80 Miles   4 Hrs   10 Mns   1.15 mph
587 ft AEG
 
Partners none no partners
Our Mogollon Rim- Cabin Loop Area is a great location to practice GPS route finding skills. My camping friend Gary has had a nice Garmin GPS for one year+ and has only used it for a bare minimum of it's capability. From HAZ-Tim's recent 6/20 "off trail" trip log using this same trail, I got the idea to also do some "off trail" exploring and navigating off this same trail as did Tim, and also take the time on this planned loop hike to teach Gary some additional uses and features of his nice Garmin GPS. With at least two hours of free instruction from someone still learning too, we succeeded in doing both! :D

We were on a 6nt/7day car camping and hiking trip in this Cabin Loop Area, camped up FR139G. Our hiking loop route for this day was: From/back to our FR139G campsite via FR139 to Aspen Spring/Cabin to connect with Houston Brothers Trail south to off-trail to perennial McFadden Spring to off-trail to FR139 north to off-trail from FR139 through Dick Hart Draw back to our beginning campsite waypoint location. I instructed Gary on how to use his GPS "go to" waypoint function and he did most of the successful "leading the way" on the off-trail segments. I do believe I have now made a gpsjoe believer of Gary: "Become a skilled GPS user and it will set you free!"

Please see my posted pic set/captions and posted GPS Route/notes for more hike details.
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 Aspen Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Flowing nicely this day with clear water from source;

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max McFarland Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Flowing nicely this day and clear water from source;
_____________________
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
average hiking speed 1.71 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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