A solid day of backcountry trekking in some familiar and a tad bit new areas with nothing but solitude besides the pups and the residing animals.
As expected creeks, canyons and drainages flowing in every direction were gushing with snowmelt water which always adds a little spice to any good hike.
Hiked up to Naegelin Rim looped down, crossed the “river” and explored around the foothills of Turkey Peak.
A perfect spring day with nice big fluffy clouds made for quite the perfect time in what should be part of a wilderness or designated quiet area one day.
Two separate easy day hikes combined into one triplog.
Clay Spring area to 0.4 miles and a couple hundred feet above the Colcord Canyon confluence was Saturday's little trek as I took full advantage of the maple paradise that evening.
The next morning I drove back out to the Young Highway to check out some new areas and took the long scenic back way to Haigler Creek and started the next hike at FP.
Upper Haigler is incredible right now and I followed it up to the little gem at the CC's confluence.
Unexpectedly came across a group of psychedelic young adults enjoying the scenery of the falling water in solitude.
Spooked a few whitetail on the way back but surprisingly that was the only big game wildlife viewing of the weekend.
Perfect weather temperatures with absolutely no wind made for one of the most relaxing couple of days outdoors in awhile.
I decided last minute to hit Haigler for a creek hike and went for it. Kept it short but very sweet. I pretty much jogged down to the first water hole and jumped right in. Threw my clothes and shoes back on and climbed up then back down to the next hole. Jumped in and got a few photos. After the 2nd time putting everything back on, I decided to just keep everything on and get totally wet. It was warm enough to enjoy the always cold water of Haigler Creek. The place was an oasis today. Green everywhere and the water was crystal clear. I was enjoying solitude until coming around a bend and discovering a behavioral health retreat for at risk youth. A camp counselor ran over to me and explained what was going on before giving me permission to continue my hike, LOL! Beyond that, I didn't see anyone else. I'd say I walked in the creek for about 90% of the hike. Saw tons of large fish darting around and several deep pools accompanied by serene cascades. A very enjoyable creek hike that left me wanting to return soon.
Made a quick exploratory hike to look for some fishing spots. At the bottom of the short trail there is a complex of several adjoining campsites. I'll bet these are packed on the weekends, but no trash to be found today. The deep hole there held several trout and a bunch of bottom feeders.
I followed the ATV trail further back in until it leads back to the creek. At that campsite was a white Kia Sorento (I think). I saw boots and a chair, no peeps. Assumed they were out wading and fishing. Explored further on the other side of the creek too and found many campsites that look really nice. I'll have plan a more detailed trip soon to look for better fishing spots further upstream or further downstream.
So I initially planned on doing Aztec Peak via the Parker Creek Trail. When I arrived at the trailhead it was blocked with a "Road Closed" sign. Turns out the area is still closed due to the Juniper fire. Typically I might just play dumb and go forth anyway however the sign said the fine for violation was up to $5000. I figure if I am going to chance 5k it better be for something good! Think Red Mountain. In this case Parker Creek Trail will be open in a week so I continued north on Highway 288. My revised plan was to go to Payson and do Horton or something similar.
Then a bit past Young I happened upon the Fisherman's Point sign. Intrigued, I pulled over and decided to see what that was all about. Down the old closed Jeep road I went. It was warm out but not bothersome. About a half a mile down the road I came to Fisherman's Point where a few guys were just chilling out with their camping gear. I continued on for a ways and then for a ways further. This area is beautiful. Some of it reminded me of Walnut Canyon. Then I came to a big dry waterfall which turned out to be in Colcord Canyon. I climbed up the rocks and took a peek. Just a little pool of water up there but nothing flowing. Back down I went and then continued a little further up Haigler.
Eventually I made it to some narrows which had some water in them but again not flowing. This would be an awesome spot when the water is flowing hard. Since I didn't bring my Camelback with me nor my camera I decided to turn back at this point. Looks like a good place to visit another day and explore a little further.
Quick trip to a secluded water hole for some exploring. Haigler Creek was flowing well and loaded with fish in both the deeper pools and shallows. I stayed next to the creek for the entire trip up canyon. Once passed the initial rock/cliff area the terrain flattens out and the creek runs through a beautiful pine forest for a couple miles with plenty of awesome camp spots along the way. Naegelin Canyon was basically a giant spring running down into Haigler. I had managed to keep my feet dry to this point but that changed quickly as I trudged through the shin - deep, quicksand - like mud covered in cress. My focus then changed to simply trying to keep my shoes on my feet. Beyond Naegelin Canyon the creek became pools to a trickle. The hike became a mix of boulder hopping and walking an old jeep road next to the creek. The falls at Colcord Canyon were dry, just a murky pool at the bottom. The further I went, the higher the cliff walls around me became and there were even a few stubborn patches of snow holding on in the shade. It was reminiscent of West Clear Creek. I made it 3.8 miles into the canyon before coming to a nice climb above a trickling cascade and turned around. On my return I startled a young girl who was alone and napping on a quad near where FR 848 comes down to the creek. The rugged beauty and solitude was much appreciated after a hectic weekend hosting some friends from the valley on a camping trip on the Rim. I'm thinking of a return backpack trip to explore a little further.
Quick trip to one of my favorite secluded water holes. I had the youngster with me so I didn't plan on going up creek too far but he was adventurous enough to try. We stopped at the first big pool and I jumped in and swam around while he played on the shore. From there we had to back track a few times trying to navigate the rock ledges after where the 'trail' ends. Eventually I decided we would just walk in the creek itself. Luckily the kid is a fish so he was willing. Some spots we had to bushwack through while in the creek. The water temp was perfect and running clear today. We saw several large trout. We enjoyed our lunch next to a small cascade and soaked in the scenery while eating. I was keeping an eye on the clouds forming all around us and when the thunder started rumbling, we started our trek back to the vehicle. Being in a canyon with a 6yr old during a thunderstorm is not my idea of fun. He wanted to stay longer so we'll have to return soon. We made it to TH at the moment raindrops started flying. We had a blast being in the water all day and had the creek all to ourselves.
Good place for a jaunt with a swim. Easy hike on an easy to follow trail. We stopped at the first big swimmer and jumped in from every angle and every rock/cliff. While we dried out on the rocks and had a snack the fish started jumping left and right. Nice sized trout but neither of us brought our backpacking rod. Before leaving we decided to venture up stream some more and found another swimming hole calling our names so we jumped back in. It was a little chilly this time because of the lack of sunshine in the canyon so it wasn't long before we got dry and started back up the trail. The hike back out is just enough to get warm before reaching the vehicle.
I did this as a lunch break hike on the way to Young from Payson. Hiked down to Haigler Creek then followed it up aways. It was great to be back at this spot after a 4 year absence. After my hike, I continued on into Young, where I socialized with old friends, and reveled in the beautiful country that is Pleasant Valley. It hardly seemed like a day at work, it was so much fun.
Autumn Foliage ObservationLight
"As soon as I can I’m sneaking back in them mountains..." -Johnny Paycheck
My wife's first (and she said her last) backpacking trip. Hiked in, set up camp, and endured some ###hole's loud music all night. Swam the next day (COLD!), then hiked out that night. My poor wife got sick on the hike out, and I ended up carrying both of our packs.
"As soon as I can I’m sneaking back in them mountains..." -Johnny Paycheck
average hiking speed 1.93 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.