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Lower Soldier Camp Trail 84 - 4 members in 6 triplogs have rated this an average 3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Jan 22 2019
CannondaleKid
avatar

 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 20,568
 Triplogs 1,922

69 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Cottonwood Soldier Camp Loop, AZ 
Cottonwood Soldier Camp Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 22 2019
CannondaleKid
Hiking8.30 Miles 1,857 AEG
Hiking8.30 Miles   4 Hrs   4 Mns   2.13 mph
1,857 ft AEG      10 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
trixiec
While similar to it, we did a variation on Joe's Cottonwood Camp Loop. First off we hiked it counter-clockwise, which meant heading up FR401A at the start. There were two reasons for this...
#1. As rough as the road is, complete with plenty of loose rocks to roll an ankle on (or worse), we did not want to hike it when tired at the end of the hike.
#2. We wanted to be off the road before time the ATV crowd hit. (Between Stellar Tours and others there were at least 30 ATV's in the staging lot, yet weirdly enough, we did not see or even hear a single ATV until almost back to the ATV staging lot after the hike and then it was only 4.

Still, the road hike part was nasty... not something we'd ever want to repeat. It was actually nice when we left the road and continue a bit on the trail past Soldier Camp TH. We didn't go far because neither of us was prepared for as cold as it was when the wind picked up significantly. It was worse for me because as usual, I was soaked with sweat down to my toes. I had planned to change to dry socks only to realize I set them out but never put them into my pack. Oh well, eventually the sloshing in my boots became warm sloshing, so as long as my head was warm I was good. (I DID remember to bring two extra skull caps with ear flaps)

Although the route down was steep, for the first part we stuck to Trail 84 so it wasn't quite as bad as Joe's route. At the point we left 84 to catch Joe's route again, we saw ATV tracks... yup, a good two miles into the Wilderness. We would follow the ATV tracks all the way down and back to Cottonwood Camp, so the ATV's had driven a full 4+ mile loop into the Wilderness!
:x
If that wasn't enough, in the last few hundred feet before reaching the car there was just a small part of the detritus from the long weekend... literally piles of shotgun & rifle shells scattered all over. None of which were here before the weekend.

Between the ATV's and the shells, Tracey was fuming... so we dug out the plastic garbage bags, rake and dustpan and proceeded to pick up everything practicable, most of which was shotgun shells. Kind of curious wondering how much all the ammo fire had cost... We found an empty plastic bag from Sportsman's Warehouse but there was no receipt.
How sad it has become to go out to enjoy such beautiful scenery (the view of Four Peaks from Soldier Camp TH has been my desktop background for over 5 years) only to see what the worst of our 'civilization' has to offer. ](*,)
Such a disgrace! :x
_____________________
CannondaleKid
Feb 15 2017
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 20,568
 Triplogs 1,922

69 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Four Peaks Wilderness Peak 3354, AZ 
Four Peaks Wilderness Peak 3354, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 15 2017
CannondaleKid
Hiking11.70 Miles 2,890 AEG
Hiking11.70 Miles   7 Hrs   3 Mns   1.73 mph
2,890 ft AEG      18 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners partners
trixiec
With the exception of a few route changes and Tracey tagging along this was pretty much a re-run of my hike three days ago. Tracey hoped we'd have as much luck spotting wildlife as I did, and it turned out pretty much the same, albeit the reptile would be a desert tortoise in place of the Gila monster.

We began from Cottonwood TH and followed #84 for just short of two miles before veering left onto another old, long-unused road, which ultimately reconnected with the route I followed on the previous hike. After reconnecting we continued on that route as far as the mine.
(Lest I forget, we searched the same area where I had encountered the Gila monster but it was nowhere to be found)

Just as we were descending the last hundred yards to the mine I thought I saw movement above and across the canyon and stopped for a better look. After we scanned back and forth for a minute or so and found nothing we started to move on. But I just had an inkling I missed something so took another look and saw a tiny white spot, which could have just been more of the quartz like at the mine, but could it possibly be a white tail?
:pray:
So I zoomed all the way in and sure enough, it was the tail of a mule deer. The tail was sticking out on one side of a Saguaro and the head on the other side. And only after taking the photo and looking at it closer did I realize there were two does and one spike buck!
:y:
They were standing within 50 yards of where I saw them last hike so I'm sure they were the same trio. Since we were farther away and down-wind this time, they didn't seemed concerned with us and stayed in place. By time we checked out the mine area again and headed around and up to the point where I saw them before, they had moved on.
:cry:
Tracey was getting hungry by this time but I talked her into waiting until we got to the same spot I had lunch at previously. She liked what she saw when we arrived... a large slightly concave boulder in the sun to take a nap on. Unfortunately, the sunny and 63 as opposed to the cloudy and 63 of my previous hike, the wind was too strong for any comfort to be had. Oh well.
:doh:
After lunch I asked if Tracey was game for the summit of Peak 3354, about .6 mile away. From where we were the ridge we would descend after reaching 3354 looked reasonably open so Tracey said 'ok.' Getting to the summit went well but the descent soon had Tracey complaining about all the pea-gravel in the steepest areas. No, it wasn't a good as it looked from across the canyon, but we're here now so deal with it!
:-$
I kept telling her as long as we followed game trails we should be ok. To which she replied, "What game trails?" Ok, so they didn't look like much or last long, but we kept pretty much on the trail of set of fresh deer prints all the way down to the wash. And whadda'ya know, the tracks led us right to a desert tortoise!
:y:
After completing the descent we followed the wash to close the lasso loop and continue back to the trailhead as before.

No videos this trip... neither the deer nor tortoise were eager to oblige us with movement.
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CannondaleKid
Feb 12 2017
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 20,568
 Triplogs 1,922

69 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Four Peaks Wilderness Wandering, AZ 
Four Peaks Wilderness Wandering, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 12 2017
CannondaleKid
Hiking10.70 Miles 2,008 AEG
Hiking10.70 Miles   6 Hrs   38 Mns   1.67 mph
2,008 ft AEG      13 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Some time back while planning a hike toward Soldier Camp I noticed remnants of an old road on Route Manager satellite view and filed that tidbit away for another day. And that time was today.

I began by following Trail #84 from Cottonwood until veering off to the left where it appeared the old road had been. Much of it bore little resemblance to a road, forcing me to bushwhack along my mapped route a number of times. But there was enough of it, along with the odd, obviously old rock cairns to help out and I made it to the absolute end. And whaddya know? At the end was a long-abandoned mine, which cleared up the mystery as to the purpose of the road many decades in the past... it was an old 'mine' road.

But wait, I need to back up just a bit... some distance before the end of the road as I came to a small clearing I was pleasantly surprised with an encounter with a Gila Monster. It was just 63 degrees at the time so it was pretty slow-moving. I spent some time shooting video in hopes it would give a nice loud hiss, but it was not cooperating. Oh well, once it moved into a bush I continued along the old road.

After visiting the mine I continued farther east, not really following any particular route I wandered at will until reaching a nice group of boulders to stop for lunch. I would turn back after lunch.

On the return I followed a small creek until I reached where I had crossed it earlier, when I retraced my route until reaching Boulder Creek. With all the water flow (from Four Peaks snow melt?) I decided to follow in and along it back to the start. That worked for about 2 miles, which by that time I had done so much boulder hopping that it was only a matter of time before I misjudged one and had a bad spill. So I struck out for the next wash south, which was dry. From there it was a boring walk-in-the-wash back to Cottonwood.

Three videos:
1:45 Gila Monster
0:45 Three Mule Deer
4:45 Boulder Creek
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CannondaleKid
Apr 25 2015
topohiker
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 Guides 13
 Routes 112
 Photos 4,377
 Triplogs 1,751

male
 Joined Oct 29 2005
 Scottsdale, AZ
Brown's CavePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2015
topohiker
Hiking25.32 Miles 4,829 AEG
Hiking25.32 Miles   14 Hrs   40 Mns   2.43 mph
4,829 ft AEG   4 Hrs   15 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
fan3992
Fan and I went from the Cottonwood TH to Browns Cave.

Lower Soldier Trail
It took a minute to figure the start of the trail, but once we did there was cairns to lead you all the way to FR401.
Along the way to the Cane's spring TH, we stopped at the shack.

Alder Creek Trail
The trail started out as an old road and was very easy to follow. When the trail hit the Long canyon, we stayed in the canyon
until the trail pulled away. Then we bushwhacked over the trail. There been some recent trail maintenance until you hit the
Crabtree cabin. It took us a couple of minutes to figure out how to get to the cabin. There was a sign-in board at the cabin.
Fan & I were the first people to represent HAZ. There was quite a bit of Crabtree relatives visiting the cabin.
The route finding was a little more challenging past the cabin.

The Jungle aka "Brown Cave"
We lost the trail as we approached the descent into Alder Creek. We found two stone walls leading down to the creek.
Then we had to fight the jungle to get to the Creek. When got the creek Fan was done. The plan was to
go to the Cave then have lunch at the river /lake. Fan didn't want the fight anymore jungle, so I went on alone.

Beyond the jungle
I pushed through the jungle and walked right past Brown's Cave and continued on down the creek. For a stretch the water went underground.
I made to the 10 foot waterfall then stopped. The sky clouded up and the wind started to blow.
It looked like the 20% chance of rain was going to hit. I didn't have any Jedi masters to talk me into
climb down and up the waterfalls, so I turned around.

The trip back
The temps dropped fast as we headed back. This time we took the trail instead of going in Long creek.
The trail was easy to follow and mostly free of vegetation. As we started to climb out, the rain started.
It poured pretty hard for about 10 minutes, then it backed off. It rained for the last 4 hours of the hike.
We made it to the shed at Cane's Spring in time to put on the headlamps. We took FR401 all the way back to the Jeep.
Along the we saw an abandoned quad-runner. As we approached the Jeep the rain started to dump on us.

The road out
I was concerned about driving out with 4+ hours of rain. The road was slick but I didn't have any major issues getting out.
The Jeep did fishtailed in a couple of spots.


](*,) Items that are MIA in the Jungle ](*,)
- HAZ-tracks android phone (good thing it was only $29.99)
- gators
- GPS Lithium ION rechargeable battery

This is a cool area to explorer. The terrain is slow moving and you should have a GPS route to get to alder creek.
I had long pants with gators and the a couple of Foxtails still managed to get in my socks!

I want to go back to take Long canyon to the river.
_____________________
"Everywhere is walking distance...If you have the time"
-Stephen Wright
2 archives
Dec 08 2012
joebartels
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 Guides 213
 Routes 824
 Photos 10,865
 Triplogs 4,281

49 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Painted Cliffs, AZ 
Painted Cliffs, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2012
joebartels
Hiking20.40 Miles 5,160 AEG
Hiking20.40 Miles   13 Hrs      1.70 mph
5,160 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break8 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
The_Eagle
20 the hard way. Dark yet blinding roller coaster route finding challenge with cholla joy. Not for the timid. Elements beg my return...
Flora
Flora
Cottonwood
Named place
Named place
Four Peaks Wilderness
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Adams Camp Spring Dripping Dripping
plenty to filter

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cane Spring Dripping Dripping
easier to find than expected, plenty to filter in trough, nice and clear
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Hike Arizona it ROCKS!
Dec 08 2012
The_Eagle
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 Guides 5
 Routes 792
 Photos 9,159
 Triplogs 1,080

63 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Painted Cliffs, AZ 
Painted Cliffs, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 08 2012
The_Eagle
Hiking20.77 Miles 5,279 AEG
Hiking20.77 Miles   12 Hrs   58 Mns   1.74 mph
5,279 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
joebartels
Plans were to start at the Cottonwood TH, hike Lower Soldier Camp Trail, to Alder Creek Trail, down Long Canyon, to Apache Lake. Then find a route across to Alder Creek Trail, up and back to the TH.

We never saw the beginning of this trail, because we started hiking with 45 minutes in the dark and the last 2 hours of this hike were in the dark.

Lower Soldier Camp Trail was faint at best (Except the part on the road) as we became Cholla magnets in the dark. We made the saddle where the trail meets the FR at first light for spectacular views. From here is was a road walk to Cane Spring. We checked out the Spring and and started following Alder Creek Trail.

Adler Creek Trail with a GPS and good eyes for buried cairnes was find-able in spots, non existent in others. On the way in, we opted for dropping into Long Canyon to get out of the blood sucking cat claw. We made our way down to a choked out spring area and decided we had reached our turn around time.

We climbed up and out on the loose crumbly rock, for the views making the blood letting all worth it! The Painted Cliffs area. We played on the loose stuff looking for a different route that got us out of Long Canyon and on our way back. We dropped into a sweet unnamed canyon and climbed out to the Alder Creek trail.

We took lunch at Adams Camp and then did our best to follow Alder Creek trail back. The wild Burro tracks followed it for awhile, then it was lost again.

From here back to the TH was a blur.

The destination was incredible, the journey was a tough one.

JBF 4
BBF 9 (A new high)
Culture
Culture
Inscriptions
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 Adams Camp Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Filterable water available among the Cattails!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cane Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Plenty of clear clean filterable water in the Concrete trough.
Tasted good also!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Long Canyon Creek-Four Peaks Quart per minute Quart per minute
Water available in pools in numerous locations.
Cottonwoods and cattails suggest perinnial source.
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
1 archive
average hiking speed 1.9 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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