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Aug 23 2014
chumley
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 Guides 75
 Routes 667
 Photos 13,238
 Triplogs 1,423

46 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Granite Pinetop Apache Loop, AZ 
Granite Pinetop Apache Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 23 2014
chumley
Hiking15.93 Miles 2,719 AEG
Hiking15.93 Miles   8 Hrs   59 Mns   2.55 mph
2,719 ft AEG   2 Hrs   44 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This area has caught my attention and each successive visit does not disappoint!

I have now hiked the entire length of Apache Creek, from the source at Apache Springs to the confluence with Walnut Creek.

I tried to cut some miles off my hike by driving up FR95B, but despite having hiked it just 6 days earlier, apparently I forgot what a hellish road it really is. I gave up after a mile or so and a tire pressure warning after scraping a sidewall on a really narrow section. Since I didn't want to have to drive out that road on a spare, I decided to park right there and head out.

My first goal was Granite Knob, the most prominent peak in the Wilderness. It ended up being more choked with manzanita than I thought it would, but was still not too bad. The top was fun with a class-4 climb to the summit. No register or any sign of anybody else having been there. Despite not being the highest peak in the area, the views were spectacular.

From the knob, I headed west and up Pinetop Mountain. Along it's flat top, I encountered Pine Trick Tank, by far the most impressive wildlife catchment/cistern/tank setup I have encountered in Arizona. From here a road leads down the mountain, and I followed it for a bit - encountering two bow hunters looking for deer. At the saddle I turned downhill on the old FR9890A road which is nearly non-existant. After a mile, the old road disappeared completely and water appeared in the drainage. I didn't see any actual springs, but groundwater is apparently feeding the surface water here, and has for a while. A bunch of corrals and fences indicate this area was used extensively for grazing in the past.

Downstream from the springs was an adventure of off-trail creek hiking. It's been a wet monsoon, and the creek was flowing nicely. But it is generally shallow, with only some small pools, usually only a couple of feet deep. I did take the time to swim a couple of times when I encountered a pool that was 4-5 feet deep. The creek alternates between some flatter sections and some that drop dramatically, requiring some easy down climbs or short bypasses. There are countless cascades and small waterfalls, and a few 10-foot plus falls. The vegetation is sparse, so it's not at all a fight to get through.

Eventually, I reached the deep pool we had been to last week, and I took the opportunity to jump and swim for a few minutes again before heading the last half mile back to the trail.

I forgot how much uphill this trail is going south. Or maybe I was just tiring after so many off trail miles. I encountered fresh scat on the trail for BOTH bear and kitty. :scared: Hiking alone in this wilderness with the highest concentration of mountain lion in the state, I had my gun holstered at my side all day. If nothing else, it made me feel better.

Ended up hiking the same road back to my truck that I had done exactly a week before, fighting daylight just as we had done last week. This time, my truck was a couple of miles closer, so I was enjoying a beer sooner, and back at camp with a fire going before dark. Not too bad!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Apache Creek - Apache Creek Wilderness Light flow Light flow
The entirety of Apache Creek was flowing with an estimated 1-3cfs. There is a deep pool at this location (at least 10 feet deep) that appears to contain water all year, even if the creek flow dries up.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Apache Springs Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Exact source of springs was not determined but ample surface water appears in the drainage here and was flowing for the entire length of Apache Creek to the confluence with Walnut Creek at the north edge of the Wilderness.

The water has a distinct red tint, but had no offensive flavors when drinking. (Filtered).

It has been a very wet monsoon. I can't be sure that water will exist here during dry seasons.

dry Panther Spring Dry Dry
I was unable to locate this spring. Ample water was flowing in the creek so it wasn't actually dry here, but I don't know if this would be a reliable source of water if the creek was not otherwise flowing.

Panther Spring does not appear on any maps I've seen, so I don't know if it really ever existed here?

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Pinetop Trick Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
See photoset. This is a 22,000 gallon tank under a large structure to gather rainwater. It was absolutely full.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Upper Hyde Spring Dripping Dripping
Seep with good size pool of water in the grass. Hard to tell what kind of flow it was producing. But plenty of water in adjacent Hyde Creek.
_____________________
Profound observer
1 archive
average hiking speed 2.55 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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