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Reef Tank Trail - 7 members in 16 triplogs have rated this an average 2.1 ( 1 to 5 best )
16 triplogs
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16 Triplogs
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Mar 28 2020
RedwallNHops
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 10
 Photos 548
 Triplogs 1,290

46 male
 Joined Dec 22 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Holdout Creek Trail #69Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 28 2020
RedwallNHops
Hiking17.34 Miles 3,392 AEG
Hiking17.34 Miles1 Day   4 Hrs   46 Mns   
3,392 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
The Santa Theresa's are a great way to get away from everyone. Great weekend seeing no one else but a few choice companions.
_____________________
1 archive
Mar 28 2020
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 372
 Photos 8,276
 Triplogs 1,006

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ 
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 28 2020
BiFrost
Backpack17.24 Miles 3,392 AEG
Backpack17.24 Miles2 Days         
3,392 ft AEG
 
Partners partners
GrottoGirl
RedwallNHops
Great loop in the Santa Teresa Wilderness starting at Reef Tank and dropping into Holdout Canyon. Holdout has plenty of brush and catsclaw but the scenery more than compensates. By the afternoon we made to some of the bigger pools and nice boulder stretch of the canyon. We dropped packs and spent about 2 hours exploring the area before circling back to the packs. Then we headed for camp at the confluence of Holdout and Black Rock creeks which both had decent water flow.

After a relaxing night in camp we packed up leisurely in the morning and headed up Black Rock Canyon. It was a fun hike up canyon with some stops along the way at rocky outcrop and small waterfall for lunch. Nice too take our time and just enjoy the scenery. Always a great loop and thanks to Joel for putting the trip together!
_____________________
1 archive
Mar 28 2020
GrottoGirl
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 314
 Photos 11,581
 Triplogs 1,359

46 female
 Joined Sep 18 2009
 Tucson, AZ
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ 
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 28 2020
GrottoGirl
Backpack17.24 Miles 3,392 AEG
Backpack17.24 Miles2 Days         
3,392 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
RedwallNHops
A return to one of my favorite places. Escapism.
_____________________
Mar 24 2019
chumley
avatar

 Guides 83
 Routes 692
 Photos 16,127
 Triplogs 1,618

48 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ 
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 24 2019
chumley
Backpack23.08 Miles 3,669 AEG
Backpack23.08 Miles2 Days         
3,669 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners partners
Jaxbe22
Decided to visit this little gem again in springtime.

I wore gaiters, but somehow forgot about all the catclaw. Pants might be advisable unless somebody gets out there and cleans it up a bit.

Water flow looked similar to last fall after the October rains. Plentiful. I thought it was flowing about the same until I dropped into the rabbit hole at the top of the chute and quickly discovered it was significantly higher flowing in the narrows. This thwarted my efforts to run the whole thing, but we managed to dip down into a couple of my favorite spots to play.

Black Rock was flowing nicely all the way to the climb out, including a couple of the side drainages. But I doubt I'll ever see it flowing as high as last October in a steady rain.

The ruts in the road to Reef Tank have been cleaned up a bit, and there was an FJ and an F150 with street tires camping there. That was a bit of a surprise. We didn't see the campers. We did encounter another hiker on the loop who looked like he had probably just disposed of a body. He was from Tennessee of all places. And of course we followed in the footprints of the grotto norb group all weekend, without realizing it was them until getting back to town Sunday night.

Always a good one!
Culture
Culture
Benchmark
Named place
Named place
Reef Tank
_____________________
33s over 45s
Mar 23 2019
GrottoGirl
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 314
 Photos 11,581
 Triplogs 1,359

46 female
 Joined Sep 18 2009
 Tucson, AZ
Holdout Creek Trail #69Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 23 2019
GrottoGirl
Hiking20.12 Miles 4,892 AEG
Hiking20.12 Miles1 Day   4 Hrs   46 Mns   
4,892 ft AEG
 
Partners partners
RedwallNHops
Amazing how much water was flowing in the Santa Teresa. I had gone in December of 2017 for NY’s and it was nearly dry.

Lower Holdout was still the gem of the trip, however, I was sad I didn’t get to do the full down under journey.

I played a joke on Chumley when we left the trailhead and saw his vehicle! Hehe!
_____________________
Mar 23 2019
RedwallNHops
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 10
 Photos 548
 Triplogs 1,290

46 male
 Joined Dec 22 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Holdout Creek Trail #69Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 23 2019
RedwallNHops
Hiking20.12 Miles 4,892 AEG
Hiking20.12 Miles1 Day   4 Hrs   46 Mns   
4,892 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners partners
GrottoGirl
After sampling the Santa Theresa's a few weeks ago, I had to get back there with all the flowing water. What an awesome overnight trip.
_____________________
Oct 07 2018
chumley
avatar

 Guides 83
 Routes 692
 Photos 16,127
 Triplogs 1,618

48 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ 
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Oct 07 2018
chumley
Backpack23.08 Miles 3,669 AEG
Backpack23.08 Miles2 Days         
3,669 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners partners
JoelHazelton
Jonnybackpack
Powerstroke
After a perfect trifecta of issues that thwarted another plan, this was part 1 of our last minute revision. You just can't go wrong here, and I can't believe it took me three years to return.

Note to self: gaiters ](*,)

On Reef and Holdout most of the ribbons are long gone, I saw maybe half a dozen remnants clinging to life. Rare cairns are a treat though we certainly managed to get off track a handful of times. Black Rock is easy creek hiking, though the turn to leave the canyon can be missed.

We camped higher up to be closer to the creek. Pat and I ran the chute first while the others set up camp, and it was so much fun, we hiked back up and ran it again! I took the first leap of faith off the last waterfall into the darkness below. The pool ended up being over my head, and after swimming out to the other end I decided it would be a good time to put things in my drybag! :sweat: Many photographs were taken in this unique geologic wonderland.

It must have been the noise that four people tend to make, but I am absolutely shocked we didn't see either a bear or mountain lion, as the prints in the sand all along the creek near our camp were plentiful. The weather provided some great cloud drama in the morning and I hiked up canyon into the heart of Lower Holdout in search of Crows Nest Spring, but came up empty. Not even a sign of something that might have once existed there. Luckily the scenery here was more than worth the effort!

We hiked out in a steady rain as the cold front pushed through. Black Rock swelled with flow from the runoff, which made this even more fun than normal. As darkness fell we were treated to the spectacle of the SpaceX rocket from Vandenberg illuminating the moonless night sky. :D
_____________________
33s over 45s
1 archive
Mar 29 2017
Steph_and_Blake
avatar

 Guides 100
 Routes 61
 Photos 2,522
 Triplogs 176

72 male
 Joined Nov 21 2015
 Grand Junction,
Reef Tank TrailTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 29 2017
Steph_and_Blake
Hiking3.00 Miles 206 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   4 Hrs      1.00 mph
206 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We chose this hike from HAZ as we were camped in the area and were going to hike the east end of Aravaipa Canyon the next day. We also thought this hike might be a good choice in that it's much higher in elevation and would provide a good contrast to hiking in Aravaipa Canyon. We used friendofThundergod's gps hiking route as well as the driving route he kindly provided for us. While we used his hiking route, we found that other folks had marked their own route with blue and pink/orange ribbons. It seemed in numerous places that the "ribboned" route was far less overgrown. While this hike offered some good exercise, I can't say that we'd eagerly recommend this hike. The views were just okay and the end-point, Reef Tank, was not picturesque. We did marvel, though, at how the ranchers managed to make such a large watering hole out in the middle of nowhere. We suggest only 4x4 vehicles and offroad tires for the drive due to the sharp rocks along the way. Probably the most fun part of the trip was watching the "wildlife" (cattle) try to figure out what to do when a vehicle is moving along the one-lane road in which they are in the middle.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
Stephanie and Blake Barnard
3 archives
Oct 30 2015
John9L
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,294
 Triplogs 1,639

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ 
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Oct 30 2015
John9L
Backpack25.91 Miles 3,873 AEG
Backpack25.91 Miles3 Days         
3,873 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
chumley
clairebear
nonot
slowandsteady
Chumley planned this hike and it turned out to be fantastic! The hiking was rugged but not overwhelming. The views were epic and vast! We spent three days and two nights exploring this area. It was a great trip with a fun group!

Our trip started on Friday morning. The five of us (Karl, Kathy, Chumley, Claire and myself) left Phoenix in two vehicles and met at McDonalds in Globe. From there we caravaned to trailhead. Nonot is hiking in solo on Saturday. All of us will hike out together on Sunday.

The first mile and a half are easy going as you descend to the creek in Laurel Canyon and then make your way to the northeast towards Reef Tank. At that point we started our lasso loop and headed east into Holdout Canyon. The going was rugged and slow going as we were constantly route finding. It really helped having a GPS route and a group of five to sniff out the route. Sections of the route are overgrown but we pushed through and dropped down towards the confluence of Black Rock Canyon and Holdout Creek. We selected a campsite near the bend in the creek located next to the corral. We set up camp in the waning light and started a fire. I brought brats for dinner and there were dynamite!

Our group of five woke on day two and talked about our options. We decided to spend a few hours exploring to the north into Fisher Canyon and the GET. The going was tough as we proceeded up a drainage. After a mile we hit the old road. The GET takes off to the east and Fisher Canyon heads to the north. We originally followed Fisher but the old road has deteriorated and is covered in catclaw. It was no fun so we turned back and followed the GET for a bit. The landscape looked rather plain up ahead so we cut that short and returned to camp.

After a break our group hiked back up our trail from yesterday and dropped into Holdout Creek. From there we worked our way down canyon and admired this beautiful creek! It was very picturesque with lots of water flowing. As we neared the bottom of Holdout Creek we came to a large cluster of boulders. And by large I mean house size boulders with lots of debris from flash floods! Karl and Chumley explored the creek below the boulders while Claire and I checked it out from above. The going seemed like too much of a hassle to me so I climbed out and returned to camp via the trail. Our group reconvened at camp and were met by Nonot right before sunset. We settled in for another night around the fire.

On day three we took our time packing up camp and enjoying breakfast. Our group of six then started the hike up Black Rock Canyon. We were all pleasantly surprised to find the hiking very easy and enjoyable. The creek was wide open with a decent flow of water. Just about all of us got our shoes wet as we worked our way up canyon heading west. We took a break at the scenic waterfall and then continued on to the old road. From there we climbed out of Black Rock Canyon and made our way via the old road back to Reef Tank. We made good time and then completed our lasso loop back to the vehicles where we took one last break before making the drive back to Phoenix with another stop at Arizona Wilderness Brewery for beers and dinner!

This was another great trip and a wonderful area! I never paid much attention to the Santa Teresa Wilderness and didn't quite know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with the beauty and intimacy of this canyon. It has a feel similar to Wilderness of Rocks. Plus we were the only ones in this wilderness. That was a real treat. Thanks Chumley for driving and organizing! It was a fun trip and a great group!
Culture
Culture
Camp-fire Campsite
_____________________
4 archives
Oct 30 2015
nonot
avatar

 Guides 98
 Routes 249
 Photos 2,067
 Triplogs 495

male
 Joined Nov 18 2005
 Phoenix, AZ
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ 
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Oct 30 2015
nonot
Backpack18.00 Miles 2,500 AEG
Backpack18.00 Miles2 Days         
2,500 ft AEG33 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
chumley
clairebear
John9L
slowandsteady
It is always great when you can head into the desert without concerns about water or it being too hot/too cold. Also, visiting a Wilderness you have never been to before is always a treat.

The road to Reef Tank TH is definitely 4wd/high clearance, but you could always just hike it as it is part of the GET.

I'm still not quite sure where Holdout Creek Trail starts, nor where it exists in places. Someone has done a good job of flagging a route, but large portions of the trail are overgrown, and it seems in some places that the flagging simply takes a brush free path, rather than following the original trail. Once you get over the second major ridge the impressive inner basin of Holdout Creek greets you with the large granite mountains and boulders with a lightly flowing creek that you skirt along, more or less. The views are great throughout this basin, while the catclaw is annoying it isn't terrible and I made it to the confluence to meet up with the rest of the group who had gone in the day before. Arriving at dusk, they already had a campfire up and going for me, and despite my alias, 9L did a fine work of tending to the fire all night.

The next day we headed up Black Rock Canyon. There are slim signs of a trail, but the hike along the creek is fantastic, and there is a good road that allows for a brush free journey back to reef tank. I would rate this entire section as fantastic, as even the hike up the road was nice, since it was still clear of catclaw.

It was good to meet a new HAZ member and to see other HAZ'ers I haven't seen in years.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
I seem to recall a trickle coming out of this canyon.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Holdout Creek Medium flow Medium flow
nice flow through the lower half of this creek.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Reef Tank 1-25% full 1-25% full
disgusting
_____________________
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!
Oct 30 2015
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 372
 Photos 8,276
 Triplogs 1,006

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ 
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Oct 30 2015
BiFrost
Backpack25.91 Miles 3,873 AEG
Backpack25.91 Miles3 Days         
3,873 ft AEG
 
Partners partners
chumley
clairebear
John9L
nonot
slowandsteady
Great long weekend in the Santa Teresa's exploring Holdout and Black Rock Canyons. We started on the Klondkye side driving up an old two track to forest boundary. From there it was up the Reef Tank Trail over the divide that drops into upper Holdout Canyon. Once in upper Holdout the views of the pinnacles and granite rock slabs as well as range high point Cottonwood Mtn and Pinnacle ridge were awesome! We continued down Holdout in some light rain following the GET blue ribbons occasionally crossing Holdout Creek which had decent water. Eventually we made it down to the Holdout-Black Rock confluence and found a camp spot arriving just before sunset.

Next day we headed out on day hike up Fisher Canyon to explore more of the GET section. We briefly continued up Fisher Canyon leaving the GET but found the cats claw and deteriorating trail conditions more than we wanted to slog through. We turned around and hiked back to the GET exploring more of that section before heading back to camp. We only hiked about 4 miles total that morning but it was slow going particularly in Fisher Canyon although the water was nice to see.

Back at camp we took a short break and then headed our for second day hike this time back up Holdout and dropping into the creek 2 miles upstream from the confluence. The goal was to explore Holdout Creek since the trail goes around this entire section. We were not disappointed as this section had the nicest rock formations and pools in the entire range. Towards the bottom there is a 1/4 mile section where the creek goes under house sized boulders creating caverns, pools, and waterfalls. Chumley volunteered to carry my day pack while I climbed and waded through the pools eventually navigating to the end. Holdout Creek was definitely the highlight of the weekend.

After exploring Holdout we headed back to camp to spend another relaxing night around the fire. We also linked up with Nonot who hiked in that day and joined up that night. Next day we hiked out and up Black Rock Canyon which was very nice walk in the creek bottom. Very easy walking despite no trail and just following the creek for 4.5 miles. Then we hit an old road/trail which also was easy walking and great views on the ridgeline above Black Rock Canyon. Eventually we passed by Reef Tank completing our loop and back out to the vehicles. Thanks for organizing the trip Chums :D
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
_____________________
1 archive
Oct 30 2015
clairebear
avatar

 Photos 178
 Triplogs 158

39 female
 Joined Oct 26 2011
 Tempe, AZ
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ 
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Oct 30 2015
clairebear
Backpack25.91 Miles 3,873 AEG
Backpack25.91 Miles3 Days         
3,873 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
chumley
John9L
nonot
slowandsteady
First of all, I loved so much about this trip- the beautiful and rugged scenery, the company, our exposed and treeless camp and especially the isolation. This was one of those great wilderness experiences where there was not a single other person to be found except those in our group.

DAY 1 ~
We departed Tempe on an overcast morning and rendezvoused with Kathy and Karl in Globe. Our trip will take us back down the familiar Klondyke road from a few weeks ago when we hiked to Powers Garden. We turned onto the 4x4 road, passed some cute cows and admired the landscapes. Once prepared at the trailhead we departed and dropped into Laurel Canyon. After passing the slimy green reef tank we followed Holdout Creek Trail. Views in Holdout creek for this portion of the hike are fantastic ~. I've very partial to watery Arizona hikes along creek beds.

We determined that camp near the confluence of Black Rock Canyon and Holdout creek would be work since we would be exiting via Black Rock Canoyn on day 3. With sunset approaching we started to set up camp. 9L made us a very nice fire while Chumley had engineered some bridges to cross the creek to our tents. The rest of us settled in and gathered firewood. Later that night while we were trying to sleep some neighborhood coyotes serenaded us with some not too distant howling and the next morning fresh coyotes poop was found on our beach camp.

Day 2 Exploring from basecamp
It was nice to wake up and pack a few things in a small day back. From camp we headed north to Fisher canyon. For a mile we boulder hopped off trail through the canyon and followed some more of the GET. After we found some shade and took a break we decided to return to camp and before perusing a hike through Holdout Canyon. I was glad to return to camp to filter some more water from the creek and after relaxing a bit we headed out. Our hike in had bypassed this part of the creek so it was great to go back and check out the scenery. Holdout canyon is so picturesque with interesting rock formations carved out from the water. I followed the creek as much as possible. Once the canyon narrowed and the boulders grew to house sizes and I struggled to find a dry path. Chumley and Karl explored deeper into the canyon, with Karl opting for an adventurous canyoneering route. I wish I had been more patient and waited to follow their route. I did enjoy navigating my own way through this part of the canyon, however I had to bail and climb back up to the top when it seemed like forging a
path through the house sized boulders alone was no longer safe. Another time !!! As we settled in by the fire that evening we were joined by Nonot.
Silence from coyote camp that night.

Day 3
We broke down camp and made our way out sometime around 9:30 AM. Our hike out through Black Rock Canyon was easier than much of the trails we had followed all weekend. For five miles we enjoyed the picturesque creek of Black Rock Canyon until reaching the Jeep trail that will take us back to Reef tank. Steep uphill climb, but the trail was wide and there was no fighting with catclaw here.
On our way back into town we stoped at AZ wilderness because it was fitting and delicious to end the trip drinking a Santa Teresa Enkel. Thanks for indulging me with my AZW cravings :D

Thanks Chumley for putting this together ! I adored this trip and I'm glad everyone came together for it ^^^^
_____________________
1 archive
Oct 30 2015
slowandsteady
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 966
 Triplogs 694

47 female
 Joined Jan 05 2012
 Phoenix,AZ
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ 
Holdout Black Rock Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Oct 30 2015
slowandsteady
Backpack23.00 Miles 3,500 AEG
Backpack23.00 Miles3 Days         
3,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
BiFrost
chumley
clairebear
John9L
nonot
Great into to the Santa Teresa's, hiking is definitely a pants party to get through all of the prickly stuff.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
_____________________
Feb 07 2015
friendofThundergod
avatar

 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Holdout Creek Trail #69Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 07 2015
friendofThundergod
Hiking11.01 Miles 1,893 AEG
Hiking11.01 Miles
1,893 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I have been wanting to get back to the Santa Teresa since my first visit in December. I decided I better take advantage of another weekend of relatively low gas prices and make the quick 200 mile trip back to Holdout Creek before they are back up to $2.45 a gallon again.

My plan was to find a nice scenic spot along Holdout Creek and just spend some time exploring the area, as Dave and I were in through hiker mode when we went through back in December. I also wanted to maximize my time in that area by hitting up the Cobra Mine Trail on Sunday along with Turkey Creek. I found a great spot, but waited to unpack my gear. I was only about five miles from TH and the thought crossed my mind that it might be more efficient to car camp instead and make my way over to the Cobra Mine TH and leave myself more time on Sunday, as I did not want too late of a finish, with the nearly four hour drive ahead of me as well. So I hung my gear and through on my daypack and decided to see how I felt after exploring the area some.

The more I explored the more impressed I became with the area, just a gorgeous area, especially with all the water flowing. I decided on the car camp idea and headed back to the car after a pretty lazy day of minor exploring, eating snacks along the creek and even a nap. I was a little fatigued the whole day for some reason, my legs just seemed dead. I probably doubled my mat time over the last week or so getting our boys ready for sectionals and states and I think it caught up to me a little on Saturday. My body may have been thinking lets take a day off and sleep in, probably not lets get up at 3:30 in the morning to go hiking. My hike out was pretty leisurely and very slow, but I did spend some pretty good time with the clippers conducting some modest trail maintenance on my way out.

My Cobra Mine Trail idea was stopped by what I am pretty sure is an illegal gate job complete with lock on public road leading to TH. Needless to say, I was not getting through and I was a little pissed by that point because I had nixed my over night in Holdout so I would have time to do Cobra Mine and Turkey Creek. Now it was on to Turkey Creek.

I did not realize that one can literally drive right to the Turkey Creek ruins. So I visited them quickly with a head lamp and then hit the road again to find somewhere to hike Sunday on my way back to Phoenix.
Fauna
Fauna
Dog
Named place
Named place
Holdout Creek

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Holdout Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Reef Tank 1-25% full 1-25% full
_____________________
5 archives
Dec 27 2014
friendofThundergod
avatar

 Guides 28
 Routes 314
 Photos 9,133
 Triplogs 868

39 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
GET 7 through 9, AZ 
GET 7 through 9, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Dec 27 2014
friendofThundergod
Backpack61.94 Miles 11,320 AEG
Backpack61.94 Miles4 Days         
11,320 ft AEG
 
1st trip
The Grand Enchantment Trail was never on my radar until azdesertfather suggested knocking out segments 7,8,9 over a three day trek. I thought it sounded cool and said sure. After all I had never did Aravaipa and had heard great things about the Santa Teresa's from the few that have hiked them. I had to leave the pups back on this one because of Aravaipa which was a bit of a bummer. However, I was excited to get to a new area and knock out some more mileage over my holiday break and I knew the kiddos would be in good hands at uncle Chumleys.

Day 1: Section 7, Aravaipa Wilderness

This day would be characterized by closed highways, a late start, wet boots and cold water. We knew we were going to get a late start on the first day, as we had to set up our shuttle. This meant a 330 departure time from Phoenix for me and a very early dog drop off at Chumleys. HAZ appreciation Chumleys way one more time for taking on my unruly children, I swear I am going to pay you one of these times ;) After the dog drop off, things were going perfect for our 0630 Pima link up. Then we hit a small snag an accident just outside of Superior on the 60 necessitated a scenic 0530 in the morning detour through Winkleman. Nevertheless, we only found ourselves about 45 minutes behind schedule by the time we reached Pima. We set up our shuttle and were stepping off at Araviapa just after 11:30. Aravaipa was simply amazing for me even with the extremely cold water and long stretches of sunless very cold canyon we had to wade through, if the water was not running it was frozen in these sections. Aravaipa was so scenic I am almost ashamed to say I spent less then five hours in the beautiful canyon, no worries though, it will be there next time and we had a mission to complete. Day one culminated with a very liberal interpretation of the Nature Conservatory's no camping policy.

Day 2: GET 8, Santa Teresa Wilderness

Day two started very cold, and I mean like Stalingrad winter of 43 cold! I have woke up to cold boots, wet boots and torn up boots, however courtesy of Ariviapa Creek this was the first time I woke up to frozen solid boots. I got a quick fire going and coaxed Dave out of his tent, but I could tell from the start he was feeling the effects of a very cold morning and uncomfortable night. I had listened to my go to guy for weather and bought an 11-20 degree liner for my 25 degree down bag, as I was told to be prepared for a deep freeze. I got my first real view of the Santa Teresas just after Reef Tank and all I will say is if you have not made it there, find away to get there. A stunning landscape of rocks, snow covered peaks, mixed in with some pine and several partially frozen cascades along the robust flowing inner drainages and creeks. I coaxed, prodded and annoyed Dave literally about as far as he could go on day two. We made camp, refueled and prepared for another night in the Arctic.

Day 3: GET 8, Cottonwood Mountain

The second morning was some how colder. The water I had brought up from creek for breakfast and hot drinks froze in the little less then 15 minutes it took me to get to ready to heat it. The first part of day three was spent finding a "creative" way to skirt the stretch of private land that breaks up the section 8 of the GET as you leave and reenter the Santa Teresa. From there it was up Cottonwood Mountain. The climb was not overly bad and other then a few faint spots the trail was great, cacti mingling with ponderosa and snow covered agave. Dave equally enjoyed this section, albeit it at a much more leisurely pace. We regrouped at the top and started making our way down. I will admit I still had small aspirations of pushing through head lamp marathon style, but it simply was not in the cards for Dave on this day. He did allow/tolerate me to push him until just after sunset, as I did not want anything to do with camping above 5000 feet with the temps we had been dealing with. I think we made it to exactly 5000 feet and actually enjoyed are nicest camp site of trip. Although, I may be using the word enjoy a little loosely, as night three proved to be hands down the coldest night of trip. We found our water freezing in mere minutes if taken away from the fire and even as we unpacked our gear ice formed on any object with the slightest amount of moisture left on it from the previous night's condensation. I slept relatively well, Dave had a bit of a restless cold night, but we survived and it did not take us much to get going the next morning.

Day 4: GET 9

Aravaipa and the Santa Teresa's were amazing, however, I would rate this segment somewhere between dull and stale. Although, the above mentioned are two tough acts to follow, it would have taken a lot for segement 9 to impress me. Dave was doing much better on the initial stretches of quad trails and forest roads, however, he knew he was not where he would normally be and certainly not where I was. He suggested leaving his gear at Klondike road and finishing the last 8 miles pack free. Initially, I was dreading the detour back to Klondike, but I knew it meant a lot for him to complete the segment and heck I only had a trip to Tuscon and Phoenix still left on my day, so what was a small detour at this point? ;) It would have made perfect sense for me to leave my gear as well, but I opted to carry mine out. Anyone who knows me, knows I have no problem leaving people in the wilderness, but never gear, too expensive to replace. It actually turned out to be a pretty good idea, Dave was like a new man once he shed that pack and was able to knock out the final 8 miles at a pretty good clip and arrived at the TH about 20 minutes after me. We both agreed had he carried pack, we would have been looking at a mid afternoon finish instead of our lunchtime finish. Dave found a nice shortcut via a decent forest road that got us back to his gear quicker then we had expected. I think the trip back to his gear mall only ended up costing us a little over a half hour. In the end a really good four day trek, rugged, a little challenging, great company, some tremendous areas, and generally good times. It was really nice to get back to that part of the state and I am already planning a return. I am grateful to have gotten the invite to help Dave knock out some coveted sections of the GET.

Final Notes: Blisterfree writes superb descriptions, with spot on routes and directions, so some well deserved HAZ is appreciation his way, as he blazed this very rugged rewarding route.

Trail humor: Apparently my very dry humor is equally as unappreciated among hiking partners as it is in the classroom. For example, Dave says, " I think this is the last trip for these shoes they are no good anymore" my response, "ya, but you can save the "souls" right?" Dave, "huh?" Me, "never mind."
Fauna
Fauna
Wild Turkey
Named place
Named place
Reef Tank
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4 archives
Dec 27 2014
azdesertfather
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 Guides 12
 Routes 60
 Photos 1,221
 Triplogs 834

48 male
 Joined Apr 30 2008
 Tucson, AZ
Grand Enchantment Trail #7-9, AZ 
Grand Enchantment Trail #7-9, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Dec 27 2014
azdesertfather
Backpack63.07 Miles 11,436 AEG
Backpack63.07 Miles3 Days      26 Mns   
11,436 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
This was an epic trip and a great way to end 2014. It's one I have wanted to do for over a year and just waiting for someone crazy enough to take this on as a backpack trip, as GET #8 as a day trip was out of my league (left for guys like juanjaimeiii!). Super thankful to find friendofThundergod eager to take it on and help me get one of the most remote sections of the GET checked off the list.

One of the first challenges was just finding someone to help us with the shuttle on this one. I originally had a friend who had committed to do the drop off at the beginning of GET 8 (east end of Aravaipa) whenever I was ready to go, but when the dates were finally picked, he was going to be out of town. Lee hadn't done GET 7 (Aravaipa Creek), and shuttle help for the west end of Aravaipa was going to be much easier to pull off, so we chose to make it GET 7-8-9 rather than just 8-9. Big shout out to friends Al & Kevin for making the 3-hour drive to Aravaipa to pick up my Jeep and drive it home, saving a bunch of extra drive time on trip out.

Sat 27, GET #7-8 (~15mi/1100aeg, 5hr 48min)
Started out about 4am, met up with Lee in Pima to set up a crazy shuttle on the NW end of the Pinalenos. Had a 45-minute detour due to an accident, but he left his vehicle at the end point and I drove us around to the west Aravaipa TH. About 7½ hours after starting the shuttle, we were finally set up and descending into Aravaipa to begin the adventure. Knowing that wet shoes are part of the game when doing Aravaipa (and that we were doing this in late December), I opted to bring a pair of water shoes for Aravaipa, which worked out great. Knowing we had a long ways to go, we opted to do Aravaipa without any exploration. We didn't see any wildlife except for one deer, but we were blazing through pretty quick, finishing all of Aravaipa in 5 hours on the dot. We finished about a half mile ahead of plan, past the old Salazar church, camping out the first night about a half mile or so into GET 8.

Sun 28, GET #8 (~17mi/3300aeg, 9hr 24min)
We woke up to some chilly temps as expected. In retrospect, the one thing I wish I had added to my pack was an extra liner for my sleeping bag. We were in the 20s the first 2 nights, but it was all right, it just gave us extra motivation to get our packs on early each day and take off. One other thing I wish I had done differently was carry less water on this day. Uncertain with water reliability, I carried 6 liters to get to the end of GET 8, which I didn't need to do and put my pack that day at over 50 lbs.

The day started with a little dirt road action before we could hit the western edge of the Santa Teresas to get the blood flowing, and started our climb. Heading down Aravaipa Road at sunrise, we came upon over a dozen wild turkeys waking up from their roost; amazing watching these big birds make their way up and down off of high tree branches! Coming up on the Teresas, it was so cool to know that this beautiful range is one that very, very few Arizonans ever see. We made our way up and into the western end of the Teresas, ending the day at a beautiful, sandy spot in Fisher Canyon, just inside the northern border of the wilderness. We could have gone farther, but knowing we would have to hike another 8 miles before the next campsite possibility, we decided to burn the final hour of daylight and build up a good woodpile for the night.

Mon 29, GET #8 (~16mi/4700aeg, 10hr 36min)
If you are doing GET 8, there is something you should know — there are few trails. In fact, there is no trail or series of trails you can use to go from one end to the other; the only way to do so is to go from the west end to the north end, hike outside the wilderness for a while to the east and then drop back down, hiking south to the southeast end. Topo maps show a trail just outside the wilderness that once existed (they are marked on some topo maps as Black Rock and Cottonwood Mountain trails). Because of two ranchers in this area who I have been told have a particular dislike for visitors of any sort, you have to be really careful in this area. The Black Rock Trail goes onto one of the rancher's land now and cannot be hiked, and this rancher has let the Cottonwood Trail basically fade into nonexistence (as it is on his land now also). The only legal option is to hike a careful loop of about 8 miles out of the wilderness, around the boundaries of their properties, and back into the wilderness, doing some bushwhacking along the way. I actually attempted to find a way to contact these ranchers to ask permission for access beforehand, but was totally unsuccessful.

We started off talking up a storm and soon realized we were following the trail that leads to the ranch (and trouble). Lee boldly decided, rather than to backtrack, to instead bushwhack up a mountainside and back down to a road I was familiar with. The bushwhack was doable and saved us some otherwise useless miles, but it did in looking back on our track put us on one of these rancher's land for almost a mile. It was marked as a forest service road but is apparently an FS road that he also owns (my sincere apologies to the rancher). If you do GET 8, I recommend following the standard route in respect of the ranchers.

After getting this behind us, then the elevation was set to begin, with a climb to well over 7,200 feet near the peak of Cottonwood Mountain. We followed a pack trail up into the wilderness gate and headed toward Kane Spring, which is generally one of the few locations along the route with somewhat dependable water. We headed up the ridgeline, hitting consistent snow around 6,000 feet but thankfully not too deep (we were punching through only an inch or two). Nice views at the overlook on top, I spent some time myself soaking it in before jumping back into catching up with Lee (he was a man on a mission!). My plans were to get to a nice campsite in cottonwood & sycamore trees about 4 miles down the south side of the mountain (outside the Santa Teresa Wilderness), but we ended up pushing a mile beyond that since we had enough sunlight left, making it to a nice campsite right at the boundary of the Coronado National Forest.

Tue 30, GET #8-9 (~14mi/2500aeg, 5hr 30min)
This was the coldest morning of all, getting down into the 10s. My water bottles were literally next to me as I slept, and when I woke up they were frozen. I told Lee, I was especially eager to get up and going super early, and we started out before daylight. Once I got my soreness worked out, we were both hiking at a steady >4mph clip down trails and roads to finish GET #8 and start GET #9. Knowing how eager Lee was to cut the trip short, and my skinny self having had enough of a 40+ lb pack for 55 miles, I came up with a plan to drop the pack as we left Klondike Road. I knew there was a water cache site there for the GET and it would be easy for me to drive back and pick up with minimal time lost...and it would give me a chance to get my running legs on. :y: For those of you who know me, I find it hard to resist not jogging out the home stretch of any hike, particularly if it is downhill!! Plus, I knew GET #9 wasn't the most beautiful section, with a good amount of dirt road walking, so it wasn't a big deal to just bust out the last 8 miles and help a buddy get home a little earlier to his awesome doggies, which I had already met on a prior hike. :D

I jogged part of it, pausing to keep Lee in sight. This guy is amazing with a pack though, and he was able to pass me when we reached the final stretch that has the elevation and cross-country bushwhack to it! :wlift: By the time we we lost all trail and had to bushwhack a trail for ourselves up and over the Dick Peak ridgeline, through thick catsclaw, holly, cactus and manzanita, he was nowhere to be seen. Once I reached the cattle tank at the top of the ridgeline, there was an old trail that descended into a 4WD road and back down to the car.

My plan was to finish by 11:21am (when we started the first day), so that we would have a 3-day finish. I thought dropping my pack would ensure that for me, and Lee pretty much made it; but the final bushwhack added more time than I expected. No real trail and finding only 1 cairn and 1 piece of blue tape in a tree about halfway up, and I finished 26 minutes outside of my goal. It still was a great way to end this segment (the highlight of segment #9 for me), and is one of the things you have to be comfortable with on the GET — some parts are just cross-country and you have to feel comfortable blazing your own trail to a specific destination. Blisterfree (organizer of the GET) in most places like this has done a great job of blue-taping trees for added confidence — but you can't depend on that in every area. Total time on the trail: 31 hours 18 minutes, putting our average at 2 mph over the whole trip.

I have to tell you — if you are looking for remote, GET 8 is the place to be. Actually, with the entire trip, we never encountered a single person (except a few in vehicles on Aravaipa & Klondike Roads). Normally when doing GET 8, water is going to be an issue. One of the plus sides to doing this when we did was that there were recent rains and snow melting off the higher peaks, giving us all the water we needed.

Had a blast getting to know Lee better, lots of cool discussions about American & world history, religion, politics, and even his great taste I share in several alternative rock bands. Great stories from his service time in Afghanistan, & grateful for his service for all of us. : app :

One final reason to :y: for this trip: getting segments 8 & 9 done puts juanjaimeiii & I both at having completed the first 13 segments of the Grand Enchantment Trail, from Apache Junction to Morenci!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Aravaipa Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
Flow down Aravaipa Creek was similar to what I've seen in my last 2 trips out here.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Cottonwood Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
Great flow for this area; recent rains definitely helped.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Fisher Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
Great flow for this area; recent rains definitely helped.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Fourmile Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Found about a quart a minute flowing near here.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Gardner Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
Great flow for this area; recent rains definitely helped.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Holdout Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Great flow for this area; recent rains definitely helped.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Kane Spring Dripping Dripping
A few water sources here; found a side trail leading to a small makeshift tank to east of the trail just before the spring; it had some concrete blocks next to it and had a small supply of water. Also a larger camouflage tank. The spring itself I think was the spot on the other side of the trail but it was bolted closed and I didn't take the time to work to get into it and see how much water there was. There also was water heading up to Kane Spring, on the trail north of the spring, at the dam and a couple of other areas.

dry Lantern Tank Dry Dry
no dice even after rains in this area...

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Limestone Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Found some small pools here. At this time, we saw less pools on this end of the wilderness than on the western end, where they were more plentiful, but a few existed here in the southeastern end.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Reef Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
Was a little dirty, with all the other water sources we were fortunate enough to have, this wasn't needed. We ran into clean flowing water along the trail a tenth of a mile or so before the tank.
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"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
8 archives
average hiking speed 1 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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