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May 29 2016
AZHiker456
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 Guides 28
 Routes 197
 Photos 7,418
 Triplogs 184

40 female
 Joined Nov 07 2015
 
Maple Peak - GET #17Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar May 29 2016
AZHiker456
Hiking11.32 Miles 2,750 AEG
Hiking11.32 Miles   6 Hrs   1 Min   2.37 mph
2,750 ft AEG   1 Hour   14 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
For Day 3 of my 10 day mountain getaway, I joined some fellow hiking buds from the TLC Hiking Meetup Group for a trip to Maple Peak. We car-camped the night before about a quarter mile up the road from the Charlie Moore TH. The road to the TH is dirt but in good condition; however, the quarter mile stretch beyond that to where we car-camped would be about a 7 on pumpkin factor scale [for having just under 9” of ground clearance]. The next morning, I drove my Forester back down to the official TH and launched from there... I’ve driven MUCH worse [Sedona’s Schnebly Hill Road immediately comes to mind…!]; but given my luck this year [or lack of it], I wanted to enjoy the hike without worrying about potentially doing damage to my vehicle on the way out.

From the Charlie Moore TH, the first 2.25 miles or so of the “trail” is actually jeep road. It was a beautiful area, [and my mileage goal for the day was to log around10-13], so I didn’t mind the extra distance. However, the rest of the TLC gang jumped in the club leader’s Avalanche and drove another 1+ miles down the jeep road to start the hike; with over 5 hours of driving back to the PHX area ahead of them, they were delighted to shave off some extra mileage. Given that I’d be walking an extra 1+ miles each way, [and that they tend to haul pumpkin], I launched about 30 minutes before them.

When the jeep road turns to actual trail, the ‘route finding factor’ appears to be a 1 at first glance; however, within the first 1/2 mile or so, that changes very quickly and the trail looks more like a well-defined route than an actual trail. En route to Maple Peak, I had fun hitting up a bunch of the UN Peaks along the ridgeline of Charlie Moore Mountain. From the looks of the topo, the official summit of Charlie Moore Mountain is by peak 7619’. I found a medium-sized cairn very near 7619’, as well as what appeared to have once been the register [ photo ] , nestled under some of the rocks that form the cairn. The lid of the jar was screwed on tightly, and the page inside was drenched, so I returned it to where I found without even attempting to open it.

By now, I half expected the TLC gang to be way ahead of me, given all of the picture stops I’d taken, [and knowing just how fast they can fly on the trails]… needless to say, when I was about two-thirds of a mile from the summit of Maple Peak and starting the final push, [by around UN 7543’], I was very surprised to hear them, [and then catch sight of the leader’s fluorescent shirt], about 1/4 mile behind me, [around UN 7483’].

At this point, ‘summit fever’ took hold and I turned the jets on; [but went that happens, the blinders tend to go on as well…!]. For the next half mile, I made great time as I spotted routes, used the topography to my advantage, and struck the perfect balance of ascending & contouring. However, with just over 1/10th mile to the summit, the nice route I’d found suddenly seemed to peter out amongst the surrounding brush and I opted for an ‘as the crow flies’ final approach…

…let’s just say, that final .14 miles of full-out bushwhacking, [from where I’d left the nice route to where I finally stumbled out of the brushy abyss and onto the peak], was rather treacherous. In fact, only a handful of other bushwhacks come to mind that involved battling through thicker brush… don’t worry Peter, your bushwhacks to Bear Down & Mt. Elliot, [along with my horrific approach to a prominent point on Sanders Peak in the Chiricahuas], all still take top honors. ;)

To top off an amazingly fun and beautiful hike/bushwhack, the views from Maple Peak were just stunning! I couldn’t wait to do more hiking and bag more peaks in the area. About 5-10 minutes after making summit, the TLC gang arrived, and they weren’t exactly smiling… apparently they ran into some “very thick brush” as well, [although without having seen it, I can’t judge just how “bad” it was]…

…all I knew is that the side of the summit they came from was completely absent of brush for the final 50-60+ feet if I had to estimate… [while the side I approached from was insanely brushy with virtually NO maneuverability right up until I popped out on the highpoint / by the rock with the register]. Despite the pained looks on their faces, you better believe I was descending the mountain in the exact direction they’d come from! Had it not been for Route Scout topo, [showing me just how close I was to the peak every step of the way], I definitely would’ve felt a little more panicked, thinking I’d landed myself in a mess of never-ending brush… there was no way in hell I was heading down the way I came up!

The guys from TLC told me not to get my hopes up in term of having an easy descent. Despite the nice patch of brush-free ground in the direction they’d come from, they guaranteed that battling some amount of thick brush was unavoidable in order to make it down. I just smiled and said, “We’ll see… not to sound arrogant, but I’m really good when it comes to finding smooth descents…” [Though as for my ascents, the opposite tends to hold true…].

Right at the moment where I thought to myself, ‘Perhaps the brush can be avoided; we’ve dropped in elevation to about the point where I started my bushwhack ascent…’ the TLC gang proceeded downward in the direction they had been going, [which was now headed toward a thick patch of brush]. However, I noticed that if we stopped descending and started contouring, the coast was clear. That’s not to say it couldn’t get nasty… but I figured, why head toward brush when the way I spotted had a chance of being better? I even spot-checked my topo, which confirmed that I’d been right about having dropped in elevation to about the point where I began my bushwhack on the ascent…

...it wasn’t more than a few seconds after splitting from the TLC gang when the route I was on started to contour straight towards what appeared to be a thick patch of brush. But as I got closer, I noticed that the bush was not nearly as bad as it seemed from a distance. Although growing up to face level in some places, the ground underfoot was perfect; all it took was an occasional parting of the non-thorny brush. I shouted “trail” to the TLC gang, [but as per the usual, they typically needed to ‘see it to believe it’] and continued to battle through brush in the direction they had gone. Meanwhile, I was cruising along a sweet route.

Not more than a minute or so after having split from the TLC gang, I parted some brush and suddenly found myself on the NICE segment of route I’d taken on while approaching the summit, [right at the point where I decided to bushwhack]… the route hadn’t petered out as I had originally thought; rather, the brush on either side, [which was overlapping the trail from about knee to face level], just made it appear that way. If I had a little more patience on the way up, I just might have noticed.

Having already hit up the other prominent points / UN Peaks on the way to Maple Peak, I didn’t make many stops as I headed back toward the TH; however, I still took my time to enjoy the views and ‘smell the roses.’ I was wondering when the TLC gang would blow by me… despite my awesomely smooth descent and the resulting “lead” I had on them, the patch of brush they had to fight through wouldn’t cost them that much time; they also tend to haul pumpkin double time on the way down from summits, [oftentimes full out trail running]; and to top things off, they’d be cruising in the Avalanche for the final 1.5 miles of jeep road, while I’d be on foot. Needles to say, it shouldn’t have been a question of if they would pass me but at what moment…

…oddly enough, I was the first to arrive back to the Charlie Moore TH. Perhaps they ended up in a really nasty patch of brush [I definitely know how that can go!]. I kicked off my hiking gear and spread one of my sleeping bags on the ground next to my Forester while I waited to make sure they made it back okay. With beautiful surroundings and a gorgeous sunny day, I suddenly got nervous when I looked at the time and saw that 50 minutes had passed since my return, and still no TLC gang. This time, however, they answered the phone, informing me that they were fine and that I’d missed out on a ‘searching expedition’ for the leader’s cell phone, which was lost just after we split ways on the descent.
_____________________
Jul 11 2012
Outlander
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 Routes 68
 Photos 807
 Triplogs 64

male
 Joined Aug 03 2007
 Tolleson, AZ
Maple Peak - GET #17Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2012
Outlander
Hiking25.00 Miles 6,000 AEG
Hiking25.00 Miles   34 Hrs      1.14 mph
6,000 ft AEG   12 Hrs    Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The mission was to hike a few miles in the Blue Range Primitive Area.

I drove in the night before, making an early first-light start on what appeared on paper to be an easy hike. With rain likely, I decided to wear waterproof pants and a medium BDU jacket, along with a parka in the pack.

The first leg of the trip was up Fritz Canyon, which has an intermittent stream and several springs. The walking was not very tough but it soon became apparent that my choice of attire was a huge mistake: The pants were made of an impervious barrier of polyester, unlike Goretex, trapping body heat and sweat like an oven set to broil.

Mein Gott! These pants came straight from an Abu Ghraib torture chamber!

Unzipping the fly offered some relief, but it was not enough to prevent a nasty rash that tormented me the rest of the trip. By noon, my hopes of cool weather were dashed with the reality that these pines, were in fact, hot and humid pines with temps in the high 90's. It was St. Louis humidity...just could not seem to cool down, no matter how much I perspired.

Planned on bagging Maple Peak, but had to take a detour on account of running out of water. I tried to fill up at Maple Tank, but the water there was so nasty from cattle that I dared not risk it. Funny phenomena how cattle completely lose control of their bowels the moment they get within ten feet of a water hole.

Headed down Horse Canyon and found sweet water at Wavy Spring, calling it a day around 8:00 PM. Horse Canyon has some big pines and other trees, the intermittent stream providing a nice green belt all the way down to the Blue River. The pines are burned out and small up along the mountains, but quite big near the creek. I walked the Horse Canyon Trail for about five miles, losing it several times.

I am not one to whine about unkempt trails, but these are in really bad shape. Some say that the Forest Service is intentionally letting the trail system degrade in areas that have Mexican grey wolves, making access more difficult.

Reading the trail log at Horse Camp Cabin was interesting. It documents the decline of the deer and elk populations after the introduction of the wolves, with many stories of how things used to be, and how they are now. One thing is for sure, this area is a great place to find skulls and bones. I found out later that the Forest Service lists the current location of the wolf packs each week, and there was a wolf pack about 10 miles to the north of my location.

The Blue Range is a neat area and I hope to do a few more ops in there over the coming weeks, minus the torture pants.
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 Cow Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Good water can be had here in the summer.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Gavilan Spring Dripping Dripping
Water has some pollution on account of being inside a corral.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Maple Peak Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
Green toxic water.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Morris Spring Dripping Dripping
Inside a corral.

dry Rock Tank Spring Dry Dry
They must have listed an incorrect location on this spring as there is nothing here. Water can be found about 20 minutes further up the creek.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Upper Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Good water for drinking.
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average hiking speed 1.75 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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