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Paradise Trail #74 - Blue Range - 3 members in 14 triplogs have rated this an average 3.7 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Sep 05 2020
friendofThundergod
avatar

 Guides 24
 Routes 300
 Photos 8,487
 Triplogs 799

38 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Grant Creek Overnight Backpack, AZ 
Grant Creek Overnight Backpack, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Sep 05 2020
friendofThundergod
Backpack12.00 Miles 2,000 AEG
Backpack12.00 Miles
2,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
I ended my summer in the same area my summer began, the Primitive Blue Range. Katie myself, John and our pack of four completed a nice little overnight trip to Grant Cabin along Grant Creek.

Day 1:

The first mile or so along Steeple was pleasant as usual. Upper Grant Creek Trail is trying its hardest to return to its primitive nature, despite being cleared a year ago, but the trail is still generally in good shape. It just tends to drag a little towards the end and the going always seems to be a little slower than expected. After setting up camp at the cabin, we headed off for a side trip to Moonshine Park. We left to the beginnings of some light rain. Moonshine Park will not blow you away, but its a pleasant area and worth the side trip. As we left Moonshine, the rain picked up in its intensity as did the thunder and lightning. We nixed a plan to explore Paradise went straight to camp, getting pretty drenched along the way. We then had to retreat to the tents for an hour or so. After the rain ended, it was the usual camp chores, a fire and trying to stay up past 8:30.

Day 2:

We took our time the morning of day two and left camp a little after nine. From camp you pretty much start climbing and you don't really end until a little over two miles and an elevation of approximately 8,900 feet. Luckily, the trails were in great shape and the grade was thoughtful, so the climb did not really prove to be that bad. A little warm at times, but manageable. From P-Bar Lake it was a very pleasant hike through some nice stands of surviving forest along great trail all the way to our beginning trailhead and the completion of our loop. Another fulfilling trip to the Blue.
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1 archive
Sep 05 2020
John9L
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 Guides 6
 Routes 172
 Photos 4,970
 Triplogs 1,630

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Grant Creek - Primitive Blue Range, AZ 
Grant Creek - Primitive Blue Range, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Sep 05 2020
John9L
Backpack14.75 Miles 2,700 AEG
Backpack14.75 Miles2 Days         
2,700 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
As the holiday weekend approached, I contacted Lee to see what he was up to. He said he's going back into The Blue for an easy backpack with Katie & the dogs. He invited me & I'm glad I joined.

We would car camp on Friday night and then headed over to the trailhead and started in. Steeple was in great shape and we connected onto Grant Creek Trail which was slow & overgrown. We took our time as we descended the canyon. The sun was out and it was hot. We kept at it and worked our way over and around dead fall and we were able to follow the trail whenever it existed. We finally hit the cabin and decide to set up camp.

After camp was set up we decided to go for a day hike as dark clouds moved in. We headed for Moonshine Park as a light rain started to fall. We followed a good trail that was cleared recently. It was easy going and we enjoyed the park. We walked around the area and took a variety of pics and then the skies opened up. Thunder roared and the rain grew heavy. We started our return and put our heads down and cruised back. Once we were back at camp we climbed into our tents and waited an hour for the storm to pass. As soon as it cleared, Lee & Katie built the fire and evening set in. We dried our gear & ate dinner.

We woke on day two and took our time packing up & headed out around 9am. Our return climbed almost 2,000ft but went well. It's a respectable climb but the trail is in good condition. Once things leveled off, we took a short break and then headed the last few miles back to the trailhead. There were a handful of downed trees to climb over. Once back to the car we talked about our options and decided to get some food in Hannagan Meadows and then return to Phoenix.

This was a nice hike and I'm glad I drove out. I wish we spent another night so we could have explored more. Its a good reason to return another time.
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1 archive
Sep 04 2020
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 74
 Photos 1,014
 Triplogs 132

35 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Intro to Blue, AZ 
Intro to Blue, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Sep 04 2020
jacobemerick
Backpack56.85 Miles 10,461 AEG
Backpack56.85 Miles3 Days         
10,461 ft AEG9.8 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
First time to the Blue. Out of laziness admiration I simply copy/pasted FOTG's earlier trip this year and stuck to the trails.

Day 1
Caught a few hours of sleep before cruising down Steeple/Upper Grant Creek. Upper Grant was okay, intermittent tread with a few obstacles, travel was slower than expected. Swung over on Paradise and gawked over the hints of big views through the trees before connecting with Grant Creek. Grant Creek served as a dividing line for complete devastation and untouched pines for awhile before succumbing to the burn and wandering sadly through a field of ferns.

Stopped at White Oak Spring to spook a buck and flock of turkeys (and filter some water) before tumbling down the rest of Grant Creek Trail. The exposure was hot and my poorly-fitting boots were starting to annoy me, so when I reached the creek itself and saw more signs of burn damage (flood damage and young, greedy growth) I rushed forward and crashed at the trailhead. Bottom of the Blue felt like a darn furnace after the cooler, shaded mountains above.

A hot, dusty forest road did a great job at burning through my water and I was very thankful to find Lanphier Creek flowing at the Largo junction. Trudged uphill on Largo, enjoying the little park beyond the first ridge and Dutch Oven area and mostly cursing my boots. Found some interesting pens that seemed to be protecting the source of Largo Creek, though they were all opened, and the wildlife had obviously been digging deep to find water here this summer. Crested and dropped along the Little Blue Trail to find a very talkative man camping at Bear Valley for a few weeks with his mules, ended up camping at a nice tent pad another half mile on his suggestion.

Day 2
Woke early and hobbled along the rest of the Little Blue, admiring the geologic structures by the twin light of mostly-full moon and slowly-waking sun. Cut over on 609 (which was labeled Horse Mountain Connector by a sign), which was faint yet easy, before bumping into Cow Flat. This trail was fantastic and won the Trail of the Day award. It has variety, several awesome rest spots, and very creative construction. There was also little shade and rolly rocks and catclaw, but hey, this is Arizona.

Aside: there was a feed bag at Ladrone Spring, within a few feet of the campfire ring. This seems bad.

The furnace was alive and kicking when I entered the wide riverbed of the Blue River, and between that and the intermittent trail and the sand and the rock-hopping on sore feet, the next three hours were No Fun. The flow itself was dark and silty, and the tributaries were mostly dry, so I had to filter the questionable river and hope that the aftertaste was 'charm'. When I exited the trail I was immediately yelled at by the landowner who claims there is no way to reach the northern trailhead without trespassing. Anyways, reached Cole Flat by 2pm, thought about heading up Steeple, looked at the gathering storm clouds above and my stupid boots below, and crashed. The next few hours were a delightful mix of reading in a hammock, munching on snacks, and napping in the tent under the patter and rumble of storms that most of Arizona seems to have missed out on this year.

Day 3
Another early start. Yesterday's extra rest proved well worth it, as I was able to zip up the first few miles of Steeple quickly, not letting the sun touch me until I was on KP Mesa. This trail was in great shape and I trotted along easily, enjoying the big views. Mud Spring was totally dry so I pushed on to the next marked spring on the topo to water up. My original plan was to cut over on Paradise and retrace Upper Grant Creek, but the thought of cutting a few miles and completing Lee & Katie's full loop was tempting, so I stuck to Steeple.

That drainage lasted an eternity. Every hundred yards or so there'd be a long patch of locusts to push through, and there was deadfall too, but I only lost the trail once, so I was happy about the condition. The sun and lack of wind were the real pain points on this section - otherwise, this trail is in no worse shape than some of the nightmares in the Mazatzal or Sierra Ancha. I crested in two hours and cruised the final miles happily, already planning future revisits.
Flora
Flora
New Mexico Locust
Fauna
Fauna
Bighorn Sheep

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Auger Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bear Valley Cabin Spring Dripping Dripping

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bear Valley Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Great pools for filtering.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dutch Oven Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Happy little trough.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Grant Creek Light flow Light flow
Flowing along most of the last few miles of trail, only drying up for the final mile.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max KP Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ladron Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Lanphier Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Dry at mount, flowing at Largo Trail junction.

dry Mud Spring Dry Dry
Spring was dry, creek was dry. Did not venture down creek of topo locale. Springs another half mile upstream had several pools of water.

dry Raspberry Creek Dry Dry


dry Tornado Canyon Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max White Oak Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Both tanks were overflowing.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Willow Spring Dripping Dripping
Muddy pools of water below the trail.
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Aug 18 2020
Heliops
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 Guides 1
 Routes 2
 Photos 34
 Triplogs 8

54 male
 Joined Jan 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
P-Bar Lake Trail #326Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 18 2020
Heliops
Hiking11.00 Miles 3,202 AEG
Hiking11.00 Miles   6 Hrs      1.83 mph
3,202 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Did this as a backpack a couple years ago and wanted my wife to see the area. After getting her to commit to a long day hike, off we went. We had a beautiful day for the hike - sunny a little warm. My wife and I agreed afterwards that this is a "B" hike. From P-bar down to the split of 305 and 306, it is really overgrown but there are some nice vistas ...so wear pants or take some shears. From the split, we went straight to the cabin. The cabin is not all that fascinating, but worth doing. The hike along the creek was one of the nicer highlights. Overall a great backpack or long day hike if you are in the area.
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2 archives
May 22 2020
friendofThundergod
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 Guides 24
 Routes 300
 Photos 8,487
 Triplogs 799

38 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Return to the Blue, AZ 
Return to the Blue, AZ
 
Backpack avatar May 22 2020
friendofThundergod
Backpack61.50 Miles 10,500 AEG
Backpack61.50 Miles5 Days         
10,500 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I have envisioned this backpack, or variations of it for several years now. But ambitious summer trips, climbing, terrible trails and dogs always prevented the idea from coming to fruition. However, the stars began to align for a proper return to the Blue earlier this year when my interest in the area was reignited by a quick weekend trip there in the spring and when I got word that some of the upper trails had been cleared.

Day 1: 13.1 miles

Our backpack began and ended at the Steeple/Foot Creek Trailhead. We started off on the Steeple Trail #73 and cruised down to the junction for the primitive Upper Grant Creek Trail. Steeple endured some winter deadfall, but the trail showed signs of having been worked on and was generally in great shape. The Upper Grant Creek trail has been transformed since the last time I saw it and is in great shape. It was definitely not the trail Blanco and I turned around on dejectedly several years ago while trying to reach the Grant Creek Cabin. From the Grant Creek Cabin, we took the always pleasant Paradise Trail to Paradise Park and the Grant Creek Trail. We made a stop at White Oak Spring along the way and then I showed Katie some granaries I had found in the area a few years ago. My memory of where the granaries were remained good, however, my memory of the distance was not so good. I told Katie about a tenth of a mile off trail and they proved to be about a steep and loose half mile off trail. My favorite camping spot along lower Grant Creek was taken by a local family, so we resorted to camping among the cows and their shit.

Day 2: 15.75 miles

After wading through a few hundred herd of cattle we reached the Blue early on the second morning. The road was mundane and a little warm despite the early start. It was familiar trails to Bear Valley and they all were in great shape. We enjoyed a nice afternoon in the valley of the bears and a long night of sleep.

Day 3: 12 miles

We began day three with the short, but stunning section of the Little Blue down stream of Bear Valley. After that we took for my first time an informal trail just numbered 609 on my map to the Cow Flat Trail. Trail 609 proved to be more than just a number and was actually quite pleasant for the majority of the trail. Cow Flat was a lot greener than the last time I hiked it, so that was nice, but I still found the trail a tad mundane and it seemed to drag on a little in the heat. After a stop at my favorite spring and waterfall, we finally started making our way up the Blue. We were a little beat upon hitting the Blue and took a couple of extended breaks along the way with some swimming. We ended up calling it a day near Tornado Canyon and made camp by the old barn.

Day 4: 13 miles

We got an early start on the fourth morning to go explore a side canyon that was alluded to in an archaeological report written about the area in the early 1900s. Apart from being referred to as a geological wonder, the canyon was said to house at one time the largest known prehistoric ceremonial cave in the southwest at 10,000 square feet. Everything written about the canyon long ago was true.
...a canyon which, though short and shut in by very steep walls, contains scenery worthy of the highest admiration for its combined beauty and grandeur.


A trickling three-tiered slick rock waterfall guarded the entrance to the canyon and we had to take a bypass just to reach the interior. By this point we were already satisfied with our exploration, as we were immediately able to confirm that the window we saw in a distance from the Blue was actually a very large arch. Naturally, we made the scramble to the base of the arch to investigate. The scramble was steep and loose and required a little class four climbing to reach, but it was worth the effort. The arch was tall and dramatic and a pretty stunning feature to stand under. Further exploration up canyon revealed the cave to us. Like any cave, the cave was hard to capture, but stunning to stand in. The cave had been pretty badly picked over by ranchers and pot hunters over the year, but some crumbling walls helped the imagination. We spent as much time in the cave as we could and I found some other crumbled walls under many overhangs throughout the canyon, but we knew the hardest part of our day loomed ahead, as we still needed to begin our relentless climb of the Steeple Trail.

The climb up to KP and Steeple Mesas was as relentless as I had remembered. However, a few years of recovery and a much greener backdrop, led to the climb being more scenic than I had remembered. We ended our day at Mud Spring. The spring´s name did not inspire much faith in the area being nice, but overall it proved to be a very pleasant destination. The spring had good camping and was flowing nicely. The area represented an almost exact line of where the forest had suffered near 100 percent devastation and where a pocket of trees had survived. Luckily, the camping and trees were under the pocket of trees that survived.

Day 5: 8 miles

We had two options to complete our backpack. There was the Paradise Trail option back to Moonshine Park and then the same stretch of Grant Creek we began on to finish, or a commitment to nearly four miles of unknown trail via the Steeple Trail back to the rim. We went with the Steeple finish because I had never traveled that section of trail and I was interested to know if Steeple went cleanly all the way to the Blue. As it turned out that stretch of Steeple was by far the worst trail we encountered in our five days. The New Mexican Locust has literally devoured the trail in spots and it was a constant bushwhack to the rim. The locust was so bad in spots that we had to detour to the burnt hillside for awhile to bypass it. The tread however, was still generally there. There is just a tremendous amount of overgrowth on and across the trail. Through a little grit though we finally reached the intersection with the KP Rim Trail where the FS had quit with their maintenance of Steeple a year ago. From there is was cruiser to the trailhead.

Final Notes:

It was nice to finally knock out the entire length of the Steeple Trail. The trail is not impassable from Mud Spring to the KP Rim intersection, but I would not recommend it. If making a loop with rim in this area, the best bet most likely seems to be utilizing the Moonshine Park route back to Grant Creek.

Upper Grant Creek Trail is a worthy destination again. The trail is still considered a primitive trail, but the FS has that one in great shape again.

The cattle are ruining lower Grant Creek. I have never seen so many cattle in the Blue before. They have eaten everything green down there except the poison ivy. How is having this many head of cattle grazing there helping with restoring Grant Creek post Wallow Fire?

Eastern Trails were in great shape.

The Blue is back. Well not all the way, but I know for myself I am not excited to get back out there and continue to utilize some of these newly cleared trails. Likewise, the forest is finally starting to rebound at a more noticeable level. The aspen are coming in nicely in spots and there are far more signs of green life than when I started going to the area in 2014.

Katie is really into birds. I am becoming a reluctant birder. I am only really into hawks and eagles. On this trip we saw a: Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Ferriginous Hawk, Red Tailed Hawk and a Common Black Hawk.
Flora
Flora
Yellow Columbine
Fauna
Fauna
Wild horse

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Auger Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
Deep pool of water in natural, ¨tank¨

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bear Valley Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Large section of canyon and spring is flowing nicely.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Dutch Oven Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max KP Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Ladron Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Same steady, consistent flow as always.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Ladrone Canyon Light flow Light flow
Flowing from spring to Blue

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Little Blue Creek Light flow Light flow
Flowing nicely for a mile or so out of Bear Valley

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Maple Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Mud Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Creek bed is flowing near spring, and mud bank is dripping steadily. Good camping near spring.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Raspberry Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Strayhorse Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 White Oak Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Two over-flowing troughs

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Willow Spring Dripping Dripping
A few deeper mud puddles, but I would not count on for water.
_____________________
2 archives
Jul 20 2018
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 25
 Routes 321
 Photos 6,886
 Triplogs 515

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Moonshine Park - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 20 2018
DarthStiller
Hiking12.40 Miles 3,202 AEG
Hiking12.40 Miles   7 Hrs   1 Min   1.88 mph
3,202 ft AEG      26 Mns Break
 
1st trip
This being the last weekend before my family comes back from Europe, I planned a trip to the White Mountains. This was the first of three hikes. Wally and I left Mesa about 4:45am and arrived at the trailhead a little after 9am. There was a 50% chance of thunderstorms for that weekend, but when we arrived, the skies were clear.

The main comment I have is that the official HAZ route for this hike needs to be retired with that designation. JJ's route should be the official route. This hike is a solid 11 miles, and we turned it into more than that with some missed turnoffs, and a couple mistakes in navigation. We noticed that the official route was off about a mile in after the first trail junction for Grant Creek. We took the right trail, but we weren't on the track. I could tell that we were headed in the right direction eventually, so I thought maybe the trail was re-routed. As the Grant Creek Trail descended, the views started to get really nice.

Later on, Wally and I missed the junction for the Paradise Trail. I had actually seen the marker, but it was nailed to a tree instead of on a post, so I had thought it was just labeling the trail. A few minutes later I decided to check my GPS and saw that we were off route and had missed the turnoff. Right about htat time at 11am, we heard the first rolls of thunder.

Once we were on the Paradise Trail, I noticed again that we weren't on the track. We still were going in the right general direction, but we were pretty far off from the offical route. Looking later, I can see that JJ's route is a way more accurate one for the actual trails out there.

This became a factor for us soon enough because we saw the trail split in two. The one trail headed downhill, and looked like it headed closer to Moonshine Park than the other one, and was closer to the "official" route. This trail dead ended at a wash in a narrow gorge, next to a bog. It also lost us over 100' of elevation. We decided to head back up. Wally was ahead of me and missed the turnoff on our way down and kept going back the wrong way, similar to what he and Joe did back in February on Oracle Ridge. I didn't miss it and quickly realized that he had gone the wrong way because I should have been able to see him along the trail.

After I got to the point where you have to go off trail to get to Moonshine Park, I called Wally and could hear him calling back. I headed towards Moonshine Park on a faint trail that follows the creek until I saw Wally. I told him to make a sharp left at the creek crossing.

Eventually you do have to go off trail to get to Moonshine Park. I had a hard time figuring out where to go and thought we needed to go up another 100'+ to a stand of Ponderosas I could see. To get there we needed to go through some very steep, loose rock and heavy vegetation. Wally was not enthused, but didn't complain. About halfway there, I looked at my GPS again, looked downhill and to the left and saw Moonshine Park. Sorry, Wally. Going back down was marginally easier than going up. We had lunch at the park and headed back.

We missed the turnoff again to the Grant Cabin Shortcut Trail, which was actulaly good because we got to see the remains of the cabin. The hike back up Grant Creek Trail was a bit of a slog, mainly because of the extra energy expended on our side excursions. Towards the top of Grant Creek, a fighter jet flew over the trees, making some of the most hellacious noise I've ever heard. I saw a fighter jet once before at Picacho Peak, but this one was way louder. My reaction was to hit the deck as it was at its loudest and closest.

The last mile the thunder got a little louder and more often, but no close strikes. Got lucky to end the hike without getting rained on, unlike the previous weekend.
Fauna
Fauna
Western Tanager
_____________________
Sep 03 2016
friendofThundergod
avatar

 Guides 24
 Routes 300
 Photos 8,487
 Triplogs 799

38 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Grant Creek Trail #74 - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 03 2016
friendofThundergod
Backpack15.18 Miles 2,846 AEG
Backpack15.18 Miles2 Days         
2,846 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I made another pilgrimage to the Blue Range this holiday weekend, but with company for a change. I took Jackie and the pack down to the cabin site on Grant Creek for a day of fishing and checking Moonshine Park off the to do list. The fishing was great and Moonshine Park proved to be a worthy side trip.

We hiked in the recently cleared P-Bar Lake Trail to Foot Creek and then down Grant to the cabin site. After about 15 minutes at the site, Jackie said, "Blanco smells something," I said, "I know probably a squirrel." Then moments later a bear went shooting out of the creek bed up the steep slopes of the canyon. Jackie's main goal was to see a bear over the weekend and we checked that off the list after a mere 15 minutes at camp! Although, Jackie was a little confused about the cinnamon color, having only seen a couple black bears in PA and may have double checked google on the way home to make sure it was not a grizzly that we saw. The fishing was great and I may have caught one of the largest Apache Trout most will ever see, but did release in good health. Moonshine Park is in great shape and is a gem of a little spot out there, but the trail is in need of some work. Great over night temps a lazy start the next day, a detour to Paradise Park and trail on the way back. We did not see anyone on the trails the entire time.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Grant Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max P Bar Lake 1-25% full 1-25% full
closer to 1-5% full...muddy
_____________________
4 archives
Jul 17 2014
friendofThundergod
avatar

 Guides 24
 Routes 300
 Photos 8,487
 Triplogs 799

38 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Primitive Blue Range East, AZ 
Primitive Blue Range East, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Jul 17 2014
friendofThundergod
Backpack40.76 Miles 11,153 AEG
Backpack40.76 Miles3 Days         
11,153 ft AEG
 
I made another semi ambitious trek into the Primitive Blue Range. More specifically, I made my first significant indents into the more remote eastern portions. I say "semi ambitious" because I took along Cup and had to scale back some of my ambitions. However, Cup ended up doing just fine, Blanco loved carrying her food and we only had to alter our day two plans slightly in her consideration.

Day 1: I stayed at the Foot Creek Trail head and decided to just make the quick 2-3 mile drive up 191 in the morning to the trail head for P-Bar Lake Trail. Foot Creek TH is further off road has basic restroom facilities and forest service does not mind. The P-Bar Lake Trail is literally just a pull-off on side of road, not conducive to car camping with dogs. Day one miles seemed to go by and pile up fast. Grant Creek Trail is a really solid trail with minimal areas of complete fire devastation. The Paradise Park area is certainly in recovery phase, but looking very promising, with some stubborn ponderosa still alive and healthy guarding the meadows edges and several young 3-5 feet pine starting over among a mixture of fast growing aspen. Grant Creek Trail is a tad bittersweet though, as one can't help but think that eventually 9000 feet will have to be reached again after hitting a trip low of about 5,100 feet above sea level on the first day. Made camp at the intersections of Lanphier and Largo Canyon, great spot, probably pushed cup a little hard, (16.5 miles)threatened several times to storm but no significant rain.

Day 2I wanted to go the Bear Mountain look out, but Cup was a little beat after a tough day one, so I decided to skip Bear Mountain and return to the Blue River via Telephone Ridge Trail and Sawmill Trail. Was nice to finally get some data for this area of Primitive Blue Range. It will come in handy when I make my next trek there, hopefully to finally include a little dual state action and a quick cross over into New Mexico. Something I think Blanco and I could have knocked out with about a 55 to 60 mile trip, oh and maybe another day. Day two camp superb, had Cup off trail very early in afternoon, read some, prepped camp, cooled off in creek.

Day 3: A pretty standard hike out, however, did make a slight detour back down to Grant Creek via Paradise Trail #74. I am just trying to accumulate as much info for this area as I can, and I had not did that trail yet. In terms of miles, small detour, however, certainly added some more AEG to hike that I probably did not need and Cup almost certainly did not want. But the trail proved to be great! A real slice of "paradise" in spots, a tad tough to pick up near creek, some dead fall and erosion have really taken their toll on this trail's once much deeper cuts along the steep hillside leading down into Grant Creek. For a good laugh see my GPS Track where I turned around to go get my nice 16 dollar map, then stopped just under two tenths of a mile to return to pack where I was now sure I put it. Nope not in pack went back for map again, found about 100-200 feet further up trail from when I turned around first time. I had set map down to move a log in trail, never picked back up, but certainly not to proud to turn around twice in an attempt to recoup a $16.95 map.

Final Notes: AEG is probably a tad inflated, however, hard to hide from AEG in Primitive Blue Range easy to rack up out there and while it may look high, it is probably not as off as some might think.

Had to do more road walking then what I generaly like, but spirits were brightened by seeing a random white van with no windows driving around remote back roads with a personalized plate reading AMBRLRT, my thoughts exactly! At least he comes about it honestly.

Product Review I brought out my new Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 Platinum. Two thumbs up, was initially worried about durability with dogs, however, had both in tent by second night, no issues. So light and compact, found myself stopping to make sure I packed tent! I was not able to field test it in a good storm, but nice results for steady lighter drizzles.
Flora
Flora
Red Raspberry
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2 archives
Apr 12 2012
JuanJaimeiii
avatar

 Routes 566
 Photos 7,951
 Triplogs 1,693

53 male
 Joined Jan 30 2011
 Chandler, AZ
Moonshine Park - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 12 2012
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking11.30 Miles 2,743 AEG
Hiking11.30 Miles   4 Hrs   1 Min   2.81 mph
2,743 ft AEG
 
Hiked this one a week ago but the last part of it was in the dark. I also didn't have time last week to make it out to "Moonshine Park". I figured given the name of the hike and all I had better go back and complete the mission. I also wanted to see where I got off track last week on the return. From the Grant Cabin going North on the Grant Cabin Shortcut Trail I got off course a little. I figured it happened because it was dark and that today it wouldn't happen again. Well guess what, it did. Once back on track I decided to go the opposite direction (counter clockwise) in the area where I got off track and try and connect the dots. Ah ha! I figured out the problem. The trail isn't there anymore! There is a short section (maybe a tenth of a mile) that got washed out in a large rock slide. Well at least I know now. Either way you can't really get lost here because you are following a drainage up.

Also worth noting is that there isn't an actual trail for the last couple hundred yards to Moonshine Park. Scott Warren mentions this in his book as well. Once at the end of the trail just turn right and head for the base of the tall mountain in the distance. It is a big open meadow.

Almost all the snow had melted in the last week and I only saw one deer. No other wildlife this trip.
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Apr 04 2012
JuanJaimeiii
avatar

 Routes 566
 Photos 7,951
 Triplogs 1,693

53 male
 Joined Jan 30 2011
 Chandler, AZ
Moonshine Park - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 04 2012
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking10.30 Miles 2,187 AEG
Hiking10.30 Miles   4 Hrs   29 Mns   2.30 mph
2,187 ft AEG
 
Took the long but scenic route from Phoenix to Hannagan Meadow area. I went through Safford and then went up 191. Normally I come in from the North and go South on 191. This added about an hour to my trip but wow what an amazing drive! From Clifton/Morenci to Hannagan Meadow is just beautiful. The mines at Clifton and Morenci were HUGE! I'm guessing there are several great hikes in this area.

As for the hike itself it was a bit tricky. Starting late, the area being burned in several spots, and signs down or missing all together, the map in the book not being accurate, all made for an interesting hike. Don't get me wrong I got 'er done and really enjoyed it. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I plan on doing it again sometime before the end of the month so I can see the whole thing in the daylight.

There were ducks swimming on P Bar Lake and the frogs could be heard for half a mile. Down in the area of Paradise Park I saw about 20 deer grazing off in the distance. The Grant Cabin remains are pretty cool and I would like to spend a little more time in that area on the next trip. This time I was just simply running out of light. I had my head lamp but not knowing the area and the trail being a little sketchy in some areas made me want to keep moving.

What I thought was really cool was to hear the birds chirping, see the ducks swimming, the deer grazing and see the clear skies. Less than a year ago this area was right in the heart of the largest wild fire in Arizona's history! Yes it has much to recover but not all was lost!
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Oct 03 2009
Xiled1
avatar

 Photos 105
 Triplogs 13

46 male
 Joined Feb 26 2009
 Mesa, AZ
Steeple Trail #73 - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Backpack avatar Oct 03 2009
Xiled1
Backpack15.00 Miles 2,000 AEG
Backpack15.00 Miles2 Days         
2,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
This past weekend my wife and I took an overnight backpacking trip in the Blue Range primitive area. We were hoping to see some wolves but only ended up hearing them on Friday night. We hiked a loop consisting of the #73 (Steeple Trail) to #74 (Paradise Trail) to #65 (Upper Grant Creek Trail) to #305 (Long Cienega Trail). We started out Saturday morning and headed down the Steeple Trail. At its intersection with the #65 trail, there were a couple of backpacking tents setup in a nice meadow. I think this would be a good place to camp on a Friday night if you were arriving late.

After 65 we started to climb though meadows and forest that is recovering from a fire. The area is thick with young 4-6 foot aspens, almost as though they were a weed. Most of the leaves had changed to yellow/orange but were only just starting to fall. At 2.8 miles we came to the intersection with the #305 trail and #73 turned right up the hill to the KP rim. At the rim you get some great views. After hiking along the rim for short while we began the long downhill along Steeple Creek. So far the trail was relatively clear and looked like it was recently maintained. As we descended the trail slowly degraded from firm ground to loose rock combined with lots of fire debris. Whoever maintained the trail saw fit to cut the young trees off 4-6 inches above the ground and they make for great trip hazards. A little farther down you add in the thorn bushes, wear pants. We came to a downed tree that looked like it was blocking the trail, but there were actually some switchbacks going down to the creeks edge, water was flowing near the bottom. That's where the trail all but disappeared. We had to bushwack for about a mile, finding and losing the trail numerous times. Route finding was easy, just follow the creek. The trail cleared up shortly before reaching #74. Along the way we did find a spooky pile of old backpacking equipment including pack, tent, bag, and a pile of empty food cans; strange.

#74 is a well maintained trail which gently climbs away from Steeple creek and over to Moonshine Park, a small meadow in a depression. We camped there for the night. In the morning, it was back on #74 following along Grant creek which was flowing nicely. This turned into #65 and kept following the creek. We reached the canyon where I THOUGHT #305 was supposed to be, a small amount of water flowing in the stream. Due to my poor map reading skills, I thought we were supposed to hike directly up the drainage, but #305 was actually a little ways past the canyon exit. So we bushwacked up a short ways and then climbed out of the canyon and stumbled onto the trail - Hallelujah! We had considered turning back. This trail is a little less maintained, but not hard to follow. It takes you up the stream drainage, thru some thick forest so its well shaded. Water flow was intermittent throughout the trail. This trail had been recently cleared as well. Its about 3.5 miles from #65 back to #73 and you get to gain all the elevation you lost. The last ¼ mile of the hike opens up into a long meadow where the trail disappears. We just hiked to the other end and the trail resumed, dropping us at the 73/305 intersection. It seemed like a short hike back to the car from here compared to the slog up #305. We got back to the car enjoyed a cold bottle of Gatorade and some football on the radio.

This was a pretty difficult hike for us since we don't get many chances to go out. But well worth the effort. We got to enjoy some fall colors, cooler weather, and great views.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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Sep 26 2009
hhwolf14
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 Photos 832
 Triplogs 173

42 female
 Joined Oct 13 2007
 Loveland, CO
Grant Creek Trail #74 - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 26 2009
hhwolf14
Hiking10.00 Miles 3,360 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles
3,360 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Just the drive in on this one was an adventure. I came up 191 from Safford- wow, that is not a fun road for those of us who get a bit queasy on the curvy roads :sk: I drove up late Friday night, ready to start the hike bright and early. The critters in the area aren't used to many cars passing by at night. I saw 3 grey foxes (yes, definitely foxes, not coyotes), a skunk, a couple of rabbits, several small rodents, and a herd of deer. Unfortunately it was pitch black and they were all pretty much skittering for cover from my headlights- would have loved to get some pics. The hike itself is very secluded, but a bit lackluster. I did a loop including P-Bar trail, Foote, Grant Creek, Paradise, and Grant Shortcut trails, and a little side trip to Moonshine Park- an open meadow area just off the trail. A bit exposed in many places, this was a warm one, especially on the return leg of the loop, which is a steady climb. The first 1.5 miles is the best- just a quiet walk through the pines ending at P-Bar lake- pretty much just a stock pond- but surrounded by some nice aspens.
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2 archives
Oct 06 2007
JoelHazelton
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 Guides 16
 Routes 10
 Photos 967
 Triplogs 406

34 male
 Joined Mar 22 2006
 Phoenix, AZ
Steeple Trail #73 - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 06 2007
JoelHazelton
Hiking15.00 Miles 3,920 AEG
Hiking15.00 Miles3 Days         
3,920 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
The trip began at the Hannagan Trailhead, across the street from the Hannagan Lodge. We didn't arrive at the trailhead until 4:30 pm on Saturday. The first night we only made it about 4 miles, camping just shy of P-bar lake off of trail 76. That night we heard loud, frantic howling sounding from close-by. Coyotes? Mexican Gray Wolves? Day two we turned south at P-bar lake, traversing Paradise trail 75 down the steep drainage to Grant Creek. Grant Creek was definitely the most beautiful portion of the trip. The narrow trail skirted the edge of the precipitous canyon, where the rocks slipping from beneath my feet and tumbling down the steep canyon walls to the creek made the hike all the more interesting. We eventually made our way up the canyon walls and passed through Moonshine park, which has some perfect campsites. After passing through Moonshine park, the trail makes a sharp 180 degree turn and proceeds to drop down to Steeple creek.
After the 180, however, the trail begins to degrade at some spots.

Unfortunately, we fell victim to the degrading trail. We lost the trail somewhere near where it drops to steeple creek, and ended up hiking cross country down the side of a canyon to reach the trail. Happy to finally hit the trail, we went on our merry way- that is, until Dennis noticed a plant he had recognized from quite a bit earlier. "Dude, we need to turn around, we're going the wrong way," he informed me, with confidence. "What?" I exclaimed. What followed was a long string of expletives that perfectly defined my mood and state of frustration and confusion. Finally, because my Walmart compass constantly told us we were going northwest, even though we had clearly changed directions numerous times, and because the landscape surrounding us did not seem to line up with the contours on the map where I thought we were supposed to be, I had to resort to relying on Dennis' instincts and noted broken reed to get us back on track. Luckily, he was right. About a mile or two later (of trail we had already covered), we figured out exactly where we had lost the trail, and discovered a large cairn about 10 feet past that spot. Why is it that cairns are always a few feet out of my vision? Anyway, we continued down to Steeple creek, and found a very, very nice campsite on the north side of the creek near Mud Springs. Although this should have been the most fun and recreational portion of my trip, a combination of no sleep the previous night and horrible allergies (which I'm very prone to) drove me right into the tent. As I lie there and closed my eyes, all I could think about was my constantly running nose, itchy throat, incessant pile of phlegm behind my tongue, and the fits of 8 or 9 sneezes that hit me every couple minutes and left me feeling worse every time. The original plan was to camp the next night at KP Creek and then hike the north fork up to the 191 and then back to the Hannagan trailhead, but the option of trekking straight up the Steeple trail and back to the car the next day was becoming more and more appealing as I sat there sneezing and blowing snot rockets. Finally I proposed the idea to Dennis, who readily agreed.

The next morning we broke camp and started up trail 73. Whew!!!!!!! This trail was a damn huffer! In the 2 miles following Mud Springs, the trail rises in elevation from 6900 feet to 9200 feet, is literally carpeted with poison ivy much of the time, requires almost constant bushwacking and sometimes no real path at all, and has an abundance of fallen trees that occasionally required legitimate climbs to surpass. We finally reached the top though... And it was one of the happiest moments of both of our lives. Actually, near the junction of 73 and 315, with 6 or 7 more miles of trail and numerous canyons between us and the car, we sat on rocks and had an intensely relaxing conversation about the undeniable beauty of the area and how we had both been humbled by the previous few hours of hiking. Apparently something that grew near the creeks was triggering my allergies, because at the top of the mountain, with nothing to worry about but bear crap, bear tracks (SOOOOOOOOOO many of them) charred pines and expansive, awe inspiring views, my head was suddenly clear of phlegm, stress, and everything negative. Now THIS was why we went on this trip.

We finally got our lazy butts up and continued on our way. It wasn't long before Dennis saved the day. I was sure we had passed the turnoff and suggested that we turn around and retrace our steps to see if we could find the fork. Dennis insisted that we go a little farther first- 20 feet later, a sign for the Steeple trail and the Rim trail stared right at me. Thanks, Dennis. At this point, the most difficult aspect of the trail was all of the deep footprints and bear crap we had to dodge until we reached Grant Creek, where there it seems to be more frequently hiked and maintained. From there it was about a 600 foot climb and 2 more miles back to the car.

At the gas station in Alpine (pump before you pay, by the way, if anybody needs to steal gas), the very nice lady that worked inside informed us that
A. It had reached the 20's the past couple nights
B. Turkey hunters had been complaining that there haven't been any turkeys around, although we had seen and heard plenty near where we camped at Steeple Creek
C. The Blue doesn't see many backpackers, or at least she doesn't.

We also learned that those 4 dollar turkey sandwiches that you always snicker at in the freezer at gas stations are freaking amazing after 3 days of canned fruit cocktail, energy bars and iodine-filtered creek water.

All in all, in spite of the lack of photos and dreadful experience in Steeple Creek canyon, it was an adventure and experience to remember.
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"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

http://www.joelhazelton.com
Jun 06 2007
Grasshopper
avatar

 Guides 45
 Routes 472
 Photos 8,616
 Triplogs 533

75 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Steeple Trail #73 - Blue RangeAlpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 06 2007
Grasshopper
Hiking13.40 Miles 3,920 AEG
Hiking13.40 Miles   7 Hrs      1.91 mph
3,920 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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During my 10 day camping/hiking trip to the Hannagan Meadow area, this LOOP HIKE, starting out on the Steeple Trail#73 turned-out to be the one I most enjoyed of the five day hikes I was able to complete during my stay(5/30-6/8/07) at the Hannagan Campground.

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Hiking Route: From the Steeple Tr#73 / Foote Creek Tr#76 Trailhead(off Hwy#191 near MM231.5), begin on Steeple Tr#73 for 1.3mls down to intersection with Upper Grant Creek Tr#65; hike #65 down 4mls to intersection with Paradise Tr#74; hike #74 up 1.9mls to intersection with Grant Creek Tr#75; hike #75 up 2.6mls to intersection with Foote Creek Tr#76; hike #76 for 3.6mls ~level terrain back to the beginning TH and parking area; This wonderful and manageable 13.4ml LOOP HIKE has a total accumulated elevation of: 3838ft;
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Prior to doing this hike, I spent almost half a day on 6/5 having fun looking at maps and planning this above LOOP HIKE. Prior to leaving home for the trip, I discovered this "inner trail" called the Paradise Trail#74, so I already knew that one hiking day that I HAD TO MAKE IT TO THIS TRAIL..regardless!...I figured that any trail named PARADISE had to be worth whatever effort it took to get there :) ! It turned-out that I was correct...the scenic views and old forest growth on this trail section were great! This Paradise Tr is 4.2mls long, but on this planned loop, I was only able to include the upper 1.9mls of it for this trip, but I will be back one day to do the 2.3ml balance of the South/SW trail portion. Also, this loop included a most pleasant surprise with my inclusion of the 4 mile Upper Grant Creek Tr#65 which is "not" passable during the rainy seasons(usually not a problem in June). This trail desends a beautiful steep & deep, narrow canyon with huge old growth forest, beautiful & unusual dense (almost "rain forest like"..) vegetation along a very active, running creek. This primitive trail is somewhat difficult to follow at times, crossing over the creek numerous time, and would be almost impossible to follow when the creek water is HIGH. A lucky seven of us encounted much Bear scat and Elk signs while hiking this beautiful 4 mile trail to its end at the Paradise Trail#74 intersection.

Also, this loop hike was the same day that 81MPH WINDS were clocked on the top of the Forest Service FIRE TOWER on ESCUDILLA PEAK! (see my Escudilla Tr trip log..dtd-6/7/07). For our afternoon 3.6ml hike on the Foote Creek Tr#76 back to the TH, we were actually having to "dodge and run over/under" falling trees due to these major high winds in the forest canopy..it was actually pretty scary at times, but we did all get back safely.
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(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
average hiking speed 2.15 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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