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Jun 23 2012

 Guides 5
 Routes 8
 Photos 11,098
 Triplogs 508

56 female
 Joined Aug 19 2011
 Scottsdale, AZ
Bear Canyon Upper - West Bear Canyon LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 23 2012
Hiking5.05 Miles 740 AEG
Hiking5.05 Miles   5 Hrs   25 Mns   1.14 mph
740 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
I got to ride in "The Grasshopper"... :GB:

Hank wanted to partake in the Ham Radio Field Day up on the Rim with Brian (BEEBEE), but didn't really want to make the drive up by himself. Since Brian and I are friends too, he invited me to join him. Brian wasn't going to be up there until after work on Saturday so I suggested to Hank that we make the most of the drive, take the whole day and do some Hiking. :D Hank seemed to like the idea and asked me if I was ok with, and up to, doing some offtrail exploring. I had to do some "serious" soul searching for a split second before I told him that I would be fine with that. :-k :lol: :DANCE: He warned me that it could be some rough going.... :o :scared: :y:

Got to Hank's about 6:30, helped him finish getting The Grasshopper ready and away we went. We had taken the side windows out before starting, so it was a wonderful, open air drive up to the Rim. Haven't been in a opened up, heavy Jeep like this in a number of years and thoroughly enjoyed it. That would come back to haunt Hank later in the evening.... :D

Got up to the Rim and made good time to the TH. My first impression of the area, other than it's beauty, was a little sad. It was apparent that the Bark Beetle is here and established. You can't really see much damage yet visually, but the "sound" said it all. They were busy.... :(

Hank had plotted out exactly what he wanted to do, so I just followed his lead. We walked for just a bit further down the road that we came in on and then took an abrupt left and went down into West Bear Canyon. Got to the bottom and started following the Creek bed which was dry at this point. It was pretty easy going and there are alot of Game Trails down there. Man, it must be Deer/Elk Central down there in the evenings. Scat everywhere and the Trails in many places were very well defined. Where we started from, there were alot of skeletal remains as well, so I guess the Predators know about this Canyon as well...During the day however, it was Butterfly Central. Hundreds upon hundreds of Butterflies, mostly dominated by one species, but several different species were spotted.

And then there were the Maples....Wow! This place is going to be a big hot spot come Fall. There were areas along West Bear Canyon where you were literally walking underneath a canopy forest of Maples... :FG:

There were a few standing pools in the Creek, but nothing was running, although it appeared as though it wasn't too long ago that it was. The Hike down the Creek was never too much of a problem until probably the last 1/2 mile of the bottom end before it joined up with the Creek in Upper Bear Canyon. That last part was not impassable, but there was a little more bouldering/scrambling involved as the Canyon and Creek closed in a little tighter. Would love to see this area with the Water tumbling down... :) Some of the time, we were still able to bypass the Creek part and catch a Game Trail to go around, even though it was not entirely necessary, just easier.

The Rock formations in this Canyon were pretty cool too and in some areas the rocks actually formed some pretty cool little caves. One of these "caves" seriously looked like it could be used as a Bear Den and I even crawled in to take a look, since it went back over 20 feet. Couldn't see any hair or evidence of Bear, but it sure looked good. It was chock full of a swarm of Mosquitos though, holy cow!!! :o That was most of my blood donation for the day... :sweat:

We got to the junction where West Bear Canyon and Upper Bear Canyon meet and at that point both of the Creeks out of West Bear and Upper Bear Canyons were flowing... :y: Hank wanted to go down Upper Bear to where he left off the Trip before, so we hung a left and followed the flowing Creek down to where he had stopped before. There were some beautiful pools along the way and we ended up taking a break and having a little lunch, at the Pool where he had stopped before. The Water was an interesting color and had a cloudy appearance, but it was not from being stagnant. The Minnows didn't seem to mind it...It almost reminded me of pictures of Fossil Creek where the characteristics of the water is dictated heavily by the mineral content.

After the break, we started back up towards the Upper Bear/West Bear Canyon Junction. This whole area is a big, long, continuous meadow that most certainly sees alot of Wildlife Activity in the Mornings and Evenings. I thought some of the Game Trails in West Bear were good. They didn't hold a candle to the Game Trails here and further up Upper Bear Canyon. These Trails would put existing, maintained, human trails to shame...Would love to backpack in here, I think the Wildlife Photo opportunities would be endless at certain times during the day....Continued up Upper Bear Canyon and lost the flowing water pretty quick, but the Butterflies continued to flit around us in great numbers. This Creek was very easy to walk in as well, but there were times at this point, we actually elected to use the Game Trails for more speed. I was wearing my "backup boots" on this trip, :roll: so my feet and legs were starting to feel fairly bad and I think we were both ready to finish it, as enjoyable as it was. Beautiful scenery in this Canyon as well, with Maples, Pines and Firs dominating the landscape, along with more cool rock formations. This whole area has really got to be something in the Fall, especially with the Water flowing..... :)

Come to an area where another large drainage comes in and Hank says, ok, time to start the climb up out of the Canyon. I'm really glad he didn't say that 1/2 mile ago as the climb looked to be straight up... :o Here it was only semi-straight up.... :sweat: It was also a more relatively short climb here and we ended up only switchbacking it once, even as steep as it still was in spots. Got up through the steep part and Hank states that it's just a short jaunt back to the road we came in on, and back to the Jeep. Just a slight incline a little further up and lo and behold, not only were we back to the road, but Hank's very excellent GPS and Route Plotting skills put us at both the road and The Grasshopper at the very same exact moment. Very impressive Hank!!! : app : :worthy:

Took a nice break at the Jeep before continuing on to the Radio Field Day location. (Separate Log and Photoset). After watching the fun there, I somehow convinced Hank, :pray: :D even though it was starting to get chilly, to not put the side windows back on the Jeep. Being the good sport he was, even though he was in shorts and just had a thin, fleece vest for warmth, he agreed. So I zipped my legs on, put on my jacket, :lol: and away we went....I think by the time we got off the Rim itself, he was secretly thanking me, as he felt the need to even stop and shed the vest.... :lol: We were both pretty tired at this point, but I made sure I kept Hank awake on the drive home by constantly annoying him every 3 minutes. : rambo : :sl:

One heck of a day Hank!! Thank you so much for the invite!! Even though you and I had met before this, it was awesome to finally get a Hike in with you!! Look forward to more adventures and exploring.... :y: It was a real treat! :thanx:

My first Hiking video. If you would like to see a very novice, pathetic attempt to both make a video and capture Butterflies on film, you can see it here:
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

dry Bear Canyon Creek - Mogollon Dry Dry
Dry from origination point to intersection with West Bear Canyon. At the intersection of West Bear Canyon, Creek has small flow with medium pools and runs at least 1/2 mile down Bear Canyon from the intersection.

dry West Bear Canyon Creek Dry Dry
Dry with the exception of a couple of pools down towards the intersection with Bear Canyon. At the intersection of Bear Canyon, Creek is running with small flow.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
average hiking speed 1.14 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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