Archive for the ‘Coconino National Forest’ Category

Sterling Pass / Vultee Arch

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Originally hiked October of 2010, solo, this was a straightforward hike where nothing really failed or went wrong. I started at 10am or so, and made it back before 5pm. You will not see my car in the video because I left it at Manzanita campground, where I was camping, about a quarter mile down the road.

All of this, of course, in research for Five Star Trails: Flagstaff and Sedona.

While I wrote the hike as combined trails, but that was for convenience. If you have to make a choice, suffer the climb and take the Sterling Pass trail. Sterling pass is steep on its way up and then down from its’ namesake, but it has by far the better scenery, and is more easily accessible by vehicle, having some limited parking right on the side of 89A.

Vultee Arch trail, in contrast, follows the drainage up the canyon, which is not unpleasant, but not really five star. Plus, you have to bump all the way down Dry Creek Road which test both patience and suspensions.

The Forest Service has this to say about the trail:

The trail dead ends at a bronze plaque placed in memorium for Gerard and Sylvia Vultee who lost their lives in an aircraft crash on January 29, 1938. The actual crash site is more than a mile north and at a much higher elevation, on East Picket Mesa.

There’s a You Tube Video:

Slide Fire vs Oak Creek Canyon – an update

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Now that the smoke has cleared (No, ‘m not proud of that – but what would you write?) on the Slide Fire in Oak Creek Canyon, we can begin to survey what is left. It appears that no actual structures were lost (though some by literally inches), and that some or all of the Wset Fork of Oak Creek Canyon might have been spared. The area is still closed, so we don’t really know yet, but the initial surveys seem promising. The forest service flew a plane over the area shortly after containment in late May:

http://youtu.be/MAtm8PNr-Cg

 

In related news, in my ongoing quest to circumvent the bandwidth storage restrictions on this website (which severely trunctae how many pictures I can display), I havce started a tumbler: http://lostyet.tumblr.com/   Now you know.

Fire and Construction updates from Coconino NF

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

First, a press release about the Fisher Fire.

Fisher Fire – 8:00 a.m. update

 Flagstaff, Ariz. – The Fisher Fire, reported at 3:00 p.m. on April 11th, is located near Fisher Point in Walnut Canyon approx. five miles southeast of Flagstaff in the vicinity of the Fisher Fire from last year.

The fire remains at 175 acres and is 50% contained.  Today, crews will grid and mop up as topography and fuel conditions allow.  Terrain is steep with rolling rocks and snags.  No growth was reported on the fire and all lines held.  No structures are threatened.

Today, temperatures today could reach 71 degrees with winds becoming westerly and increasing in strength with possible 45 mph gusts this afternoon; the relative humidity is forecast between 10-15%.   The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for today in effect from noon to 8:00 p.m. MST due to strong winds and a low relative humidity.

The public should remain aware of area closures around the vicinity of the fire which include some of the trail system.  Reducing the risk to firefighters and the public is our first priority in every fire management activity.

Local, state, tribal, and Federal agencies support one another with wildfire response, including engagement in collaborative planning and the decision-making processes that take into account all lands and recognize the interdependence and statutory responsibilities among jurisdictions.

SUMMARY

DATE OF DETECTION:  April 11, 2014

CAUSE:  Confirmed human-caused, specific cause undetermined; investigation ongoing.

CURRENT SIZE:  175 acres

CONTAINMENT:  50%

LOCATION:  Fisher Point area, Flagstaff

AGENCY:  USDA Forest Service

RESOURCES:  7 Hotshot Crews, 3 Type Two Crews, 2 dozers, 5 water tenders, 1 lead plane, 1 Air Attack, 1Type 1 and 1 Type 3 helicopter, 10 engines, and numerous fire personnel.

 

Respectfully,

Heather

**************************************

Heather M. Noel

Public Affairs Officer (Acting)

U.S. Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

1824 S. Thompson St., Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Office (928) 527-3490  Cell (406) 370-7370

hmnoel@fs.fed.us

**************************************

 

Some of those trails are in my guidebook (Five Star Trails: Flagstaff and Sedona). I revisited the area last summer.

Several hikes in that guide’s Sedona section originate or pass through the  Midgely Bridge Trailhead, which has been closed  for construction:

 

Sedona, AZ – The Midgley Bridge Trailhead and parking area will be temporarily closed for construction activity from Monday, April 21st – Friday, May 2nd.  A fenced enclosure will prohibit public access from 89A to the parking area in an effort to reduce risk and exposure to construction activities.  There will be no access to Wilson Canyon and Wilson Mountain Trails from Midgley Bridge.

During this closure, an accessible toilet will be installed and an accessible path will be built from the parking lot to the restroom.  As there was no toilet previously at the trailhead, this addition should assist in reducing pollutants from reaching the Oak Creek Watershed.  This work is possible through a grant received from the Oak Creek Watershed Council, administered by Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s water quality improvement grant program.

Plan accordingly during this time period if your recreation includes this area.

For more information concerning this project, please contact the Red Rock Ranger District at (928) 203-2900.

 

A toilet here would be a welcome addition.

 

O’Leary Peak

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Onward with our behind-the-hike series on Five Star Trails Flagstaff and Sedona.

O’Leary Peak

Hike date : 7/11/10

Companions none

Start 11:45am

Finish 5:30p

Total time 5:45

Total miles 10.26

The first part of the hike was done in the pouring rain, but happily that cleared up for most of the hike afterwards.

The lookout tower on top of O’Leary is manned throughout the summer. The lady in it when I was up there invited me up after some hesitation. At night, she told me, she could still see the embers from the Schultz Fire glowing across the mountainside.

She wasn’t happy that I was writing a hiking guide. She didn’t want a lot of visitors disturbing her. She did tell me about a woman writing a book about fire watch towers throughout Arizona. Pretty sure she meant this one. Good luck finding a copy.

This is a public land hike from start to finish, and her own agency touts it on their website. So her right to privacy is only protected by the 2000′ of elevation gain over the course of 5 miles. Nonetheless, there is no right to tour the look-out tower. If she ( or whoever has that station) doesn’t want company – that’s it. You get a view from the rocks.

Still worth it, of course.

BTW – the geo-cache on the saddle between the two peaks – that’s mine. Enjoy.

More on this hike on You Tube

O’Leary Peak on You Tube

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