Posts Tagged ‘Derrick Trail’

Horton Springs

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Part of our ongoing series of behind-the-hike profiles.

NOT part of the 10-day run. We’ll get back to that.

See my profile on Upper Tonto Creek Campground on Examiner.

DATE HIKED: 7 October 2007

COMPANIONS: Ben

START TIME 10:45am

END TIME: 5:15pm

ACTUAL MILES:9.5

This was the very first hike I undertook for the book, and while I didn’t get lost, I learned a lot anyway.

This hike takes the Derrick Trail #33 up the Mogollon Rim to the Highline Trail to the lush and reliable Horton Springs. It then takes the Horton Trail #285 back down to form a cool loop.

October 7th, it turned out, was the last day the campground was open. The caretaker was in the process of closing up for winter. He did take the time to show us the trailhead, which is still not well marked in the campground (at least, not compared to the giant sign that signifies the Horton Trail). It remains, though, across the road from the outhouse. It’s a six way intersection, but every corner has a campsite except the one with the trailhead.

If you do this as a loop, you’re far better off starting up the Derrick. The Highline is unmistakable as you come up the Derrick. You can, however, easily (and repeatedly, as I did years ago) miss the Derrick from the Highline. If you just want the easy up and back, stick to the Horton trail.

Ben had a tough journey. He ripped his pants crossing a log on the Derrick, and then fell into Horton Creek as we crossed it a few hundred yards down from the springs. It was cold enough that wet socks wer an issue. He made it down the Horton sans socks.

The entry in the guidebook on this hike is by far the most heavily edited couple of pages in the book. The original editor, Russell Helms, made me write multiple drafts trying to beat me into Menasha Ridge Style. (Menasha Ridge actually has a 60 page style manual they give to authors. I didn’t really read it.)

Among his many notes, I couldn’t just write “big trees”. I had to describe what kind of trees. I can now tell an Arizona Sycamore from a cottonwood on sight, but at the time, they were all either pine trees or other trees.

This site helped me suss out that mystery.

We also, after some negotiation, settled on the term “horse apples” to our mutual satisfaction.

Still one of my favorite hikes.