Posts Tagged ‘high places’

Link Dump of Daring Do

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

A few links I’ve run across that explore the line between fun and crazy:

Not for the weak of heart – or bladder.

This is the group campsite of the 3rd annual Highline Meeting last September in the Dolomite Mountains of Italy. The Highliners are, it appears, a loose collection of high-wire athletes. Their website: http://highlinemeeting.com/

[vimeo 139158591 w=500 h=281]

Video from here: http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyid=43072

 

Backpackerverse listicles the 25 most dangerous trails in the world.

Outside online gushes over the Earthcruiser Adventure RV

And finally French hikers breaking a bridge in New Zealand with their Go-Pro going:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWTnV8uZ4ys&w=560&h=315]

You’re welcome.

 

 

Taking the Inner Basin off of my bucket list

Friday, September 18th, 2015

My single biggest disappointment about writing Five Star Trails Flagstaff and Sedona was that I could not include the Inner Basin Trail #29. I was literally driving up there on [date] to set up camp at Lockett Meadow, and hike that trail the next morning, when I had to turn around.

They had closed AZ 89 north of Flagstaff due to the smoke from what would become the Schultz Fire.

Area affected by the 2010 Schultz Fire. The Inner Basin is under the key.

Even after that fire was finally out, Lockett Meadow had been trashed by use as a staging area for the firefighters, and was closed for a year to be rehabbed. By the time that was complete, I was already past deadline.

I finally had another chance this August.

The brief hike description below lacks the sort of detail and documentation you’d find in my book, because, to be honest, I don’t go out equipped to take those kind of note anymore.  I hike for fun now. But I will share what I remember.

I have pictures, but this site doesn’t have room for such new-fangled things as photos (which are known to be one of the biggest drivers of traffic to blogs – but I’m not the expert. Just sayin’). (The image above is a copied URL.)

You can see them on my Tumblr page though. https://www.tumblr.com/blog/lostyet

UPDATE: I can copy URL’s from my own blog….

Lockett Meadow

Inner Basin Train starts from the Lockett Meadow Campground north of Flagstaff. Lockett Meadow campsites require a fee, but trailhead parking is free.  You should know, though, that you are starting – starting – at 8900’ above sea level, and it only goes up from there.

The tall grass of Lockett Meadow grows over a shelf made by a collapsed section of the caldera wall of the San Francisco Peaks.  The SF peaks are remnants of a much taller single volcano that erupted catastrophically millions of years ago. The Coconino Plateau sits over a magma plume. That’s why the springs are sometimes hot, and the hills are covered with lava rock.

The first part is a climb through spruce and pine forest, skirting the farthest advance of the Schultz fire. Do not despair, for you soon climb past all of that, as the dirt single-track now winds and switches back through a huge stand of aspen trees.

Seriously, if you believe that you cannot possibly get enough of towering, trembling white aspens all around you, this trail will test that notion.

The trail evens out, and the aspen surrender to the spruce again, when the trail joins Waterline Road. This road, which circumnavigates the northern slopes of the Peaks,  was built and maintained for utility vehicles to service the water pumps  on the slopes, and in the basin. These facilities provide Flagstaff with much of its water. The road keeps winding up the mountain to a large pump station, where signs will explain this.

This is where most of the local hikers – who can be numerous on weekends with good weather, turn around. If this were for the book, I’d tell you this is the turn-around for the Easy version of the hike.

There is a spring at the place, water dripping out of a pipe, and another sign warns you that it is not treated in any way. This water has not, however, drained through cattle country, which is the source of the most common contaminants and parasites that make stream water perilous in these parts. So it would be reasonably safe. But it tastes just like the pipe.

From here, you can follow Waterline Road east then south (ish)and down towards Schultz pass (where the fire started). Or you can follow it around west then north(ish) over towards its junction with the Bear Jaw and Abineau trails (which I covered in the book). Or you can keep going south-ish, and definitely up towards the basin.

The road rounds steep, grass covered hills until the broad meadow of the Inner Basin opens up. Following the road through the tall grass and intermittent stands of spruce trees brings you to another water pump station. It was pumping along loud enough when I arrived that I had to shout to my son six feet away. That’s not always the case, happily.

This is the turn-around for the medium hike. You are about three miles from the campground at this point.

The road past that, further south and further up,, degenerating into rocky single-track as the forest of Christmas trees  mostly Engleman fir trees, close in around it.  It follows a steep ravine towards the edge of the Caldera, roughly beneath the shadow of Aggassiz Peak.

If you were to keep climbing (and I confess that we did not) the trail will wind and then switch back until it terminates at its intersection with the Weatherford Trail (also in my book) just below the tree-line. That’s the hard hike.

Now, because you got this far, here’s the secret hike. There is a closed road off to the side of the main trailhead. You cannot drive upon it. The gate is closed, and it’s choked by deadfall after a quarter mile in any case. But you can hike it.

The road parallels the trail, though pines and then aspen, only a little more direct, and a lot more secluded. On a Saturday afternoon, I has the road to myself to the point where I was worried about bears.

Oh yeah – the Peaks have some black bears. They are shy – which is why they’re still around to be honest – but this place was isolated enough that I could imagine encountering them. I didn’t.

After two miles or so (I wasn’t prepared to accurately mark the mileage) I heard voices. The Secret Road intersects with the Waterline trail near that same pump station with the spring.  I returned the way I came.

Inner basin trax map

My map generating skills aren’t what they used to be either.

Wilson Mountain

Friday, December 12th, 2014

BEHIND THE  HIKE

Wilson Mountain  and North Wilson

DATE: 10/30/10

COMPANIONS: Ben

START TIME: 11am

END TIME: 5:30p

ACTUAL MILES: 10.4

OFFICIAL MILES: 10.5

 

Ben and I hiked up North Wilson Trail  #123 to its juncture with  Wilson Mountain Trail #10, which we took to both look-out points up on the top of the mountain, then down Mount Wilson Trail to the Midgely Bridge Trailhead. My wife (and Ben’s mother) was kind enough to drop us off and pick us up.

Mount Wilson Trail goes up the south side of the mountain and North Wilson Trail goes up the north side of the mountain. They meet near the top, making this an easy car shuttle. I have been surprised by how often I have to back up and explain that we did not climb the mountain twice.

North to south is acceptable in the winter time. North Wilson is the steeper of the two, and I prefer to go up the steeper side and down the gentler side. In hotter months, though, North Wilson has shade, so that’s where you want to find yourself come afternoon.

As the You Tube video will painfully demonstrate, there was a lot of wind up top, and that did not help my nasal congestion at all. Also, some locals call it Mount Wilson, but its Wilson Mountain on any map.

Ben is now taller than I am.

Here are some notes and photos on the You Tube:

 http://youtu.be/ovldRYNL6Bc

 

 

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

One last thing – this is why comments are closed for most of my posts:

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I do allow replies when they are relevant. The burden of proof is on the replier. If in doubt – I say it’s spam. The best place to reply is the Choose My Next Book page.


Mount Eden Loop

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Part of an ongoing series of behind-the-hike descriptions for 5 Star Trails Flagstaff and Sedona. This is Hike #3.

Big Elden Loop

DATE: 9/18/10

COMPANIONS: Ben

START TIME: 1:42p

END TIME: 6:21p

ACTUAL MILES: 7.77

OFFICIAL MILES: 7.5

NEED TO KNOW:

Up the Upper Oldham Trail, West across the Sunset Trail, Back down the Brookbank Trail. Start at TH on Lookout Rd.

This was our second attempt at finding a worthwhile loop hike up and down Mt Elden outside of Flagstaff. Our first effort was done in by fire closures from the Schultz Fire. Some of that first hike was salvaged into Little Elden Springs. Some of it I can never describe in detail in writing.

This one went much better. Good start, good weather, good hike. We did not actually take the spur to the look-out tower. I used the GPS data from our first attempt.

There are several good geo-caches along Sunset Trail.

The road up to the peak is strictly 4WD. That would be why there’s always plenty of parking.

The You Tube video for this hike was actually put together by Ben.

Mt Elden Loop You Tube video

“Shore is perty up here…”

Picketpost Mountain

Monday, March 16th, 2009

[Part of a series of beyond the page info of the hikes covered in Day and Overnight Hikes in the Tonto National Forest.]

This hike shares the same trailhead as the Alamo Canyon hike, but I put the two hikes in different sections because of the very different altitudes. Briefly, you can hike Picketpost in late spring or early fall – but you would roast in Alamo Canyon.

HIKE DATE: 21 Feb 2008

COMPANIONS: None.

START TIME: 12:20pm

END TIME: 5:15 pm

ACTUAL MILEAGE: 4.45 miles

I wrote the description for non-climbers – meaning those who do not own harnesses and practice obscure European mountaineering knots of their coffee breaks. If you are such a climber, you may find my level of caution kinda cute.

I was, however, happy to have a collapsible hiking stick, because I had no spare hand for it going up the slope proper.My advice about using your butt as a brake on the way down: GAFDE.

Now to keep a longstanding pronise to myself: If you can tell me what I wrote in the logbook in the mailbox on top of the mountain, I will – at my expense – send you a free copy of the book. Get climbing!

Eastern Superstitions

Friday, March 13th, 2009

The eastern half of the Superstition Wilderness is higher elevation and much more isolated. Much of this is because none of the trailheads are easy to reach in a passenger vehicle, and several absolutely require a 4WD.

Astute readers will notice that the Angel Basin hike and the Oak Flats hike were both smaller parts of the Eastern Superstitions Super-loop. Why yes, I covered them all in the same expedition.

And I cover them all in the same blog entry.

DATE HIKED: 24-26 April 2008

COMPANIONS: Te-wa, Nonot and Wally Farrak [I’m using their alias’ from HikeAZ.]

START TIME: Friday, 4/24/08 9:15 am

END TIME: Sunday 4/26/08 around 2pm.

ACTUAL TOTAL MILEAGE: 32.3 miles

The guys were worried when I told them I was writing a guidebook (and hence mumbling into my DVR at random intervals) that their antics might appear. I assured them, truthfully, that guidebooks were not structured like that. I’m going to keep that level of privacy except to note that I was, by far, the slowest of the quartet. On the first day, they’d occasionally double back just to make sure I was still with them. By the third day, however, they had resigned themselves that I would get there eventually. On Sunday, they all reached the car easily by noon.

We have a lot of pix:

If yer new – I camp in a hammock. I was able to use it both nights.

My Camp in Angel Basin

Hammock by Byer of Maine. Tarp from Cabela’s. The photo on the left – from Angel basin – the hammock is actually suspended over a coil of discarded barbed wire.

More information about the Solado People who built the prehistoric exurb of prehistoric Phoenix.

The agony of de feet. [Sorry.]

Duct tape and athletic tape – mandatory for a backpacker’s first aid kit. Happily, this is morning of day 3.

And finally, some of the varied terrain we hiked through: