Posts Tagged ‘Mogollon Rim’

East Webber Trail

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

East Webber Trail #248

DATE HIKED: June 1, 2008

Companions: Ben and Max ( our Labrador).

START TIME:12:35pm

END TIME:6:10pm

TOTAL MILEAGE: 8.8 miles

One of the few guidebook hikes I took with the dog. These “working” hikes are complicated enough with the DVR and the GPS and such without adding 60 lbs of excitable dog on a leash. But this was a short hike, I was towards the end and feeling pretty confident, and I had Ben to help out if it came to that.

We got turned around a couple times past Camp Geronimo, which may have added to the mileage some.

We ate lunch on our way up at the second crossing, beside the big log. Max spent the whole time in the creek.

About 4 miles up, we encountered the signed junction with the “Rimview Trail” though we could not discern an actual trail. The sign indicated it went east and eventually hit the Highline around Poison Springs. Not on any maps I own, and we couldn’t pick it out from the ferns and deadwood.

My buddies at HikeAZ inform me that this trail was “blazed” by boy scouts, and actually goes nowhere. Thus, I left it out of the hike description.

I drank water straight from the first spring, and my insides did not explode. So that was good.

Second only to Horton Springs as far as face-of-the-Rim hikes go.

AZ288 Road-trip

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

The week before last, I had a camping trip all arranged – and then everybody backed out but me.

I went anyways, free from logistical negotiations (or the company of others).On my journey, I stopped to take pictures for my ongoing camping blog [column?] for Examiner.com. These will all eventually turn into articles, and I’ll link them here as they go online.

North of Globe, state highway 288 splits from 188 just past the east end of Lake Roosevelt, and begins to climb up into the Sierra Ancha Mountains. Don’t let the highway designation fool ya, AZ288 winds and dips and is only partially paved. I stopped and took photos of Sawmill Flats and Rose Creek campgrounds.

To the west is Salome Wilderness where lies Hell’s Hole. To the East is the Sierra Ancha wilderness, where I hiked the Sierra Ancha Superloop.

North of the wilderness areas, the road rolls through juniper scrub and finally into Pleasant Valley, where lies the town of Young. Finding a meal in Young has always challenged me, but I came upon Buddi’s Gas and Minimart, where the nice lady sold me a microwaved burrito. That’s the best meal service I’ve ever gotten in that community, built mostly by and for retirees and their hobby ranches. Tourists are somewhat beside the point.

Just north of Young, I split left to take FR 200 up Haigler Canyon to visit two more campgrounds. I stopped to read a sign about the Heber-Reno Sheep Driveway, a 3 mile wide corridor through which Basque herders drive sheep up to their summer pastures on top of the Mogollon Rim in the spring, and then back down to their winter pastures outside of Chandler in September. I literally thought to myself, “It’s September. Maybe I’ll see some…”

And there they were, on the other side of the road. The herder I talked to said they’d been on the trail for about three days. Photos on my other blog (because I’m outta space here): What Have We Learned.

It was raining on and off, but the gravel of FR 200 held firm. Alderwood Campground is remote, despite being tucked behind a small housing development. Haigler Canyon is more developed, but was empty save for cows when I visited. Even the hosts were gone.

FR200 dumps into FR 291, which dumps into AZ 260 – which is a real highway. I took that to the visitor’s center atop the rim, then cut through the FR 171 camping area, where a number of numbered campsites sit right on top of the Mogollon Rim. This is where I was with the kids when we were rained out prior to our General Crook Trail hike a few years ago. (Still one of my favorite articles.)

FR171 joins – yep – AZ288 on the other side, where I turned south towards a quartet of campgrounds in the NE corner of the Tonto NF. I had been warned that the Rodeo-Chedaski fire of several years ago had devastated the whole area, but I can report that while you can certainly see wide swaths of damage, the campgrounds are just fine.

Colcord Ridge

Airplane Flats

Valentine Ridge

and Upper Canyon Creek, where I ultimately camped.

There is a listed trail near Valentine Ridge (#550) which was scratched from my itinerary late in the guidebook days. It is geared (and graded) towards mountain bikes, so now I’m glad I skipped it.

The next morning I woke up, got to wear a jacket for a few hours (those not from Phoenix do not realize how special that is by September) and burned back to the valley to take care of other things.

Next time – more behind-the-hike stuff.

Col Devin and Railroad Trail

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

[Part of our ongoing behind-the-hike series concerning hikes covered in Day and Overnight Hikes – Tonto National Forest.]

This area was in the recent “Rim Fire” (see last entry) – and I can’t say what may be left of it.

This was part of my Rim Rush – a 4 day weekend where I banged out several trails including this one, two segments of the Highline Trail and Mescal Ridge.

DATE HIKED: 30 May 2008

COMPANIONS: None

START TIME: 10:30a

END TIME: about noon

ACTUAL MILES: 3.9

There’s a part in the book’s introduction where I describe my mom reluctantly leaving her little boy (Now – I’m 42!) alone at the trailhead. This hike. Relatedly, my son Ben had the opportunity to go, but chose to hang around in camp instead – mostly, it seemed, to prove he could hang around in camp instead. Since this was an easy hike up to a railroad tunnel, I gotta think that decision was political.

This route up and down the Rim was originally part of the Moqui Trail,an ancient route connecting the central deserts to th Navajo and Hopi lands up north. South of the Rim, the route roughly follows AZ89.

It was then re-blazed by Col. Devin, while he worked for General Crook.

Now, it is part of the Arizona Trail.

Some good source material about the RR Tunnel.

I hiked this trail on the same day I hiked the Washington Park – Geronimo portion of the Highline. Had I gotten my dear mother (who was part of that car shuttle) out of camp in time, I would have made the whole odyssey with daylight to spare. As it was … well, next time. Mom, to her credit, prodded her little Prius within up the rutted dirt road to within a couple hundred yards of the trailhead. That’s where I inherited those tendencies.

Washington Park has several unofficial campsites right on the creek, and would make a nice basecamp if you got there early enough. The road gets worse the higher you go, though, so HC if you want to actually park at the TH. There are a number of private residences dotting the area – so watch where you pee.

Tonto News Roundup August 09

Monday, August 10th, 2009

I have returned from vacation (yes – a camping vacation). So, somewhat overdue, is our monthly round-up of news affecting outdoor recreation in general and the Tonto National Forest in particular.

The “Rim Fire” near Washington Park, smack in the middle of the Mogollon Rim, is now 85% contained. The lightning-sparked blaze has been burning up and down the rugged face of the rim since July 20th. The fire is being managed under a modified suppression strategy due to concerns about steep topography and firefighter safety.  Fire managers are using existing roads, trails, (like the Highline) and topographic features to contain the fire.  Recent rains have also helped. They expect complete containment by August 15th. More info here.

Note that this closes the Col. Devin and Railroad Tunnel Trail, and the Washington Park to Geronimo segment of the Highline Trail, both profiled in my book.

The 2009 Arizona Big Game Super Raffle raised more than $540,000 to directly benefit Arizona’s wildlife. Eleven winners were selected on July 18 to receive the ten special big game tags and an Swarovski optics package. (Swarovski helped sponsor the event). These funds are used to support habitat monitoring, conservation, restoration or other improvements such as elk-friendly fencing.

Volunteer opportunities:

The Tonto NF seeks volunteers to help clean-up one of the busiest areas in their jurisdiction: the lower Salt River area (you know, where drunks go tubing) on September 26th, which is also National Lands Day. More information here, or you can show up before 9am on Pebble Beach.

AZ Game and Fish need folks to spend all night chasing after black-footed ferrets with a spot light.

From October 1st to October 5th, they’ll be conducting their annual ferret survey. Twice thought to be extinct, a small population of black-footed ferrets was discovered in 1981. A mere 18 were left when captive breeding efforts began in 1985. In 1996, Arizona’s Aubrey Valley, west of Seligman, was selected as a reintroduction site. Volunteers must be able to stay attentive from sunset to sunrise, be able to carry up to 30 pounds while backpack-spotlighting for two-hour durations. They must also be willing to learn how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS).

Individuals can volunteer for one or more dates. A parent or guardian must accompany any youth under the age of 18.

Those wishing to volunteer, or needing more information, should e-mail azferret@azgfd.gov by Sept. 21 with “October Spotlighting” in the subject line. Please indicate what night(s) you are available to help; include a first and last name, a contact number, and if anyone else will be attending with you.

Also, please list any of the following equipment you can bring: GPS, clipboard, backpack (to carry a 30-pound battery), headlamp, pen, compass, binoculars, walkie-talkies, 4×4 vehicle (please list passenger capacity), compass, spotlight (that can plug into a cigarette lighter), or a cordless rechargeable spotlight.

Weather in the Aubrey Valley can be unpredictable, so individuals need to dress appropriately.

[Portions from the AZGDF news release].

I spent a long time crawling through road construction throughout the inter-mountain west, so this is dear to my heart currently: Interactive Map for AZ road construction (from AZ DOT).

Finally, some personal news. I am now the Phoenix Camping Examiner for Examiner.com. I get paid by the pageview, so check it out, if you have an interest. And if you’ve read down this far, that’s a safe bet.

Bear Canyon Lake

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Not in the Tonto – but this is ostensibly a general hiking blog.

Bear Canyon Lake Campground is located in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, near the eponymous lake (actually a reservoir) on top of the Mogollon Rim. It sits just east of center of the Forest Road 300.

No fee.

No host.

No water.

No trash service.

“Rustic” toilets (for some reason the Forest Service feels this to be a reasonable synoym for “vault/composting toilets”, which is a synonym for “pit with toilet seat over hole”.)

And no vehicular access to the lake. A sub parking lot will get you to a half mile switchbacking trail which leads to the lake. That’s a long haul with a canoe over your head, so we left the boats at home.

The “Shoreline Trail” goes from that point upstream, counter-clockwise, south, away from the dam about 1.5 miles. It’s a great little trail: no challenging grades, but enough rocks and other obstacles to keep you awake. A fine adventure for middle-school kids ( I had three in tow – though only Ben went the whole route with me). The pay off at the end is the lush meadow once you find your way across the stream that feeds the resevoir.

The second “Parking Lot” spur leads to a separate lot from the main one, closed most of the time, about a half mile further down the road. There’s also a good geocache along the trail – but be prepared for a short, strenuous bushwhack up the slope to find it.

Also, there is a good, short, unofficial trail following the stream on the far side of the dam. Keep aware for poison ivy, though. By short I mean about a quarter mile.

On weekends this area is popular with anglers, ATV riders, and gun enthusiasts, as there are relatively few restrictions on such activities in this part of the forest compared to the balance of the Rim. So expect a fair amount of noise and garbage.

Our high temp was 74, our low around 40. Good weather for June.

And I slept relatively comfortably in my hammock despite the cold by using an emergency bivy sack to line the bottom of the hammock, thus keeping the wind off my back as I slept. Good down to 40 – but I wouldn’t take it down to freezing.

I may update later with photo links.