Sunday, September 21, 2014

BEARFOOT TRAIL


BEARFOOT TRAIL
Pine-Strawberry
Junipers and Ponderosa pines shade the trail

Officially introduced in May 2014 during Pine-Strawberry Trail Days festivities, the area’s newest hiking path connects with Tonto National Forest routes Pine Canyon Trail #26 and Rock Wall Trail #608. The hike takes off from a small pull out along Highway 87 and follows a ridgeline above the town of Pine.  There are no signs along the route and finding where the path begins is a little tricky.  From the trailhead, pass the gate, veer right and hike 0.2 mile on the power line road to a 4-way junction where the road gets very steep. Pick up the trail heading right and from here on, the route is obvious.  While hiking, note the beautifully constructed native stone retaining walls and drainage ditches. The din of the highway accompanies outstanding views of the Mazatzal Mountains for the first mile, but the noise recedes as the trail curves to the northwest,  dipping and climbing among cypress pockets, juniper-studded gullies and cool pine-shaded woodlands backed by Mogollon Rim vistas. You’ll pass by several private residential communities and Camp Lo Mia before connecting with Trail #26 in Pine Canyon.

An elegant Emory oak along the way

LENGTH: 5.6 miles one-way
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 5690’ – 6050’

Majestic views of the Mogollon Rim

GETTING THERE:
From Payson go 20 miles north on AZ87 to the trailhead at milepost 270 on the right.  There’s parking for about 4 cars, but additional space is at the Trail #15 lot a few yards up the road on the left.

Mazatzal Wilderness on the horizon

INFO:

MORE PHOTOS:

Friday, September 19, 2014

FALL COLOR HIKING 2014

 GET READY FOR ARIZONA FALL FOLIAGE HIKING 2014

Lamar Haines Wildlife Area
The Forest Service will activate  its annual FALL FOLIAGE HOTLINE on Friday September 26, 2014. Until then, hikers want to know where you'll be going to see the leaves in next few weeks.
Share your favorite autumn hiking tips and photos in my Facebook Arizona Hiking group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1428020817423751/

FALL FOLIAGE HOTLINE:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r3/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5323844

Thursday, September 18, 2014

THIS HIKE IS FOR THE DOGS


First Wag & Walk Adoption Hike of the Season is Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014

The season two premier of Wag & Walk dog adoption hikes is finally set!  Adoptable dogs from the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control Mesa shelter will be strutting their stuff on Usery Mountain Park's Merkel Trail on the first Saturday of every month October through April.  Hiker pups are selected for their dazzling personalities, good behavior and eagerness to find a new home.


A volunteer handler who can share information about the animal’s breed, exercise needs and individual character will escort each dog.  Hiker dogs are already spayed or neutered, up-to-date with their shots and license and can go home with you on the spot. Some of these lovable canines are "bench warmers"---pets who have been waiting to be adopted for weeks or months. Are you the one they've been waiting for?   Even if you don't find the love of your life on the hike, shelter volunteers will be on hand to direct you to county adoption facilities and answer your questions about selecting a pet to match your lifestyle.  Your leashed dogs are welcome to join the hike.


LENGTH: 1 mile
RATING: easy, barrier-free
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 9 a.m.
FEE: $6 park entry fee per vehicle
GETTING THERE:
Usery Mountain Regional Park
3939 N. Usery Pass Road, Mesa
Take US60 east to the Ellsworth Road exit and go north to the park.
INFO: Usery Mountain Regional Park, 480-984-0032

Sunday, September 14, 2014

HIGHLANDS CENTER FOR NATURAL HISTORY


HIGHLANDS CENTER FOR NATURAL HISTORY
Prescott

Lynx Creek

Located adjacent to the Lynx Lake recreation site a few miles south of downtown Prescott, the trails of the Highland Center for Natural History blend hiking with education. Two easy trail loops are laid out to highlight the unique geology, plant life, conservation concerns and watershed resources of the Central Arizona Highlands. Accompanying field guides available at the trailhead correspond with numbered points of interest along the collective 3-miles of nature trails. These short paths also connect with longer forest trails for those who want more of a challenge. In addition to being a model of sustainable building practices and fire-wise landscaping, the center offers a plethora of guided field hikes, youth learning opportunities and naturalist certification programs. But the keynote event is the annual "Take A Hike" Hiking Spree. Participants in the popular self-paced event hike a list of designated trails within the Prescott National Forest and City of Prescott systems between September and December. Hikers who complete the program may purchase a specially designed commemorative medallion and also are entered into a prize drawing.  The 2014 Spree kicked off on Sept 6th and this year's trail selection includes perennial classics like Juniper Mesa as well as newly opened Granite Gardens trails. Click the link below to get started.

Lynx Creek

LENGTH: 3 miles
RATING: easy, partially barrier free
ELEVATION: 5300’ – 5590’
FEE: none, but donations are appreciated
HOURS: variable, but generally 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Elderberry Spring
GETTING THERE:
1375 S. Walker Road, Prescott. 
From Phoenix, go north on I17 to Cordes Junction, connect with  SR69 and go 30 miles west to Walker Road at milepost 293. Turn left and continue 1.8 miles to the center on the left.

INFO:

Take A Hike Hiking Spree

MORE PHOTOS:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CHEVELON CANYON


CHEVELON CANYON from CHEVELON CROSSING
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Crossing of Chevelon Creek

One of my hiking  buddies describes the trip through Chevelon Canyon on the Mogollon Rim as a "cross the creek and cross your fingers" venture. This spot-on assessment is a playful nod to the dozens of creek crossings, overgrown willows, log jams, and befuddling boulder-clogged bends that make route-finding a challenge. Therefore, navigating the steep walled, twisted watercourse from Chevelon Crossing to the dam at Chevelon Canyon Lake is a trip only experienced hikers should attempt.  Sporadic rock cairns belie clues where the primitive trail cuts through thick  vegetation or was taken out by floods. As a general rule, if you find yourself getting very high on the canyon walls or disoriented, backtrack, cross the creek and hunt for signs of a passage.For attentive hikers, the trail-muddling obstacles are but an inconvenience in an otherwise beautiful gorge of vertical limestone cliffs, flowing stream channels and refreshing pools.  Within the moist riparian corridor at the bottom of the canyon, Ponderosa pines, alders and Gambel oaks (think: fall foliage hike) provide plenty of cool shade, but just a few yards up from the stream, drier pinon-juniper grasslands speckled with cacti can be quite warm in summer.  Trekkers planning a through hike should come prepared with map, gps and plenty of supplies as the 8.5-mile, trip is slow going. For those out for a day hike, the way is relatively simple before the head scratching begins at around 2-miles in.   Finding the start point also is tricky. Here's how--at the Long Draw North trailhead, where the dirt road splits just past the restrooms, walk down the left fork for about 20 yards to a campsite with a picnic table. Where the road makes a sharp right turn going uphill, look for an unmarked path on the left (N 34 35.425 W 110 47.270) heading toward the creek.



LENGTH: 8.5 miles one-way
RATING: experienced hikers only
ELEVATION: 6,300' -6100'
FACILITIES: restrooms, campsites, picnic tables

Willow whacking

GETTING THERE:
From Payson, go 29 miles east on AZ260 to Rim Road (Forest Road 300 at the Woods Canyon Lake sign).  Turn left and follow FR300 8.3 miles, turn right on Forest Road 169 and go 20.3 miles to Forest Road 504.  Turn right and drive 1.4 miles to the turn off on the right for Chevelon Crossing Campground. Forest Roads are sedan-friendly dirt, but there are steep drop offs and hairpin turns on FR504.
INFO:

MORE PHOTOS:

Monday, August 25, 2014

SCHOLZ LAKE


SCHOLZ LAKE
Kaibab National Forest

The wild north end

Tucked into a shallow gorge at the western edge of Garland Prairie, Scholz Lake may be the best-kept hiking secret in Kaibab National Forest.  This is probably because most hikers instead make a beeline for nearby superstar destinations like Sycamore Rim Trail, Overland Road Historic Trail or the strenuous routes on Bill Williams Mountain.  The high-altitude lake is open year-round, however, the north end is closed to all access annually from February 1st through August 1st to allow waterfowl and raptors to nest in peace.  The hike begins with a quarter-mile walk on a dirt trail that emerges on the south shore dam. From here, primitive angler paths circle the lake.  In drier months, the water settles into a patchwork of glassy ponds, rivulets and swales of frog-populated Lady's Finger smartweed. The T-shaped lake is fringed with Ponderosa pines and dozens of creaking snags that provide cover and perches for ospreys, ravens, geese, and eagles.  Keep an eye out for Hummingbird moths sipping nectar from thistles and herds of elk charging through Frenchy Canyon at the northwest end of the wetlands.  Although the hike is short and effortless, the scenic drive to the trailhead, proximity to longer routes and prodigious wildlife viewing opportunities make a visit to Scholz Lake worth a detour.

South shore dam

LENGTH: 3 miles
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 6730' - 6750'

Angler path on the west bank

GETTING THERE:
From Flagstaff, go west on Interstate 40 to the Parks exit 178.  Go 11.4 miles south on Garland Prairie Road (Forest Road 141, paved and sedan-friendly gravel) to Forest Road 62 and the signed turn off for Scholz Lake, turn right and drive 1 mile to the trailhead.  Forest Road 62 is good dirt for 0.5-mile, after that it gets rougher but is still passable by carefully driven sedan. There's a parking circle just before the road degrades for those who prefer to avoid the potholes and walk an extra half-mile. There's a restroom at the trailhead. Day use only.

MORE PHOTOS:



Monday, August 18, 2014

OSPREY CONNECTOR to ICE CAVE


OSPREY CONNECTOR to ICE CAVE
Pinetop-Lakeside

Crossing of Porter Creek

Of all the wonderful routes in the White Mountain Trail System, Ice Cave Trail #608 is a hiker favorite.
Known for its easy tread and cool, pine-juniper forests, the trail's big attraction is the eponymous lava tube located mid-way along the path.  Because of its popularity, the trailhead fills up quickly, which is why the Osprey Connector #636C is gaining recognition as an alternative access route. A relatively new addition to the 25 trails within the system, this one was built to link the Timber Mesa and Blue Ridge Mountain clusters of trails.  But to view this woodland traipse as just a means to an end is to miss the point---it holds its own as a standalone hike. Passing through the gorge and surrounding wetlands of Porter Creek, the trail makes a steppingstone-assisted water crossing before ascending along the ridgeline above Scott Reservoir. 
However, as visiting the White Mountain ice cave is a hiking itch that must be scratched, here's how to use this route to get to the prize. Begin by hiking 0.5-mile on the Timber Mesa Trail #636, turn right onto the Osprey Connector and follow it 2.5 miles to the Ice Cave Trail junction.  From here, it's 0.5-mile to the cave.  Despite the hype, (and to the chagrin of many hikers) the cave itself is little more than a glorified sinkhole--with no ice. The forest service has fenced off the cave for preservation (the gate has been open on all my visits) and it's smart to avoid climbing into the potentially dangerous abyss.

Scott Reservoir viewed from Osprey Connector

LENGTH: 7 miles roundtrip to the cave and back
RATING: easy
ELEVATION:  6350' - 6890'

Trail signs correspond with online maps

GETTING THERE:
In Pinetop-Lakeside, go south on AZ260 (White Mountain Blvd.) to the Porter Mountain Road traffic light at milepost 350.  Turn left and continue 2.2 miles to the Timber Mesa trailhead or 2.4 miles to additional parking at a gate along the road. Parking at the gate cuts 2 miles off the roundtrip distance.

INFO: Pinetop-Lakeside TRACKS
http://www.tracks-pinetop-lakeside.org/

MORE PHOTOS:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

PUMPHOUSE WASH COUNTY NATURAL AREA


PUMPHOUSE WASH COUNTY NATURAL AREA
Flagstaff

Pumphouse Wash

Seven miles south of Flagstaff along Interstate 17, Pumphouse Meadow near Kachina Village harbors family-friendly hiking trails. You've probably whizzed right by it on your way back from a mountain retreat or even stopped at the off ramp gas station. So, next time, why not stay awhile and take a walk on the easy paths that explore this 128-acre wetland habitat at the headwaters of Oak Creek Canyon, a major tributary of the Verde River.   Spring-fed Pumphouse Wash can be toured via the 0.75-mile, Pinon Trail.  Enhanced with stone viewing blinds and interpretive signs describing the ecosystem and its resident flora and fauna, the dirt path is hidden under the cover of pines on a bluff above the wash, to optimize wildlife viewing opportunities.  Patient hikers can expect to see fox, waterfowl, raptors, elk, lizards and countless other birds and mammals. Additionally, the site has a barrier-free walkway leading to an artfully crafted platform with a viewing scope.  Restrooms, water, ball fields and shaded picnic ramadas at adjacent Raymond County Park add comfort to the journey whether enjoyed as a short detour or daylong outing.
 
Viewing blind
LENGTH: 0.75-mile one-way
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 6720'-6740'

Viewing platform

GETTING THERE:
From Flagstaff, travel 7 miles south on I17 to the Kachina Village exit 333.  Turn right onto Kachina Blvd., continue less than a mile to Kachina Trail, turn right and go a short distance to the parking lot at Raymond County Park on the right. Hike down to the viewing platform and pick up the footpath heading northwest.
FACILITIES:
Restrooms, water, picnic tables
INFO: Coconino County Parks & Recreation
Arizona Watchable Wildlife Experience

Monday, August 11, 2014

TUNNEL SPRINGS TRAIL


TUNNEL SPRINGS TRAIL
BNSF trains pass by about every 15 minutes

The multi-faceted hiking network of the Flagstaff Urban Trails System (FUTS) is the perfect complement to the hundreds of miles of wilderness and national forest trails surrounding the city.
FUTS (say, "foots") uses sidewalks, gravel roads and dirt single tracks for a seamless web of hiking/biking routes that link in-town strolls and meanders through suburban wetlands to more rigorous peripheral trails. Although many of the system's offerings appeal to those looking for a quick way to burn some energy without having to drive miles to a trailhead, several routes located at the
urban-woodland interface mimic the feel of more remote locations.  Tunnel Springs Trail is sort of a city-rural-wildland hybrid hike melding the convenience of easy access just off busy Route 66 with a moderate climb through Ponderosa pine forests.  Passing under and above BNSF railroad tracks, the trail's companion cacophony of metal-on-metal screeching and mournful freight car rumbling is the hike's signature characteristic. The clamor of wailing rails fades as the trail ascends Observatory Mesa along a smooth, gravel road.
Trail signs are few and unmarked crossroads can cause confusion. Here's the plan. From the trailhead, follow the walkway between the private homes down to a road paralleling the railroad tracks.  Turn left here, pass through the tunnel and veer left again. Pass a gate and go right to stay on the widest road heading uphill. At the green tanks (Lowell Tanks), go left and continue to another gate at the (unsigned) Mars Hill Trail junction. Return the way you came or continue 1.6 miles to Thorpe Park.

View from Observatory Mesa

LENGTH: 1.9 miles one-way
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 7014' - 7404'


GETTING THERE:
From Flagstaff, travel west on Route 66 to Railroad Springs Blvd. (just before mile post 194,Chevron station on corner), turn right and go 0.4-mile to a "T" intersection with Adirondack Ave. The trail begins on a path between two residences directly ahead. Park along the street.



INFO:
City of Flagstaff
F.U.T.S. Map:
MORE PHOTOS:

Friday, August 8, 2014

ROGERS LAKE COUNTY NATURAL AREA


ROGERS LAKE COUNTY NATURAL AREA
Coconino County

San Francisco Peaks

During summer monsoon season, mornings at Rogers Lake County Natural Area are heralded by veil-like strands of mist exhaling from the San Francisco Peaks like a great smoking giant awakening at the edge of sprawling acres of blooming calliopsis daisies. This dreamy scene rewards early bird hikers at the pastoral 2,250-acre site located 10 miles southwest of Flagstaff. More than half of the area is a boggy wetland where vividly-colored daisies, lupines, paintbrush, vetch, butter and eggs, wild mint and penstemons competing for territory in the loamy soil splatter shocks of "natural graffiti"
across an expansive high-altitude meadow. The "lake" vacillates from a post-snowmelt season crystalline reflecting pond to a patchwork of soggy, dog day puddles.
Despite the dubious water, the surrounding land is a hiking destination in the midst of its adolescent growth spurt. The property was acquired by Coconino County in 2010 with the goal of preserving its significant wildlife habitats and cultural sites while adding recreational opportunities.
Existing dirt roads, an abandoned railroad bed and meandering social trails can be used for hours of exploring. To minimize impact to the sensitive terrain, stick to these established paths. Future plans for the area include the building of developed trailheads, 6-miles of trails, wildlife viewing platforms and connecting paths to Fort Tuthill County Park.  Numerous parking aprons along Woody Mountain Road provide easy access.  I like to one where there's a dirt road leading to a sunny clearing with views of the peaks and the beginnings of tantalizing new trail construction piggy backing on the abandoned rail bed.  Although there's plenty to enjoy here right now, the anticipation of a formal trail system will stoke interest in this exciting new hiking destination.


LENGTH: 6 miles planned
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 7255' - 7275'


GETTING THERE:
From Flagstaff, go west on Route 66 to Woody Mountain Road (FR231), turn left and continue 7.7 miles south to a dirt road on the right signed, "no camping". There are additional access points at the 6.5 and 7.9-mile points near the big signs.

INFO: Coconino County


Monday, July 28, 2014

SUMMER HIKING AT SPUR CROSS RANCH


SUMMER HIKING AT SPUR CROSS RANCH
Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, Cave Creek
 
Photo of a 2010 flood in Cave Creek
The Jewel of the Creek could use a good flood.  So says Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area Ranger Kevin Smith. It's been four years since the last deluge purged the bumper crop of plants and invasive species like crawfish that have taken root in the hiatus. Although this opportunistic  thicket of willowy shoots and swaying cattails resembles a lush tropical jungle, the pressure it puts on water resources is not so healthy for the ecosystem.  Who knew? This is just one of the enlightening topics covered in Ranger Smith's 2.5-hour "Life Along the Creek" guided hikes.
A satisfying retreat for urban-centric and   destination hikers alike, the county park straddles an emerald gorge of riparian opulence along Cave Creek. Known as the Jewel of the Creek, this cloistered oasis in the desert is managed by Desert Foothills Land Trust and is on high rotation for ranger-led events, especially in summer when cooler, early morning air and cottonwood shade offers welcome relief for heat-weary hikers. Although the beauty of this place is obvious, the rare and fragile site holds many secrets. Guided hikes reveal features that the casual trekker may walk right by without noticing. Ranger Smith uses archival photos and a deep knowledge of the area's natural history to point out remnants of the area's gold-mining heritage, ecological concerns, edible legumes, indigenous animal species and plants with super survival strategies. 
The Jewel of the Creek

Although ranger-led hikes offer extra safety and opportunities to gain knowledge about the desert wilds surrounding Metro Phoenix, it's important to remember to bring ample water and wear sun protection--hat, light weight long sleeves, SPF 30+ and sturdy footwear.
How much water do you need to bring on a hike? John C. Lincoln Health Network* offers these hydration tips.  Before hitting the trails, drink 16-20 ounces of water and then consume 6-10 ounces of fluid every 10-20 minutes while walking. So, for a 2-hour, easy hike, you'll need a minimum of 36-60 ounces of fluid (that's 2 to 4, 16 oz. bottles). You'll need even more during the heat of the day and when on strenuous trails. When in doubt--bring more water than you think you'll need.  You can always hand off your extra to a poor, dehydrated soul who didn't bring enough.
Ranger Smith talks about area mining history

GETTING THERE: 44000 N. Spur Cross Road, Cave Creek
From the intersection of Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Road head north on Cave Creek Road about 2.5 miles to Spur Cross Road. Turn north for approximately 4.5 miles to the parking area.  The last 1.5 miles can be confusing; continue north on the graded dirt road past the green house, through the tall gateposts and on past the horse corrals to the signed parking area on the right.
FEE: $3 daily fee per person (exact change required)
FACILITIES: restrooms
The Jewel of the Creek

INFO: Maricopa County Parks & Recreation, 480-488-6601
Desert Foothills Land Trust
*John C. Lincoln Health Network

Friday, July 25, 2014

SEVEN SUMMITS of PHOENIX 2014

COUNTDOWN to the PHOENIX SUMMIT CHALLENGE 2014
Registration opens Saturday, August 2 at 10:30 a.m.

The Phoenix Summit Challenge offers a series of challenges to hike to the top of peaks throughout Phoenix's desert preserves. Hikers can choose from Four, Five and Seven Summit events, which all are $75 and the All Access Challenge on the city's accessible trails, which  is $35. Registration opens on Aug. 2 at 10:30 a.m. 
REGISTER HERE:
http://www.azpra.org/PSC

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SIPE WHITE MOUNTAIN WILDLIFE AREA


SIPE WHITE MOUNTAIN WILDLIFE AREA
View from the High Point Trail

After barely escaping the ravages of the 2011 Wallow Fire, Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area lives on as a family-friendly nature discovery destination.  Just over 5 miles of groomed hiking trails take visitors through the property's diverse landscape of wetlands, high-elevation pinion-juniper woodlands and rolling grasslands. A good way to get an overview of area’s conservation efforts is to hike the 1-mile High Point Trail, which loops up to the site's zenith.  Here, a 20x spotting scope provides enhanced vision for critter peeping and gasping at the hulking dome of 10,912-foot Escudilla Mountain.  In addition to its animal-haven benefits and "selfie"-worthy viewpoints, the site is also home to Rudd Creek Pueblo, an abandoned 13th-century village. Archeological digs have uncovered a plethora of artifacts and tantalizing insight to the culture and technologies of the ancestral Pueblo people who lived here for nearly 75 years. Interpretive signs along the route explain some of the research and samples of intricately painted pottery and hunting tools found at the pueblo are on display in the visitor center.  Sadly, the preserve’s Old Nelson Homestead succumbed to the fire, but the meadow-swaddled trail leading to the charred foundation is open for exploration.

Escudilla Mountain on the horizon

LENGTH:
High Point Trail: 1-mile loop (moderate)
Rudd Creek Loop: 3 miles (easy)
Homestead Trail: 1.5 miles (easy)
Trinity Trail: 300 yards (barrier-free)
ELEVATION: 7625’ – 7836’


GETTING THERE:
From Eagar, travel 2 miles south on US191/180 to the signed turn off on the right at milepost 405.  Follow the maintained dirt access road five miles to the parking area.  The road is sedan-friendly, however there is one section that floods during period of heavy rain. The property has a visitor center with restrooms, water, picnic tables, educational displays and friendly site hosts. The center is open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., from mid-May through mid-October.  In-season hunting is allowed on the property. No fees.

INFO: Arizona Game & Fish Department,

Monday, July 21, 2014

PINE SPRING TRAILHEAD


HIKES FROM PINE SPRING TRAILHEAD
Arizona Trail Happy Jack Passage #29
Forest near Bargaman Park

On the Mogollon Rim near Happy Jack, a loose-knit web of dirt roads connects stock tanks, ephemeral lakes, and a smattering of private ranches. Here, the Arizona Trail has incorporated some of these tracks into its state-traversing journey.   Book-ended by recreational sites around Mormon Lake and C.C. Cragin Reservoir (a.k.a. Blue Ridge), ample trail signs keep hikers on track where footpaths and vehicle ways collide and diverge in this deeply-wooded, 30-mile respite from the commotion of campgrounds and RV parks.  Easy to follow and mostly flat, Passage #29 of the Arizona Trail can be accessed via two major trailheads  (Gooseberry Spring and AZ87), but for those looking for an alternative way to day hike among the moss-humid springs and murky watering holes that populate the passage's mid-section, the lesser-known Pine Spring trailhead is the best port of entry.
A bevy of stock tanks situated around the circular depression of meadows known as Bargaman Park are located within a few miles of the trailhead.  Ringed with water-loving plants like the delicate water buttercup, the tanks are wildlife magnets. Rough-hewn hunter blinds built along their banks provide cover for camera-stalking hikers on the lookout for elk, deer, coyotes and the occasional black bear. For a quick 4.6-mile, out-and-back hike, head southeast to Wild Horse Tank, or go northwest to visit Shuffs and Maxie Tanks for a 13.8-mile exploration. Maps available on aztrail.org   show the route with all its points of interest.
Wild Horse Tank

LENGTH: 30.7 miles one-way
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 6702' - 7616'


GETTING THERE:
Pine Spring Trailhead (as described here):
From Payson, go north on AZ87 to Lake Mary Road (FR3) just north of Clints Well.  Turn left and go 14.4 miles north on FR3 to milepost 305 and turn right onto FR294.  Continue 4.8 miles on FR294 miles to FR 135 (just before a cattle guard) turn right and go 100 feet to the trailhead on the right.

AZ87 Trailhead:
From the AZ87/260 junction north of Pine-Strawberry, travel 19.5 miles north on AZ87 to FR138 (signed Moqui Campground), turn right and go 100 yards to the trailhead on the left.

Shuffs Tank

Meadow near Pine Spring
Gooseberry Spring Trailhead:
From Payson, go north on AZ87 to Lake Mary Road (FR3) just north of Clints Well.  Continue 21.1 miles on FR 3 to milepost 312.2 turn right (east) onto a gated dirt road for Gooseberry Spring (FR 935) and drive 100 yards to the signed parking area on the right. 

INFO: Arizona Trail Association

SEDONA'S FAY CANYON TRAIL CLOSED

Fay Fire: 7 p.m., May 20 update (final for this evening)
FAY CANYON ARCH

Flagstaff, Ariz. – The Fay Fire, reported just before 4 p.m. today, is located approximately 4 miles northwest of Sedona in the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness area of Fay Canyon.

The fire’s progression to the north and west is slow and the most active parts of the fire remain in the south and east sections.  Smoke is moving in a northwest direction and combining with smoke from the Willard Fire—a fire between Oak Creek Canyon and I-17 being managed for resource purposes.  Smoke from both fires is visible from Sedona, Flagstaff, surrounding communities and people driving on I-17, State Routes 89, 89A and 179.

Size: Approximately 25 acres.

Containment: 0%

Location: Originated in Fay Canyon, approximately 4 miles northwest of Sedona.

Date Reported: Sunday, July 20 at 3:41 p.m.

Cause: Single engine aircraft crash. Four fatalities have been reported. The Forest Service does not have any details in regards to reasons why the aircraft went down or what type of aircraft it was.

Fuels: Pinyon-juniper, heavy brush and mixed conifer.

Resources Currently on Scene: Approximately 30 personnel including two helicopters, two engines, one fuels crew and Sedona Fire. 

Resources Planned for Tomorrow: One hotshot crew and three helicopters.

Closures: Fay Canyon Trailhead is closed at this time.

Evacuations: None.

Structures Threatened:  None.

Injuries Reported:  None.


Monday, July 14, 2014

BECKER LAKE WILDLIFE AREA: RIVER WALK TRAIL

BECKER LAKE WILDLIFE AREA: RIVER WALK TRAIL
Springerville
Little Colorado River

A short, meandering stretch of the Little Colorado River is a better place thanks to the introduction of coconut matting and recycled Christmas trees.
These biodegradable materials are just two of the many tools being used by conservation agencies (Arizona Game & Fish Department, Apache Natural Resource Conservation District, USDA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Arizona Dept. of Water Resources and Arizona Water Protection Fund) to restore riverbank stability and inprove wildlife
Footbridge river traverse
habitats. Project managers are quick to conceed that some of these rehabilitative practices are more successful than others, leaving the verdits up to visiting hikers who can draw conclusions based on interpretive singage placed along the experimental test grounds. The biodegradable mats and trees augered into the riverbank are hardly noticable and are slowing down erosion to help reinstate the river's natural flows for a healthier riparian ecosystem. A robust community of water-loving bullrush, grasses and showy milkweed at the water's edge have taken root in the mesh of introduced materials. This is providing shelter for nesting waterfowl and ample building supplies for busy beavers. In fact, so many birds visit the area that the site has been designated as an Important Bird Area by Audubon Arizona . One shady section of the 1.2-mile, streamside hiking trail exhibits the sun-dappled ambience of a Monet garden replete with water-caressing willows and a wooden footbridge. Where the path enters the surrounding floodplain and open rangeland, it becomes easy to see how precious this ribbon of moisture is to sustaining life in the White Mountains.
Although this close-to-town, short hike isn't likely to get you into your target heart rate zone, it's educational value and profound beauty makes it a worthwhile diversion---coconut mats and all.
View of Springerville's Coyote Hills on horizon

LENGTH: 1.2 miles one-way
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 6920' - 6945'
GETTING THERE:
From Springerville, go 1 mile west on US60 (Main Street) to the parking area on the left.

INFO: Arizona Game & Fish Department, 928-367-4281