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Thursday, July 1, 2010

SCHULTZ FIRE UPDATE

SCHULTZ FIRE IMPACT ON HIKING TRAILS JUNE 2010 UPDATE FOR COCONINO NATIONAL FOREST: Schultz Fire Closure Area Reduced Date: July 14, 2010 Contact: Coconino Supervisor's Office - 928-527-3600 Flagstaff, AZ —The Coconino National Forest is reducing the size of the emergency fire closure around the Schultz Fire area to allow more recreational access to areas that have been deemed safe. Though the new closure order is currently in effect, Forest Service personnel are in the process of repositioning the closure signs according to the new boundaries through today and should be finished by tomorrow. One of the greatest safety concerns within the fire area is the hazard of dead trees falling over, which will be a safety issue for a long time. In addition, because of the severity of the burn and lack of vegetation, loose rocks are rolling down the hillside posing a safety concern. The following trails and roads fall under the new reduced closure area: Schultz Pass Road (FR 420, from Schultz Pass to the north) Lockett Meadow Road (FR 552) Waterline Road (FR 146) Elden Springs Road (FR 556) Little Bear Trail Little Elden Trail Deer Hill Trail Inner Basin Trail Lockett Meadow Campground and Little Elden Springs Horse Camp Fire closures are implemented as standard fire operations procedure for public safety and firefighter safety. This modified closure to public access is in force until September 15, 2010 or later if necessary. The Closure Order and map is at http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/nepa/forest-orders/04-10-06-f.pdf. The U.S. Forest Service is still seeking information concerning the person or persons responsible for causing the Schultz Fire. To date, no arrests have been made in connection with the Schultz Fire. The Forest Service is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. The Schultz fire was caused by a campfire that was abandoned without being properly extinguished in the area of Schultz Tank, Little Elden Trail, and Forest Road 420. Please call the Schultz Fire Investigations hotline at (928) 527-3508 if you have any information. Fully contained as of June 30th, this 23-square-mile, human-caused blaze took out some great trails in Flagstaff's Dry Lake Hills area. However, many others were spared and plans are already in the works to re-vegetate the burned area before erosion takes its toll. Here's the run down on what trails are open and which are closed: OPEN AS OF JULY 1, 2010: • Elden Lookout Trail • Fatmans Loop • Sandy Seep • Humphreys Peak • Kachina Trail • Christmas Tree Trail • Brookbank Trail • Pipeline Trail • Upper and Lower Oldham Trails • Rocky Ridge Trail • Schultz Creek Trail • all of Fort Valley Trail system CLOSED INDEFINITELY: • Freidlein Prairie Road • Schultz Pass Road • Elden Lookout Road • Little Bear Trail • Weatherford Trail • Inner Basin Trail • Waterline Road-Tunnel Road • Sunset Trail (from Brookbank junction to Schultz Creek Trail) • Little Elden Trail (from Heart Trail junction to Sunset Trail) I'll be posting photos from our 2009 hikes in this area soon.

Monday, June 28, 2010

MORE SUMMER HIKING TRAILS!

PHOENIX magazine Summer Hiking Guide: ON SALE NOW. Don’t let triple digit summer temperatures put a damper on your hiking habit. Keep on trekking with the July issue of PHOENIX magazine which features 21 high-country trails-personally hiked and rated by yours truly--to help you beat the heat. Extra bonus: check out three of MY DOGS modeling hiking gear on page 47. AVAILABLE AT: Safeway, Fry’s Marketplace, Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam’s Club, Sunflower Markets, Sprouts, Borders, Barnes & Noble, CVS, Walgreen’s, Sky Harbor Airport, Albertson’s, Fresh & Easy, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, Whole Foods, Basha’s, A.J.’s, La Grande Orange, The Kitchen, and area hospital gift shops WEB SITE: http://www.phoenixmag.com/ ORDER BY PHONE: 480-664-3960

ICEHOUSE CANYON

ICEHOUSE CANYON TRAIL Pinal Mountains, Globe
 It’s a bit tricky to stay on track, but with some attention to detail, hiking to the cool pockets of aspens and maples high on the slopes of the Pinal Mountains is an exhausting yet memorable adventure. From the trailhead, hike a short distance uphill along Forest Road 112 to the Telephone Trail on the right. Follow the Telephone Trail for two-tenths of a mile to the Icehouse Canyon Trail junction, hang a right and go downhill and through a dry wash. Next, pass through a cattle guard and continue up to the top of a rise. From there, go left and follow the road for a half-mile to a junction where there are spring-fed water troughs and salt licks for the domestic cattle (and black bears) that inhabit the area. Veer left and continue on the Icehouse Canyon Trail following the signs to FR 651 (7,560 feet), the turn around point for this hike. To visit Signal Peak (7,812 feet) and Pinal Peak (7,848 feet), continue up the road toward the radio towers and follow the signs. IMPORTANT NOTE: Pinal trails are notoriously overgrown and rife with obstacles. In addition, directional signage is sparse--so hikers must have excellent map and route-finding skills in order to safely navigate these trails. A good map resource is the National Geographic Maps, Salt River Canyon, Tonto National Forest #853. INFORMATION: www.natgeomaps.com/ti_853 LENGTH: 10 miles round trip ELEVATION: 4,520 – 7,560 feet RATING: difficult. BEST SEASONS: March - November (warm in summer) DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 95 miles one-way GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, take Highway 60 east to Globe. Once in Globe, follow the “Besh-Ba-Gowah Ruins, Globe Ranger Station” signs through downtown to Icehouse Canyon Road (FR 112). Turn right onto FR 112 and continue for 4.2 miles to the Icehouse CCC campsite which is indicated by a brown sign that says: “197, 192”. INFORMATION: (928) 402-6200, www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/recreation/rogs/hikingtrail/grd/IcehouseTrail198.pdf

HORTON CREEK-HORTON SPRING

Horton Creek-Horton Spring Tonto National Forest This popular trail never fails to please. Following shady Horton Creek for most of its length, this beautiful trail treats hikers to a non-stop show of waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, wild berries and forests of maples, alders and pines. The semi-grueling uphill jaunt pays off big time at Horton Spring where icy water gushing from a rock cliff tumbles over moss-encrusted boulders into the creek. Its impossible to get tired of this classic Arizona trail. LENGTH: 8 miles roundtrip ELEVATION: 5,360 – 6,420 feet RATING: moderate BEST SEASONS: March - November DOG RATING: 3 paws DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 108 miles one-way GETTING THERE: From the junction of AZ 87 and AZ 260 in Payson, go right (east) and continue on 260 for just under 17 miles (near milepost 268), turn left onto Fish Hatchery Road (Forest Road 289) and go 1 mile to the parking area. From the parking area, hike back down the road, cross the bridge and follow the road to the Horton Campground and the signed trailhead. INFORMATION: Payson Ranger District (602) 225-5200, www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/recreation/rogs/hikingtrail/prd/HortonCreekTrail285.pdf

PARSONS TRAIL, MAY 2009

Parson's Trail Coconino National Forest Revisited this remarkable canyon last summer and, as always, had a blast. Lots of water, massive red-rock cliffs, riparian forests and interesting geology make this hike a perennial favorite. Enjoy these new photos. HIGHLIGHTS: Spectacular canyon, swimming holes, riparian forests LENGTH: 7 miles roundtrip ELEVATION: 3,700 – 3,200 feet RATING: easy DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 150 miles one-way GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, travel north on I-17 for 90 miles to exit 287 for AZ 260. Go left (west) on 260 and continue for 14 miles to the town of Cottonwood. Once in Cottonwood, go straight through town on Main Street and Broadway (US 89A) following the signs to Tuzigoot National Monument toward the town of Clarksdale. Turn right onto the signed road to Tuzigoot, cross the Verde River Bridge (at the half-mile point) and take the first left onto Sycamore Canyon Road (CR 139). The road turns into maintained dirt and then merges into Forest Road 131. Continue for 10.5 miles following the FR 131 and the Sycamore Canyon road signs to the trailhead where there are no facilities. The dirt roads are passable by sedan but a high-clearance vehicle is recommended. INFORMATION: Red Rock Ranger District (928) 282-4119, www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/recreation/red_rock/parsons-tr.shtml