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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Reminder: come out and climb a mountain with me this Saturday

actual product

Hikers---just a reminder that I'll be handing out free samples of Post Grape-Nuts Fit cereal on Flagstaff's O'Leary Peak this Saturday.  In addition to the goodies, this trail features over-the-top views of Sunset Crater National Monument. So---what's keeping you at home?

DATE:  Saturday, May 25, 2013. NO RSVP---just show up and start hiking. 
TIME:  we'll be on the mountain from approx. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
LENGTH:  10 miles roundtrip
ELEVATION: 6956' - 8916' 
RATING: moderate-difficult (you are responsible for your own gear and safety, this is not a sponsored hike)

From Phoenix, go north on I17 to the I40 interchange in Flagstaff.  Head east (go right) on I40 to exit 201 for US89 north.  Go roughly 10 miles north on US89 and turn right at the sign for Sunset Crater National Park (FR545).  Follow this road 1.5 miles and turn left at FR545A for O'Leary Campground.  Continue 0.3 mile to a free parking apron at the summit road gate.  Do not park in the campground---unless, of course, you plan to camp there and pay the fee.
ABOUT O'LEARY PEAK:!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTJw8jAwjQL8h2VAQAzHJMsQ!!/?ss=110304&ttype=recarea&recid=55146&actid=24&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&navid=110000000000000&pnavid=null&cid=FSE_003741&pname=Flagstaff+RD+-+O'leary+Peak+Trail

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Road to West Clear Creek to close May 23

UPDATE: Bull Pen will reopen for day use only (6 a.m. - 10 p.m.) on November 2, 2013. 
If you're headed out to the West Clear Creek area this holiday weekend, please read this new release before planning your route.

From: "Smith, Brady -FS" <bradysmith@FS.FED.US>
Date: May 21, 2013 12:45:13 PM PDT
Subject: SOUTHWESTERN-NEWS-RELEASE: Coconino National Forest
NEWS RELEASE                   
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
U.S. Forest Service
Coconino National Forest                                        

For Immediate Release
May 21, 2013
Public Affairs Contacts:
Brady Smith, Coconino National Forest, 928-527-3490
Brienne Magee, Flagstaff Ranger District, 928-527-8290

Hazard trees prompts temporary closure of Bull Pen area

Flagstaff, AZ –
The Bull Pen area, located about 10 miles east of Camp Verde off Forest Road 215, will be closed temporarily beginning Thursday (May 23) due to a large number of trees that pose a hazard to the public.
“Forest Service personnel have discovered hanging dead limbs and hazardous trees in areas frequently used by visitors for camping,” said Heather Provencio, district ranger for the Red Rock Ranger District.  “We take the safety of the public seriously and the closure will last until the Forest Service can complete a formal risk assessment, mitigate the hazard and deem the area safe for public entry.”
This closure prohibits all public entry into the area including camping, day use, hiking, and access to West Clear Creek via Forest Road 215.
Due to the large number of hazardous trees in the area and the flood potential at areas used by visitors for camping near the creek, Forest Service personnel will be considering management options that may include designated camping locations and designated parking.
Bull Pen is a popular camping and picnicking area along West Clear Creek during the summer with visitors camping under the towering sycamores and cottonwood trees.
Violation of this closure is subject to a maximum fine of $5,000 or six months jail time.
For more information about the Bull Pen area and closure, please contact the Red Rock Ranger Visitor Center at 928-203-7500.  Members of the public who want to provide comments on future management of the area should do so by submitting a comment form via


Brady Smith, MBA
Forest Public Affairs Officer
Coconino National Forest
Tel:  (928) 527-3490

Monday, May 20, 2013

To the pit

Rim above Sandy's Canyon and the pit

Let's call this one Sandy's Canyon with a twist.  I happened to be in the area of Mormon Lake last week and decided to make a quick run into the canyon on my way back just to take a peek at the recent  damage from the Fisher Fire. At the trailhead, I got distracted by that pesky sign where Sandy's Canyon/AZ  Trail goes left and Canyon Vista  heads right. As I wasn't really on a schedule, it seemed like to perfect time to make the detour to satisfy my curiosity about the Canyon Vista trail.  As it turns out-- what is an appetizer for hikers is the main course for rock  climbers. Canyon Vista trail dips downhill to Le Petit Verdon---a popular climbing area better known as "the pit".  Here, soaring limestone walls with bolted routes provide dozens of ways to explore the crags in vertical format.  Although it's an enjoyable side trip for hikers, this is the domain of sport climbers, so be respectful when passing near them, or better yet, observe their spiderman-like athletics from a distance.  Once done marveling at the climbers, head back up (and down again) for a trek into Sandy's Canyon.  The fire damage isn't too bad. 

LENGTH: 1 mile roundtrip or 3.8 miles with Sandy's Canyon
RATING: easy (uneven, rocky surfaces)
ELEVATION: 6800' - 6600'
From Phoenix, go north on I17 to just south of I40 in Flagstaff and turn right  onto  exit 339 for Lake Mary Road (FR3).  From the bottom of the off ramp, turn right continue 5.5 miles south to Canyon Vista Campground on the left near milepost 300.  There's a small no-fee parking area  
Climbers in the pit
for hikers.
INFO: Flagstaff Ranger District, Coconino National Forest 928-526-0866