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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Round 2 of Government shutdown closures on Coconino National Forest


Just when you thought it couldn't get more crazy, the government shutdown is now forcing closure of campgrounds and other sites on Coconino National Forest.  Some of these sites would have normally closed for the year at the end of October anyway.  But others, even those run by private companies, are being forced to close.  Generally, undeveloped trailheads, hiking trails and forest access via number roads remain open. A full list is available here:


Friday, October 11, 2013

Flagstaff fall color update: Oct 11, 2013

Veit's Cabin, Oct. 11, 2013

Aspen overload with a side of fresh snow is the big draw along Flagstaff’s Snowbowl Road this week.  Heart-shaped leaves on the willowy, white-barked canopies are showing a mixed pallet of ready-to-burst lemons, full bloom golds and past-prime caramels, so now is the perfect time for fall color hiking. Exploring the Lamar Haines Memorial Wildlife Area (a.k.a. Veit Springs) involves a short trek
Fresh snow, Oct. 11, 2013
packed with
interesting ruins, pictographs and a wide, easy tread--which is why it buries the needle on the kid-pleasing scale. Allow plenty of time to stroll among the collapsed remains of homesteader Ludwig Veit’s 1890s cabin, an historical marker commemorating the work of conservationist Lamar Haines, and a concrete well with pond for collecting spring water along this aspen-rich, 160-acres of wet meadows and old growth forest.

LENGTH: 1.6-mile loop
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 8,600’ – 8,800’
GETTING THERE: From Flagstaff, go 7.5 miles north on US180 to milepost 223, turn right onto Snowbowl Road and drive 4.2 miles to the Lamar Haines Memorial Wildlife Area trailhead on the right. Parking is very limited.
SITE ADMINISTERED BY: Arizona Game & Fish Department

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Take the Sedona Hike Challenge 2013-14

Turkey Creek Trail

Need an excuse to take a hiking trip to Sedona?  Yeah, let me twist your arm, already.  Well, Red Rock Country's favorite trekker mecca --The Hike House--is once again sponsoring the Sedona Hike Challenge beginning November 15th and running through March 15, 2014.  Participation is so easy.  Just go online to sign up in your preferred category, hike 2 Sedona trails, upload photos documenting your journeys and you'll be entered into  drawings for gift packages filled with excellent outdoor gear and goodies. What could be better than that? And while you're in town, stop by the store, you'll be thrilled with the inventory, services and the staff's knowledge about local trails.
(This is NOT a paid endorsement---I just think it's cool.) 
The Hike House:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sedona's West Fork of Oak Creek is OPEN during government shutdown

YES YES YES---West Fork of Oak Creek/Call of the Canyon is OPEN--umm....not anymore....
West Fork of Oak Creek: Oct. 13, 2012
UPDATE 10-10-13: call ahead--government shutdown is now encroaching on sites run by private concessionaires! READ UPDATES from the small business that operates this site:
Yes indeed, Arizona hikers sure love fall foliage season.   Thankfully, Sedona's premier autumn color trail is OPEN---even during the government shutdown. 
Trekkers come from all over the globe to see the high desert maples, oaks, willows and hop trees blaze in bittersweet scarlet and honey hues surrounded by soaring red rock walls. It's truely one of the top hikes to do in October.  Maximum leaf intensity happens mid-October but color begins breaking around the 10th and lasts through the month.  Also, don't forget that streamside sycamore-cottonwood color along Oak Creek peaks in late October thru early November.  Trails to try for riparian fall foliage in Sedona are: Baldwin, Huckaby, Red Rock Crossing and anything in Red Rock State Park.
INFO: West Fork concessionaire: 928-203-2900

Sunday, October 6, 2013

FALL COLOR UPDATE: Mogollon Rim, October 5, 2013

Pinchot Cabin to McClintock Draw

Barbershop Canyon, Oct. 5, 2013

Anchoring the east end of the Mogollon Rim’s iconic Cabin Loop system of trails, U-Bar #28 cuts an undulating path through rugged canyons, meadows and coniferous woodlands.  Although hiking the entire loop is a rigorous, multi-day endeavor, day-trippers can sample the remote north end by hiking from Pinchot Cabin to McClintock Draw. In October, brilliant fall foliage seems to melt out of the edgy topography. Gambel oaks peppered throughout the area’s pines and spruce glow like randomly-strung lights. Streamside boxelders and willows shine at the bottom of Barbershop Canyon while seas of frost-tinged brackens colonize every sodden, humus packed crack in the limestone terrain.
This sensory smorgasbord mitigates the pain of the trail's constant dips, climbs and the challenge of following a primitive tree-blazed route.

Gambel oak, Oct. 5, 2013

From the trailhead, hike the old roads to Pinchot Cabin.  Here, a sign points to the start of U-Bar trail heading up the ridge behind the cabin. The route is marked by tree blazes—follow them and you’ll be fine. At the top of the ridge, pass a gate and continue on the road to a “T” intersection with FR95B and FR139G.  Go RIGHT here and follow the road to a stock tank off to the right. Just beyond it, the road splits with the trail heading off between the forks marked by a hiker sign and cairn. Now the trail is a distinct footpath. Continue past a large rusted water tank on the left. About 150 feet beyond the tank, turn RIGHT where the trail forks.  There’s a tree blaze with arrow here.  At 2.3 miles, cross FR139 and begin steep descent into Barbershop Canyon followed by a climb out to McClintock Ridge. At 3.0 miles, cross FR145 and follow FR9616A into McClintock Draw. See "more photos" below for pictures of critical junctions.

LENGTH: 8 miles  as described here including access detour
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 7,000' - 7,620' (1500’ accumulated gain)
From Payson, travel north on AZ87to just before milepost 300 and turn right onto FR95.Go 6.5 miles on FR95 to a bridge over East Clear Creek and veer right to stay on FR95.  Continue 4.5 miles to FR139A (a few yards past a sign for Houston Draw), turn left and go 0.2 mile to the trailhead marked by a sign for Fred Haught Trail.   NOTE: as of September 2013, FR 95 is closed between FR139G and 139A. To get to the Fred Haught trailhead, park at the roadblock and hike 0.5 mile on FR95. Roads are good gravel/dirt with winding mountain grades—sedans okay.

INFO: Mogollon Rim Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, 928-477-2255