Judy writes (Get) “Grand Enchantment Trail” Segment 5 3-20 to 3-22 2012
Judy writes (Get) “Grand Enchantment Trail” Segment 5 3-20 to 3-22 2012
G.E.T.- Grand Enchantment Trail, Seg. 10, July 18th-23rd, 2010 Connie, Judy and Sirena did this hike from July 18-21-2010. The Grand Enchantment Trail really lived up to its name on this one! We haven’t had such an exciting backpacking trip in a long time!
7-18-2010: The shuttling for this trip was quite confusing trying to meet up with Steve from Bonita, AZ, getting our vehicles in place on each side of the Penalinos Mountain and then to the top before dark. We camped at the last campsite just past Riggs Lake at the top of the mountain that had a bear proof trash bin, pit toilets and picnic tables. Steve stayed with us while we used his headlights to put up our tents. Thank you so much, Steve! 7-19-2010: Woke to dynamite views over looking Pima Indian Reservation and Safford. We started out on the Clark Peak Trail heading for West Peak Lookout Tower where Steve has cached 5 gallons of water for us. This section took much longer than expected. Blisterfoot, had written on the map, “not noted” and not knowing what that meant we continued hiking on a beautifully maintained trail with cairns only to find out that between way-point ***10160-10140*** there is no trail or cairns. Our GPS said we were on the Hurricane Ridge Trail, neither the maps nor Blisterfoot mentioned this trail. While taking way too much time and trying to find the trail we encountered cliffs with steep drop-offs and walls of Mexican Thorn Locus. We could see why this area has a high concentration of bears with all the blackberries and raspberries, but still, no trail. Storm clouds, thunder and lightning were getting closer and was really making us nervous being on this ridge in the open. **Note** At way-point 10120, if you still can’t find the trail, bushwhack west 200’ and you will hit the old road. We made camp on the only flat spot we could find: on the gated road leading to the Lookout Tower. Finding the cache of water we knew we were in for a comfortable night. Suddenly, out of the blue, a strange wall of smoke or a cloud rose up behind the hill. We looked on in amazement staring and sniffing thinking the other side of the mountain may be on fire. We couldn’t smell anything but soon with thunder and lightning, this huge cloud, full of mist, shot over top the mountain with hurricane force winds! We were so fortunate we were on this side of the hill and not the other, we would have been thrown off the mountain! When it was all over we discussed how exciting our evening had been and admired God’s hand at work creating a beautiful sunset! 7-20-2010: As much as we wanted to do Johns Canyon Ridge it will have to wait for another time. We took the alternate route that was beautiful but the most wildlife we saw was a dead rattlesnake and a perfect bear footprint. We know they are in there but we never saw one. Finding Serina’s car was easy and we helped her with some unusual snacks, olives and dehydrated Saguaro fruit that was excellent! Must try making some next year. Getting back to the top of the mountain meant driving through Safford again. Yippee! We can stop at Los Jibertos again for fish tacos and burros! We camped at Peters Flat for the night. Terrific spot, no facilities but nice fire ring and campsite with “to die for” sunset and beautiful views to the south. 7-21-2010: As we were getting our packs on we watched with anxious anticipation the sky develop into what looked like a bad storm so again we took the alternate route and skipped Webb Peak and headed to Ash Creek Trail. What an unexpected surprise! We never knew there was a rain forest in Arizona! This was the lushest vegetation Judy has been in since the Olympic National Park in Washington. Connie’s favorite flower, the Columbine was everywhere along with wildflowers galore! Everywhere we looked turned into “Ah”! As we approached the Y in the trail to go to Slide Rock a rain, hail, thunder and lightning storm hit us hard. We had a brief conversation with a solo hiker that didn’t appear to have much in the area of protection from the storm. He decided to take the low trail even though it was raining hard. The storm lasted about 45 minutes and dropped about 15 degrees. Within 15 minutes we had all our raingear, umbrella, and emergency blanket on trying to stay warm. As everything was so wet we decided to take the high trail which proved to be the best decision. We encountered our solo hiker as we got close to Slide Rock. He said we had made the best decision because he had to bushwhack quite a bit and was miserable in the rain. Hiking in about ¼ of a mile we could get really close to the mouth of Slide Rock. What a view of God’s creation! Not a good idea to slide down this one as not far from the bottom is Ash Creek Falls. I think it drops 300’. Further down the trail we wanted to get a better view of the Falls but seemed too slippery with the trail being so slippery. We made camp at a lovely area called Oak Flat which had a huge fire ring but no need as it started raining about 8pm. The Pinnacles, to the east, had lovely shadows as the sun went down and Night Shade flowers entertained us through the evening. 7-22-2010: A Vole or Mole was our entertainment this morning. He would go into his hole and come back out with dirt on his face. It didn’t seem like he could see us even though we were standing right by his hole taking his picture. The day was beautiful! We could see it raining in the higher elevations but missed us as we hiked. The trail was one of the most beautiful ones we have done. There was waterfall after waterfall, lush forest, greenery, and flowers in all directions! The last 2 miles was open terrain and more of a hot desert landscape. We could see a storm coming down the mountain behind us but we were able to get to the Jeep before it hit us. One last trek up the 35 miles to the top of Mount Graham (in a rainstorm) to take Sirena to her jeep. It was like a fairytale storybook ride. Nature is so amazing! It was hard for Sirena to leave this area because of all the beauty. Judy and Connie were able to stay one more night to try their skills at fishing Riggs Lake. (Nice campsites with pit bathrooms and nice access to the lake). No luck but a super time with the beauty of the lake, great fire, and a bottle of homemade wine that Connie’s husband had made. It doesn’t get any better than this. A perfect week! This is a trip to do again!
Judy writes “Grand Enchantment Trail – Segment 8, Santa Teresa Wilderness
4 1/2 to 5 hr drive from Phoenix to E. Aravaipa, once you get to Klondyke Rd & US 70 its 34 dirt miles to Aravaipa Natural Conservancy East entrance. Hiking partner was Sirena Dufault from Tucson, she invited me on this segment & was more than happy to accommodate. Now since I look at the map going from Apache Junction to Albq, NM, I have completed most of the mileage to this point & hooked on the GET, & would like to find someone to help complete the remaining with me.
Day 1 Trees were just starting to bud out so made it wonderful to see spring in action, birds migrating, tadpoles, frogs, many toads & Gila monster sunning himself. Past residence creating iron characters out of old machinery, the Detroit dinosaur we could not go by with out taking pictures. Salazar church closed except for week-ends. Beware of waypoint 08100 & 08110 on your GPS you need to zoom in about 50 ft or it will over lap, plus the road had been graded just hrs before getting there & was a burm in front. The article that Brett (Blisterfree) the founder of GET mentioned on Seg 8, plan on a 10% error, hated to start it off right from the beginning on such a silly mistake, but not complaining about a total mile, & was water where we camped.
Day 2 we hiked on a 4 WD rd for 3.2 miles, even though roads are not my favorite the wildflowers were beautiful & was climbing so the scenery was scenic. If you are following the GET website info, don’t miss the turn 50ft after passing the gate, only a cairn in high weeds, yep missed this turn only by a small ways but we would of missed the Gila Monster!
You follow a bench trail in & out of drainages, all were running with h2o, including Reef Tank. I would prefer to get my water out of the creeks vs. the dirt tank if possible. Blisterfree did an excellent job on the description for this area; read it carefully will save a lot of time. Hold Out canyon is breath taking, take time to scout this area out. It’s much like the Wilderness of the Rocks by Mt Lennon & the mts by Wilcox, Az. We camped about a mile down farther, above a flowing creek; great shadows both A.M. & P.M. The reading materials describes whimsical names as Zorro, Great Wide Face & Shamoo, we came up with dozens more names for this bouldery area. Black Rock was also another ahh moment when we looked up for the 1st view. Again keep reading the material, GPS & maps in hand at all times. Pink ribbons maybe on ground, nubs or a small cairn in the weeds, beware of cat claw in much of the area. Near the confluence (pick any ravine you want)we saw our share of tracks- Bear, Mt lion, Bob Cat, Deer etc in this small area. We got a good laugh down the creek, we came across the largest print we ever saw, elk, deer? We even took a picture of the print! After another bend we realized we were back in grazing territory again it was cow! After a few more boulder hopping & many creek crossings we made camp by a lovely Pinion Pine in the middle of the trail. Discussion was made whether to put the food bag in the lonely tree that wasn’t high enough to do much good. (Bear tracts was still on our minds) It was left that Az bears weren’t as smart as Yosemite or YellowstoneYogi bears. So went to bed with our Pot, jug & hiking sticks to bang on.
Day 3 As we past the ranch we met a friendly pit bull that I named Butterscotch, so we both got our doggie fix before adventuring on up the Mt, it was pretty much just finding our way in tall grass, & cactus, up to the cress where we found cell site near waypt 08320, cross to the other side of the fence here to make your way to the next waypt. (do not go thru the gate, this is where I cracked the face of my cell phone when I bellied under the fence) WE came to the junction a wooden signpost on the ground, Kane Springs to left & our Trail 66 to the right. We went to the tank to fill up & take a rest break, I would say if you have enough water keep hiking . We stopped at 24.6 in the reading material even though we had gone 29.6 miles, it was 7pm & wanted to locate the attractive camp spot but never really found it, but was happy to find good spring water. A place to lay our heads, a 2,500ft climb made it a harder, longer day, but the scenery of the mts, Safford & Mt Graham was worth while.
4-10 Our last day we started out at 7:30a.m to make our 2 mile climb to 7,250ft to the over look Hold Out Canyon where we were 2 days before, it literally makes a horseshoe trail. The path now was truly a trail so made hiking easier not to mention once we got to the top it was mostly down hill from there. WE had a delightful 1 hr break at waypt 08505 near a 30 ft waterfall, lots of Cottonwood & Sycamore. After leaving our rest spot once again we hit an old 4 wd road, it was a break from concentrating on GPS, maps, reading material, & bushwhacking. We were glad to see my jeep, total mileage 40, a great adventure in our own backyard, now a 5 hr drive home.
Things that came in handy:
New Gps Garmin Vista hcx, GET reading material for this section, maps, ( thegrandenchantmenttrail.org ) hiking poles, long pants, long sleeve shirt, cut off 1 gal water jug,(for a basin) my new tarptent-Moment.
What did not work for me
New Osprey Backpack,hurt lower back, maybe to much weight for a light belt it had.
FYI before doing this section of GET check with Blisterfree, or GET website as a portion has been closed.
AZT Pass 16 & 17 AZT (Arizona Trail) & part to the Grand Enchantment Trail seg 3
Started off as Nancy inching her way through the AZT, ended up calling it Glenda’s Big Girl Hike! Fun 3-day 2nighter. Starting at Picket Post shuttled by Nancy’s sisters, Carol & Maxine that were heading to Thompson Arboretum a mile down the road.
It was a 80-mile from Phoenix so got a nice start on the day. Beautiful scenery, wildflowers, & lots of water. The trail was one of the best & only got better till about the 10-mile marker. There were crews flagging, & building on the hillside, by passing the 4 wheel drive rd in the near future. We had a lovely camp & a cool evening. The next morning we started in hiking in more my type of territory, rock cairns & questionable 4 wheel drive roads & a bit of what I call Billy Goating. That is about the time the tune changed in Glenda’s 1st real backpack. The bit of quiver in her voice asking if we were doing a Big Girls Hike & not a beginner’s hike. We tried to explain that the AZT changes frequently & never really knowing what the changed are. This was to be about Nancy inching her way through the AZT but got changed quickly. Glenda’s knee started to feel sharp pains going down hill, as we’ve all experienced this sometime in our career of hiking, we did the normal, Advil, knee brace, & rest for 5 minutes & off again. We told her rest with elevation soon with trail ale would do the trick. We stopped ½ mile from the artesian well, but to our delight we got more than a good campsite. Three UTV’s were ready to leave, after nice conversation; we got more than brownie crumbs! They gave us banana’s, strawberry’s, lunchmeat, dip & vegs!! To boot, one guy’s mother made homemade zucchini muffins that we saved for breakfast! We thank you boys for the special treat. Glenda was desperate knowing she only had 4 oz of wine left so she asked if they had any wine or beer in the ice chest, with dismay they did not. We remarked they were the healthiest male eater we’ve seen! After they left we made it to the creek for our feast! The buzzards were migrating through, saw many animal prints but only saw a rock squirrel, The next morning was a relaxing one, as Possum would meet us at the Artesian Well for our shuttle home. We did 20 miles, & yes it was a Glenda’s 1st Big Girls Hike!”
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