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Tag: Tonto National Forest (page 2 of 8)

Sunday Hike – Pole Hollow Canyon

Marilyn and I hiked a little over seven miles on our out-and-back hike of Pole Hollow Canyon. This hike, near Payson, starts at the City Creek Trailhead on Doll Baby Ranch Rd.

We encountered this snake early in our hike. It’s not a rattlesnake – it’s probably some type of Bull Snake.

The hike was mostly on trail, but it had significant deadfall to either cross or go around.

Sunday Hike – FS 242 & Pinto Creek Canyon

Marilyn and I set out with the intent of hiking Pinto Creek Canyon. It was billed as a creek with clear, ankle deep water. We inadvertently parked two miles away, but hiked the forest road (FS 242) to the creek. When we got there, we found that it was mostly dry with occasional slippery mud plus a few stagnant pools of water. It was very scenic from the forest service road, however; I enjoyed the views from the road.

Sunday Hike – Pine Canyon Trail #26

Marilyn hiked four miles of the Pine Canyon Trail with me. At the four mile mark, I went on and she turned back, eventually picking me up at the northern end of the trail further up Beeline Highway. I hiked nearly 12 miles with over 2500 feet of total ascent.

Sunday Hike – Highline-Donahue

On Sunday, I drove to the Pine Trailhead and did an out-and-back hike of the Highline and Donahue trails. I also hiked two forest roads beyond the Donahue Trail – these were FR 218 (Milk Ranch Point Road) and FR 9382L. The hike that I did – well, the return portion, anyway – is the latter half of a loop that can be done. I’m thinking about doing this loop and wanted to scout the latter part of the hike.

Sunday Hike – Black Ridge Loop

I did 8.1 miles on this loop hike in the Mazatzals.

This is Brunson Tank. Not much water, but more than there was when I did the same hike in March.

This is a flower on the side of an agave stalk. (It may even be a Century Plant.)  The leaves at the bottom of the plant were dead. I would guess that the main blooms were at the top of the stock a season ago.

Almost done with the hike – I liked the shape of this cone shaped hill.

Sunday Afternoon Hike – Ballantine to Boulder Flat

Starting in mid-afternoon on Sunday, I hiked the Pine Creek Loop and then, once I got midway through the loop, Ballantine out to Boulder Flat and back, finishing the loop on my return. Trail conditions were better than when I was last there in September. Temps were in the high eighties, good gradual acclimation for summertime hiking here.  Total distance was 7.7 miles with 1700 feet of total ascent.

Prickly Pear blossom:

A boulder pile near Boulder Flat.

Sunday Hike – Black Ridge Loop

I hiked the Black Ridge Loop in the Mazatzals on Sunday. Total distance was about 7.6 miles with over 1900 feet of total ascent.

Indian Paintbrush:

This is Brunson Tank.  When I visited it at about this time of year in 2016 and 2017, it was full of water – I had to skirt the edge to avoid getting my feet wet. No such problem today. I did encounter some water when I got to the drainage that runs along Little Saddle Mountain Trail. It seems to be spring fed.

Heading down the Little Saddle Mountain Trail…

New sign!

Friday Hike – Barnhardt Trail

Marilyn, Nora, Linda, and I hiked part of the Barnhardt Trail on Friday. We went out about five miles on the Barnhardt Trail. We had planned to also hike the Sandy Saddle Trail to Casterson Seep and then hike down to the first waterfall in Barnhardt Canyon, but the manzanita not only obscured the trail but also greatly slowed us down. We hiked perhaps a quarter of a mile of Sandy Saddle before turning back.

Looking into Barnhardt Canyon from midway up the trail:

We’re much higher on the trail now, perhaps even on the Sandy Saddle Trail – I don’t remember exactly.

As we continued on, we saw greater evidence of damage from the 2004 Willow Fire. It’s my understanding that there used to be a forest of Ponderosa Pines in this area.

We were intrigued by the fallen tree. It looked like someone had drilled a bunch of 7/16″ holes in the wood.

Looking into “Big Kahuna” falls from the trail. I also got a shot from further into the canyon on the way up, but I decided that I liked this shot better.

One of the blocky rock walls along the trail.

This was a well shaded area – it doesn’t appear to ever get much direct sun.

Another secluded spot for cacti to grow:

Some kind of toad…

Looking back…

Some interesting veins of zig-zaggy rock.

Mona, Linda, and Marilyn:

Linda provided this photo of Nora and me looking over one of the edges.

Sunday Hike – Praying Hands / Massacre Falls Loop

Nick, Mike, Bob, Marilyn, and I did a hike in the western Superstitions on Sunday. I hiked nearly 7.5 miles with about 1700 feet of total ascent.

Friday Hike – Four Peaks Trail

Nora and I did and out-and-back hike on the Four Peaks Trail. We ended up hiking just under 12 miles w/ nearly 3200 feet of total ascent. One of our hike options was to go to the summit of Buckhorn Mountain, but the brush looked dense, so we decided to stick to the well groomed Four Peaks Trail.

I had hiked the Four Peaks Trail back in 2001 or 2002. It was quite a different experience. The area had (sort of) recently been devastated by forest fire and was kind of barren. The trail was difficult to follow – I had to look very carefully for cairns or occasional ribbons tied to mostly burned trees. Due to the fire, the foliage was fairly sparse. I think I did go to the top of Buckhorn Mountain that day – the Four Peaks Trail used to go over the top, but has now been rerouted to go around the mountain.

On our Friday hike, we found a very different trail to the one that I recalled. The trail surface is well beaten in and is not especially rocky or loose. It was exceptionally easy to follow – there was never any doubt about which way to go.

Views from Mills Ridge Trailhead…

On the trail now…

The trail went both below and above this small dryfall. We took the lower trail on the way out and the upper trail on the way back. We had thought at first that the lower trail is the preferred trail, but on the way back, we found that a great deal of care had been taken in the construction of steps leading down to the wash.

One of many views of Roosevelt Lake:

One of the few remaining tall trees. I would guess that, prior to the fire, there were a lot of this type of tree.

This is Camelback Peak 5663. Nora and I wondered about going to the summit. I looked it up on HAZ when I got home. BobP did it in 2013 and uploaded a track, but in his notes, he says, “If I were you…I’d choose a different route.” So maybe there is no good route.

Four Peaks; this is pretty close to where we turned around. We had several decent views of Four Peaks prior to this point, but this was the best.

Nora next to a burned and dead tree.

We encountered a group who are riding the Arizona Trail on their mules. We chatted with them for a while and then continued. These mules worked hard as the trip outward had quite a lot of elevation gain.

We saw very few flowers on our hike. Last year, about a week earlier, we had hiked the Vineyard Trail which also starts from Mills Ridge Trailhead. We saw lots of flowers last year.

This is a poppy. I also got a shot of a desert marigold, but was unhappy with the way it turned out (so I’m not posting it).

As we hiked back to the trailhead, I noticed a catchment just off the Vineyard Trail. I decided to hike down to take a look…

When we were finished with our hike, we became tourists and visited Theodore Roosevelt Dam, which was just down the road from where we had driven in on Forest Road 647 to get to the Mills Ridge Trailhead.

This is a photo of the bridge from the upper view area:

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