Backpacking Arizona

2:07 p.m. on April 3, 2009 (EDT)
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My girlfriend and I are planning a backpacking trip to Arizona from April 17-24. Got a last minute deal on cheap airfare from Missoula, Mt, so we're kind of winging it. Researched online... tons of info but you can't beat firsthand knowledge. If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. If you could spend one week backpacking in Arizona where would you go? We would like to dodge the snow for the most part..... it's been a long winter here in MT! We would also like to dodge the crowds, if possible. From our years of experience we have had the most enjoyable times in wilderness areas, so that would be ideal. We've never been to the southwest so I want to play it safe the first time around. We don't want to put ourselves in any sketchy situations since we're unfamiliar with the terrain; maps and photos can only provide so much insight. Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated.

2:27 p.m. on April 3, 2009 (EDT)
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Kleon,

Having grown up in the Arizona desert, I can assure you that there is a plethora of choices. April is a great time for the desert, since you will be getting the flower blooming. What sort of terrain do you want? I could suggest the Superstitions (only a few miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor). Beautiful place with lots of history, and very few people these days are shot by insane prospectors (the Lost Dutchman Mine generates lots of tall tales even today). The Chiricahuas are fantastic (especially the rock formations that look like you are on another planet), in the southeastern part of the state. Grand Canyon is a challenge, of course, and probably too popular, though there are some trails that don't see visitors (especially from the North Rim). Organ Pipe is another great place, as are the White Mountains (you will need permission to backpack in the White Mountain Apache Reservation, but there are other parts of the White Mountains that you only need the usual permits. There are still some good hikes in Oak Creek - it isn't completely developed with the New Age fancy-dancy mystical super-rich crowd. The Navajo reservation does give permits and will provide guides to some fantastic places. You could go into Havasu, though that is pretty popular. The Havasupai are being more restrictive about their permits, I understand.

Well, that's just a tiny bit of what Arizona is all about.

Do the Superstitions. You might just stumble onto the Lost Dutchman Mine. Remember, it's where the light of the full moon shines through the eye of the Weaver's Needle (a fantastic rock spire that has great rock climbing).

3:53 p.m. on April 4, 2009 (EDT)
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Kleon, from my experience, Oak creek is very nice, though as Bill S mentioned has become increasingly well traveled and developed. Over New Years I travelled to Sycamore Creek Canyon, a little south and west of Oak Creek Canyon, and highly recomend it. It's a short trail up a lovely spring fed creek, with steep 1500' walls that you can climb up to the higher desert. Great swimming hole as well.

6:51 p.m. on April 7, 2009 (EDT)
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Cool. Thanks guys. I'm sold on the Superstition Wilderness. I have a book on the way about the Superstition and Mazatzal Wilderness areas. Good to hear that the blooms are still going to be happening, should be beautiful. Is water much of an issue this time of the year in the above wilderness areas? That's probably my biggest concern. We also don't have many poisonous critters in the wilds of MT, other than the rare rattlesnake. The tales of snakes, spiders, killer bees, scorpions, etc.... are in the back of my mind. Are these fairly rare encounters or is it something I should put more thought into? You know how it goes, there's grizzlies in MT but you very rarely encounter them on the trails; but to someone that isn't comfortable in the MT woods, they think a bear's hiding behind every tree! I'm also interested in the White Mountain area. I wasn't aware that special permits were required. I better get cracking on some research I guess. Again, thanks for the tips.

12:43 a.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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The Mazatzal's are NICE but most of the good wilderness areas were destroyed by a massive fire along the Mongollan Rim a few years ago. I just did the Barnhardt Trail and got a lil bored.

My favorite trail in the Sup's is Reavis Ranch from the 109N by Apache Lake, its an awesome drive there, and the trail is very forgiving with some fantastic views. The Lost Dutchman Trail is very very very very very very very busy, and you will step in horse poop, dog poop, and kid poop on the trail. I'd probably start out at the Peralta trail head or even Woodbury and do Rogers Canyon & go to the fairly "undisturbed" cliff dwellings.

 

check out www.hikearizona.com for some fantastic information on hiking around Phoenix!

6:15 a.m. on July 2, 2009 (EDT)
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That's probably my biggest concern. We also don't have many poisonous critters in the wilds of MT, other than the rare rattlesnake. The tales of snakes, spiders, killer bees, scorpions, etc.

[tuxedos deleted by moderator]

2:22 a.m. on July 16, 2009 (EDT)
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6:08 p.m. on July 21, 2009 (EDT)
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