6 forum posts
Up until about two months ago I lived in Stanton, KY, for about seven months. While I lived there I hiked around the RRG just about every day and saw some of the best scenery I have ever seen anywhere. Unfortunately, just about all of those were day hikes and I don't necessarily feel that they deserve a trip report. Since KY I have recently moved back to AZ and was looking forward to getting southwest backpacking in since it has been awhile for me. I traveled to Sycamore Canyon just a few days after being back in this beautiful state.
Wow, it has been a long time since I’ve posted a trip report. Not that I haven’t been hiking, but because of the type of hiking I’ve been doing and jobs that I have had. Basically indiscriminate off trail rambling on the Rim in which I could never repeat the hike, let alone explain where I went so someone else could follow. I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed my off trail escapades this summer. This weekends hike was exceptional so I thought I would write a bit about it.
I exited State Route 87 onto the Rim Road (Forest Service Road 300) Friday afternoon around 3:00 PM. The sky was a dazzling blue totally void of any clouds. I rolled down my windows and could immediately smell the scent of pine in the air. Everything was so fresh and green from the recent heavy rains. It looked more like spring time than the end of summer. There was still water running down the ditch line in places from rain earlier in the week. Low lying retention areas were full to the brim with water and the ground was nothing less than soaked. Small creeks were flowing.
Friday evening I was treated to a dazzling display of stars followed by the dramatic rising of the near full moon, which appeared through the stand of pines I was camped in. It slowly worked its way into the sky past the horizon until it was towering above the magnificent pines and casting it’s light on the surrounding forest.
Around 2:00 AM, I was pleasantly awakened by the serenade of elk bugling. Unfortunately this ruckus also awakened my girl friend and got her all excited and she wouldn’t rest until I took her out to investigate and take a tinkle. I would post a picture of her if I had access to the gallery, I know Krista would understand my attraction and be impressed by how I spoil the woman in my life.
Saturday morning I departed on my rambling in the area of Kehl Spring. I started off following a nameless canyon before ascending to the top of a ridgeline and following it through the tall pines. For some strange reason I started coming upon a very unusual number of horned lizards, several of them were no more than and inch or two long. I assume they must birth in late summer like rattlesnakes.
The next thing of interest I came across was some sort of weird geologic anomaly in the pines, I stumbled upon an area that was probably about 30 foot by 12 foot that had a large number of petrified clams sticking through the surface of the ground. They weren’t fossils imbedded in rock they were clams that had turned to rock.. This is one of the most unusual findings I have come across.
I continued on from there to a point to where the ridgeline began to descend into a deep well defined canyon. I descended a distance then followed the canyon by traversing through the pines along the hillside, following a fairly level contour. This was a good choice as it led me to my final unusual find of the day.
This was something I have heard about but never witnessed myself. I came upon a young pine that was literally covered with ladybugs that were homing. I have heard stories of hundreds of thousands of ladybugs that totally covered a fire tower on the rim. I can’t remember the name of the tower, but I know a guy that saw it. What I saw was just a small pine but very impressive to me.
Let it be noted that when I go on these ramblings I print off a topo of the area I’m going to be hiking in and I take a (new)GPS coordinate at my vehicle so I can find my way back should I become disoriented. Yeah I know, some of you that know me are thinking there’s no way I should use a GPS. And, I don’t, it’s just for emergency and it stays in pack the whole trip after I leave my truck. Just use my compass and map.