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Thread: Arizona Fall Color Backpack 10-14-17

  1. #1

    Default Arizona Fall Color Backpack 10-14-17

    Keeping up the tradition of finding some Fall color to camp in and Noel's request for a 3 day backpack meshed well time-wise this year. She had taken Monday off so we left Saturday morn for the Mogollon Rim to hike mostly around the Beaver/Turkey wildlife closure area.
    I'm not really in it for hiking lots of miles so downloaded my internet friend's 11mi loop that he did in a day and just figured we'd go until we found a camp spot we liked and then stop and chill. He basically made a rough plot out based upon Google Earth imagery of the area another autumn that color hunted from draw to drainage, hill and park.
    Day 1 was just 3mi. Day 2, 8mi. And Day 3 was 4mi back to the car.
    Night 1 was animal amateur night. Elk were bugling, coyotes were scheming, and little feet were having way too much fun frolicking in the deep crunchy autumn ground carpeting.
    At some point we heard something medium big come through camp. It had a non-malicious stride to it so I figured it just didn't know we were there so I let out a mighty "HEY HEY HEY," and it wandered off.
    The night howlers got a little too close for comfort though.
    We woke before daybreak to a couple elk antler fighting behind the tent. I found the tracks only 40' away from us later. When we awoke for good later, we watched a elk cow eat in the park in our front yard for a long time. She kept calling out to friends but they never showed.
    During breakfast, Noel pointed out the tree next to camp that not too long ago had had some deep bear claws at it for a while.
    We broke camp and moved on to find some more colors.

    Sunday was a long fun look-around as we dragged our feet through the leaves and explored every which way. We scared up 4-5 more elk as we went. We got water in Turkey Creek but the filter was getting tired of siltiness out there. When we decided on that night's camp, I decided to gather some more water at a nearby tank. I met a Grandpa, Dad, Son trio up for a youth hunt. The leader, Grandpa, wasn't worried about finding an elk this far in since he knew they would have a lot of trouble dragging it out (vehicle closure area). He wanted to check out the tank too so we went together.
    It turns out the area is pretty water starved and it was dry as a bone. I went further in to another water source marked on my map and found a small silty holding hole. A squirrel joined me as I tried to pump some clean water for us but the filter just wasn't having anymore of the muddy solution. I filled a Nalgene bottle with the raw water for us to use for supper and headed back to Noel (that search added a mile and half to my track).
    With the water boiled, we poured it through a shirt to take out any larger dirties and then used it for our Mountain House meals. All our food was brown but it had no odd taste and was of course badie free from the boil.
    We had enough water for a breakfast and coffee and then some left for the short hike out.
    This night was pleasantly quiet and after a small fire, we resigned to the tent to play more card games.

    We took our time in the morning and bypassed a little of my friend's route, opting to take a more rugged drainage back into Turkey Creek. I'm bad with distance but Noel says the big elk we came up on in that narrow drainage was less than 30' from us. All I saw was something huge and brown looking at us behind a tiny bush. It didn't even register with me yet what it was before I instinctively said "Hello!", knowing it was going to have to move for us to get by. She moseyed on, and by her fur and size now I could tell she was an older lady. We finally reached the big creek and walked up it a bit. All the Fall color was great but I really enjoyed my time hiking along the deep wooded creek both days. There wasn't any color down there but it was older, more secluded and more animally.

    We got stuck a couple times spending too much time in the maple aspen mix on the way back to the car. I've never really seen them playing well together and on the same schedule.

    We got to Civic pass a few trucks going too slow on the road out. I don't know if people realize they have suspensions for a reason on their vehicles.
    We hit the diner on the way home for Liver and Onions (me), Reuben (her) and a shared Chocolate malt.
    Good times.

    Night 1 Camp by No Stone Unturned Photography, on Flickr

    Night 2 Camp by No Stone Unturned Photography, on Flickr

    Fall backpack night 1 by No Stone Unturned Photography, on Flickr

    Last edited by Skatchkins; 10-19-2017 at 04:59 PM.
    Disclaimably quotastic
    I are photographer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Beautiful pictures Mike, thanks for the write up! Nothing calms the soul like walking aimlessly through the forest...

    That last leaf pic is crazy. Never seen one like that before!

    When I was up there for a week in May right in that same area I saw a ton of wild life including porcupines, turkey, skunk, deer, elk, coyotes, and bear scat so fresh it was still warm..


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