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Coconino National Forest

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Coconino National Forest

Postby SimonRidgewalker » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:05 pm

Hello,
after visiting the Northeast last year I have the chance to visit the US again, this time Arizona. Unfortunately on a very short notice and since I still have to prepare a lot of work I don't have any time to properly plan my two days off, which will be next weekend (March 12-13) :shock:

I decided to stay in a campground near Sedona (the area just looks so amazing) and will have two full days for hiking around there. After that I will visit the Grand Canyon and return to Phoenix.

If you could help me out just a bit to find the right hikes I would be very very grateful! I found both the pages of hikearizona.com and US forest service to be full of great information, but I'm just overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities. There's hundreds of small trails and six wilderness areas.

The perfect thing for me would be 10-20 mile hikes (preferably loops) that allow me to escape from the busy places without missing the most beautiful summits, scenery and canyons. I will have a car and I don't mind driving a bit from campground to trailhead.

Thank you very much in advance for any suggestions!

Simon
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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby Clark_Griswold » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:03 pm

So, you'll be in the area in a week. Sedona is the only part of the forest that is nice and is dry this time of year, and therefore accessible. The San Francisco Peaks are nice, but snow covered and not easy to access. Roads are shut for winter and snow will be around most places. Your trip idea is a tall order for this time of year. The wilderness areas are largely in name only, and not that nice. They're crappy, really. They exist largely because of that areas inaccessibility and low level of manageability, and a push to create more wilderness in the 1980s. They are not anything like the Gila, the Wimenuche, or the John Muir. The Coconino is a forest with wilderness in name only. The San Francisco Peaks, for example, with it's Kachina Peaks Wilderness, has a ski area (which is expanding and will be using piss to make snow), several roads, city wells (with loud diesel pumps when running) and an extensive history of grazing and over grazing ( and they are going to start grazing again). Hardly a wilderness experience. Kendrick was similar, but burned up a decade ago. The ones around Sedona are mostly canyons, and rough ridges, are inaccessible for the outsider, un-managed except for fire suppression, and mostly for looking at from the fringe areas. Otherwise, they too have roads penetrating them, and the boundary was delineated in a manner which looks to be political.

Sedona is full of short tourist trails for the lazy types who come from elsewhere and stroll slowly looking at rocks. I've met people exasperated by a 2 miles hike I did in 45 minutes. It will be crowded, possibly very crowded. This is the start of Spring and the Spring tourist season. Unless you are hell bent on seeing red rocks, new age nuts, women in high heels on the trail, or looking at over priced "art", skip Sedona. Sedona can be nice, but it won't be what you want judging by your trip expression. Sedona is also best in summer when hot and empty. Don't even camp there. You'll be paying to breath in smoke from some retards fire and you are better off camping in an isolated location north of Flagstaff, or on the Kaibab NF south of the Grand Canyon. Camping is legal anywhere on a NF, 1 mile or greater from a developed campground and in an area not posted as prohibited.

I suggest doing a trip in the Canyon or near the Valley, since you mention that. The Superstition Wilderness area east of Phoenix is nice and there are options to explore there. You can make some loops and do a 10 to 20 miles hike, but you'll need to bring water. This has been a dry winter in the desert and there won't even be the normal Spring flowers. Your 10 to 20 mile hike as a loop really does not exist in Sedona. The hikes tend to be one way out and back and short. Some exception are Secret Canyon, which might be muddy, wet, and have snow in it, or a Wilson Mt Loop using various trails and a roadway. It too may be muddy when crossing over the 1st bench on Wilson, or summiting it. It is not a beautiful summit, though. It burned in 2006.
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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby SimonRidgewalker » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:27 pm

Hey,
thanks for the advice. I already expected Sedona to be very crowded from what I've read. But I had thought that the small trails would be somehow connected and that you could leave the "strollers" behind once you have made the first miles after a parking lot and then just keep walking.

I just took a brief look at the Superstition area here at summitpost and it looks really great. And March seems to be just the perfect time to see the desert. I've never been to the desert and now that you mentioned the weather up in Sedona will still be cold and wet it really makes me think I should stay south instead.

Just taking a look at these pictures makes me want to start off immediately!
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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby lcarreau » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:56 am

Extremely short notice, but I have a SLIGHTLY different take on Sedona.

There's a system of trails near the Boynton Pass Road that you may be interested in, even though
(like Leghorn says) they may be particularly crowded on weekends, so you gotta be at the TH early.

http://www.summitpost.org/bearer-of-unforeseen-shadows/702323/c-288038

I've been living in Arizona since 1992, and I've learned a long time ago that weekends aren't the
BEST time to go hiking, because that's when everybody else goes.

It really depends on what you want to see. The flowers won't be all that great this year, but the
warmer weather and March winds seem to be drying out things very quickly.

I was on the Cockscomb Trail last Wednesday, and I didn't run into any mud.

The Sycamore Canyon wilderness has always been a favourite of mine, as it's far less crowded than the Red Rock /Secret Mountain and the Munds Mountain wilderness areas.

If you're not interested in viewing red rocks, the Superstition Wilderness would be a great place
to consider. You could set up camp at Lost Dutchman State Park. I believe the fee is a nominal
$15.00 per night.

Actually, the desert east of Apache Junction doesn't begin "heating up" until the final week of March, but bring lots of water anyway. Drinking water is available at Lost Dutchman State Park.

http://www.summitpost.org/the-tall-mothers-stand-there/613423

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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby lcarreau » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:21 am

Oh, and you might want to steer clear of Sweat Lodge leaders and Time Share hawkers during your
short visit.

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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby 4corners » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:27 am

The Superstitions are my "home" range, and this is the perfect time of year. The guys are right, Lost Dutchman State Park would be a good base camp for you, and it would be easy to link up 10-20 mile loops. The one photo you linked to showing Miner's Needle is on one such popular loop. The weather is dry now, but I've seen a lot of water pockets. You would still want to bring at least 3 liters with you, though. The Hiker's Guide to the Superstition Mountains will give you much to choose from - you can order from Amazon or pick up one at a local bookstore here. Enjoy your trip! I see you are from Berlin - Lost Dutchman SP is pretty popular with other folks from Germany it seems as quite a few others from there do camp there, I've noticed.
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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby SimonRidgewalker » Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:02 am

Hi again,
thanks a lot for the feedback. I will definitely start with Superstition Mountains. The way it looks right now, I will have an additional day free and since everything is not that far apart I may still go to Sedona and Grand Canyon afterwards. In that case I will keep in mind Cockscomb Trail!
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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby lcarreau » Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:53 am

Sounds great !

Another "AZ wilderness area" you might want to consider is Fossil Springs Wilderness, which is
accessed from Highway 260 near Strawberry, Arizona.

It's a very popular area for hikers, and includes a series of springs at the bottom of a 1,600 foot deep canyon. It's probably nothing like what you've seen before there in Germany. Here's a link ...

http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/recreation/red_rock/fossil-spgs-wild.shtml
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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby lcarreau » Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:10 am

Yes sir - Fossil Springs is definitely a gem in the AZ wilderness ..

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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby SimonRidgewalker » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:36 am

lcarreau wrote:...
It's probably nothing like what you've seen before there in Germany
...


Don't underestimate Germany in terms of turquoise water:

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:wink:
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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby lcarreau » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:52 am

Sorry, I was just trying to give Arizona a boost after Mister Leghorn's seething editorial on how much he favors life in AZ.

:D

It's NOT that bad of a place, especially if you ignore the Space Age Nuts.

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:shock:
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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby Clark_Griswold » Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:28 pm

lcarreau wrote:Sorry, I was just trying to give Arizona a boost after Mister Leghorn's seething editorial on how much he favors life in AZ.

:D

It's NOT that bad of a place, especially if you ignore the Space Age Nuts.

Image

:shock:

Actually, I would like to think that I am more just very critical of the mismanagement, the propaganda and the bizarre things in the Coconino NF. As stated, I have issues with the long term management of the forest, and the "wildernesses" that are shoved in to various hard to access places. Sedona is a pretty place, the posted photo shows that, but it is a very, very, very weird place. Like Disney Land that is strung out on acid. As a hiker, I have gotten tired of the limited hikes the location offers, and due to the time of year, things that might be really nice in 4 weeks, are questionable or not at all worth doing right now. I'm sick of Wilson Mt, but in a month it will be pretty nice to be on. Secret Canyon will be really nice in a month, too, when the leaves are coming out and the birds are chirping. The remainder of the stuff are the short tourist trails which will be busy and generally less than 3 miles long, most are far less. Parking will be hard to get unless at the really big lots, and you have the Red Rocks Pass to deal with. Hey, anyone want to use my 1 year pass? It is good to the end of the month. Free. The new age stuff is weird. It's not different than going to Jerusalem and seeing the Orthodox Jews rocking back and forth at the old Temple Wall, except the new age basis seems to be even more bizarre than a magical bronze age creator god, and they want you to eat vegan, and raw, quite often. Beating drums at sunset, circles of small rocks on an outcropping to represent some vortex that isn't really there, fist pumping and loud chanting up on Cathedral Rock, things like that. BTW, why doesn't Midland, TX have any new age vortexes?
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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby lcarreau » Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:15 pm

Mr Leghorn wrote:
Hey, anyone want to use my 1 year pass? It is good to the end of the month. Free. The new age stuff is weird.


Oh, for crying out loud! I just laid down $20.00 for my annual pass the other day.

If I was a New Ager, I would have been able to telepathically read your mind that you didn't
want to use your pass.

C'mon, it really isn't as bad as you say here. The only place I ever heard drums was at the mouth
of Boynton Canyon and somewhere on Mingus Mountain.

Like I said before, to each his own. The Gods gave us all the power to move (relocate) out of
an area if we become completely sick and tired of it.

Best of luck to you, Mister Leghorn. :D
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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby lcarreau » Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:31 pm

Mr Leghorn wrote:The new age stuff is weird. It's not different than going to Jerusalem and seeing the Orthodox Jews rocking back and forth at the old Temple Wall, except the new age basis seems to be even more bizarre than a magical bronze age creator god, and they want you to eat vegan, and raw, quite often.


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Re: Coconino National Forest

Postby Clark_Griswold » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:20 pm

lcarreau wrote:
Mr Leghorn wrote:The new age stuff is weird. It's not different than going to Jerusalem and seeing the Orthodox Jews rocking back and forth at the old Temple Wall, except the new age basis seems to be even more bizarre than a magical bronze age creator god, and they want you to eat vegan, and raw, quite often.


Image

Well, we've hijacked there thread, but.... You know how you talk to some of those new age types and they're all about veganism and the "raw diet". They tell you some BS about it curing someone's cancer, or something like that. You'll see some of them out at a scenic spot doing weird chants, lifting their arms up and down really fast and making noises that sound like a women is giving birth, just really odd behavior. It is semi-normal for Sedona, but if you didn't know a location was a hot bed of that sort of strange activity, then you might think they were crazy. I guess I pretty much do.
The Orthodox Jews at the waling wall is just one of those things that is completely normal and acceptable at that spot, but when really examined is a very odd public behavior. If you did that in a mall, or some place that type of behavior was not normal, you would look crazy. It's just funny what will pass as normal or acceptable behavior because it's "religious" behavior. Be it a bronze age god or new age mysticism, I'm alluding to not respecting it.
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