SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.


» Welcome Guest
[ Log In :: Register ]

 

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]

reply to topic new topic new poll
Topic: Trip Report. Memorial Day Weekend 2013., It's a true story with pictures.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1
desert dweller Search for posts by this member.
Greetings
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 9913
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 26 2013, 7:00 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here is what I posted under the “Memorial Day Weekend Plans?” thread:
Typically, I do a 3 or 4 day roadtrip. In the past I've gone north up Hwy 191 (Which used to be called Hwy 666 till some religious folks decided that 666 was not a good name for a road.) up to south of Alpine, Arizona and camp along the Blue River. Then I'll decide to either go west and loop around throught Payson and maybe up to Flagstaff then back to Tucson. Or, I'll go east and loop south through Reserve and Glenwood New Mexico and through the Gila.

Sometimes, though, I'll do the southern route and loop through Sonoita and Bisbee, Arizona.

This is all road trip where I get to practice beer camping and picture taking.


It all started after work Thursday. I was packing stuff up for the road trip, leaving in the morning. I went out to the jeep to get a few things at the store. Turning the ignition key didn’t engage the starter. The second time did. Oh no. I can’t start a trip that would take me to remote places if I can’t trust the vehicle.

Waking up Friday morning I knew it was time to figure things out. I knew the positive cable had some corrosion at the terminal clamp. So, I cut off the old factory clamp, cleaned things up and put on a new clamp. The jeep started normally after every stop while getting stuff for the trip.

I got started around noon-thirty. The goal for the day was a campsite on the eastern flanks of the Galiuro Mountains, north of Wilcox, Arizona. On the way my friend, Sully,  has a doublewide on twenty acres of sandy desert bordering on the south end of the Wilcox Playa. I had time for a few quick Fat Tire ales and get some talking done. After an hour and a half or so it was time to leave. The same symptom occurred again. It took a second attempt at starting for the starter to engage.

Hmmm. I really wanted to spend the night at that camp. So, I convinced my self that the starter was a problem when it was hot. Give it a few hours and it’d start right up. I’d be okay. So, I took off for the remote hills to the north.

The Camp
Campsite

I knew exactly where I wanted to go. I’d pass the camp a few times on way to High Creek Trailhead, a few miles further. The camp had three rock fire-rings on flat grassy and clean ground. A large oak provided shade. It was perfect. Along the way, making good time on the primitive dirt road, the right rear door window disappeared. There was a loud clunk and it was gone. The powered window had dropped down into the doorframe. Well heck, this jeep is falling apart on me.

There were still a couple hours till the sun sets and I unloaded the cot, cooler and Coleman stove. Then grabbed two beers (Fat Tire cans), two cameras and a tripod then headed to a relatively flat exposed area and set up the tripod and put on one of the cameras.

With one beer opened I walked back past the jeep and followed the drainage (dry creek) for a ways. I had heard some turkeys as soon as I got there. After a few dozen yards, looking down at the sandy wash a critter’s paw prints caught my eye. It was obviously a fresh bear print. So, I took a picture of it. I’ve never seen a bear in the wild before. Pictures of paw prints is the closet I’ve come.

The Bear Paw
Black Bear Paw

Didn’t see any turkeys so I headed back towards the jeep and the tripod. I wanted to catch some of the sunset. Especially, I wanted to catch the sunset on Sunset Peak. It was near Sunset Peak back in March 1963 that a “prophet” named William Branham had a vision of seven angels. He was with a hunting party that was witness to a “loud blast”. After the hunt, William Branham stated that he saw a cloud formed by seven angels. There is a “cult” called Believe the Sign which tells the story of William Branham, his ministry and the vision he had in the Galiuro Mountains. It’s interesting, if anything.

Sunset Peak, Galiuro Mountains
Sunset Peak

After a dozen photos of Sunset Peak, I turned to the east and the beginning of moonrise. I got about twenty or thirty shots in, playing with settings and such. A couple turned out okay.

Moonrise
Moonrise 24 May 2013

Rising Moon
Rising Moon

Dusk was well underway. I’d stopped taking pictures of the moon and was turning around to see if anything else may be photogenic.

I turned and froze! In slow motion, I saw the bear jump up! It was not 15 feet from me! An adult black bear had snuck up on me while I was taking pictures of the friggin’ moon. Literally! It jumped and when he hit the ground it was at a good run away from me and towards the dry creek and its lush brush. While it was running, I was walking briskly to the jeep. The dusty bear slowed and looked back but kept on going into the scrub oak.

I figured the bear was curious about this tall object making clicking noises. I was downwind and quietly snapping the camera. And when I turned to look for more places to photograph, it spooked him. But, he was really just a dozen or feet from me.

I was startled but unusually calm for someone having had such a close encounter. I had put a can of bear spray down my front pocket, fetched from the jeep after seeing the paw print in the sand earlier. I didn’t feel compelled to use it, at all.

But, it was apparent that a habituated bear frequented the camp area. It would neither be comfortable nor wise to be sleeping out at the camp. The couple other campsites I’d seen along the way were all bordering the same drainage. I decided to break camp and head back to Sully’s. The jeep started right up.

The Terrain Looking Southeast from the campsite
Terrain

I set the cot up on Sully’s porch. The moon’s light was bright and the air was cool. The next morning, we ate breakfast at the truckstop in Wilcox. I came on back to Tucson and he went to the Ace Hardware to get a switch for his well pump.

I see it as the Universe giving me a few hints. I called off the road trip because of, 1)The starter giving me trouble, 2)The window breaking (really a hassle on dirt roads) and 3)The Bear. Maybe, it was all about timing.

I got home yesterday afternoon (Saturday) and worked on getting the evaporative cooler going. It was time. This morning, I got up and had a leisurely breakfast at my favorite breakfast place and read the entire Sunday paper. I got four loads of laundry done, did the dishes, roasted almonds, wrote this trip report.

This evening I’m driving 50 miles south to Sonoita, Arizona to have a first-time dinner at a friend’s place. We’re doing a day hike on Monday to Bear Spring in the Huachuca Mountains. It’ll be a remote old mining road that we’ll have to craw along to get to the trailhead.

Sure hope the starter works when we back from the spring.


--------------
Seek Higher Ground
Can you feel the silence


Photobucket
Flickr
YouTube
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 2
Echo Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 7428
Joined: May 2008
PostIcon Posted on: May 26 2013, 7:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Love it. Glad you and the bear are both ok.

--------------
If Light is in your heart, you will find your way Home. (Rumi)

The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.  Chinese proverb

http://echo-echosvoice.blogspot.com/

http://duffybarkley.blogspot.com/
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 3
RebeccaD Search for posts by this member.
Double Arch, Arches N.P.
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 11716
Joined: Jul. 2004
PostIcon Posted on: May 26 2013, 8:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Cool!  Too bad about the habituated bear, though.  That sort of thing never ends well.  I have had one encounter as close as that, and as it was a mama with a cub, I was wetting my pants!

--------------
Writerly thoughts, book reviews, and random short fiction found at
The Ninja Librarian Blog
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 4
big_load Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 24016
Joined: Jun. 2004
PostIcon Posted on: May 26 2013, 8:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Too bad it was cut short.  There certainly are plenty of bears up there, but I haven't come across one that seemed unduly interested in people.  One walked between me and my tent one night while I was watching the stars.

I definitely would have been worried about starting the Jeep.  That TH is a remarkable distance from help. I can imagine walking to one of those ranches in case of emergency.  It would probably be a full day's walk on top of the hike out, and there might be nobody there.

Anyway, nice moon pics.  I really love Sunset Peak.
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 5
Chuck D Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 7960
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 26 2013, 9:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think heading home was a good idea, no telling what excitement you'd had the rest of the weekend.

Beautiful pictures

Thanks


--------------
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 6
TravisNWood Search for posts by this member.
W Y O M I N G
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 16701
Joined: Apr. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: May 27 2013, 11:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'd consider the bear encounter something of a treat but not the best news near a vehicle with a window out. In my immediate vicinity bears are so rare that an encounter like that would be front-page news — well worth the abbreviated trip.

Anyhow, there's not much you can do when the vehicle starts being a problem at the outset. Hope you can get the rest of the road trip in later.

Neat photos.


--------------
Location — Wyoming
Webpages — Cloud Peak Wilderness MapsRocky Mountain Wildlife
Photos — Bighorn Mountains — Wyoming Steppes
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 7
ol-zeke Search for posts by this member.
Clear Creek
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 13064
Joined: Sep. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 27 2013, 3:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I always enjoy your writing, and this TR is no exception.  Your pictures are wonderful!  The moon, and the next day, all show the sky the way I like to think of it.  Clear, and able to see forever.  Thanks for the bear story.  It would be a thrill, for certain.  

--------------
Everything I know, I learned by doing it wrong at least twice.

"I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth."  Steve McQueen
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 8
desert dweller Search for posts by this member.
Greetings
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 9913
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 10:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Echo @ May 26 2013, 4:28 pm)
QUOTE
Love it. Glad you and the bear are both ok.

Thanks! Me too.

--------------
Seek Higher Ground
Can you feel the silence


Photobucket
Flickr
YouTube
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 9
desert dweller Search for posts by this member.
Greetings
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 9913
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 10:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RebeccaD @ May 26 2013, 5:24 pm)
QUOTE
Cool!  Too bad about the habituated bear, though.  That sort of thing never ends well.  I have had one encounter as close as that, and as it was a mama with a cub, I was wetting my pants!

The next day, back in Tucson, I looked at the jeep and saw a dusty bear print on one of the doors and another one on a window. It seems that when I was engrossed with taking pictures, he was checking out my camp just a few dozen yards away.

Thinking back, he might not have even known I was standing there taking pictures when he came up upwind behind me. I'm pretty sure the bear was sitting or partially laying down in the dirt just behind me. When he jumped up and ran, part of his coat was brown with dirt/dust which was shaking off as he ran.

I think I'll call the Forest Service office in the area and let them know they may have a problem.


--------------
Seek Higher Ground
Can you feel the silence


Photobucket
Flickr
YouTube
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 10
mossy Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 938
Joined: Aug. 2007
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 10:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You just met a Smokies bear. Ha. Nice pics!
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 11
desert dweller Search for posts by this member.
Greetings
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 9913
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 10:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ May 26 2013, 5:27 pm)
QUOTE
Too bad it was cut short.  There certainly are plenty of bears up there, but I haven't come across one that seemed unduly interested in people.  One walked between me and my tent one night while I was watching the stars.

I definitely would have been worried about starting the Jeep.  That TH is a remarkable distance from help. I can imagine walking to one of those ranches in case of emergency.  It would probably be a full day's walk on top of the hike out, and there might be nobody there.

Anyway, nice moon pics.  I really love Sunset Peak.

I'd seen a family camp there once right after the road was completed. I have a feeling whomever has camped there over the past few years may not have been familiarized with LNT guidelines and may have left food and such behind. Which would, of course, attract bears. It wasn't the ideal first encounter of a bear in the wild, but it was a pretty good one considering what could have happened. I just wish I had had the wherewithal turn the camera round on the tripod and start filming as the bear was running away.

The Jeep always started but there were still couple times of hesitation. It gave me no problems the rest of the long weekend. I did drive my friend from Sonoita to the Ida Canyon trailhead. The Jeep started up without problem.

By the way, I had Verizon cell service at the camp in the Galiuros. I wasn't on the actual High Creek road. I was on the access road right where they built the bypass road as it crosses a drainage.


--------------
Seek Higher Ground
Can you feel the silence


Photobucket
Flickr
YouTube
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 12
desert dweller Search for posts by this member.
Greetings
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 9913
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 10:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TravisNWood @ May 27 2013, 8:16 am)
QUOTE
I'd consider the bear encounter something of a treat but not the best news near a vehicle with a window out. In my immediate vicinity bears are so rare that an encounter like that would be front-page news — well worth the abbreviated trip.

Anyhow, there's not much you can do when the vehicle starts being a problem at the outset. Hope you can get the rest of the road trip in later.

Neat photos.

Thanks!

The jeep gave no further problems other than an occasional hesitation from the starter.

As far as first-time bear encounters, I feel pretty good about this one. It could have easily turned out differently.


--------------
Seek Higher Ground
Can you feel the silence


Photobucket
Flickr
YouTube
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 13
desert dweller Search for posts by this member.
Greetings
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 9913
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 10:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Chuck D @ May 26 2013, 6:35 pm)
QUOTE
I think heading home was a good idea, no telling what excitement you'd had the rest of the weekend.

Beautiful pictures

Thanks

Thanks, Chuck. Everything turned out for the good.

--------------
Seek Higher Ground
Can you feel the silence


Photobucket
Flickr
YouTube
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 14
desert dweller Search for posts by this member.
Greetings
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 9913
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 11:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ol-zeke @ May 27 2013, 12:39 pm)
QUOTE
I always enjoy your writing, and this TR is no exception.  Your pictures are wonderful!  The moon, and the next day, all show the sky the way I like to think of it.  Clear, and able to see forever.  Thanks for the bear story.  It would be a thrill, for certain.  

Thanks, zeke.

Just to clarify, the Terrain photo was taken the same day as the moon ones. Just a little earlier. I left the camp around 9pm after weighing my options with a broken window and a way too-friendly bear.


--------------
Seek Higher Ground
Can you feel the silence


Photobucket
Flickr
YouTube
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 15
desert dweller Search for posts by this member.
Greetings
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 9913
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 11:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(mossy @ May 28 2013, 7:52 am)
QUOTE
You just met a Smokies bear. Ha. Nice pics!

Thanks!

I'd feel a little safer if I came across a bear wandering down a trail (like your avatar photo) rather than startling one a few yards from where I was standing.


--------------
Seek Higher Ground
Can you feel the silence


Photobucket
Flickr
YouTube
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 16
mossy Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 938
Joined: Aug. 2007
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 11:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(desert dweller @ May 28 2013, 11:03 am)
QUOTE

(mossy @ May 28 2013, 7:52 am)
QUOTE
You just met a Smokies bear. Ha. Nice pics!

Thanks!

I'd feel a little safer if I came across a bear wandering down a trail (like your avatar photo) rather than startling one a few yards from where I was standing.

Interestingly enough, that pic is of a male juvenile that had been habituated to the garbage bins at Lewis Mountain CG, in Shenandoah NP. I did not know it at the time and was merely out on a dayhike on the AT, looking for shots. The bear was relocated later that month, according to one of the rangers I spoke with on my next visit.
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 17
double cabin Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 16697
Joined: Nov. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 11:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sweet!

Bears will just be old hat for you now my friend. Well done.


--------------
We have nothing to fear but an industry of fear...and man skirts.

http://www.facebook.com/media/albums/?id=129511480442251
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 18
big_load Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 24016
Joined: Jun. 2004
PostIcon Posted on: May 28 2013, 11:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(desert dweller @ May 28 2013, 10:56 am)
QUOTE
By the way, I had Verizon cell service at the camp in the Galiuros. I wasn't on the actual High Creek road. I was on the access road right where they built the bypass road as it crosses a drainage.

That's good to know.  Verizon used to go bad for me once I got far enough north of I-10.  When the sheriff left the note on my car, I had to get a good way down to the highway before I could reach him.

I wonder if there's a site in Ft. Grant now.  I never tried to get service up on the ridge, but it's probably high enough to get line of sight to a number of sites.
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 19
desert dweller Search for posts by this member.
Greetings
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 9913
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2013, 2:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ May 28 2013, 8:10 am)
QUOTE
Sweet!

Bears will just be old hat for you now my friend. Well done.

Yeah, it's old hat now. I'm glad one of the fellers decided to come by and say hello.

--------------
Seek Higher Ground
Can you feel the silence


Photobucket
Flickr
YouTube
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 20
desert dweller Search for posts by this member.
Greetings
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 9913
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2013, 2:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ May 28 2013, 8:39 am)
QUOTE

(desert dweller @ May 28 2013, 10:56 am)
QUOTE
By the way, I had Verizon cell service at the camp in the Galiuros. I wasn't on the actual High Creek road. I was on the access road right where they built the bypass road as it crosses a drainage.

That's good to know.  Verizon used to go bad for me once I got far enough north of I-10.  When the sheriff left the note on my car, I had to get a good way down to the highway before I could reach him.

I wonder if there's a site in Ft. Grant now.  I never tried to get service up on the ridge, but it's probably high enough to get line of sight to a number of sites.

There might be a new site at Ft. Grant. The company I work for just switched from Blackberry to iPhone. That may have something to do with it. I stopped using my Android (ATT) when we got the iPhones.

--------------
Seek Higher Ground
Can you feel the silence


Photobucket
Flickr
YouTube
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 21
Dave Senesac Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3481
Joined: Jun. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: May 29 2013, 3:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice read DD.   Likewise always am conservative when contemplating driving out into remote areas where potential vehicle issues might leave me stuck.

--------------
...David

http://davidsenesac.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
20 replies since May 26 2013, 7:00 pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]


 
reply to topic new topic new poll

» Quick Reply Trip Report. Memorial Day Weekend 2013.
iB Code Buttons
You are posting as:

Do you wish to enable your signature for this post?
Do you wish to enable emoticons for this post?
Track this topic
View All Emoticons
View iB Code



Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions