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Hike For September 19:  Burro Trail Off Of South Fork.

Meet at the Silver Peak Trailhead at 8 AM (AZ).

Carol Simon    (520) 558-2433     casimon@vtc.net    
Jonathan Patt  (575) 654-3281
Elaine Moisan  (520) 5581308      emoisan2011@hotmail.com


2019-09-12 12-21-24

Three hikers took the long drive to the Pinaleño Mountains, winding up the road to the top of the mountain range. Shortly after crossing over the ridge to the southern side of the range, we started to see the effects of the most recent fire of several years ago, with areas of standing dead trees along the road. Though some parts of the forest had a total loss of canopy, a large majority appeared to be much lower intensity. Even so, the effects of post-fire flooding could be seen along and on the road, with crews repairing drainage crossings and culverts.

As we only had one vehicle, we decided against hikes that worked best with a shuttle and instead headed for the Ash Creek Trailhead. Here, the fire burned quite hot at the top, including the nearby Webb Peak. The Ash Creek trail drops down into a canyon from the parking area, and very quickly started to disappear in aspen resprouts. Recent flagging helped us find our way through the switchbacks and we descended across multiple blown out drainage crossings, through swaths of standing dead trees, across deadfall, and—fortunately—quite a few sections of intact trail and through intact forest in many places.

The canyon bottom has changed significantly, with flooding creating a field of cobble 50 feet wide or more in places, taking out the trail when it got too close to the creek. When we got to where the old trail followed the canyon bottom through slickrock sections, we took the higher bypass trail instead, reconnecting to the lower trail just above a viewpoint of the massive waterfall in the canyon below, which was flowing very nicely and looked quite impressive.

After lunch at this overlook, we headed back but opted to follow the lower "trail", which is almost completely gone at this point, and we just walked up the canyon bottom across multiple bedrock sections and waterfalls before rejoining the trail and returning back the way we had come. Despite the severe damage in some spots, it's still a beautiful area and with some work on the trail can still be well worth visiting!

As it was still somewhat early, we drove over to Riggs Lake and also walked around it for a little while, watching a great blue heron and a number of fish jumping out of the lake—as well as dozens of dead fish along the shore—before driving back down the mountain. We stopped for dinner in Safford before returning to Portal.

Next Thursday, September 19, we will be hiking closer to home on the Burro Trail off of South Fork. You can join us for a shorter hike just in South Fork before turning back, or up to Red Rocks, or all the way to Horseshoe Saddle. The upper part of the Burro Trail does have several short narrow and damaged sections, but can be safely hiked with care. Meet at the Silver Peak Trailhead at 8 AM (AZ).

2019-09-12 12-37-41
2019-09-12 12-34-20-Pano
2019-09-12 11-12-52-Pano



We recently took the time to review safety items that hikers could carry to help either themselves or another hiker in the case of an accident, or when getting lost, or even just out later than expected. Our group has quite a good safety record (and we never lost anyone permanently) but accidents do happen and some of our hikes are in rugged, remote territory. Here is what we recommend everyone carry:

Space blanket

First aid kit

Matches with fire starter


Signalling mirror

Extra layers of clothing

Extra water

Extra food

Knife or multi-tool

Flashlight or headlamp with fresh and spare batteries

Map and compass or GPS

Hat and sunscreen

It is good if someone in the group has:

Lightweight splint


Duct tape

Cell phone

We have used almost all of these items in various situations. Prepare yourself to be part of a solution.


Chiricahua Trail Crew Volunteer Agreement


Screen Shot 2012-02-24 at 10.34.03 PM

The 62 Highest Peaks, Mountains, Hills, And Lookouts In The Chiricahuas

(Tabulated by Ray Brooks)


Photo Gallery Of Hiking Club - Click On Any Photo To Begin. Use Arrow Keys At Bottom Of Slide (Or Your Keyboard) To Advance Slide

© Howard Topoff 2011