Sunday, October 27, 2013
Willie White Trail-( FT 113 and 112) Lincoln National Forest
We hiked this trail once, eight or nine years ago. We started out at the popular Bluff Springs picnic area, where there is ample parking. After checking out the springs, which seep out of the grassy hillside and then over travertine cliff, we started heading southeast on a short spur trail. Eventually the trail turns to the south and then back to the west as it follows the old narrow gauge railroad beds. It crosses an area with a large grassy swale,which looks like it could hold water after the snow melt, or during the summer monsoon. I can't really remember if this was a man-made cattle tank or a natural feature. We then began hiking up hill on the wide trail following the dry stream in Willie White Canyon. Where it tops out was an area of extensive logging by the many stumps all around. It's also a little confusing as to which way to go,as the top of this hill is the juncture of several trails. We eventually continued west and downhill in the heavily wooded Telephone Canyon. There are many springs along this part of route, so the small stream may be running much of the year. The trail comes out of the woods at Forest Road 5009 in the aptly named Water Canyon which has even more flowing springs. We walked past several pleasant, occupied campsites on our way back to Rio Penasco Road ( County Road C 17) which winds it's way back to Bluff Springs. This is an okay hike. Not spectacular by any means, but it may have several things to recommend it depending on the season. Elevation gain is about 1000 feet. The thing I remember most about hiking this trail, was a tree, and not a particularly small one either, fell across trail right before our eyes, when we were just a short ways into our walk. Note: We did this hike on weekday and saw no one. However, by the condition of the second half of the trail it was obvious that it receives heavy motorized use at times. Check with the Lincoln National Forest website as to the current rules for it use. It is possible to use the Wills Canyon Trail( FT 5008) to make this hike a " lollipop" loop, if wish to avoid the several miles of road walking that we did.