January Arizona Group Hang, Fossil Springs
I had a fantastic time at my first ever HF group hang, here in Arizona. I took my two oldest kids (7 and 8 yrs) on the backpacking trip. The trail was about 4 miles down to the camp site and the scenery was great, despite the lack of foliage in the middle of the winter. There was snow for the first mile or so on the trail, where it was on the north side of the escarpment, but otherwise it was a beautiful, clear trail--a welcome break from snowy Flagstaff.
Once we dropped off the Mogollon Rim and arrived in the canyon, the scenery changed dramatically. Lots of deciduous trees and lots of water. I've never seen so many springs so close together, literally gushing thousands of gallons of water. The water was warm too, over 70°F!
We arrived at the springs around 5 PM and set up camp. The site wasn't as trashed as I was expecting, after hearing the reports, but it is obviously a popular location. It looks like there has been some work to remove some invasives, and there is evidence of the recent dismantling of the hydroelectric dam downstream.
I hung our three hammocks together in an inverted triangle, allowing me to be below my two kids and able to address any issues they had during the night (it turned out my daughter had a hard time sleeping with a quilt so we switched during the night). The low temperature was around 30°F ±. I slept marvelously with my new Stormcrow Crowsnest UQ.
We met fellow HF member bfulton and his wife. My kids were gracious enough to let me chat and talk shop with them for a few minutes before they demanded I accompany them to explore the creek.
I wish we had more time to hang, but we had to depart Saturday afternoon for home. This was my first "long distance" hike with my kids and they did wonderfully. Each carried their own packs, loaded with their sleep system, hammock, clothing, and water. Total pack weight, 8 lbs.
I carried my gear plus our shelter, all the food, and some extra insulation. My pack weighed in at 20 lbs. A little heavier than I wanted, but I didn't want to chance the insulation factor with my kids.
All-in-all, it was a wonderful trip and I can't wait until our next group hang with HF.
VIDEO: Hiking to Fossil Springs
Here's my video of me and my kids going to the Arizona Group Hang in Fossil Springs. What a great time!