Okay, since no one else is posting this, I'm going to start it. I was serious when I said a let's do an HF group hang in the West Fork of Oak Creek.
I just got off the phone with the Red Rock Ranger District and they confirmed that the fire ban will be lifted as of Wed, July 21, 2010. After that, we can build LNT fires 6 miles past the trail head. Camping is also permitted past the 6 mile mark.
Basic trail information and directions are available on the Coconino National Park website. They also have a PDF download for the full trail. A bit more information is available on Hike Arizona.
I believe Te-wa proposed hiking the entire trail and setting up a shuttle at the end. The Ranger said Forest Road 535 intersects the end of the trail, but other sources say Forest Road 231. I'm not an expert with these roads, but FR 231 looks remote, so getting a shuttle there will be tricky, I think.
Overnight parking is permitted at the Call of the Canyon Day-Use Area, we just need to inform the attendant how long we are staying.
For those considering the full trail, here are a few warnings I pulled from the PDF:
- Swimming in at least 3 cold pools is required; a person must be a strong swimmer and well prepared. A floatation device such as a small inflatable raft, a river dry bag or two air mattresses works well. Water proof backpacks can also be used.
- Only occasional sunlight reaches the canyon floor, a hot day may still seem cool. Make sure you have
- Dry clothes and avoid hypothermia. This trip should only be attempted in warm weather (June through Sept). Do not attempt the trip if flood conditions are predicted.
- There are miles of difficult boulder hopping which causing trauma to the knees and numerous deep pools need to be wadded causing a person to be wet and cold much of the time.
The entire trail is listed as 14 miles long from Forest Road 231 to HWY 89A.
Personally, I'd like to do the entire trip--swimming and all--but I have to be home Sunday, so this would have to be a Friday-Saturday trip for me.
An option that might work for most people is that those who want the swimming would start the trip on a Friday from FR 231 and hike down the canyon to a pre-arranged half-way point. The non-swimmers could come up on Saturday and hike up from the parking lot off HWY 89A. Those that want to stay for an extended trip can camp Saturday night and hike out Sunday.
That works for me, but not everyone can take a half- or full-day off on Friday. Another option is a Saturday-Sunday trip. I would still have to start on Friday, but we could still meet at a pre-arranged point.
A full hike with swimming should be undertaken soon, while the weather is warm. The last two weekends in August work for me -- Aug 20-21, or Aug 27-28.