West Clear Creek Canyon

MRT 2021 Day 7, April 11, Sunday
• Start S2 mile 49.1
• End S2 mile 73.1
• Miles walked: 24

The morning resumes on rocky Forest Service roads through grass and thin juniper forest. From the map, we are a few miles north of the Mogollon Rim, running in a jagged east-west direction. That suggests we are about to descend into another deep canyon, and are going far enough towards the start of the canyon to make that practical.

The descent down Tramway Trail into West Clear Creek Canyon is quite steep and includes a lot of high steps on sandstone boulders. I suspect the trail would be a challenge for the general public, but the canyon is known as a popular swimming spot in summer months.

At the bottom is a creek that connects large pools that sometimes extends to both sandstone canyon walls. Dozens of wet-foot crossings are a series of puzzles to be solved: do I find a route through a pool that is not too deep, or scramble on top of boulders, or push through reeds and brambles on the other side and cross at the creek?

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MRT 2021 Day 3, April 7, Wednesday
• Start S1 mile 17
• End S1 mile 48.1
• Miles walked: 31.1

Winter Cabin Trail, brushy in places, takes me up out of Sycamore Canyon, and a few forest roads lead to Secret Mountain and Lov Canyon Trail, which descends steeply at first, and then easier descent that seems to go on for ages.

We are in the land of red sandstone.

At section mile 29.9 Red Rock camping restrictions are in effect, and the next place to camp is at mile 48.1, and I enter the restricted zone at 1PM. It is certainly too early to stop for the day, so the plan is to hike on for a thirty miler day with a night hike the last few miles.

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