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  1. #1
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    Big Lake (near Eager and Greer)

    Just got back from camping with the family for a week and a half at Big Lake, Arizona.

    Activities included fishing, boating, dodging lightning, archery, watching the rain, hiking, listening to the thunder, stargazing, drying out our stuff, mushrooming, and of course mountain biking.

    Most of our time was spent eating and hanging around the camp in general slothfulness.

    Because of the extremely wet weather, the mushroom crop up there is amazing, with hundreds of different varieties of fungi in abundance. Wildflowers are good, too, though not as good as last year.

    I've included links to three good bike rides on Garmin Connect (the site produced by my employer, Garmin) in the area. None of these are difficult, other than the fact that at 9100 feet the air is pretty thin.

    First, the Indian Springs loop, starting at site 99 in the Rainbow Campground. This gentle loop descends along a meadow, Indian Springs, to the old railroad grade and then winds it's way back to the lake. (Saw elk.)

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/44165618

    Second, the Burro Mountain Loop. Proceeding to Railroad Cove, and then across the high open prairie into the woods, and then up the side of Burro Mountain on forest service roads. Maximum elevation 9780 feet. (Be acclimated for this one.) (Saw elk.)

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/44165913

    Thirdly, the West Fork of the Black River loop.

    From Big Lake, proceed on Forest Service Roads to the Thompson Trail. Follow the abandoned logging road above the Thompson trail until the sign for the West Fork of the Black River trail. Descend fairly steeply, walking around lots of deadfall. Wade across the West Fork of the Black River, ascend out of the canyon and cross the road over to the Indian Springs trail, returning back to camp. (Saw wildflowers and butterflies, but no elk.)

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/44166033

    One fun part of the trip is that my daughter finally decided that she likes mountain biking again. I took her on the top part of the Indian Springs Loop, from Rainbow Campground counter-clockwise to the rail trail, and then up the rail trail to return to camp. Great fun, and totally kid-friendly.

    Sorry, no pictures -- my wife took many but they are all of assorted fungi.
    "Thank you, God, for letting me have another day"
    The Milagro Beanfield War

  2. #2
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    I've been wanting to go to this area for quite a while. Where did you camp at? Primitive or a camp site?

    Craig

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ_Zoner
    I've been wanting to go to this area for quite a while. Where did you camp at? Primitive or a camp site?

    Craig
    We camped at the Grayling camp ground, just above the store, but there's lots of primitive camping outside the bounds of the Big Lake Recreation Area, which means that you have to drive about a mile.

    Last year we had a problem bear in the site, which prowled our camp at night. The bear had been taught that humans = food supply by sloppy campers and was tranquilized about 100 yards away from our camp the last day we were there. Last year I also saw a gray wolf nearby, but this year nothing but possible tracks. (No human footprints evident around large canine tracks in the mud.)

    This year our camp was pretty quiet, except for the weekends, when the camp was full. But now that school is back in session it should be easy to find a camp.

    We stayed longer this year, which was good because it takes a while for those of us living in the valley to acclimate. I didn't feel like my normal self until after four days or so.

    Best part of the area is how green it is. Worst part is the reason -- it rained every day except for last Tuesday.
    "Thank you, God, for letting me have another day"
    The Milagro Beanfield War

  4. #4
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    We went to Big Lake earlier in the summer and really enjoyed our time there. We only rode the Thompson/West Fork Trail but got in a bunch of other activities while we were there. For anyone who hasn't made it up there it is worth a nice extended weekend to do it. We saw plenty of deer, elk, and caught a quick look at one of the wolves in the area. Plenty of bear and cat signs all over as well but no sightings. Thanks for posting some of those GPS links because we didn't realize there was a trail that close to one of the campgrounds.

    Here is a link to my post from our trip earlier this year.
    Big Lake, Thompson Trail

  5. #5
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    Hey, Thanks for the info and links. Really looks like a neat area and my type of riding, I may just have to go up there in a couple of weeks. Maybe after labor day weekend.

    thanks again,

    Craig

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by crAZy Irish
    We went to Big Lake earlier in the summer and really enjoyed our time there. We only rode the Thompson/West Fork Trail but got in a bunch of other activities while we were there. For anyone who hasn't made it up there it is worth a nice extended weekend to do it. We saw plenty of deer, elk, and caught a quick look at one of the wolves in the area. Plenty of bear and cat signs all over as well but no sightings. Thanks for posting some of those GPS links because we didn't realize there was a trail that close to one of the campgrounds.

    Here is a link to my post from our trip earlier this year.
    Big Lake, Thompson Trail
    Yes, I read that thread before I went. Great pictures on your thread. I still wasn't sure whether it was possible to connect the Thompson trial to the West Fork trail through to the Indian Springs trail until I saw for myself, though. And every bit of it signed and legal!
    "Thank you, God, for letting me have another day"
    The Milagro Beanfield War

  7. #7
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    Thanks for sharing the GPS tracks, HD. Putting it on my to-do list.

  8. #8
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    My avatar is a Mexican Gray Wolf, by the way.

  9. #9
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    Awesome. Maps bookmarked. I trust since you work for Garmin they won't disappear like a photo on PhotoBucket?

    The last time I went up fishing Big Lake with some buddies we saw this on our way out...





    I think I counted over 100 elk bombing over the mountains and across the road. Insane sight to see and the only camera I had handy was a little P&S

    The Mrs and I are wanting to make another trip up there to hang out. We'll have to take the dog so I don't know if WE will be biking but I suspect I make be able to get some riding in...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerdave



    Thirdly, the West Fork of the Black River loop.

    From Big Lake, proceed on Forest Service Roads to the Thompson Trail. Follow the abandoned logging road above the Thompson trail until the sign for the West Fork of the Black River trail. Descend fairly steeply, walking around lots of deadfall. Wade across the West Fork of the Black River, ascend out of the canyon and cross the road over to the Indian Springs trail, returning back to camp. (Saw wildflowers and butterflies, but no elk.)
    that is a great trail! I rode it all on my One-Off handcycle {no walking} the creek is mighty nice - Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Big Lake (near Eager and Greer)-img_9377.jpg  

    steve garro el jefe/el solo. coconino cycles www.coconinocycles.com www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

  11. #11
    Kathleen in AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by coconinocycles
    that is a great trail! I rode it all on my One-Off handcycle {no walking} the creek is mighty nice - Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Steve - thanks for sharing that great shot

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DurtGurl
    Steve - thanks for sharing that great shot
    ya, no worries. long time no see! stop by Coconino World HQ sometime. if you all are up there {big lake} then the out & back on the LCR from Mexican Hay Lake is damn killer, too - Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    steve garro el jefe/el solo. coconino cycles www.coconinocycles.com www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by coconinocycles
    if you all are up there {big lake} then the out & back on the LCR from Mexican Hay Lake is damn killer, too - Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.

    So, do you think the peeps will like my creations?

    https://sites.google.com/site/dirtyp.../whitemtns2010

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertDog
    So, do you think the peeps will like my creations?

    https://sites.google.com/site/dirtyp.../whitemtns2010
    Your maps look great. Definitely worth a journey.

    Big rides like these events are just a little out of my league, though. I would strongly suggest that any flat-landers considering this ride go up there about a week early to acclimate.

    I rode right by the Gabaldon (Gable Bond) campground where the prison escapee and his girlfriend were caught. Must have just missed them.

    http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/dpp/news...nded-8-19-2010
    "Thank you, God, for letting me have another day"
    The Milagro Beanfield War

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