Neither of us have done a backpacking trip so we were quite excited about this one. We really wanted to do a test run prior to our big backpacking adventure through the Grand Canyon with my dad later this year.
I have done this hike in a day and it was rough. It’s about a 10 mile hike round trip and it is a tough one. You hike down into a canyon so remember you will have to hike back out that bad boy. I was excited to go back and actually spend time with Josh there. I knew he would love it.
While looking up this trail it is confusing so please do some research. We actually went to the Fossil Creek Dam. There is a Fossil Creek Waterfall that is in another area. That trail is actually about a mile long but the drive to get there is rough. We took the Fossil Spring Trail to the dam. I will include a map below. They have also implemented permits now for part of the year. If you plan to go please look into that. We went BEFORE the permit season so we didn’t have to worry about it.
We prepared our packs throughout the week because we planned on leaving very early Saturday morning. I will include what we took in another post. We definitely learned afterwards what we could leave behind so I am very glad we did this test run. We also took both of our furbabies so we were carrying their stuff too. Next time, we will be purchasing doggie backpacks so they will carry their own stuff.
We woke up about 4 am and hit the road by 5. It took us about 2 hours to get to the trailhead. We stopped for coffee and burritos so we arrived around 8. When we got to the trailhead it was a tad chilly which made me nervous. That was the one and only thing I was worried about. I hate being cold and I didn’t want to freeze the entire time. But, once we started hiking, I warmed up of course.
Most of the hike down was pretty good. I mean, your hiking down so it really didn’t feel strenuous at all. We did take our time and ended up stopping frequently to readjust our packs. We just weren’t used to carrying all that weight. We had to get the weight positioned just right. I was having problems with my sports bra strap and the pack strap rubbing me so I had to quickly fix that.
Once you’re about 3 ½ miles in you get to this fencing and you will see a sign for the Springs Trail pointing one way and the Flume Trail pointing in the other. Obviously take the Springs Trail. After a couple yards you will start to hear the creek flowing. Hearing the water gets you going! You start to get excited and thankfully you forget about the weight you’re carrying.
Now, when we went, the snow was still melting in Flagstaff which feeds the water levels, plus it had just rained a shit ton as well. Keep this in mind because you do have to cross the river at one point. The last time I was there that river bed was nowhere near as big as it was this time. You will see signs across the river so you will know where to go. When we got to this portion we stopped dead in our tracks. The water was going pretty fast and we each had 50 pounds of shit on our backs and so we became hesitant. Josh actually went half way into the water and came back because his toes were numb from the freezing water. We also had the dogs to worry about so we sat there and pondered for a minute. There were a group of ladies that ended up crossing right there and making it just fine. After a while we actually decided to stay on the wrong side of the river and continued down hoping there would be a more shallow part where we could cross.
We found a trail on our side of the river that we followed down. We kept checking to see if there were any easier areas to cross and nothing was looking promising. We actually made it all the way to the dam! But the wrong side of it ha, ha. You just couldn’t see it from where we were. I contemplated crossing right there but the water was moving way too fast and I did not want to fall and fly off the dam into the “toilet bowl.” No Bueno, if you ask me.
Soooooo, we backtracked a tad bit to where we thought it look “ok” to cross. Then we almost died….
Check out part 2 for the rest!
Please note we did not go completely back to where you were supposed to cross originally. We didn’t want to waste anymore of our time backtracking that far. We later learned to just cross the damn riverbed where it says to cross. So please do that, don’t do what we did. More on that later though 🙂