Well...I took off on my dirt bike hoping to find the East Pocket Lookout Tower and the A.B. Young trail. However, I got all confused by the roads out there (thanks google maps) and wasted MUCH gas wondering around looking for the tower. (My intention for the day was an A.B.Young top down hike to prepare for my Whitney trip next week.)
My odometer read 45 miles (my range is about 75) and I was very frustrated at not getting to my goal (maps later show I was extremely close a few times...
) I finally saw a sign that read "Winter Cabin Trail" which piqued my interest. I had never heard of this trail before despite living here 26 years (sadly, I had never explored this part of No. Arizona). This place was so remote, I was wondering if HAZ even had a description. I though, "Surely it must with a numbered trail."
So I followed the road signs to the well marked trail-head and read the description of the trail - - sounded very interesting with the historic cabin and spring. I decided to at least get down to the cabin and have a looksie, and so that's how I signed the register.
The trail to the cabin was nice and overall the area was lush with many varieties of different trees and shrubs. I easily and quickly reached the cabin and explored around (yes, the sleeping bag is still there, with a nice spider and web, see photos). I went off to find the spring and headed upstream from the sign but everything was bone dry....I then headed downstream a bit and found some pools covered with waterbugs...could very well have been the spring, but there was no "running water"...odd.
I got back to the cabin and didn't really feel satisfied with my distance or effort so I decided to complete the trail to the bottom. Hind-site, not so sure this was a good idea hiking solo...I kept thinking about a snake bite and what I would do so far down this brutally hot and steep trail. As well, I mis-signed the register, told my wife I was on a totally different (and unknown) trial, wore flimsy keen sandals and brought no sunscreen...I was making a lot of hiking mistakes.
I must say the last 2 miles of this trail is pretty difficult, in fact, the map back at the trailhead even arrowed off this area stating "NOT FOR HORSEBACK"....I knew I was in a bit of trouble with water as I was constantly sipping my 100oz camelback on the decent
...I normally don't do this and save most for the hike back out....but it was HOT, exposed and slippery downhill hiking!!! I kept telling myself - - "the hike out would be BRUTAL"..."save the water"...."be careful, don't slip", "watch for snakes"...nag, nag, nag, very nerve wracking. Finally got to the bottom with various cuts all over my lower legs from the all the tight brush...knowing more were to come on the ascent was also not a pleasant thought.
I was impressed with the views at the bottom, but not awestruck...it was "nice"....extremely rocky and bone dry. I found some shade and rested with an apple and granola bar and about 2/3's of my camelback remaining.
The hike out, as expected, was hardcore...HOT - STEEP - EXPOSED. I traded in the dangerously slippery descent for a heart-pounding and very sweaty ascent. I completely ran out of water by the time I hit the cabin and had to dry-mouth it the remaining 1.29 miles up (fortunately I left a spare liter at the bike - remember, I was only going to the cabin).
Overall, despite my mistakes, I was very satisfied with my results and felt a good sense of accomplishment when finished...I hope to return with cooler weather and explore the spring area near the cabin....perhaps do a few more of the known side hikes in the area.