Wow, what an amazing place and what an amazing hike! This one is in the book 100 Classic Hikes in Arizona but for some time has really peaked my interest. It was just a matter of finding the right weekend to break away and a good hiking partner to do it with. JohnLP hit me up earlier in the week and we decided to head down and give it a go. The triplogs for this hike often mention "good route finding" skills are a must. I can confirm that as I had a forest map, a topo printout and John had his GPS and sometimes it still can get a bit confusing. The problem is that there are several trails and the signs are old and in many cases not there or just simply confusing. In general it is not difficult to make your way but, be prepared.
Now on to the Hike... After making it down the long dirt road we finally arrived at the Deer Creek Trail Head and started out across the grassy terrain. We began on the East Divide Trail, which we took to the Tortilla #254 Trail. We took that all the way to the Powers Garden #96 Trail which took us to our destination. Along the way we encountered some stunning views, a bit of snow, some stock tanks, some bear tracks, and lots of beautiful colors.
Powers Garden itself was a place I could spend days at just exploring and relaxing. So cool and so much history! We wanted to go to the mine and the shootout cabin but time and the threat of rain made us question if it would be wise. After checking out Powers Spring which was flowing nicely, we decided to head down Powers Garden Trail. We figured we could possibly go to the other cabin, or just simply return on the Corral Canyon #291 Trail.
Dark skies continued to linger and the time was running short. We had overshot the turnoff by a bit and decided it would be best to turn back and head out. We took the 291 Trail up and it starts its gain right away. The good news is that it is very scenic and took the mind off the effort. Clearly there are many bears in the area who eat quite well based on the little gifts they left us on the trail.
After about 4.2 miles the Trail reaches Kennedy Saddle and then it turns into the East Divide Trail. It would be a short .7 mile hike to summit Kennedy but there was snow on the ground and we decided to save that for another trip. The East Divide Trail continues down and eventually crosses back and meets up with the way we came in. I believe but am not certain that you can keep going straight at the turn (towards mud spring) and possibly still come out at the Deer Creek Trail Head. Again this can get a bit confusing.
The next trip down I plan on doing a little more exploring and will for sure make my way down to the Shootout Cabin.
I think it would be really cool to hike the East Divide Trail from the Deer Creek Trailhead to Basset Peak! I just wonder what condition the trail is in?
Thanks John for being such a great hiking partner! I really enjoyed this one!