The Powerline Trail looked like it could be a good one. On a Sunday afternoon I went to find out...
After checking out a cave I had seen recently (which dead ended after 10 feet) and a quick trip to Jerome, I headed for Mescal Gulch. Parking on FR 338, I hiked up the lower end of the Bug Hollow Trail, doing trail maintenance along the way.
Turning onto the Powerline Trail I entered an area that obviously doesn't see much human traffic. It soon became apparent that I was in an area of high bear activity. About every 50 feet for the entire length of the trail I would see something: flipped over rocks, freshly dug holes, poop, etc.
Arriving beneath some giant Douglas firs, I spooked something; an unseen beast slowly smashed through the brush away from the trail. A little further down the trail I stopped to admire a nice backpacking spot. Not more than a hundred feet away, I heard a log being torn apart, followed by loud slurping or licking. With my video recorder in one hand and bear pepper spray in the other, I peered into the ravine below. The sounds stopped and the thick vegetation hid what I'm positive was a bear.
I continued on through more beautiful forest, stopping occasionally to enjoy views of the Verde country from rare open spots. The last half mile of the trail, where it turned south, was even more primitive. "Nobody comes this far" I guessed. The Powerline Trail made its final descent into a densely forested canyon bottom, where I weighed my return options. With darkness almost upon me, I decided not to go back through the Bear Country Jamboree. I turned downhill to follow the canyon bottom down to its crossing of the North Mingus Trail. A half mile and only twenty minutes later I was on the North Mingus Trail. I followed its winding, rocky route back to my truck in the dark, where I changed into a dry shirt before making the drive home.
Powerline is definitely a worthwhile trail, in a pretty and wild area.