First of all, many thanks
to Snakemarks for deciding she would participate from this part of the trail in our CATCLAW REVENGE endeavor. She drove us out in the jeep at 7:15ish and we got to Hank's Hilton with time to spare. We met up with Grasshopper and his two hiking/trail cutting partners, arriving at the trailhead with loppers and machetes in tow around 9AM.
On the trail, Hank hung back with us until a little after the Randolph Canyon area (where the creek is) as his partners were anxious to get cutting
so they went ahead. He pointed out areas and other trails of interest and said now was the time to take pictures; and I, of course, obliged. Once we got Hank and his buddies in our site up the trail a piece, we got the loppers out and went to work. WORKLOG: We cut our way down the mountain, with a 15 min break for lunch, until 3:00. We stopped just the other side of the creek as you start your way south up the hill.
We did meet up with Nonot on the trail. My version of the conversation may not be quite right but it was still funny
Hank notices the loppers the hiker has in his pack and they talk about the claw over the pass. Hank says, "do you belong to any group?" and Steve says, "yes Hank, I'm Steve with Hike Arizona". "Oh Steve, I didn't recognize you with the glasses".
So I'll be curious to see what Nonot has to say about the upper part of the trail as Hank and his partners had cut back the hardest part toward the top on Thursday. It's a lot of work
and if we would have had about 2-3 more people, we probably could have finished the last part of the trail. We were lucky and had a somewhat overcast day; we were very pleased with that.
It is a fairly easy trail to follow; there is a lot of up and down but nothing too bad until that last up after crossing the creek. We never got to the top part of the trail and I understand it is a pretty tough climb. However, it is scenic and definitely "wilderness". The main thing is to turn left (NW) before the windmill by the cow pond.
On the drive back, Kat and I spotted an arch and a cave across from it on the other side of the wash. It looks like a very accessbile arch just off the road a little ways. So we'll have to get back that way. And yes, Hank's Hilton is everything it's cracked up to be
including a wonderful ice tea cocktail (no booze).