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Vineyard Trail #131, AZ

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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 6.1 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,193 feet
Elevation Gain 1,509 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,167 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13.32
Interest Historic
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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17  2019-02-16 Yoder
18  2018-03-15 DixieFlyer
23  2018-03-11 Yoder
22  2017-12-31 KBKB
4  2017-11-24 Lumberjill
43  2017-03-17 KBKB
34  2017-03-04
AZT Spring Break 2017
24  2016-04-09
AZT: Roosevelt to Washington Park
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Author DarthStiller
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 229
Photos 6,003
Trips 433 map ( 3,769 miles )
Age 50 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
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Preferred   Oct, May → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:09am - 6:30pm
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5 Alternative
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'Tweener Wilderness Hike
by DarthStiller

This hike is situated just outside of the Four Peaks and Superstition Wilderness Areas, and a few miles west of the Salome Wilderness Area. Great views of all three and of Roosevelt Lake and Dam can be seen throughout. This is also a segment of the Arizona Trail, picking up from SR188 and taking you to the edge of the Four Peaks Wilderness, where the Four Peaks Trail #130 then picks up the AZT.

Start right at the bridge adjacent to Roosevelt Dam. Park just north of the bridge in the large pullout area and look across the road for the blue Juntion 88 sign. Right behind that is a wooden trail marker saying Vineyard Trail #131. At only about 0.1 mile in, there is a plaque and information commemorating Camp O'Rourke, which is where the workers lived who built Roosevelt Dam in the early 1900's. Look across the drainage that you immediately cross, and you can see the remains of some of the strutures.

After this, the hike immediately begins to get very steep. 1100' of the total 1480' elevation gains occurs in the first 1.5 miles. In addition to the strenuous climb, there is also alot of loose rock. Choose your footing carefully on the bare rock. There are also some smaller catclaw plants that happen to be right in the middle of the trail, requiring careful navigation around them. Views of the bridge and dam are good in some overlook spots. Roosevelt Lake and Dutchwoman Butte are very prominent to the east, and Four Peaks to the west. When you see the radio tower, the hike will begin to level off, but just for a little while.

At 2.8 miles, you will encounter a lava flow that the trail goes right through, making for some unsteady footing. To your left (south), there is a fantastic view of a canyon full of saguaros that drops precipitously down to the Salt River. You can make out some mountains in the Superstitions if you're familiar enough with that area. SR88 is also very prominent.

After the lava flow, the trail crosses a valley and meets FR336. Make a left onto this road and follow it for about 0.15 miles to where the Vineyard Trail picks up again. This junction is well marked and seems to be where the road ends, although mapping shows it goes further to the south.

From there, the trail follows ridgelines of the area on its way up to the Mills Ridge TH, where it ends. Steep sections are interspersed between the level sections. Each steep section seems to get just a little harder as you near the end of the trail. From Mills Ridge, you can start to follow the Four Peaks Trail #130 all the way to the Lone Pine TH (on another hike maybe).

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-10-14 DarthStiller

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent of 12 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Vineyard Trail #131
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    On New Year's Eve, my wife and daughter joined me for an out-and-back hike of part of the Vineyard Trail.

    Back in March, 2017, I hiked it from the Mills Ridge Trailhead, but we only made it out to nearly the five mile point on the trail, so I had not yet seen the other end of the trail.

    This time, we started from the parking area at the northwest end of Roosevelt Lake Bridge. It gains elevation quickly - my daughter told me that it reminded her of the Moab Rim Trail which claims to gain one thousand feet in one mile. I don't think that claim is accurate - when I've done the Moab Rim Trail, I think the gain in the first mile was only a bit over eight hundred feet. The Vineyard trail is very close - I think it gains somewhere around 700 feet in the first mile.

    At about 1.35 miles in, my daughter and I took a brief excursion to better see the dam and bridge.

    Continuing on, we eventually saw the other side (than what we're accustomed to seeing) of Four Peaks.

    Off in the distance, less than a quarter mile to the north off of the trail, we saw what looked like a long low shack with a corrugated metal roof and siding. I had seen this structure on my previous hike of the Vineyard Trail, but did not know for sure what it was. There's no road or obvious trail leading to it. My best guess at the time was that it was a shelter for sheep or perhaps cattle.

    When we got close, I took another side trip to see if I could figure out the purpose of the structure. As I approached the structure, I found that the way got easier as there were a number of old animal trails leading me there. Outside of the structure, I found a small watering trough capable of allowing up to two or three cows to drink at the same time. It was fed water via an underground pipe. The trough was dry which indicates that the water source has been shut off.

    The shed-like building is perhaps 10-12 feet from the trough and contained only two openings, a small window and a door, both of which were just left of the center of the structure. Looking in the window, I saw an old and probably non-functional lawn chair. Beside it was a heap of dirt. At this point, I was still thinking that it must be some kind of structure for sheltering animals and was surprised at the unevenness of the dirt floor. Also, there was no smell of dried manure, which was what I was expecting. Opening the half-door revealed more dirt and a water tank to the right. I later found out that there are actually two large water tanks near the center of the structure. Most of the space in the wings however is empty. As I walked around the structure to see if there were any other openings, I noticed that roof, while largely flat on top, sloped towards the center from each end of the building. I then noticed that a trough covered with coarse wire mesh ran the width of the building at the center. Peering inside the building again, I found that a pipe led from the end of the trough into the two water tanks.

    So... it's a water collection and storage system, presumably used by those ranching this area for providing water to their livestock. Rainwater lands on the corrugated metal roof, flows into the trough at the center of the structure, and then flows into the tanks. From there, an underground pipe supplies water to the small watering trough that I saw outside the structure.

    The water tanks appeared intact - no bullet holes - so presumably it could still be used. I would guess that the tanks might even have a fair amount of water in them.

    Our hike back to the car was uneventful. The day had warmed up somewhat and we noticed that the lake appeared much bluer than it did in the morning.
    Vineyard Trail #131
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    Starting from the Mills Ridge Trailhead, I led a group of nine (counting myself) to a point nearly 5 miles out where we got good views of Theodore Roosevelt Lake and dam. Expansive views are available along the entire length and route finding was easy.

    The only slightly tricky spot was when we got to FS Road 336. The sign there indicates that you should turn left, following the road, and that is correct. However, there appears to be a continuation of the trail across the road, which is not correct. The trail follows the road for approximately 0.15 miles before becoming trail again. It's well marked with signs at both intersections.

    We saw many wildflowers on this hike - I took more photos than normal.

    We saw: blackfoot daisy, lupine, Mexican poppy, deer vetch, desert chicory, bluedick, white flower borage, mariposa lily, hedgehog blossoms, rock live-forever, fleabane, phacelia, and others too.
    Vineyard Trail #131
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    AZT: Roosevelt to Washington Park
    April 9th
    Miles: 19
    AEG: 6,413 ft

    We started the climb from the 188 around 7:30 AM. The goal for the day was to make it to Pigeon Springs. The weather was great, and the views of Roosevelt Lake got more spectacular as we climbed out of the basin. After taking a break at Buckhorn Spring, the trail climbs relentlessly before topping out and contouring the mountain.

    Eventually we turned a corner and BAM!, the four craggy peaks were staring us right in the face. Quite the view! The trail through the Four Peaks passage is very well maintained, except for a small stretch where we were pushing through overgrowth that nearly obscures the trail. Despite the large swaths of burned forest, this passage was one of my favorite so far. Eventually we reached Pigeon Springs and found a relatively flat spot to set up our tents.

    April 10th
    Miles: 19
    AEG: 2,196 ft

    The morning began with a clear sky. After packing up the gear we headed for Pigeon Springs Rd to begin the long road walk. I'm usually not a fan of road walks, but this was an exception. There were great views on either side of the Superstitions, Sierra Ancha, and Lake Roosevelt. The immediate area itself was very beautiful as well. Around 10 AM we could see clouds beginning to build on top of Browns Peak, and a storm hitting the Supes.

    We stopped to take out the rain jackets and a white mini-van rolled up and asked if this road would take them all the way back to the 87. I pulled out my map and told them it looked like the road ended well before reaching the 87 and that they needed to turn around and take El Oso or the other forest road. The wife sitting in the passenger seat seemed concerned that we were about to be backpacking out in the rain. :roll: By 11 AM it was lightly raining, which was initially quite exciting (I needed to test the rain gear anyway).

    Just as we reached the Boulder Creek drainage the storm began to give us its all. Heavy rain, wind, and thunder! By the time we reached Sunflower, the trail was a muddy slip and slide, my phone was soaked and unresponsive (may it RIP ](*,) ), and we were slightly chilled.

    We waited under the 87 underpass for my brother to arrive, who was picking us up so I could take an exam for an online class I'm taking before returning to the trail the next day.

    April 11th
    Miles: 12
    AEG: 2,643 ft

    After finishing up my exam, we were back on trail around 1 PM. Under the 87, we did some last minute gear prep before heading out and ran into three other hikers, Giltch, Kegel, and Minus. They were 17 days into their thru-hike and were excited to get into Pine for some much needed beer. We were all aiming for McFarland Canyon for the night.

    We started up Saddle Mountain and enjoyed all the green scenery in the area. Just before reaching camp, we passed the half way mark for the AZT and celebrated with the thru-hikers before settling down for the night in McFarland Canyon.

    April 12th
    Miles: 21
    AEG: 5,249 ft

    The thru-hikers were up and leaving camp just as we were beginning to pack up. We weren't sure if we would ever see them again. The trail gets a little hard to follow just after McFarland Canyon to Thicket Spring. The Guthooks app says to head straight up a wash but apparently there is an alternative route that is clear of brush and well defined that you can take at the first junction past McFarland.

    Once we reached the junction for the Peeley TH we stopped to take a break and ran into Joe, a gentleman I had met at a trail maintenance event about a month earlier. Quite the coincidence, if we would have left a minute earlier we probably would have never seen him. He was meeting up with another fellow to remove some downed trees along the trail.

    The views along the Mazatzal Divide from Peeley to Y-Bar were my favorite for the entire trip. The rugged peaks of the Mazatzals and expansive views on either side were exciting to see. We ran into Minus again at the Bear Spring junction taking a lunch break. After taking our own lunch break at the spring, we headed for Horse Camp Seep.

    As we approached Horse Camp Seep, we ran into the three thru-hikers again. There was another hour or so of light, so they continued on, we decided to call it a day where there was water. Horse Camp Seep was a sweet spot and had great camping.

    April 13th
    Miles: 18
    AEG: 2,907 ft

    The goal for the day was to make it to the East Verde River, a relatively easy day that was mostly downhill. We made our way along the Divide trail and passed "The Park", an inviting stand of pines and great campsites. We stopped to take a lunch break at the Red Hills seeps. From here the trail descends steeply to the East Verde River. Not very fun for the knees.

    We camped just across the river and enjoyed the warmest night of the trip. We were now done with the Mazzies, and I felt the proposed "overgrowth" was kind of blown out of proportion, or there has been a lot of trail work in the past couple of months. Probably a bit of both. ;) I never felt like the trail was hard to find (except for the stretch between McFarland and Thicket) or that I had to deal with excessive brush that I wouldn't expect on most wilderness trails.

    April 14th
    Miles: 23
    AEG: 4,196 ft

    With burgers and beer on our minds, we got up early to make it into Pine with sufficient time to hit up THAT brewery and the market. The rocks along Whiterock and Hardscrabble Mesas were annoying and it felt like I was constantly stubbing my toes or rolling my ankle. Otherwise the area is quite beautiful and welcoming. The rocks put these two passages high on my list of "one and done" passages.

    We reached Pine around 5pm with plenty of time to get burgers and beer. Lo and behold, we run into Minus, Kegel, and Giltch at the brewery along with another thru-hiker, Thomas, who was taking a zero in town. We joined them and enjoyed the comradery. Thomas decided to join us at camp for the night near the Pine TH while the others reserved the cabin in the back.

    April 15th
    Miles: 17
    AEG: 3,303 ft

    We woke up with frost all over our gear. :yuck: After packing up, Thomas headed for the Highline and we headed for breakfast at the Early Bird. Just before we finished up eating we ran into Minus who was getting some breakfast himself.

    We headed for the Highline. It was nice to be climbing on a well graded trail with less rocks, especially because a hole was beginning to develop in my right shoe. I could feel every rock under my foot on that spot.

    At Red Rock Spring we made a quick stop and finished off the last bit of the Arizona Trail Ale we picked up the night before at the market.

    Once we reached Webber Creek we caught up with Thomas who was drying out all his gear. We stopped to take a break, and eventually Minus came strolling down the trail to join us. Minus decided to hike with us for a stretch after the break. The Rim gets right up in your face along this stretch and red dirt contrasting with the green pines and cedars made for great scenery.

    We were about 9 miles from the finish and a little antsy to finish up. Eventually Minus stopped to take a lunch break and we continued on after filtering some water. Now with only 5 miles left, we kicked it into high gear and made for the Washington Park TH. Clouds started to build along the rim.

    We reached the trailhead and got ready to hunker down for a few hours of inclement weather before our ride would arrive. However, after a few snow flurries, the clouds broke. Eventually Thomas and the other three thru-hikers caught up with us, we exchanged information, and said our goodbyes. All of them were very enthusiastic about Arizona and couldn't stop commenting on the diversity of the state and how we had a pretty cool home.


    Besides my foot issue due to my failing shoe on the last day, I felt great this entire trip. I never woke up sore or feeling exhausted. I listened to my body, and I was proactive about keeping my feet and knees happy. It really paid off and made the trip that much more enjoyable.

    This concludes all of Southern and Central Arizona passages for me. I'm looking forward to the easy walking on the plateau to the UT border!

    Lots of lupine in the middle elevations, not much at the highest and lowest elevations.
    Vineyard Trail #131
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    AZT Trail: Picketpost to Pine
    I was kind of looking to see where I was at for another big trek this summer and Karl was looking to experiment with a lighter weight higher mileage backpack, so I proposed Picketpost Mountain, or the beginning of section 18 of the Arizona Trail to Pine and the end of section 26 of the Arizona Trail. Karl was down for four days and had a somewhat flexible plan for ending his trip when he needed to. Meanwhile, I was about 50-50 if I could do the entire hike and was content with just seeing how far Karl and I could get and then playing the rest of my trip by ear, or I should say by body.

    Day 1: 29.92 miles 6268 aeg

    We made it to our planned first night's campsite on day one, Walnut Spring. Section 18 really exceeded my expectations. This is about the best time of year to be walking though that desert right now and Whitford proved to be a real treat with the flowing water and abundance of green. The climb was grueling and relentless but it offered some very solid views of the area and was really made manageable by liberal use of switchbacks. Karl was so confident with our performance at that point in the day that he insisted we bag Montana Mountain while we were up there. I agreed, but only because I was born in Montana and I said it had to count it as our break. Reavis Ranch looked like Daytona Beech and I had not apprehensions about making the short trip past it to my cozy little campsite at Walnut Spring. Got to Walnut just at headlamp time. Blew through camp chores, made a fire, ate and got to bed as soon as we could.

    Day 2: 25.67 miles 6392 aeg

    We came up a little short on our proposed campsite on this day, but the hiking was great so no worries. No stranger to the Eastern Supes, but Sunday still offered me all new areas after Two Bar Ridge. Cottonwood Canyon was great! No shortage of water in there and some cool little sites in this random little riparian jungle in the far corners of the northwestern Supes. A little bit of road and then it was the traverse from hell along the 188 waiting for that damn bridge to come into sight. From the bridge it was up the stairway to heaven. Where fittingly we had a trail angel waiting for us with tons of snacks and H20. After our sugar, hops, and caffeine binge at Mills Ridge we decided to just push for Buckhorn Creek. However, on that side of Four Peaks, pushing for a few extra miles usually entails a nice chunk of aeg as well, so we earned it. I did find a set of Indian ruins though along the way, so that was cool. We were both excited to learn that after carrying all that fresh water from Mills Ridge, there was water flowing in Buckhorn Creek. Oh well no filtering to do, quicker camp set-up, quick fire and in bed even earlier than previous night.

    Day 3: 31.24 miles 5239 aeg

    Day three was all new ground for me. Four Peaks makes you work, but alas the beauty of nature is enhanced by the ardor of the journey. I really enjoyed this section, an instant new favorite! I hiked through perhaps one of my nicest sunrises in a long time and marked several rock pile sites along the trail for future exploring. This section just kept getting better for me as we neared Four Peaks and started contouring towards Pigeon Spring. The lingering and previous snow had some of the creeks flowing nicely along this stretch and the trail got very nice as we approached its end. The road felt a little like Mad Max with the amount of Jeeps, trucks and atvs out. However, I must say not one negative experience with any driver and I do not think I have been offered as much water in such a short amount of time as I was along that 11 mile stretch of road. One guy asked, "is there anything else I could give you?" I said I could use some sunscreen and he offered up the whole bottle. The hike down into Sycamore was also very nice, again a great time to be in the lowlands, a little water, some flowers and green. However, it was hard to appreciate at times with the fatigue and anxiety over coordinating a last minute drop off of some additional things I felt I needed, if I was going to have any chance of reaching Pine. The drop and pick went smooth, a small adventure, but relatively smooth. We did not get an ideal spot to camp, but spirits were high after our resupply.

    Day 4: 24.7 miles 6297 aeg

    This was the day Karl and I would be saying our goodbyes. Karl decided on a Peely exit and I would push on to Bear Spring from there. More new trail for me to start the day and again I was not disappointed. The canyons on the way up to Saddle Ridge were picturesque, there was a lot of water and signs of some pretty extensive trail work in spots. I will admit things got a little dicey after we left the quaint McFarland Spring area, but we endured. The trails definitely need some work in there. I found myself kind of embracing the ruggedness and challenge the area presented. However, I could see that area becoming another hiker's hell if they were not expecting it. Karl and I parted at Peely. Losing Karl sucked, as he and I had a good thing going the first few days. Karl was keeping our pace in the areas where I tend to day dream and I was doing what I could do to keep us at a respectable place for some of the more stout climbs. But no time to dwell, I was solo now and needed to reach Bear Spring, just another 2000 feet of aeg and a shade under ten miles. There is no sense harping on the point, but the Divide Trail is getting nasty along there and I did make it to Bear Spring before head lamp conditions, but I was obliterated from that last little push from Peely. I replaced Karl with another Carl at Bear Spring. I am going to assume he spells his with a C. Anyways, I ran into Carl, better known as Spiced Rum on HAZ. He was on the final night of a backpack to gather some information for future work in the area. We chatted it up for awhile and I am not ashamed to admit I took some extra snacks from him. He was leaving a day early and I could not believe the amount of food I was going through on these long days, so I had no problem taking the charity. Superb stuff too, some great dried fruit, trail-mix and a Rice Crispy treat. Good guy all around and a source of wealth on some other major trails that I am interested in. And what a nice little spot to camp near Bear Spring, that saddle is great, I see why toughboots is fond of the place.

    Day 5: 26.9 miles 4051 aeg

    This was my make or break day. I had my city creek trailhead bailout option if needed, or I was pushing for the East Verde via the dreaded Red Hills and making my final push for Pine from there. The divide trail has its ups and downs, both in terrain and condition, but overall it was pretty smooth going. There is a section of Divide Trail that is now immaculate from about the intersection with Brody Seep to the intersection with Barnhardt. Kudos to that trail crew. I stopped for way too long to soak my legs and filter water and then realized I was looking at about ten more miles to include the worst part of the Red Hills and it was nearly three. My rational side said, "set up camp here, hike out LF or Saddle Ridge tomorrow," however, my other side said, "quit making excuses and finish the original plan." I am not sure what it was, but I was really dreading the last half of the Red Hills. Out of paranoia of being too exhausted to complete the entire section and having to dry camp somewhere I carried way too much water. This weighed me down and annoyed me even more as several of the creeks and main valleys I crossed had running water in them. As it turned out, while my worries were warranted, I did just fine and to be honest felt the area did not seem as bad as it had before and I must give props to the horse(s) whose tracks I followed through the entire Red Hills section, a doable stretch, just may require more time and detail. Camped at the Verde where I was serenaded to sleep by cows, frogs, chickens, maybe peacocks, cats and perhaps even a species of monkey. A very lively river at night.

    Day 6: 23.08 miles 4329 aeg

    This was the one I was waiting for, the "easy" day. A nice early start, I don't think there is a better place to be in the world than a half hour before light in the mountains somewhere, just pure serenity. There were ankle breakers abound on this day of Whiterock and Hard Scrabble. A nice steady pace was all I tried to keep and I followed a liberal break plan, as I crawled into Pine. The final two sections were not my favorite, but they were also the last two sections of a 160 mile trek so they would have had to have been perfect to really capture my imagination. Nevertheless, I got through both of them and endured the lava rock tread and bland road. I did find the last few miles to be more redeeming with the scenic Oak Spring and Bradshaw tank area. It was a reunion at the trailhead with Jackie and the pups, Del Taco and then home.

    Final Notes

    I need to work on a better nutrition plan for these big ones. I simply did not bring enough caloric energy for the type of days I was doing and the amount of energy I was putting out. I need to go healthier and more efficient, just a good lesson to learn.

    Karl played a huge role in getting me through those first four days, very glad to have him through there, he was missed later.

    A good song to have stuck in your head while hiking is Passion Pit, "Take a Walk."

    I can definitely go lighter on these ones too, I packed light, but by no means did I make any attempts to go ultra-light. In the future, that may be needed to knock out some of these more ambitious multi day treks.

    The hardest days by far were Day four with its nearly 7000 feet gained and day five with its 27 legit miles through the Mazzies without as much as a foot of road relief until the very end.

    About normal to not so great, to really good in spots. Most action in the first few sections though.
    Vineyard Trail #131
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    Southbound via the Vineyard Trail since previous plans were nixed due to logistics, Ambika came up with finishing off #20. We met up at Wendy's in Fountain Hills for the caravan to FR 341 as the base for our TH. (Shawn came up with that idea to add a few miles to make it a little longer hike and get a start on shortening some of Segment 19.) Once past the manufactured home community the road gets a bit dicey, at least for Tonto Jr, but we powered up the rocky hill. It was a good challenge though short. We piled in Shawn's truck for the journey over to Mills Ridge TH for our hike.

    It was a lovely day.
    The views of the Four Peaks and both lakes were outstanding :DANCE: ; hard to beat!
    • The surprise - LOTS of wildflowers including Fairy Duster, brittlebush, poppies, chia, flax, fleabane among others,
      The giddy delight - blooming hedgehog alley. :D
      The trail - great shape with the only tricky part coming down off of Inspiration Point to the bridge.
      The consistent - the bridge is always striking.
      The unexpected - the view of the dam and bridge together from high above, seeing the Apache Trail from time to time.
      The duel - between the prickly pear on one side of the trail and the saguaros on the other for about 1/2 mile. It was like a standoff to see who was going to cross over the trail first.
      Trail sign work - limited as not many trail signs.
      The pain - my camera finger :lol: .
      The views - in case I can't emphasize enough, the lakes and the Four Peaks and the distant mountains as well.
      The :-k moment - the interpretive sign placement up from the bridge.
    Only encountered two other hikers on this part of our hike. I highly recommend this hike; it is :y:
    Starting from Mills Ridge TH - [ youtube video ]
    about 1.5 to 3 mile mark - [ youtube video ]
    past Vineyard Mountain - [ youtube video ]
    Inspiration Point to the Bridge - [ youtube video ]

    Vineyard Trail #131
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    Wow what a day!

    i met up with bobby rocket feet and taco john to hike one of my most anticipated segments of the azt on what would be a perfect day weather wise

    this segment has some definite maintenance issues along the four peaks trail segment with pretty significant overgrowth. route finding is no problem though. that issue is compensated for by perhaps the best views on the AZT (minus the inner gorge of the grand canyon) that accompany you in some form or fashion nearly the whole hike. Tough elevation gain also gives you plenty of opportunity to stop and take it in while trying to recover from your pending respiratory failure.

    world class views + top notch company = signature day on the azt for frick :y: :y:

    john and i put a hurting on a large pie at big daddys afterwards. what a way to finish the day :DANCE:

    573.87 miles done. 30 segments in the books
    Vineyard Trail #131
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    I haven't done the Four-Peaks trail in years. The last time we turned around half way through due to the number of deadfall and overgrowth. I was told that the deadfall was cleaned up.

    We parked the Jeep at the Pigeon spring TH and took off. I went off to the Mills Ridge TH and Fan took a leisurely pace. The temps got really warm below the 5,000 mark and hot below 4,000.
    The dead fall and the 4 foot canopy of overgrowth has been cleaned up on the Mills Ridge side. There's some really dense overgrowth on from the middle of the trail over to the Adler Saddle intersection and around the Pigeon Springs intersection. I felt like I was swimming in overgrowth.

    I did my usual exploring around. I tried to check out the Oak Flat trail, but it was almost not passable due to the overgrowth of branches.

    We didn't see anyone on the trails and only two vehicles at the Lone Pine TH.
    Vineyard Trail #131
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    Arizona is all Cactus, Dirt, and Critters that can hurt you. I guess we were not in Arizona today.

    The worst part of this hike was the beginning, where we were only afforded views of Roosevelt Lake and the Dam, Apache Lake and Apache Trail, and views of the Four Peaks. :D

    The weather again was perfect for the hike. Temps started in the low 30's, but within the hour we were all in short sleeves. This hike starts with a relatively steep climb away from the lake. There was a lot of up on this hike. It was my first 7,000 AEG plus day!

    We were slowed considerably by the aprox 6 miles of snow on the north facing parts of the trail. There was one 100' section that took about 20 minutes to get through. The snow was hard packed crusty ice. One slip would take you to places you really did not want to be. :o .

    The upper 1/3 of the hike took you past and over small running streams, waterfalls, and even on 30' tall frozen waterfall. Pretty sweet!

    Thanks to the funky bunch for another great day on the AZ Trail. I left the house at 4am and got back at 10 pm, so it was a FULL day!

    We finished the day with some of the best Chicago style pizza I've had in Arizona. Big Daddy's Pizza in the Tonto Basin between the North end of the lake and Punkin Center. 33?50'12.30"N, 111?18'6.77"W. Thanks Denny.

    We've now completed 17 passages, 316 miles, and 57,361 of AEG on the AZ Trail!
    Vineyard Trail #131
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    This is one of the better AZT sections in my opinion. I may be a little biased as the Four Peaks Wilderness is among my favorites. The trail seems pretty straight forward to me. It is mildly overgrown, mainly in the middle parts. Nothing bad and luckily at this elevation hook type cat claw isn't an issue. There is plenty of a sharp straight needle variety, live oak and such so definitely wear pants. A few years ago there was a maze through willow type trees that must have been cleared out. Do beware of tiny fresh cut bush stumps constantly in the middle of the trail. Since I now what it was like before I didn't mind 'em too much.

    The temps were good and several creeks were flowing with the thin snow pack. The views are awesome throughout. Unfortunately we spent a good portion of the upper section staring at our feet so we didn't slide off the snow. Not as bad as Mazzie Fisher Saddle Mar'10, not very deep either. Denny treated at Big Daddy's afterwards and that was awesome too :)

    Stats are based on Bruce and I coming up with like results on TOPO!
    Vineyard Trail #131
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    An adventure I will never forget, testing my resolve since I was determined to hike the entire length. Vineyard Trail felt like a few separate hikes, distinct different sections, but common was the wild flavor which appealed to me very much. The trail was overgrown in many areas or just marked by cairns, especially in the last mile and a half along the ridge. The awesome views were a constant as well, you are treated to different panoramas to enjoy. Skirting the side of Vineyard Mountain afforded the first view of Four Peaks and then about twenty feet ahead of me something joined the trail. Gila Monster. He decided to use the trail in the same direction as me, plodding ahead very slowly. As I followed him a few minutes he turned to look at me. Having taken ample pictures I detoured around him giving a wide berth. There was a fairly good growth of wildflowers throughout, as I traversed the talus section of the trail there were bees swarming all around, right where I needed to go. Something else for me to think about but I made it through this very overgrown area without incident. Hiking along the next area I came to the forest road which connected to the final ridge section of the trail. Finally made it to Mills Ridge TH and enjoyed the views and a short rest before heading back. There were plenty of times I could hear something rustling under bushes right next to the trail and after I passed the talus area I got a pretty good scare. Laying stretched out on the trail was a snake, I came close to stepping on him. Quickly I realized it wasn't a rattler and just as quickly he started to make his way off the trail. I was able to get only one pic, havn't uploaded it yet, hope it's decent. This fellow was three or so feet long with black and gold bands. Wonder what species? The rest of the way my senses were more attuned to anything else I might encounter. I saw not one hiker on the trail, folks are missing out on a great trip. After this I had planned to hike the 2.4 miles r/t to Tonto Narrows. Completing the short drive north to Gisela I was surprised to find the access gate locked with a sign and some info slips inside a mailbox. Due to a variety of concerns access is not available here. Very disappointing. Checking the FS map I didn't see trails other than some that would involve a whole lot of bushwacking. Still like to get in there one day...

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, North Phoenix: Take Shea Blvd. to the Beeline Highway. Take the Beeline north to the junction with SR188 and then take 188 south all the way to Roosevelt Bridge.

    From Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Phoenix: Take Route 60 east to Miami. At the junction with 188, take 188 north to Roosevelt Bridge. Park just north of the bridge in the large pullout area.
    page created by DarthStiller on Oct 14 2008 10:31 pm
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