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Pigeon Trail #134, AZ

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Guide 16 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
3.3 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,607 feet
Elevation Gain 239 feet
Accumulated Gain 382 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 3.07
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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3  2019-08-14
4 Peaks 133-253-130-134 Loop
34  2017-03-04
AZT Spring Break 2017
32  2016-08-01
Pigeon Spring Loop
24  2016-04-09
AZT: Roosevelt to Washington Park
53  2016-03-12
AZT Supes-Mazatzal
52  2016-03-12
AZT Trail: Picketpost to Pine
6  2015-04-03 chumley
25  2012-10-20
Pigeon Springs Loop
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Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Oct, May, Apr, Sep
Sun  6:09am - 6:31pm
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2 Alternative
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Named place Nearby

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    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 Triplog Reviews
    Pigeon Trail #134
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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.
    Pigeon Trail #134
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    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.
    Pigeon Trail #134
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Had an opportunity to join Sredfield and some other volunteers on the Four Peaks segment of the AZT to replace some trail signs that had burned in last years fire, or were simply old and needed to be replaced.

    It was a good day, and we managed to get four new signs placed. These things will last a while! The posts are fat and buried deep!

    The sign at Shake Spring was a bit of a mystery as nobody had ever seen Shake Spring before, and there are no signs of any water. The fire had burned the hillside where the topo maps mark the spring, and sure enough, there's a spring box there along with a lot of barbed wire. But no sign of any natural groundwater. We put the sign up anyway since just below the spring is a drainage with a pretty reliable source of water. The drainage holds all the water that comes off of about a mile and a half of ridge that includes Browns Peak as the high point--basically the entire north side of Browns. So while the drainage isn't named, it regularly has flowing water. But it is not fed by Shake Spring, which is dry, and shows no signs of ever running again.

    The barbed wire was a mystery too. Perhaps it divided old grazing land? It was strange to see a spring box built just 20 yards from such a reliable creek/drainage. :-k

    There was nice water flowing in a couple of the other drainages as well. Nice to see that kind of water at this elevation after a winter with basically no snow melt.

    HAZTracks worked great and didn't turn off for me despite long "breaks" when installing signs. Battery life was surprisingly awesome, until it went from 63% to 3% in about 5 minutes. Must have been an iOS/battery monitor anomaly. I turned it off as soon as I realized it had depleted so much. But that was at our last sign so I had a full one-way track on the out-n-back which was more than enough to get my stats for the day. Nice to have the squawking birds and the volume is better now too. Thanks Joe! :app:
    Pigeon Trail #134
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    JJ needed help getting his Jeep dirty and putting more miles on it, so I started looking for Hikes in the area. This seemed perfect!!! Plus I would have time to tease the Largemouth at the other end of the Shuttle.... :DANCE: Turns out I would only have one tease me.... : rambo :

    I thought about chasing after JJ and starting my Hike on the same AZT segment he was starting on, which is also the Pigeon Trail. But I knew, with that portion of the Loop being a new Trail to me, I would be shooting too many pics and I would have fallen behind after the first 200 feet.... :sweat: Besides that, I have done the upper portion of the Four Peaks Trail, going up, twice already, and really wanted a fresh view, going down for a change.... :D Not that it really mattered, I pretty much found out that it's a Roller Coaster, either way.... :sweat:

    So we parked the Jeep at the Pigeon TH and JJ shot down the Trail like a Rabbit on a mission, and I plodded up the road towards the Lone Pine Saddle like a Tortoise that just ate dinner... :lol: I was actually feeling pretty good after a kind of crummy week, so I was moving along at an ok clip, considering that it is uphill to the Saddle. I really didn't anticipate taking very many pictures on the Four Peaks portion since I've done it before. I even had a brief thought of trying to beat JJ to the Junction, and then giving him some s*** about it, but I soon found out that there would be no hope of that!!! :D

    The Oaks are Peaking full force up there. :y: I got into some on the Four Peaks Trail, but most of the masses of them were further up. I think the Brown's Trail would have been the one to be on to put you right in the middle of them....But there were enough of them along the Four Peaks Trail to keep me busy....Sooooo, out came the Camera, and the Roller Coaster ride with pictures began. My thoughts of banging this Loop out at a nice pace were pretty much trashed. Pumpkin Oaks!!! They were cutting into my Fishing time!!! : rambo : :D

    Looked for Bear Spring, but without a GPS, I just don't think you can find it, although I spent probably about 20 minutes or so in the area looking around where I thought it should be, according to the Topo...

    60 pictures later, I finally got to the Junction. At that point JJ was probably already at Mill Ridge... :sweat: Up Pigeon Trail I go. The Oaks almost disappeared, but I actually got some nice shots of a Sycamore getting ready for winter...I also got to play with a couple of Tarantulas that were probably only about 300 feet apart, on the Trail. :) That was about the closest I got to any Fauna that I saw on this Loop. There were quite a few quick Lizards and a couple of skittish Woodpeckers....Lots of Butterflies still flitting around too, mostly Sulphurs that rarely land within 30 feet of you.

    I kept expecting a big uphill on this Trail, with the AEG being what it is, but it never really happened. Pigeon was kind of a Roller Coaster too, on a smaller scale. I think the AEG is just spread out very nicely on this Loop with all of the ups and downs. :) Pigeon Trail is pretty nice too, but like Four Peaks, the Flora is in danger of overtaking the Trail in spots as well. Nice views of Roosevelt and the Vistas beyond and all of the sudden before I knew it, I was at Pigeon Spring and almost done with the Hike. The Springbox and Spring area were both dry. One short climb later and I was at the Jeep. That had to be one of the easiest 900 foot AEG Hikes I have ever done. I can only recall stopping twice because I was winded. Of course, the 85 picture set probably helped some too.... :roll:

    This is a nice little Loop! I thoroughly enjoyed it, ended up taking my time, took a couple of little breaks, just to enjoy the area, more so than just needing the rest. If I was looking for just a small, nice Hike in the area, I would do this one again. : app :
    Pigeon Trail #134
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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
    Pigeon Trail #134
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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!
    Pigeon Trail #134
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    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!

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