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Thicket Spring Trail #95, AZ

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Guide 30 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix NE
Rated
2.8
2.8 of 5 by 8
 
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 2.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,913 feet
Elevation Gain 746 feet
Accumulated Gain 992 feet
Avg Time One Way 1
Kokopelli Seeds 5.91
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
10  2018-10-21
Thicketopia
chumley
10  2018-01-04
Saddle Mountain #91
mazatzal
32  2017-10-29
Saddle Mountain - AZT #22
tibber
23  2017-06-11
S Mazatzal Roundup
jacobemerick
13  2017-04-01
Cornucopia - Thicket Spring Loop
BiFrost
20  2017-03-10
Arizona Trail Peeley Peak South
markthurman53
12  2016-11-25
Mazatzals: Sunflower to City Creek
DallinW
4  2016-10-22
Cornucopia - Thicket Spring Loop
friendofThunderg
Page 1,  2,  3
Author jacobemerick
author avatar Guides 31
Routes 71
Photos 795
Trips 96 map ( 1,037 miles )
Age 34 Male Gender
Location Gilbert, AZ
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, May, Mar
Sun  6:09am - 6:33pm
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10 Alternative
 
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Fauna Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
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One Thick Trail
by jacobemerick

Overview:
Staggered climb out of McFarland Canyon, past West Fork Trail, along Sheep Mountain, and ending near Thicket Spring at Cornucopia Trail. This trail is a piece of the classic Cornucopia - Thicket Spring Loop and a part of AZT #22. Reaching the trail can be done from Cornucopia via Peeley Trailhead, West Fork via 25A, or Sheep Creek/Saddle Mountain via Mormon Grove. This description will start from the Sheep Creek junction.


History:
Much of this area was damaged by the 2012 Sunflower Fire. This entire trail was once part of the Arizona Trail, but now only the southern half is, with the AZT utilizing West Fork and Cornucopia instead.

Hike:
Tall pines and a pleasant campsite sit in McFarland Canyon at the start of this trail, near the Sheep Creek junction. From here the trail follows McFarland northeast, sticking to the northern bank, to .3 miles. It then climbs a short saddle and follows a tributary up towards West Fork Trail at 1.1 miles, gaining a few hundred feet along the way. The last section of this climb drops directly into a gentle shale-lined drainage that makes for easy hiking. Some good views back at Saddle Mountain and McFarland can be had along this climb.

From here the AZT leaves down West Fork and the rest of Thicket Spring may be a bit more wild without the extra traffic. The trail continues to climb, staying inside the drainage as it narrows and steepens, jumping out at 1.3 miles. The next climb is up an exposed hillside and can be quite tiring in the full sun. It crests at 1.7 miles, and here it is mandatory to take a break and enjoy the expansive views of Mt Ord and Four Peaks in the distance and the closer Saddle Mountain.

A short drop down into a drainage is on the other side of the crest, with large cairns marking the way across the rocky beds, and then another quick climb to 2.0 miles. Mount Peeley towers to the north, a mere mile away at this point. The trail now slinks downhill, losing four hundred feet along the east bank of a tributary of West Fork Sycamore Creek. Brush can get thick along this section, though the path is never hard to pick out. A well-signed trailpost marks the end of this trail and the junction of Cornucopia.

Water Sources:
Upper McFarland Spring at the junction is pretty reliable, and McFarland Creek along the trail may have trickling pools as well. Some water may be found near Thicket Spring as well.

Camping:
There is a great campsite at the Sheep Creek / Thicket Spring junction in McFarland and some possibilities near Thicket Spring on the other end of the trail.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2017-06-29 jacobemerick

    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 Triplog Reviews
    Thicket Spring Trail #95
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    NOBO to Peeley TH on very well maintained trails. Minimal water - saw small pools and slight trickle flows: 1) north of the Cross F trail junction, 2) McFarland Canyon 3) lower end of Cornucopia.

    Exited down DC45. Intermittent / light water flow starts about a mile down from Peeley and persist nicely until near the canyon mouth. The first ~3 miles of trail have had some recent maintenance and are very pleasant, after that it's moderate thrash until you near the canyon mouth.
    Thicket Spring Trail #95
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    South from Peeley Trailhead: Our 6th day of hiking the AZT this year, sad but true. This one we owe a big thanks to GuRa for helping us with the shuttle which saved us from an even longer day. Saw John9L's jeep at Peeley TH. Ran into 3 other hikers for the day all at the beginning.

    We started at Peeley, checked out Thicket Springs, hiked in and out of and through drainages and up and down hills, did some trail work, had a couple breaks and then hiked the last hill up to the old mining road which would eventually get us way back over to Mormon Grove TH. The trail is like heaven and hell as far as the tread and slipperiness (well not quite that dramatic but you know what I mean "wink"). There was water here and there too. And thankfully, even though it was a longer hike than expected and I had an issue, we all made it. So at least now we can string a few more segments together from 20 through 22. Ya I know, it's the two that skirt those sections that are gonna be tough for us.

    We have big plans for next year but we'll see. Anyway, a good hike and despite obstacles we got this section done.

    Videos: Part 1 from Peeley to what will be the 1/2 way point for the Arizona Trail [ youtube video ]
    Part 2 from what will be the 1/2 way point for the Arizona Trail to the junction with Mormon Grove [ youtube video ]
    Thicket Spring Trail #95
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    Arizona Trail Peeley Peak South
    This hike finishes up a section of the Arizona Trail #22 (Saddle Mountain). Previously hiked from Mormon Grove north but turned around because of confusion as to the route of the Arizona Trail. GPS said it took old Cornucopia Trail but the signs said differently. Upon arriving home I discovered the route had changed to a newly constructed trail. On this trip I decided to do both. The trails are well marked (except old Cornucopia trail) and maintained. Water was no issue for this time of year. not sure what it is like in late spring or fall. Not especially scenic for the most part but that side stream of west Sycamore Creek I consider one of the top ten scenic streams I've seen (Combination of fresh cool water flowing over rocks of slate).
    Thicket Spring Trail #95
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    Mazatzals: Sunflower to City Creek
    Back in the Mazzies this weekend to revisit one of my favorite stretches of the AZT. Tested out a couple new pieces of gear: a 40L Palante Simple Pack and ZPacks Altaplex tarp.

    The forecast almost drove us elsewhere but with a bit of grit (and a good fire), the cold wasn't too bad.

    Day 1 was sunny and warm. We didn't see anyone from the 87 up until the last couple miles before the Mt. Peeley TH, where we ran into Doug, the trail steward for the end of the Saddle Mountain segment. The drainages along this segment in the fall are pretty amazing, I only wish I had come a week or two earlier when they were in their prime. The Divide may offer the big views along this stretch, but the Saddle Mountain segment has a character to it that I like a lot. We camped at the Peeley TH and were left alone for the most part. A couple of visitors drove through just before and after sunset.

    Hit Peeley first thing in the morning on Day 2. We decided not to follow the cairns and make our own path to the top. A little harder coming back down. I had to pull out Route Scout to get us back on track. We veered a little too far to the east and started to hit the really steep stuff. It was cloudy and windy from the beginning of the day, all the way to the end. In fact, it felt like it got colder instead of warmer as we headed into the afternoon. High winds along the ridges between Peeley and Bear Spring had us shivering. Great views along this stretch, as to be expected. We had Horse Camp all to ourselves the second night, with an awesome sunset. Very high winds and some rain/hail after we headed to bed.

    Day 3 was the coldest, but with less wind. I hiked out with my base layer that I usually sleep with still on. We made it out just as the dark clouds started to roll in, according to plan. I forgot how endless the downhill from the Red Hills JCT to City Creek can feel.

    Now the important stuff...

    Trail Conditions
    From the 87 to Horse Camp Seep is in near immaculate condition. Seriously, it almost feels like a new trail. No brush, new signs, and in some places completely reworked tread. A big thanks to everyone who helped get these sections up to snuff, it's pretty amazing to see the difference not even a year can make. From Horse Camp Seep to the Red Hills JCT remains untouched but it is mildly brushy, and should present only minor navigational hiccups, if any.

    Water
    Ok to rely on Bear Spring (obvious) and Horse Camp Seep for the foreseeable future. Smalls pools with light flow around mile 6 of the Saddle Mountain segment. Pools in McFarland past the trail jct, keep an eye open or you might miss them. Small pools along Cornucopia which would be hard to pull from but clear and usable if you can scoop it up. The wash before Chilson Spring is dry at the crossing, but large pools can be found further down the wash. Some small pools in the drainages between Chilson and Horse Camp Seep. Practically nothing between Horse Camp Seep and City Creek TH. We saw multiple water caches along the trail. A couple of gallons at the Peeley TH, a cache along the ridges between Peeley and Bear Spring (probably left by trail workers), and a cache just after the Barnhardt/Divide JCT in the cedars near the campsite on the right.

    ...

    I love everything about the new pack, but the fit wasn't quite right. I will be sending it back for a bigger torso length. I'm excited to finally enter the realm of sub-10lb base weight (weight of everything, except food and water). True ultralight backpacking.

    The tarp held up admirable despite my novice pitching skills. The high winds and hail on the second night was basically my worst fear regarding using a tarp instead of a tent, but it worked fine and I stayed completely dry. Going ultralight doesn't have to be an exchange of comfort for less weight, if you're willing to invest some time (and frankly, some money) developing and refining the skills needed to properly use the equipment.

    Foliage
    The show is pretty much over. Most of what's left is on the ground. Some good spots with leaves still on the trees along the Saddle Mountain segment in the washes.
    Thicket Spring Trail #95
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    This was only my second time to this area. I passed through the area in the spring during my thru hike of a chunk of the AZT. However, I did not take the nicely maintained Thicket Spring Trail and official route of the AZT, rather I completed the more rugged Cornucopia Trail. Despite not enjoying Cornucopia, I remembered liking the McFarland Spring area and since then I have been meaning to come back. Therefore, I was happy to find this hike idea and description. It was a perfect way to visit McFadden, hike the nicer Thicket Spring Trail and knock off a hike on the Mazzy's area hike list.

    The AZT leg of this loop is in pretty good condition and I really liked the Thicket Spring portion. There was actually a moderate amount of water along this stretch and that did the dogs well. The last mile into the McFarland area was really nice as well, with a small dash of some fall colors, cool shade and solitude. After a quick break at the campsite near the dry McFarland Spring, we resumed the loop. That area is very nice and I think it would make a great overnight destination when it is cooler and there is more water in the area. The Cornucopia portion of the loop is pretty nasty, as it is being reclaimed by post fire growth and erosion and I don't think most will enjoy its ruggedness. Rather I think most would enjoy an out and back utilizing Thicket Spring Trail the entire way. This would make it just over a ten mile hike.

    Tons of hunters in the area, along the roads and at the trailhead, but it did not impact me any. I talked to a few heading in, as I was finishing up, but other than that only ran into one other hiker along Cornucopia interestingly enough. Nice little loop, probably won't go out of my way to do Cornucopia for a third time, but the hike into McFarland from the trailhead is great.
    Thicket Spring Trail #95
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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!

    Wildflowers
    Lots of lupine in the middle elevations, not much at the highest and lowest elevations.
    Thicket Spring Trail #95
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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.

    Wildflowers
    About normal to not so great, to really good in spots. Most action in the first few sections though.
    Thicket Spring Trail #95
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    Saddle Mtn / Peeley Loop
    Loop hike with Kyle & Claire. We headed for the Peeley Trailhead and saw Hank and the rest of the HAZ crew who were remembering GPS Joe. We also saw FOTG and the dogs. We took our lunch and then returned to our trailhead passing the Sunflower Mine. Along the creek we saw a large pack of Coatimundi.
    Thicket Spring Trail #95
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Nice loop hike on some of the lower trails/canyons in the Mazatzal's, although some areas were pretty overgrown and most of the trail signs are missing; Little Saddle Mountain Trail #244 :next: Saddle Mountain Trail #91 :next: Thicket Spring Trail #95 :next: West Fork Trail #260 :next: south at the Cornucopia/25A junction. Saw 4 deer along the way however they were camera shy. Saw some nice fall colors along the way. The cold water at the truck was very much appreciated as the temps warmed up later in the day. Great hike!

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    To Mormon Grove Trailhead
    Driving from Phoenix, take the Beeline Highway (87) North toward Payson. Take the Sycamore Creek exit (just past mile marker 222), turning left across the divided highway and down the paved road 'Old Highway 87' for 1.2 miles to FR201.

    Turn right over the cattle guard onto the gravel road (FR201) and proceed 1.2 miles to cross another cattle guard just before a split in the road at FR25. Take the sharp left turn downhill (FR25) and proceed 2.6 miles to a Y in the road. Stay left again and downhill on FR25 (the right leg takes you onto FR25A). Proceed uphill for 2.2 miles (switchbacks) to the Mormon Grove Trailhead.

    Both FR201 and FR25 are gravel roads - FR25 is slow/rough- loose & hard packed rock, steeper climb up/down than FR201.

    The Mormon Grove Trailhead is not signed but is obvious since it is where FR25 ends at an old wooden corral.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 66.6 mi - about 1 hour 21 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 164 mi - about 2 hours 42 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 145 mi - about 3 hours 10 mins
    page created by joebartels on Jun 28 2017 8:33 pm
    2+ mi range whistle
    blow it like you mean it
    help comment issue

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