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Canelo Hills East - AZT #2, AZ

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Guide 40 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Sierra Vista
3.1 of 5 by 11
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 14.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,687 feet
Elevation Gain 875 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,530 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 22.73
Backpack Yes & Connecting
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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3  2019-01-23 Sredfield
34  2018-01-21 tibber
28  2018-01-20 tibber
13  2017-11-24 sandyfortner
9  2016-03-12
Azt #1 & #2
33  2015-07-25
AZT Segments #1 2 3
15  2015-04-19 BiFrost
8  2015-03-17 sandyfortner
Page 1,  2,  3
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   Apr, Mar
Sun  6:10am - 6:19pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Overview: From the southern terminus near Parker Canyon Lake, the trail follows a westerly route trending downhill through grass and forest covered hills to Parker Canyon. It then heads north through the Canelo Hills, with quite a bit of up and down. Dropping into Pauline Canyon, it trends westerly again, then northwest as it climbs to the top of the Canelo ridge, which it follows for a couple miles. Finally, it drops down to intersect with FR 799 at the Canelo Pass Trailhead.

Southern Trailhead: Parker Canyon Lake

Northern Trailhead: Canelo Pass

Note: This page is open to authors. Hike must be listed South to North as one-way. Do not include an overview as the above is permanent.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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
    Canelo Hills East - AZT #2
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    After a good nite's sleep and a breakfast prepared by Whispers Ranch owner, we loaded up and headed out on this below 30 degree morning. (FYI the Whispers Ranch BnB is for sale.) My immediate goal for the morning was a 32 degree start and that's what we got. It was a beautiful blue sky day starting from Parker Lake and heading back to our shuttle point on FR 4749. It was also a crispy morning so gloves were worn for the first couple miles as we meandered down to below the lake with great views in front of us.

    We crossed the drainage that comes out of the lake and there was a little running water there. A few of us took off a layer here as I was under the impression we had a steady up for 4 miles. You cross the dry creek a number of times before you tackle the big hill that goes on for awhile. Once we had more or less got to the top of the hill and for the lack of any rocks to sit on, the trail is where we had our lunch break. We had great views to the south in the sun so we sat a little longer than we normally do.

    And now to finish up the hill and hike level for awhile until you're presented with bigger hills every which way. We tried to guess where we might go and I said up and around to the left and luckily, that was it. We reached the saddle and started the somewhat slippery hike down into Collins Canyon until we were stopped by a Steward Task... a downed tree. It was old and the wood was hard but as usual, Shawn, with minuscule help from us cut the tree with the end result being a tree bench.

    Next up was getting out of this canyon which took us slightly west and then north again before we got on the old FR 4749 near Fritz Tank that took us back up on a ridge with those wonderful views on each side again. While walking on this old road, it was clear it was a little scary in places (if you were driving); especially if you had to turn around past the ridge. We arrived back safely and were ready to get back and pick up the other vehicle we had left at the southern trailhead.

    Thus, a full completion of a passage in one weekend. We're always glad when we get a chance to do that.

    Part 1 from Parker Lake TH to Trap Tank [ youtube video ]
    Part 2 from Trap Tank to Collins Canyon including sawing a tree to make a bench [ youtube video ]
    Part 3 from Collins Canyon to FR 4749 [ youtube video ]
    Canelo Hills East - AZT #2
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    Our first AZT of 2018 was broken up over two days as a few of us are just not in the best of shape. This worked perfectly altho the drive to get to the shuttle point was a bit of an adventure. Once we got that figured out we thot we were good to go until we discovered, after our complaining about the trail maintenance or lack thereof, we were following a cow trail and had missed a turn :lol: .

    We hiked down into Pauline Canyon and then up above it. The wind was a blowin' and the sun would come in and out but the trail was in pretty nice shape so we continued in a north and westerly direction it seemed. We conquered the first elevation climb with relative ease but the big one out of Middle Canyon was more of a challenge. However, this day I was feelin' it so I led the way :o . It actually got chilly enough that my covered arms were cold for a bit. If the wind hadn't been gusting it would have been a perfect day.

    The views with the changing clouds were fabulous but especially to the NE so we took the opportunity to stop and take it all in with a photo or two. We were glad to finally be on the ridge for a bit and then to the lee side to avoid the wind. Soon we were heading down the mountain and that was a little slippery as to be expected. At least we were going to eventually be out of the wind when we hit bottom.

    We drove back to get some things out of Shawn's truck and as soon as we were there, the weather started to let loose. It was really getting chilling and a light rain started to fall. We made our way to Whispers Ranch BnB around 6ish where we would be staying for the night, thank goodness. We checked in and then had to drive 1/2 hour back to Sonoita to have an awesome dinner at The Cafe (and if they're serving the Like a Ball and Chain wine, you must try some). On the drive to and from Sonoita we saw a couple owls fly off the road.

    Here is some video from Day One:
    FR4749 to Middle Canyon [ youtube video ]
    Middle Canyon to Passage 2/3 TH [ youtube video ]

    PS a note about our shuttle. First of all, here is the link to the topo and if you change it to FS it shows the FR [ Route Editor ] (the green is the route, the red is the route we tried, the black is from AZT 2/3 TH over on Canelo Pass).
    Both Tracy and I had researched the route to get to our shuttle point (based on the coordinates from the AZT Day Hikers Guide (FYI, the written directions are incorrect) and basically you were supposed to take Canelo Road (FR 4636) off of the 83 (Old Sonoita Hwy) to hook up with FR 4749. When we got about 2 miles in we encountered a No Trespassing sign. We debated what to do and decided to retreat and then we decided to turn around and try it.

    There was a rancher feeding his cows so we stopped there to inquire about our destination. He said you couldn't get through that way up to Silver Tank but to go back and take the road just after the wash and follow it up on the ridge to the tank (He was familiar with the AZT). He insinuated the road was hard to follow the direction we were initially planning. Whether or not that is true I don't know. I also don't know if you are allowed to ignore No Trespassing signs on numbered Forest Roads.

    We were able to get to our destination but just not via the directions we had mapped out. The AZT Day Hikers guide uses the coordinates for FR 4749 to get to Silver Tank but doesn't have the directions on how to get to FR 4749. I did see another option to get to FR4749 coming off of 83 toward Fritz Tank but it is unnumbered.

    Canelo Hills East - AZT #2
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    Azt #1 & #2
    It's border land time!

    Me, Bradley (cousin), and my friend Alex left PHX friday night and camped near the Canelo Pass TH. I was fortunate enough to see my first Sun Spider run across my tarp just as I was inflating my sleeping pad... Boy do those things look intimidating considering how harmless they are.

    March 12th

    After reaching Montezuma Pass, we left the backpacks in the truck and hiked down to the border.

    Back on the AZT!

    Once we made it to the border, we snapped a few pictures with the monument and then headed back for Montezuma Pass.

    When we returned to Montezuma Pass, it was much busier. We met 2 other section hikers (going to Summer Haven), and a couple of thru-hikers who were starting their trip. We finished putting our packs together and started the ascent to Miller Peak. I love the "transition" climbs where you start in a completely different environment than what you end in. I was surprised how bare the south facing slopes of Miller Peak were considering before we knew it we were at 8,000 ft with very few pine trees. On the north facing slopes, the Ponderosas were thick, and we passed through several aspen groves.

    The climb is indeed a formidable one to tackle, I can imagine plenty of prospective NOBO thru-hikers get a big dose of reality here on Day 1. That said, the grading is excellent so if you're in shape, the climb isn't too bad. We made it up with only a couple of short breaks.

    The top of Miller Peak was extremely windy and chilly. The views on top of the surrounding sky islands and into Mexico were amazing! We only stood up there for around 2 minutes, but we were thoroughly chilled by the time we were on our way back down to the AZT.

    After jumping back on the AZT, we headed for Bathtub Spring. There were a couple of areas in the shade with a little bit of snow along this section of the trail, ankle deep at its worst. Mostly it was just slick due to the freeze-thaw cycle, so we took it a little slower than usual.

    After taking a lunch break at Bathtub Spring, we filled our water bottles and started the long descent out of the Huachucas. We set up camp around mile 16 of AZT segment #1, where there was a cement trough full of water, and some pools in the drainage nearby.

    March 13th

    We woke up much later than intended. I failed to set my alarm on my phone the night before, and the sun didn't reach the interior of the canyon until around 8:30. We got up around 8:00 and we were off around 8:45. I woke up with a sore throat, coughing, and congestion which I attributed to the smoke from the fire blowing right over where I was sleeping all night. Now I'm pretty sure I've caught a cold.

    The day started out easy as we finished exiting the Huachucas and entered the Canelo Hills (East). We took a break at the Canelo Rd TH and met a thru-hiker who had come here all the way from Japan. His English wasn't great, but we were still able to communicate pretty well.

    The Canelo Hills (East) is one of those segments which looks easier on paper than it is in reality. It is by no means a physical "strenuous" section like the previous one, but mentally you can be caught of guard by the amount of up and down on loose rocky trail that you'll encounter. The developing cold certainly didn't help.

    Around 4:30 PM we reached the Canelo Pass TH and had some refreshing treats before heading back to Montezuma Pass to get the truck.
    Canelo Hills East - AZT #2
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    Headed down to Parker Canyon Lake on Friday to camp out so we could hit the trail early. A cold night, but we were able to start hiking at dawn and the day warmed up to the perfect hiking temperature. I had heard that November is a great month to hike this passage, and I was not disappointed. The terrain was so varied (from grasslands, into canyons, up to ridges, through groves of trees. . .) so that was nice. There was water in a few places since we had rain a few days before our hike (since this was a day hike we carried plenty of water so we did not really look at the water sources).

    My only complaint was that those tiny blades of dried "grass" kept poking through the mesh of my trail runners and poking my feet. Man those little skinny suckers feel like a thorn in the foot when they stab you. But there was no way to avoid it so I just kept imagining them as little acupuncture needles that would help heal what ails me ;) (and at least my dirty girl gaiters kept them off my socks). Maybe leather uppers would work better in the grasslands?

    We saw no one else on the trail all day, so we had all that wilderness to ourselves. A nice way to spend a Saturday.
    Canelo Hills East - AZT #2
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    AZT Segments #1 2 3
    The Arizona Trail segments 1, 2, and 3 was our first real backpacking trip. Just for the record...we are not speed hikers, so we completed the three segments in 4 1/2 days. The trail was in great shape. The Huachuca Mtns are spectacular. We did not encounter any illegal activities (and we did camp the first night at Bear Saddle). Unless, you want to consider the border patrol agents that we met on the crest trail the second day that were dropped off on the TOP of the mountain by a helicopter.

    Things I learned...

    Arizona is the most beautiful with hiking boots on!
    I don't care what the typographical maps's all uphill. :)
    Yes...bears do s#@t in the woods.
    Blisters really suck!
    The Arizona sun is REALLY hot. (luckily for us, it was only for half a day the whole trip.)
    And...Thunder and lightning storms are terrifying.

    I'm sure I'll learn more as I go.

    Pretty much all the water resources were great. We never had a problem with even getting close to running out of water. As a matter of fact, some very nice Angel (I'm guessing we call them that in Arizona too) left bottles of water at both the Canelo Hills #2 and Canelo Hills #3 trailheads.

    Special thanks to Ken Morrow, our transportation from Patagonia to Montezuma Pass. Ken had some backpacking experience and was able to give us some pointers. Although, he did say we looked like we knew what we were doing. I guess six months of reading triplogs and posting on forums and researching equipment really paid off.

    Very Very special thanks to Scott at the Parker Canyon Lake Marina. What a great guy! Even if it is a little off the trail, make sure you stop and say hi and get an ice cream sandwich.
    Canelo Hills East - AZT #2
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    AZT - Passages 1-2-3
    This was a great solo trek - my first big undertaking of the AZT, completing passages 1, 2, 3 and a bit of 4. Water was plentiful in springs and washes. Leaves were changing, aspens up high and sycamores and cottonwoods at mid-elevations. Temps were nearly perfect. A great time to do these 3 (and a bit more) passages. Water was not an issue - as I mentioned - and good clean water in the springs/washes was easily found on most sections of the trail. Passage 3 - Canelo Hills West - was a bit difficult to navigate due to the flooding this monsoon season. Sections of the trail are just not there anymore and illegal trails can easily be mistaken for AZT right-of-ways. All part of the glorious adventure. Passage 3 is also home to many trailside cat-claw acacia, pants or brush gaters are a must. Read on ---

    Up and over the highest peaks of the Huachucas escorted by the chortles and croaks of my friends, the ravens, following me for miles (four ravens do not a murder make; or do they?). Yellow had set into what is left of the post-fire aspen groves on the slopes between Miller and Carr Peaks. Autumn does exist here in southern Arizona. You just have to find it. The chance sighting of a twin-spotted rattlesnake and a Lewis’s Woodpecker made the afternoon more memorable. They are rare encounters here, the former a resident, the latter a visitor. The trail moves directly onto the crest past Tub Spring (yes, there is actually a bathtub) and Bear Saddle (no bears), dividing the view east and west. Then down, and down some more into Sunnyside Canyon with rusty orange Sycamores lining the wash, still running with water. I camped near the wilderness boundary, a fresh, still warm pile of bear scat nearby (hang the food high!). After a dinner of sardines and pasta, I sipped a bit of whiskey and listened to owls call across the oak groves, pleasantly reminded of why I do this sort of thing.

    On the trail the next morning I encountered the first of two border patrol agents I would come across during the journey and consequently the only two people I would see in three days. I wondered if I had tripped a sensor since he seemed to be waiting for me where the trail crossed a two-track road. “I’m coming from Mexico”, seemed like a fitting yet possibly misinterpreted remark. He failed to see the humor but wished me well, his diesel engine roaring off into the foothills. The trail follows shady Scotia Canyon, crisscrossing the flowing wash, and then intersects with FR 48 (BP encounter #2) near Parker Canyon Lake and the beginning of AZT passage 2: Canelo Hills East (Güero Canelo de Este).

    The trail literature mentions that in the future the AZT will actually pass near Parker Canyon Lake, but the current trail passes well south of the shore. A spur trail heads north to the lake but I continued on into the Cinnamon Hills, eager to explore an unfamiliar area. Resting near a big pool of clear water in Parker Canyon I studied the map. The elevation profile of the Canelos looks like an EKG. Up and down, up and down, for 17 miles. The trail is in great condition here with no real issues with navigation. I opted for the ol' map and compass over a GPS. Partially because I enjoy orienteering (which is not really necessary along this passage but.. still) and partially because I don't own a GPS. I pushed through this section of trail but enjoyed the landscape and scenery and spent the night in the Canelos, about a mile from the beginning of passage 3, up on the ridge overlooking the Huachucas and San Rafael Valley. Coyotes were active and they came a little too close for comfort that evening, no doubt interested in my food hanging high - or as high as possible - in a nearby juniper. Short stories by Ed Abbey kept me company that evening, refueling my mind for the next day.

    Passage 3 started the next morning pre-dawn as I made my way down the ridge and across Canelo Pass road. West of Canelo Pass I took my pack off and meandered along the saddle before descending into Meadow Valley. I'd seen lithic scatters along other saddles similar to these and I was sure I'd find some cultural evidence here at this point between two viewsheds. On to Meadow Valley's amber waves of ... grasslands. The trail was well marked through this area as singletrack merges with old two-tracks and back to singletracks, along a finger ridge and down into the head of Red Rock Canyon toward Down Under Tank (which was full to overflowing). The section past the exclosure area begins to get tricky as flooding has erased trail signs through the wash on the way to Red Rock Ranch. It's fairly easy to see where one needs to go however and other than a few moments of wandering I was able to find my way to the ranch and the windmill. It was near this point that a Sonoran Coralsnake crossed the trail in front of me -- a rare treat indeed. Beautiful.

    With some difficulty (re: navigation) I was able to find the trail that eventually leaves the wash of Red Rock Canyon and heads south toward the saddle and Harshaw Rd trailhead. Grateful to find the road into Patagonia I trudged the 2 miles into town, finding cold beer and good food at Velvet Elvis and a comfortable bed at Stage Stop Inn. The next morning, after coffee and a good breakfast in town I headed north on 1st Ave in Patagonia and along Temporal Rd, 7 miles to where my supportive, wonderful girlfriend picked me up at Temporal Gulch.


    Aspen near peak at high elevation (8,500ft) between Miller and Carr Peaks in the 'Chooks. Sycamore starting to change in the mid-elevation spots along riparian corridors: Sunnyside Canyon, Scotia Canyon, Parker Canyon, Red Rock Canyon. Cottonwoods just starting to turn in above mentioned mid to mid-low elevation (4,000 - 5,000) canyons.
    Canelo Hills East - AZT #2
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    Mr. Wendy (the DH) and I took the dogs and King Gilbert the Land Commander camping near Parker Canyon Lake for Easter weekend. I expected it to be a crowded scene, with lots of annoying humans around. Well, it was crowded, but not with humans. We found our usual campsite vacant when we arrived on Friday afternoon, well except for the cattle. Evidently the rancher was grazing his herd in this area, because there were bovine visitors to our camp all weekend. It wouldn't have been a problem except that my little terrier-chihuahua mix thought that he could bully them. :? Someone who speaks dog needs to tell that dog the he's a midget, he doesn't believe me when I say it. :)

    Sunday, the DH gave me a lift to the trailhead at Canelo Pass so I could hike the AZT Passage back to the car. I'd figured the whole trip would be around 12-13 miles, but when I checked the map at the trailhead (which btw is quite sweet as maps go), I realized it'd be more than 14. I felt like I had plenty of water and time, but I decided to leave the little dog behind. He's not really the best hiker, and the thought of that not-quite-little-enough creature hitching in by backpack for 8 or 9 miles was more than I wanted to deal with. After all was said and done, I was extremely happy with that decision. Lilo (the lab mix) is a strong hiker, but this was stretching it even for her.

    The day was warm, and there were hills to climb. This passage is famous for being up and down, and it certainly lived up to that for me. I thought it was a beautiful piece of trail, though I can see how those from outside Arizona would think it's one of the less spectacular stretches of the AZT. They just don't know where to look for the beauty's all.

    I was surprised at how dry the landscape seemed. The two through hikers I'd met at the trailhead said that there was NO water on the passage, but they were wrong there. The land was dry, sure enough, no wildflowers or grasses greening up. But there were pockets of water in every major wash and tank I came across. It was a good thing, too, since Lilo was going through more water than I'd brought for her. It was warm, and she's pretty black, so I don't blame her. But, being a dog, restraint is not really her strongest quality.

    Toward the southern end of the passage, I was planning on turning off as I did last time I hiked in these hills and finish at the lake (where I figured the DH would be fishing). However, I missed the turn off and ended up climbing above it to the end trailhead anyhow. This was fortuitous, as I met a group of horsemen at the parking area who gave me some extra water and a 1/2 mile truck ride up to the road. They were getting ready to begin on their own adventure, riding newly broken mustangs from the Mexican border to Canada - starting on the AZT. It was awesome to meet them and see their horses, though in retrospect I wish I'd spent more time talking to them. As it was, darkness was heading my way and I wanted to get back before Mr. Wendy started to worry. I wasn't sure how far my camp was in terms of miles, so I hopped in with the cowboy headed back to Sonoita and missed out on getting the full scoop. I did get the website for the movie they're making, though: Check it out - it's quite a story!

    So Lilo and I got home before dark, the man wasn't fishing so he was at the trailer (which was about a mile and a half from the trailhead) and we cooked up some cow for dinner (just seemed fittin').

    The next day I felt great, no worse for the wear other than a bit of a dehydration headache. Poor Lilo, though...she limped and groaned for 2 days. I would have felt more guilty if I wasn't convinced that (like me) she'd have had it no other way. Doesn't matter how much a day on the trail hurts later - it's still better than any day anywhere else!
    Canelo Hills East - AZT #2
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    another great azt hike in southern arizona - these segments are amongst my favorites so far. again with a lot of flowers, greenery and water. very humid day.

    due to a couple issues i had going on, it just felt best to put my head down and cruise on this one, so i did.

    thanks guys, another great day :)
    Canelo Hills East - AZT #2
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    Another great, humid summer day in Arizona's lush green Eden. I can't believe how green this area is, with thick green grass and wildflowers of all kinds everywhere, even in the area over the first mile of this segment which was burned in the fire in the Huachucas. We didn't start until 7:30am and kind of assumed with a 50% chance of storms after 11am that we were going to get poured on. It was hot and sunny, but clouds did help us out at times. By the time we were over halfway through we were able to watch the storm clouds that had formed over the Huachucas come off of the range and start heading toward us. They slowly gained on us but never hit us, fortunately! Nick was determined to get out ASAP, and as we descended the range I was right behind him.

    This hike contains two significant elevation gains, one about 5 miles in and another starts about 11 miles in. When we were descending that second range toward the car, we could literally see the storm coming over the range immediately behind us.

    There was some trash from illegal alien traffic, but not quite as bad as on segment 1.

    This segment was a milestone for several of us, signifying that we have finished everything from the base of the Rincons to the Mexican border. I now have 32 segments completed, 11 to go!! :y:

    Thanks for a great day, guys. And thanks Nick for driving us today! (He met me at 5am to drive after not coming back from Phoenix the night before until after 1am) :o . I was so tired I accidentally fell asleep for maybe 10 minutes on the drive back and felt bad, Nick was the one needing sleep! Nick, you rock!!

    Nick and I had a little bit of extra distance since we needed to hike back to the car, Denny's focus couldn't quite make it all the way back to the trailhead (there is a bad pothole about 0.3 miles before the trailhead that you need high clearance to get over).
    Canelo Hills East - AZT #2
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    The views into Mexico still remind me of the Serengeti.
    It's not what I'd expect for Mexico. All the washes were flowing, like last week on AZT#3. It was incredibly humid out there today. An enjoyable hike, but we've been spoiled with AZT#2 last week, and AZT #1 almost a year ago.

    Got to see a Kingsnake and a yearling Whitetail for Fauna today.

    Always a fun time with the gang. Thanks for Driving Denny/Nick

    Permit $$

    Coronado Forest
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    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
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