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Mormon Battalion Trail - Christmas Camp
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mini location map2012-01-14
43 by photographer avatarWoodsnative
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Mormon Battalion Trail - Christmas CampPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Mtn Biking avatar Jan 14 2012
Mtn Biking24.00 Miles 373 AEG
Mtn Biking24.00 Miles
373 ft AEG
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Mountain biked north from highway 238 to Christmas Camp, and then along the Mormon Battalion trail westward. My goal was to find each 6' metal milemarker post and mark them as Waypoints along the trail. My plans went awry when I followed the wrong wash a few miles in. Even though I had been on the trail before (going west to east), the trail at this point has turned into a narrow wash, complete with shrubs on both sides. It is indistinguishable from either direction. Traces of hikers' and animals' footprints are found on both sides of the wash, --and on both sides of every wash...

After a mile side trip, I regained the trail by finding the cowpath leading to Conley Tank, going southwest, and meeting up with the trail. I backtracked a little to look for a mile marker.

Ironically, my second goal for the day was to lay down a GPS track so that others would not find themselves off trail. But what good is a track with a whole lot of wandering and backtracking? Oh well, I guess I found out where NOT to go. Anyway, thanks to some editing and checking out aerial photos back at home, I got the track straightened out and ready for uploading. Thank goodness for sattelite pictures!

After reaching the western end of the 5.2 mile trail, I signed the trail registry and got ready for stage 2 of my trip: Butterfield Pass over to the cistern. The road was very sandy in some parts, and I had to walk my bike to make it through. The Happy Camp cistern looks like it has been rebuilt, and doesn't look like it has ever had water in it. Personally, I have a hunch that a nearby depression under a tree was the original cistern...

Feeling saddle sore (I am not that great of a mountain biker), I had some lunch and a nap in the shade to regain some energy. With only 2 hours left of daylight, I decided to make a push and get back to the top of the pass quickly. I surprised a lone coyote in the process, who was returning from the guzzler.
Once I made it to the top of the pass, it was all downhill from there. I turned south at the trailhead, and cruised down the dirt road to the highway. After a few 'highway miles,' I finished the loop back to my truck.
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated
If you don't run, you rust.
-T. Petty
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