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Pine Mountain Loop, AZ
mini location map2012-05-26
15 by photographer avatarjoebartels
photographer avatar
 
Pine Mountain Loop, AZ 
Pine Mountain Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 26 2012
joebartels
Hiking18.30 Miles 4,780 AEG
Hiking18.30 Miles   11 Hrs   20 Mns   2.09 mph
4,780 ft AEG   2 Hrs   35 Mns Break16 LBS Pack
 
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The_Eagle
Looked for a hike close to the valley with a rare cool day in the forecast. The Ballantine Connector has intrigued me for some time so today was the day. I threw together a quick loop on Route MGR continuing up #283 then an off-trail return. I did Pine Mtn back in 2006 and told Bruce it's a barren moonscape, easy travel... sucker

We started off on the unbelievably well traveled connector. A mile in Bruce noticed we were no where near our track. After some bickering(this never happens) we reluctantly headed back to square one.

Found our mistake missing a turn not even a quarter mile in. Luckily this was pretty spectacular terrain and the weather was borderline stormy and cool. The path we were on heads to the Rock Creek. The correct connector is the same cool terrain. The trails are well traveled motorbike trails. No switchbacks and rutted deep in spots. Personally I found the views outstanding.

Met up with the 283 after more ups and downs than anticipated ( I spent five minutes max scoping out this hike, that's just how I roll these days ). Bruce wanted to check out the cabin and I wanted sleep so off he went. 2 hours would have been grand but 40 minutes was refreshing. Another hiker stumbled in the yonder and Bruce returned at the same time. This guy hikes the area often and offered up some good info that was spot on.

When we mentioned Pine Mtn he looked at us wide eyed then showed us how we'd be wading through cats claw. Just before leaving home I "almost" picked up my hiking pants. Said to myself... thirty miles from Phoenix, it practically June, there's no room in the pack and made... a poor decision

The gentleman described a pyramid before the corral. Check. A dog house in the corral, check. A wonderful shade tree to relax under... no thanks there were less cow patties on the farm. Cool area and the trail passes near so check it out. Noted a Cottonwood in the creek too.

That cats claw warning was panning out and Bruce was donating blood on the lead. When it looked clear I took over and took credit for it being better. Spotted poison ivy and wild grape in one area. Must be a slow seep as it was healthy and seemed really out of place in the desert terrain.

The nasty foliage picked back up. It probably wouldn't be too bad in pants but it was torture in shorts. We lunched within 225 feet of Rock Tank. Bruce couldn't find it and I was half way through with my lunch. Since I finished first I went to take a look. Just a hop and a skip away. The guy had mentioned he's never seen it dry even in the summer. Once again he was correct. 4 foot deep 1-3 foot wide pools in the creek bed were crystal clear and even trickling over. Stunning views to boot.

Soon the rare un-burned forest picks up. This slice of heaven went on for over a mile. We passed up some of the best campsites I have laid eyes on so close to Phoenix. Amazingly not a sole on this holiday weekend.

The plan was to tackle Pine Mtn and ride some ridges down off trail. We were just too pooped to scoot. In addition what I remembered to be a moonscape was a tad more lush now. 2 miles down to the road and road walk back to the makeshift trailhead was enough for me. I was just exhausted.

Doubt I'll be back here anytime soon. On the same token I enjoyed parts of it very much.
Named place
Named place
Rock Tank
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Rock Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
multiple deep clear pools in the rock lined creek
just trickling yet that amazed me
told by one guy he's seen these with water in the middle of the summer and never dry
_____________________
- joe
HAZ Member
joebartels'
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