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Gila River Canyons - AZT #16
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mini location map2012-05-26
14 by photographer avatarJuanJaimeiii
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Gila River Canyons - AZT #16Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar May 26 2012
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking37.26 Miles 7,098 AEG
Hiking37.26 Miles   12 Hrs   6 Mns   3.17 mph
7,098 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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johnlp
A window of opportunity opened up with a weather break and the 16-17 AZT combo seemed to be a perfect fit for a nice long day hike. I always enjoy hiking with JohnLP and asked him if he would like to come along. We met up at Picket Post at 4am and set up the shuttle. Down to Kelvin we went and we were off.

Now there is one discrepancy here that should be noted. All information on passage 16 still has this section starting at the actual Kelvin bridge. The driving directions however take you to the new trailhead that is currently in the final stages of being completed. We started from the new trailhead rather than from the bridge so completing 15 will require we finish at that spot as well.

As for the hike, the Arizona Trail Association really out did themselves on this one. Wow, the section that they reworked was completed in a first class fashion. In fact it is so nice it almost doesn't jive with the rest of the Arizona Trail experience. I'm not saying the rest is bad it just isn't cut by machine in a perfect manner.

Walking along the trail next to the Gila was really enjoyable. I saw a ranch off in the distance (the A-Diamond Ranch) that had my name written all over it. When we reached Walnut Canyon we continued on straight when we should have taken a sharp left. It cost us a 1/2 mile each way and had we continued we would have been on the old trail. There were cairns and a ribbon in a tree but the AZT signs just simply aren't up yet. Clearly this is in the works and that shouldn't be a problem going forward.

Once we reached the correct point to turn north it was sad to leave the river and the RR tracks. This slice of heaven however was quickly replaced by majestic mountain formations and rock features that had tons of visual interest. There were also signs of previous mining activity along the way. It is here that the trail begins its steepest climb. While it is a good workout the effort is secondary to the sights and the terrain that you encounter.

All in all I really enjoyed Passage 16. They don't make it easy to do by itself as the northern end would be hard to reach or impossible by car. With this being the case we simply made it a combo with 17.

This passage (17) came with much less effort in the way of elevation gain. Once we crossed Telegraph Canyon Road we refilled our water with a cache that I had placed the day prior. From there it was an easy cruise on in to the finish line. We were hoping to make it in under 12 hours but the last mile or so just snaked back and forth too much for that to happen. Had we not made a wrong turn and gone down to check out the train bridge we would have been well under that number.

John is a great hiking buddy and was a real trooper on this one. He didn't even complain a bit when he got a blister and when I wouldn't let him stop to take a lunch break. Ha

Thanks for joining me on this one John and I hope you got a little AZT bug. I know I sure do!
Fauna
Fauna
Gopher Snake
Named place
Named place
A-Diamond Ranch Picketpost Mountain
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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