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Huachuca Mountains - AZT #1
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mini location map2012-07-05
18 by photographer avatarjohnlp
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Huachuca Mountains - AZT #1Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 05 2012
Hiking23.20 Miles 5,090 AEG
Hiking23.20 Miles   7 Hrs   5 Mns   3.28 mph
5,090 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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Again, never a dull moment with JJ. Things started out with a nice drive down to Parker Canyon Lake where our hike the next day would conclude. John's plan was to find someone to shuttle us up to the trailhead near the Mexican border. We drove by the campground near the lake, but there were only three sites occupied and none of the people looked promising for a shuttle ride. Next we drove by the end of the AZT #1 segment. There are a few houses nearby so John tried knocking on a door. After nicely framing our story of hiking the Arizona trail and needing a ride, for which we would pay a nice sum, it was obvious that these folks were not too interested in helping with the shuttle. Then we happened by a cabin where Geno and his wife were enjoying a libation on the 4th of July. Geno explained he is a canoe guy and knows all about shuttles. He has done the Verde River many times. Geno agrees to take us back to the trailhead the next afternoon. We tell him we will be there about two o'clock, and if we are not there by four to assume that the rainy weather has prevented us from hiking. John and I felt relieved to have found a shuttle. Next we wanted to check out the gravel road up to Montezuma Pass and the trailhead. It is 19 miles from the lake to the pass. Once we got about 5 miles in the Jeep started making a loud rattling noise. We thought it was a damaged mount for his transmission. It turned out to be one of his front brakes. A bolt that holds the caliper bracket on had fallen out. At that point the wheel would not spin in a forward direction. Fortunately the Jeep could still travel in reverse. John tried a couple times to put a small branch in the bolt hole to support the caliper. After a short distance the branches would brake off, so we gave up on that idea. By now it was dark. Not many good options were available, so we decide to start driving backards to Sierra Vista where we might be able to get a bolt the next morning. It was tough driving backwards in the dark. Hard to see and hard on the neck from turning and looking out the back window. After a while we teamed up on the driving. John steered while seated looking out the back window and I ran the gas and brakes. This worked great until we failed to negotiate a tight corner and got pinned up against a guardrail. Easy to get off if you can drive forward. We could not. After about 15 minutes we finally got far enough away from the guardrail to continue on our jouney. We soon discovered our ony hope of making it to Sierra Vista was to go through the base at Fort Huachuca. We arrived at the west gate at 11 PM. Suprisingly, the guards did not draw their weapons when we rolled in backwards. They were ready to allow us to drive the 8 miles through the fort with a MP escort when somebody higher up decided the risk of accident was too great. We were stuck at the west gate. Our only two real options were to get a cab or a tow. We opted for the cab. Once we got a room in Sierra Vista, John decided we'd be better off towing the Jeep to the dealership instead of taking a cab back to Fort Huachuca with a new bolt in the morning. John got back with the Jeep at 1:30 AM. We slept untill 6 AM, ate some breakfast, and walked to the dealership to get a bolt when they opened at 7 AM. When I arrived John was talking to the parts guy who was telling him they didn't have a bolt. Bummer. He said one of the mechanics might have something in his toolbox, but he was with another customer. Our window for geting to hike the AZT was closing rapidly. We needed to start hiking soon or we wouldn't have a chance of finishing by 4 o'clock, and getting a ride back with Geno. After waiting 45 minutes without seeing the mechanic, John jumps up from his seat and says let's go. While we were waiting, the mechanic had found a used bolt and made the repair gratis! John left him a nice tip and we were on our way. We knew we had to average over 3 mph to finish hiking by 4 PM. No peak bagging or breaks allowed. We strolled up to Geno's place a few minutes before 4 o'clock. Genos was still waiting for us! Geno and I had a quick beer and we were on our way. I had my doubts at times, but Geno was able to keep his vehicle on the road and delivered us safely through a driving rain to the waiting Jeep at Montezuma Pass. Quite an ordeal for a hike. Never a dull moment. The hike itself is awesome. Mountains, trees, mines, flowers. Beautiful. Thanks to John for his perseverence, enginuity, and generosity to make this hike happen. :)
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