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2012-07-17  
Crazy Jug - Esplanade, AZ
mini location map2012-07-17
15 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Crazy Jug - Esplanade, AZ 
Crazy Jug - Esplanade, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 17 2012
Oregon_Hiker
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I just returned from a 10 day car camping/hiking trip to escape the Phoenix heat. This triplog covers the seventh and eighth days of that trip near Crazy Jug Point in the north Kaibab Nat Forest on the rim of the Grand Canyon. My exploration of the area started with visits to some of the canyon view points accessible by forest roads including Timp Pt, N. Timp pt, Indian Hollow, Crazy Jug Pt, and Monument Pt. Near the end of my second day of wandering the forest back roads I was looking for a secluded place to camp. After driving about 2.5 miles on a seldom used track I discovered a great place to camp on the canyon rim between Crazy Jug Point and South Big Saddle Pt. The view from the rim at this location includes the length of Crazy Jug Canyon, Steamboat Mountain to the south and a string of canyon rim points including Parissawampitts pt, Fence Pt, N. Timp Pt and Timp Pt. In the opposite direction away from the rim is an open Ponderosa Pine forest with grassy meadows. Needing a down day to do some laundry and liking the beauty and solitude of this location, I decided to stay two nights.

On the morning of the second day at this site after stringing up my laundry to dry I decided to do some exploring near the campsite. Proceeding along the rim to the east I noticed that the ancient barbed wire fence across a section of the rim had a gate. Walking through the open gate I discovered a foot trail heading down the side of the canyon wall. The trail was not marked and not on either of my two GPS maps of the area. This always raises my curiosity so off I went down the trail feeling secure since I had my day pack with 3 liters of water and my emergency Spot locater. The trail was cut in to the steep talus side wall of the canyon and had a gently downward grade. About a half mile down the trail was the remains of a concrete watering trough so old the walls had crumbled despite steel reinforcing rods. A pipe visible on the steep canyon side above the trail must have supplied water but was now dry. The pipe disappeared underground but was headed in the direction of Crazy Jug Spring about a half mile away.

A short distance from the water trough the trail crossed a point protruding about 150 yards into the canyon. Here I discovered someone's water cach (a Diet Rite Pure One coke bottle) stuffed in the crotch of a juniper tree. Although I had not seen any fresh tracks on the trail, the bottle did not appear to have been there very long and the water smelled fresh. I had also noticed freshly cut branches on a bush that had been partially blocking the trail. Someone had been using this trail, but why, where did it go???

After taking a side trip to explore the point and finding nothing but a good view, I proceeded on down the trail. It abandoned its gentle grade and began a series of steep switch backs straight down a narrow 20-30 foot wide slot towards the canyon floor below. Someone had put alot of effort into building this section of the trail. After proceeding a shortway down the slot the heat wafting up the slot from below overcame my sense of adventure and I reluctantly returned back to camp. It appeared that the trail may provide access to the upper end of Parissawampitts Canyon and Crazy Jug Canyon or at least to a bench between the North Rim and the bottom of P. Canyon. Was the purpose of the trail to provide cattle grazing access to the canyon below? There were barbed wire fences and the old watering trough along the trail which might add credence to that theory. Or, was the trail used to provide access for prospecting? Or, is it just an old hiking trail abandoned by the Forest Service? And who's been using the trail? In Oregon where I come from the users could be pot farmers even in the desert if there is a spring near by (like Crazy Jug Spring) Maybe I'm overly paranoid but that was on my mind when I decided to not proceed further.
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