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Pine Mountain via Cline TH
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mini location map2013-03-03
58 by photographer avatarFLYING_FLIVER
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Pine Mountain via Cline THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 03 2013
Hiking7.60 Miles 2,433 AEG
Hiking7.60 Miles   7 Hrs   27 Mns   2.10 mph
2,433 ft AEG   3 Hrs   50 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Cline cabin, at the Cline trailhead, is gone. Rangers say vandals burned it down in the 1980s. (I have photos of the cabin circa 1972 & 1973 for reference).

To hike to the top of Pine Mountain from Cline TH, you'll initially hike on Ballantine Trail (AKA Pine Mountain Trail on some TOPO maps). The first 100 ft of the trail is hidden in deep grass and bushes. The initial cairns are gone. The sign, "Ballantine Trail #283" is gone, with only the sign post remaining.

Finding the trail:
From parking go about 50 Ft east of the visible concrete water trough, find that sign-less post, and travel northeast a short distance and you'll see the trail.
Once down the trail about a mile or so, Pine Mountain will be directly to your left.

My route to the top.
My planning included reading the previous HAZ triplogs, (there are only 5). I deduced the following:
I stayed on the actual trail until reaching the subtle saddle in a pine forest (2.6 miles), then I went off trail, making a gradual curve around to the left, a full 145 degrees to the left, and bushwhacked to the top through the pine forest.
That's a huge turn-back, but that track was smooth sailing. Once off trail, my only obstacles were some fallen and charred pine trees. I suggest the same track down also.
If you turn left to go up Pine Mountain earlier, you'll fight through thick, chest high brush most of the way up.

I went up Pine Mountain to find four benchmark disks, all installed in 1946. Three were easy finds and one, the Azimuth Mark for CAMP Triangulation Station, was a nice challenge.
By the way, I found the Azimuth Mark - all by myself. :) (Heck - I was hiking solo - but more on the Azimuth mark below).

I normally try to use the same route the surveyors used, to get to the top of a benchmark mountain. This time, it would be impossible, unless I (paraphrased from datasheet)..... "Started from the DOS S Ranch with 6 horses and used the ranch owner as a guide, and rode for a 6 hour pack." YIKES!

With the rains we've had lately (and snow up there), much of the upper trail to the saddle had alot of water running down the middle of the trail. The trail was doubling as a "babbling brook", and it was a challenge not to slip in the mud. Other than that, it's a good trail, with cairns to guide your way.
Two thirds up the trail, you leave the desert and enter a pine forest. COOL !
Also cool - once off trail, and for long stretches, I was plowing through 6 to 10 inches of deep snow in the pine forest. My desert hiking boots didn't know what to think.

What's not cool - due to a 2005 fire, the whole pine forest you hike through has fire damage. New shrub and brush growth is coming back nicely, but the trees will take alot longer. Watch where you step or you'll come back with black soot all over you.

The top of Pine Mountain is a concave plateau - not a pointy peak. Very few tall pine trees live on that concave plateau top. CAMP Triangulation Station and reference marks #1 and #2, are at the highest point, on huge boulders, on the north end of the plateau. I hiked south, through that fire damaged plateau, almost to its end, in search of the Azimuth Mark. The Azimuth Mark was also installed on a huge boulder.

Earlier, I stated I found the Azimuth Mark, "all by myself", and I did - by using the 1946 surveyor's datasheet information etc.
However, I had a guaranteed, ironclad backup plan to locate the azimuth mark. If for some reason I couldn't locate it using my normal means, I'd use the LAT/LONG that Southpawaz alluded to (on another website). He had already found CAMP Azimuth Mark last year, and gave the LAT/LONG in his find. Thanks for my backup, Southpawaz. :) As it turned out I didn't need it, but a backup plan is always good.

The hike was a success and hiking through a pine forest and snow, that close to the desert was a treat, even though Smokey The Bear can't be happy about all the fire damage.
After many photos on what turned out to be a very cloudy day, I hiked back down using the same track. There was even more water going down the trail than earlier in the day. That snow is melting fast.
Named place
Named place
Four Peaks Mount Ord Pine Mountain
Fire Burn Area & Recovery
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost
HAZ Member
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