|Dutchman Trail/Pre-Alignment, AZ|
|Dutchman Trail/Pre-Alignment, AZ|| |
Dutchman Trail/Pre-Alignment, AZ
|Hiking||6.18 Miles|| 3 Hrs 52 Mns ||3.04 mph|
|921 ft AEG|| 1 Hour 50 Mns Break||18 LBS Pack|
|This hike was “Plan B” - PLAN A hike was postponed, until the forest service got done with their once-a-year, re-grading/smoothing of the road I wanted to use (Hewitt Canyon Rd).
My “Plan B” hike was based on my curiosity as to whether there were any visual signs left of an earlier trail alignment section of the Dutchman Trail. I partially succeeded in finding an earlier alignment.
About a month ago I hiked down the Dutchman trail from Peralta TH into Barkley Basin, then off trail to the west, to find Circle Azimuth Mark. (Circle Triangulation Station is atop Coffee Flat Mountain). The surveyors (1946) placed this azimuth mark in the valley near Miners Needle, and it was placed (surveyor’s words in 1946, and again in 1967) “3 feet from the trail”. That was 3 feet from an earlier alignment of the trail, and not 3 Feet from the present Dutchman Trail that many of us use today.
Well, I found the Circle Azimuth Mark on that earlier hike and was a happy camper, since the clues to the azimuth’s location made for a “needle-in-a-haystack” kind of thing.
The only fact I knew of the previous alignment location was that it went directly by the Circle Azimuth Mark, and I now knew exactly where the azimuth disk was located. Its location (now) would be considered way off any existing trail, but 50 years ago the azimuth was right next to (surveyors words), “the trail”.
(Who knows, possibly that’s in an era when “the trail” was actually called “Miners Trail” and “Miners Canyon” led to Miners Summit as depicted on some TOPO maps)
So today I started on the Dutchman Trail at Peralta TH, and went left (west), in Barkley Basin to transition to what I think was an original trail alignment.
There’s actually no visual signs of the transition point from present to original trail. I just used a little common sense and aimed northwest toward the, still in place, Circle Azimuth Mark.
I travelled off-trail in a straight line to the azimuth mark, with very few obstacles in my way. It easily could have been the route of the original trail. I got so close to Miners Needle, it didn’t even look like Miners Needle anymore. Once at the azimuth mark I continued northwest to that large wash, where I found an easy crossing, and continued way past Miners Needle. I then had to stop.
The brush started to get way too thick for me to even pretend to know where the trail went from there. What ever it’s route was up “Miners Canyon” towards Miners Summit from that point, would be a very steep route. Maybe that’s the reason for the re-alignment 50 years ago, with those now present switchbacks going up the far eastern side of the canyon, near Coffee Flat Mountain.
At the thick brush, I turned around and hiked back southeast to the Circle Azimuth Mark, then southeast to the present trail, on the supposed original old trail route. It was fun to travel over ground that might have been used a long time ago, by hikers and also cowboys from the Quarter Circle Ranch. I know the cowboys used the Dutchman trail (Miners Trail ?) alot, to round up their grazing cattle, that would roam up the summit and find their way to water in the Bluff Spring trail area.
Some hikers saw me moving around “off-trail” and probably thought I was lost and confused.
-- I get that alot, but NAHH ! - I was just trying to demystify things.
Yes, it was kind of a strange reason to hike, but it turned out to be a very good “Plan B” hike for me.
|Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost|