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Highline - AZT #26
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mini location map2014-05-04
15 by photographer avatartibber
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Highline - AZT #26Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 04 2014
Hiking4.00 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
Linked none no linked trail guides
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didn't have a thing on my agenda this weekend except a trip to strength class at the club on Sunday. Ambika called on Wed and asked if I wanted to go to Pine for the AZT event. I said yes as long as we could get a hike in as I needed to workout.

We met at Ft McDowell Casino to leave her car and we took MYTONTO Jr up north to cool off. On the way we admired the sun-kissed palo verde on an east facing hill as the sun was just barely shining down on this side. We also passed a fire area where a semi-truck had apparently caught fire and the Hazmat team was out. The only thing left was the chassis :o ; not even a burned shell. Don't know where the cab was?

We arrived at That Brewery as they were sponsoring the AZT Gateway Event. I dropped off Ambika and checked in to the Windmill Corner hotel at Strawberry after driving by it and clear up the hill (no place to turn around once I realized there was no more Strawberry ](*,) ). Back at That Brewery I offered what little help to finish setting the table and info and signs up.
Soon we met Wade and Mary Jo and their friends (and next door neighbors). Little did we know what fun they would be altho Wade's voice was still iffy (left over from his Colorado River trip).... but Mary Jo made up for it; such a pleasure! Learned a lot more about them and we all had a lot in common. Also met Sirena's dad (her support like he did in 2009 when she did the AZT). What a great dad! : app : The Mother Road Trio was the music for the evening; quite good! I kept wanting to call them the Mother Lode Trio though ;) .

The next morning we set up the booth/table area for the AZT at the Pine Trailhead as this was Pine-Strawberry Trail Days Celebration. There were other booths there including Tonto Search and Rescue, Sherriff's Dept, WWII fly to memorial booth, a radio station, forest service and a couple others.

Then finally the llamas came. We got our introduction and headed to the booth area before heading up the trail. We didn't go very fast as the llamas found the side of the trail much more fun than the trail itself and people would switch leading the llamas from time to time.

At the intersection with the Highline Trail we decided to go up the trail while the others continued on the other trail. Sirena was leading one of the llamas and as the group had continued, her llama decided they needed to make a run for it. I tell ya, it was :sl: watching Sirena stay with him but she did.
(An interesting note about these llamas is they did not mind all of the people around them (there were a dozen of us) and you could walk right behind them without worry about getting kicked. They really were quite docile for the most part other than when they wanted to scratch themselves IN the bushes.

And now it was up the trail and then really UP and UP and UP :sweat: with a few catch-your-breath breaks along the way. The trail is dirt and rocks but mostly bigger rocks. It seemed fairly stable and was fairly easy for your feet to hold onto unlike the Chasm Trail I had been on a couple weeks earlier. We eventually decided we got decent enough cardio and it was starting to get hotter because of the later start so we turned around and headed back down the hill.

Once we got to the flatter area we saw and could hear birds. Wade thot we might have come upon a gang war between the jays and woodpeckers. The Jays were huge and the Woodpeckers were of the Acorn variety. They were all flying between the trees and onto trees to move the other species away. It was quite something to watch :) . I also spotted another littler bird with somewhat of an orange chest and yellow on it too.

Mary Jo likes to geocache so we hit two of those on the way back. I've never geocached so it was fun to see where they were hidden :-k . Soon we could see the tops of the booths. Sirena, already back, suggested that she was hungry, well starved really, so it was time to find food. We (8 of us) went to Randall House only to leave (cuz apparently we didn't follow the rules :oplz: ) and went down the street to Early Bird where we had our water, coffee and food within the 1/2 hour. The food was big helpings and tasted great!

What a nice way to spend a quick weekend :y: . It was so great to meet new people; especially Wade and Mary Jo. Wade and I met via a PM about retrieving his titanium spoon at Reavis Ranch and we've stayed in touch since. They both had great stories and had just come off the Colorado River trip so it was great to get more details about that plus Sirena will be working the river this summer and Ambika will be doing her river trip in mid-Sept.

Hope you enjoy the video and yes I did interview Walter, the eldest llama (27) as we were walking on the trail: (it is still being stabilized by youtube so not quite available yet)

Next Gateway Event:

To donate (and you can get some swag like some really cool socks etc) Join Sirena on her campaign to raise $20,000 to protect, maintain, and support the Arizona National Scenic Trail!
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
HAZ Member
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