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Rock Creek Mazatzal Divide North Peak Loop, AZ
mini location map2014-11-08
30 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
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Rock Creek Mazatzal Divide North Peak Loop, AZ 
Rock Creek Mazatzal Divide North Peak Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Nov 08 2014
friendofThundergod
Backpack24.75 Miles 5,762 AEG
Backpack24.75 Miles2 Days         
5,762 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Chumley and I put this one together rather last minute, however, it still turned out to be a memorable one and just the kind of hike I have grown to love. One is always limited when only planning for one night out, we tossed around a few ideas for Mazzie loops with the "park" being the ultimate objective, however, the miles kept turning out a little higher then wanted. Chumley finally came up with a Rock Creek, North Peak Trail loop option Friday afternoon, it appealed to me and we officially decided to go with that one for the weekend on our way to the TH Saturday morning.

Rock Creek is quite the trail to carry a full pack up, likewise, recent descriptions of its overgrowth at the top and the bushwhack down to the divide remain very accurate. Chumley and I suffered with our shorts decisions, however, Blanco probably suffered the most. The manzinita overgrowth was at a very troublesome height for Blanco and his pack, as well as our shins. Naturally, hitting the AZT Trail was a moment of relief for myself, Chumley, Blanco and Cup.

Chumley had not seen the Deadman Falls area so he suggested a quick detour down the AZT before heading to the park. We were not in a rush and despite really taking our time coming up Rock Creek, we had plenty of time in our afternoon remaining. This section of AZT was all new to me and Horse Camp Seep was definitely worth the short detour. Chumley continued to the Falls area with Blanco, while I rested in at Horse Camp Seep with Cup.

The Mazzie Divide to the park seemed quick. It is probably not the best stretch of AZT Trail in the state, but it was like a highway compared to Rock Creek. As expected, there was no water in close vicinity to the park. However, going on a lead from Richard we were able to locate the "pond" and several small pools along the way. The pond was a very cool little watering hole and offered a nice cap to our long day. Some HAZ appreciation Richard's way for that lead. The park also proved to be a worth destination and turned out to be a great spot for your typical over-night camping experience to include: a cool sunset, some beer, some stories, a large fire and going to bed early.

We knew North Peak Trail was not going to be a walk in the park, no pun intended. But I do not think neither of us expected the higher level of difficulty and route finding that characterized probably the first two miles of the trail. However, the trail did get better and its steep sections seemed to fly by it was capped off by a robust spring or run-off area near Mineral Springs and plenty of drinking by the dogs.

After finishing North Peak Trail, Chumley and I were so frustrated that we chose to go our separate ways! Ok no not really. We had actually decided before hand that Chumley would take an off-trail short cut route he had drawn up on Friday that would represent a much more direct route to the rock creek TH. Meanwhile, I would take the 8 plus miles of road route back to the car. Chumley's route looked solid and was only just under 2 miles of off-trail, but I still chose the much longer road route back. Due in large part because Cup and Blanco were feeling the effects of some some very rugged mazinita filled, cat-claw lined, deadfall littered trails. Similarly, Chumley and I both acknowledge there could still be some unknown to his route, so the road seemed liked the best option for myself and the dogs. The plan was simple first one back to car would drive towards the other, too easy. And believe it or not, it turned out perfectly. I arrived back to the car about seven minutes before Chumley and we were both off the trails before two.

My slightly competitive nature may have led to us beating Chumley back to car. The dogs and I knocked out our final 8 plus mile road section in under 2 hours and 20 minutes. I may have been slightly determined to prove the road was as viable an option as the cross cut. However, as it turns out, both options would probably be just fine. I simply chose road for the dog's sake and perhaps because Rock Creek and North Peak simply knocked the desire for any off-trail right out of me ;)

In the end a great two day trip. It was eventful from the start, rugged but relatively snag free and new territory for both of us. Definitely a nice trip to complete with someone else, certainly some challenging parts, but nothing too overwhelming.
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