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Rock Creek North Peak Loop, AZ
mini location map2014-11-08
29 by photographer avatarchumley
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Rock Creek North Peak Loop, AZ 
Rock Creek North Peak Loop, AZ
Backpack avatar Nov 08 2014
Backpack23.02 Miles 6,634 AEG
Backpack23.02 Miles1 Day   5 Hrs   51 Mns   
6,634 ft AEG
1st trip
Lee wanted to see "The Park". Not sure of his logic, but he wanted to hike from Peeley or Barnhart or something to get there. I suggested Rock Creek. I mapped out an off-trail return from the North Peak trailhead to make for a nice loop.

Rock Creek:
This trail is incredibly well built. It is so well-constructed, that just a little bit of maintenance would restore it to near-new status. Somebody has been doing that. Not sure if it's the FS or somebody local, but the trail has now been completely cleared for the first 2.75 miles. In fact, the last half mile or so appeared to have been trimmed within the past month. All the trimmed branches were along the trail and still had leaves on them. Kudos to whomever is doing this maintenance, and hopefully it continues! The west side of the divide is easy to follow for a while ... before disappearing almost completely near Hopi Spring. Luckily you can simply hike straight down hill until you hit the AZT.

Horse Creek Camp/Deadman Falls:
Never having been there, I decided a quick detour would be worth it. The falls were mostly dry, but still an impressive sight. Horse Creek Camp has an awesome camp site, and really scenic slickrock pools. It was almost warm enough to swim.

Mazzy Divide Trail:
The trail climbs gently for a couple of miles before crossing a ridge below peak 7105. The views from up here are incredible. The Park comes into view and we knew it was all downhill to camp from there. We passed what should be the junction for the Willow Springs Trail, where a small AZT sign pointed the right way ... though there didn't appear to be any other way to go. I'm not sure what kind of travel Willow Springs gets, but at least at this junction it looks like it might be a chore to follow.

The Park:
We spent the night at the park. It's a dry camp, but a 15-minute off-trail trip down Wet Bottom Creek brings you to Pete's Pond, which appears to be a pretty reliable source of water. We actually found water much sooner in the creek bottom, but that is certainly just a seasonal occurrence. After a long day, we had a good fire, but it was only hot enough to completely melt the beer cans, only halfway destroying the dog food can. Probably helps that it only burned for 2 hours before I couldn't stay awake any longer!

North Peak Trail:
In the morning we headed out on North Peak, losing the route a few times on the top half as it is well-overgrown. But it was clearly also a well built trail and if you look for it, it's really not that tough to find and follow. We were surprised at how much of this trail is flat/up/down before really heading down hill. And when it does, boy does it go downhill! But the views on this trail are second to none. A couple of military jets flew by at about our altitude which was entertaining. The water at Mineral Spring and the last section of trail on the old road were a welcome relief from steep grade we had just finished.

Completing the Loop:
Cup was limping and Blanco had had a rough trip pushing his backpack through manzanita, so Lee made the right choice to keep them on the road. I was still interested in my off-trail shortcut so we split up with the plan to meet back at the truck. My trip went well, but there were a few more drainages than the topo map showed, and after almost 20 miles so far, fighting through those drainages and climbing the extra 1200 feet of AEG while still carrying a 25+ pound backpack was exhausting. When I reached the saddle by Boyd Mountain, I knew I was home free.

About 7 minutes before I was due to arrive, I heard Lee honking the horn. I felt defeated. He had hiked 8.5 miles in less time than I had hiked 4.8. ](*,)

All things considered ... it was an awesome weekend in a new area for me. Thanks to mazatzal for the 411 on Pete's Pond, which really was the key to it all working out as well as it did. :worthy:
Fig - Common
Campsite Tree Tags
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light

dry Center Creek Dry Dry
No sign of water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Collom Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Didn't look for spring source, but drainage had plentiful pools with some light flow in the spring area.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Deadman Canyon Falls - North Fork Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Some moisture was visible lower in the rocks. Some small pools above the falls. But no flow.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Horse Camp Seep Dripping Dripping
Not much visible flow, but plenty of water in pools.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max House Place Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Didn't look for source, but drainage had plenty of pools of water with trickle of flow.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Mineral Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Didn't seek the source, but water was lightly flowing in the drainage for several hundred yards before going underground. Many pools were available for filtering.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Pete's Pond 76-100% full 76-100% full
Plentiful water. It was a little bit cloudy, but filtered well and tasted great.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Rock Creek Falls @ 6,100 Ft Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Plenty of water in the pools. Just barely flowing over the falls though.

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