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Azt 23 & 24, AZ
mini location map2014-11-07
40 by photographer avatarslowandsteady
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Azt 23 & 24, AZ 
Azt 23 & 24, AZ
Backpack avatar Nov 07 2014
Backpack38.98 Miles 6,565 AEG
Backpack38.98 Miles3 Days         
6,565 ft AEG
1st trip
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After leaving a vehicle at the Doll Baby Trailhead and then getting into the Peeley Trailhead, we started our trip at the crack of 10am. At the wilderness boundary sign we ran into three people about to complete a two night backpack.
This was new trail for me and the AZT data page said we would get to do the following on the way to Bear Spring: Saddle, Ridge, Ridge, Washout, Saddle, Saddle, Ridge, Ridge, Saddle, Saddle. Scott and I lost count but figured we'd have a 50/50 chance of coming up on a Saddle or a Ridge.
The Bear Spring camping area was inviting. We spent some time at the spring and regrouped. Then it was two miles to the Y-Bar. It felt good to arrive on familiar territory. It was after 4pm and we had a bit over four miles to go to Chilson. There was a brief discussion of camping near the Brody Seep trail junction. I was stubborn and wanted to get to Chilson. After seeing it a few weeks ago, I really wanted to stay there. By the time we hit the Barnhart trail junction, it was full on dark. We sent Karl on ahead to start the campfire while Scott and I filtered water and tried to stay upright on the rocky and weedy trail down to the Chilson turnoff. We could see Karl at the campfire as we waddled down the trail. The last time Scott stayed at Chilson was 1976, when he was 13!
This weekend was to be my first attempt at camping without a tent. Friday night was perfect conditions for this test. It wasn't too cold, I even unzipped the sleeping bag a bit in the night. The near full moon kept everything lit up like a giant night light, so I could see what was going on around me.
We headed out for day two by 8:30am. Our first stop was the lookout over Deadman Falls. The water wasn't running this time, but there were pools to filter from. Our next stop was Horse Camp Seep. Then a mile up, Karl found water at Hopi Spring. Then it is a good mile climb up to Rocky Ridge. This is a great area, wonderful lunch time views, except Karl said no lunch until The Park. It was about 2.5 miles down to The Park, where we took an extended break and had lunch and tended to various foot needs. The end of AZT #23.
AZT #24 started with a three mile climb and hike across a ridge where you learn why they call it the Red Hills. We took a break at the Red Hills trail junction, where we turned off of the Mazatzal Divide Trail. We dropped down about 500 feet in the next mile and a half. There were lots of downed trees, but the trail had been cleared nicely. We came upon some pools of water and decided we were ready to be done for the day. I always wondered why it looked like people camped and had campfires right on a trail. Well, that was us on this night! Good enough, we are beat! It was cooler this night, but I still didn't wish I had a tent.
Day 3, we were still packing up and drinking coffee when a girl section hiking south bound came through. She had intended to get to Sunflower but was considering bailing out via Minearal Creek, the lack of water was making her nervous. She had said there was no water at Brush Springs. Due to her water report, Karl filtered extra, to make sure we didn't have a bad day.
It was a good climb up to the Brush Springs trail junction. And then, we go up to go down, so then down we went for two miles to the Brush Spring area. This would be a very inviting campsite. Karl hunted around and found Brush Spring and a pool of water. That poor girl, must have given up too early, or she needs a Karl to hunt around.
The AZT data page just says it is six miles from Brush Spring to LF Ranch. They fail to mention you climb up to a ridge, drop down to a wash, climb up to a ridge and then drop drop drop to go up a small hill and then arrive at LF Ranch's driveway. As you drop down from the first ridge, you can see a trail going up to the other side of the canyon. Then you realize that you are going to have to make that climb.
The original plan was to hike out the four miles of road to Doll Baby Trailhead. Scott was having serious foot issues. Karl and I headed down to the East Verde to complete #24, while Scott went to see if he could sweet talk his way into a ride. Arriving at East Verde was picture worthy even if we did miss full fall colors by a week or so. As we headed back up to the road, we could hear a truck. Maryanne was nice enough to give us a ride back to our car. That road is pretty brutal and took an hour to drive four miles. Maryanne had three dogs in the back of her truck. She let them out at the trailhead to stretch their legs. We played some fetch and got puppy kisses from her newest, only 12 weeks old. It was a pretty good ending to a pretty good weekend in the Mazatzals!
Camp-fire Campsite
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