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Arizona National Guard Mascot, AZ
mini location map2014-11-12
45 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Arizona National Guard Mascot, AZ 
Arizona National Guard Mascot, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 12 2014
Hiking2.90 Miles 1,040 AEG
Hiking2.90 Miles   1 Hour   51 Mns   1.72 mph
1,040 ft AEG      10 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After getting a bunch of work done on the Jeep and the spill I took on my Blue Peak hike a few days ago left me with a few tasks... make sure the Cherokee is all set for the trip out to AZT #17 TH this weekend and make sure my ankle and left knee were up to the hiking and trail maintenance. But where to drive and where to hike to accomplish both tasks?

Then kingsnake and skillpore's AZNG mascot photosets and triplogs provided a hint, and I took it from there. I could give the Cherokee a good workout and take on some rough terrain for the hike. And being as it would be short distances for both, if things didn't go as planned, I wouldn't be out in the middle of nowhere.

So, I took the rock-crawler route out to the spot across the Salt River from Bagley Flat, then hiked a relatively direct route southeast to the mascot. On the hike out I deviated from my plan almost immediately when I saw what looked to be a cave... until I got close to it and found it was a shadow. But no matter, I had an easier time climbing to the first ridge than if I had taken the planned route up. Then it was just a matter of following a series of ridges out to the mascot.

Almost the same time as I noticed two large caves (not shadows this time) I saw a number of piles of scat on a well-beaten game trail that looked suspiciously like mountain lion scat. So, another deviation to follow the trail as it led directly to the caves... only to find them both empty, and it appeared they had been for some time. Oh well, back up to the ridge to continue on.

Eventually it was time to descend some distance to reach the mascot location. A couple times I was fooled by overlooks that seemed to fit what it had looked like from below when I was out here earlier this year. But eventually I located it, only to find the flagpole had broken and the flags (US & AZ) laying on the ground.
I took a number of photos of the mascot before setting the flagpole up, hopefully to hold for a while before it can be repaired. Unfortunately the pole was made up of very thin tubing, like would be used on a cheap clothes-pole, so it's no wonder it didn't hold up to the wind and weather.
Mission accomplished, at least for the hike, so now it was time to hustle back so I wouldn't be driving out from Butcher Jones after sunset when it would be closed. I took a slightly different route on the return drive and had a bit of fun (the challenging-type of fun) climbing up a few slopes so steep the front wheels were coming off the ground, leaving me with two-wheel drive.
At least that meant more weight was on the rear wheels and taking it VERY carefully, making sure not to spin the tires or let the front end bounce, I made it up safely.

So the verdict after the drive-n-hike-n-drive? The Cherokee is definitely up to snuff, and neither my ankle or knee bothered me... yes they were still in pain, but manage-ably so.

What an awesome day for a hike... even mid-to-late afternoon it was in the mid-70's. Perfect!
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