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Doll Baby Trailhead to LF Ranch, AZ
mini location map2014-12-20
21 by photographer avatartibber
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Doll Baby Trailhead to LF Ranch, AZ 
Doll Baby Trailhead to LF Ranch, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 20 2014
Hiking4.35 Miles 773 AEG
Hiking4.35 Miles   2 Hrs   19 Mns   2.10 mph
773 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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After going from what I thot was Plan A to Plan B we ended up doing our AZT 25 weekend in the right direction which always makes Kathy happy. And it's a good thing we went to Plan A. We set up car tricks between the Trailhead and managed to squeeze Kathy into the back of Karl's vehicle with all the backpacks to make our way from Payson to Doll Baby Trailhead. It's an interesting drive.

We mounted up, took the obligatory "and we're off" photo. It's a nice little road walk initially until those hills start :sweat: . And not knowing how tough the trail road would be tomorrow; this was a cake walk... well not quite but close. There was definitely a chill in the air and we all felt a little weird starting our hike at a little after 1:30 I think.

We walked around one curve and saw a rock cairn below a rock formation. After some discussion of it being a short-cut over the hill, Shawn said he thot it might be the cairn that Hank set up to the ruins. I got a picture and will geocode to see. It seems on these hikes we always congregate at the gates and today was no exception. Was sure glad to see that gate as it meant it was downhill :) for the most part. We did go to the right to a viewpoint looking toward the E Verde River. No doubt it must be beautiful in the Fall. We also discussed if a person could stay lower along the river to avoid the road walk. I never heard what the consensus was on that.

On our way down we passed a desk so Ambika played teacher and gave us a quick "scat" lesson. Not too far from here was another really tall cairn off to the left. We enjoyed our view toward the ranch and to the west as we followed the road down and around finally reaching the ranch boundaries and where the AZT comes in. We skirted the fence to the right and headed toward the river and then turned left. Karl wanted to check out the river crossing. It was very pretty here. We took some photos and then headed into the ranch grounds.

Maryann greeted us which included adult beverages; that was unexpected and so nice. We staked our beds in the bunkhouse and then went outside to check out the grounds. There is some old equipment, found the chickens and soon the peacocks started coming toward the corrals. Tracy asked one of the dogs (don't remember her name) to go get the peacocks so we could get pictures. The dog looked at Tracy like "really, I get to go get the peacocks. oh boy, oh boy" and off she went. She did a great job.

We hung out at the bunkhouse once the sun went down waiting for dinner. Karl put up the party lights which worked out great as there is only one propane light in the bunkhouse. Maryann cooked us up some chicken enchiladas and a terrific salad but best of all, sweet potato pie made in an iron skillet.

The next morning we were treated to an awesome sunrise :y: with peacocks in a tree. Maryann made us a substantial breakfast for our big hike up to the Rim. She walked us to the back of the property, a different entrance and we were off on a very chilly morning for us. Here is a link to the if you'd like to stay there or get a meal while out in the wilderness. Her ranch is 37,000 acres and I think she said there were 150 head of cattle; none of which were nearby.

Have to send the camera to be fixed as there is a mark on the lens (looks like it's on the inside), oh joy! Here is the video: that includes a quick wilderness lesson around the 4:30 mark.
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.
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