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Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25
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mini location map2015-04-15
8 by photographer avatarpjhikes
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Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2015
pjhikes
Hiking40.00 Miles 1,284 AEG
Hiking40.00 Miles
1,284 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
With thanks to my neighbor for allowing me to use his trailer in Pine as a base camp, I was able to do passages 26, 27 and 28 as day hikes, with car shuttles. My hiking partner Jamie and I meet up at the Geronimo trailhead to park a car on Wednesday after the drive up from Phoenix, and then drove my car back to the Pine trailhead for a short hike the first day on passage 27. Some nice views to the south, a well marked trail, and cool weather made it a nice start for the week. Saw the biggest horned lizard I have ever seen, and a snake (not rattler) that was moving slowly across the trail. Loved Weber Creek at the end of this passage - with it's lovely purple flowers along the way, and beautiful water flowing (some great looking campsites to explore next time I am up that way too). Then took Jamie's car back to get my car at the Pine trailhead to get to our overnight at the trailer near Pine.

Next day we took a car to Washington Park and then went back to Geronimo to start day two on passage 27. This was my favorite hike of the whole trip. Lots of water flowing in all of the creeks, and a nice variety of scenery. We would be hiking over rocks close to the rim, and then in pines along creeks. . . I was smiling almost the whole time I hiked this section - my kind of trail. Made good time and then headed back to Pine for a beer and dinner at THAT Brewery. A great day! :)

Day three took us out to Hardscrabble passage (#26) - with cars at each end. I wasn't looking forward to this passage (except for Oak Spring), fearing the ankle twisting rocks and road walking, but it surprised me by being a nice hike after all - not my favorite, but fairly easy and some nice views of the rim and to the south along the way. Early into this passage a couple of thru hikers (Hiker Box and Heart Breaker) caught up to us and we all hikes together the rest of the way. It was great to talk to them about their trip so far, and they helped us to pick up our pace that day too. We shared some food and water with them since they had just come through the Mazatzal wilderness and had the scratches to show for it. They were hiking hungry into Pine. Another thru hiker caught up to us at the end (Bird Food), so we gave all three a ride into town to get supply boxes and find a place to stay before heading back to get the car left at the start of our hike. Then another dinner at THAT Brewery.

Day four was a long car shuttle day since we had already hike the first 7 miles (or so) of passage 28 in a previous trip. So we parked a car at the end of passage #28 and drove to FR 123A north of FR 300 (rim road) to start our hike that day. Such a lovely passage thru the pines, down into the pretty dry clear creek and then up and along the Blue Ridge. Cool weather, clouds, and a breeze (that helped keep the gnats away) made it a lovely day. We headed back to the car on the rim and moved it to General Springs and left it overnight and went back to the trailer in Pine. The next day we headed to Washington Park for the last two miles of passage 27, up the rim, to get to the car we left up there. I was kind of dreading the climb up the rim, but it wasn't bad at all (I guess the only thing we have to fear is fear itself). The last half mile up was steep with some loose rocks, but very doable after all. I am glad we were slack packing it, and that we went uphill instead of down (I hate going down on loose rocks!). Then we had the long car shuttle back to Washington Park to get the other car before heading back to Phoenix.

Great hikes, great weather, but I am now spoiled with the trailer (showers at the end of each day, hot food, and a warm bed). But at the same time I kind of missed the backpacking part and camping (but it was cold at night, so I was very happy to have the trailer). The long distance hikers I talked to all rated the AZT among the best - so I feel privileged to have it in our back yard and glad to be able to section hike my way across the state. I have almost 170 miles of it done now, and looking forward to some great summer trips in the higher passages. When I have more time I will add some photos.
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