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Horsethief Bench & Buckhead Canyon, AZ
mini location map2015-04-25
21 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Horsethief Bench & Buckhead Canyon, AZ 
Horsethief Bench & Buckhead Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2015
CannondaleKid
Hiking5.60 Miles 1,539 AEG
Hiking5.60 Miles   3 Hrs   10 Mns   1.92 mph
1,539 ft AEG      15 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
After our quick hike hike to check out the second ruin site near Doll Baby TH we drove north on FR 209A just over 3 miles where we turned off on an old Jeep trail leading to Horsethief Tank.

The first part of the road wasn't too bad, but the closer we got to Horsethief Tank the worse it got. Then just under a mile from our hoped-for campsite we came to a steep hill which was very intimidating. The first thing Tracey said was I don't like the looks of this at all! However, as far as I was concerned, hiking up the hill would have been every bit as dangerous, and there wasn't any flat spot to camp right there.

So, with the Jeep in low range and both lockers engaged we crawled up the hill until a lack of traction stopped us at the first big step, about 3' high. I rolled back just far enough to see if I had any other options, only to see a large rock that had been ahead of a rear wheel as the fronts were trying to climb up the shelf. Ok, so we just avoid that rock and try again. Slowly but surely and without so much as one slip, we were onto the next obstacle, and with similar care and no issues we were up the hill and continued on to our planned campsite some distance past the tank.

We quickly set up the tent and set off on our hike north along Horsethief Bench. Although we found plenty of evidence of elk traffic, we would see nothing but a hawk and a jackrabbit the whole hike. There was no hiking trail but with numerous game trails the biggest problem was which trail to follow.

While the hike itself wasn't much to write home about, at least we were outside and enjoying the come-and-go partly cloudy day. We went northward until taking a short jaunt to ascend an unnumbered peak to the east, where we ate lunch before beginning the return leg. We reached the campsite with barely over 4 miles covered so we decided to do some wandering around to the south along with a jaunt back down the bad hill to a large pour-over I noticed when we drove across the creek in Buckhead Canyon.

Back at the campsite it began to rain... not much at first, but then a bit more... and off and on, and then a steady rain. As we were moving around preparing for our evening meal we found the mud building up on our shoes with every step. The consistency of the mud began to stir something less-than-optimal in my mind... if it continued to rain overnight there were a number of areas we could have a real problem with on the ay back out, especially since we didn't have the winch along and the set of tires I just put on (I switch back and forth every 5-6,000 miles).

So now it was time to quickly pack up a by-now wet campsite. With the sun about to set it was a good thing we headed out when we did or I'm convinced we could have been stuck out there for a while. As it was, there were a few times when it took a few attempts before getting past some bothersome obstacles on the greasy hills. But with care and preventing wheel-spin at all costs we made it safely out to FR209A and from there it was reasonably clear sailing.

Ok, so we bailed out on staying overnight, but then Tracey was a bit worried about a cold night... since I somehow managed to forget to pack our sleeping bags.
:doh:
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Buckhead Canyon
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