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Horsethief Basin East Fort South Fort Loop, AZ
mini location map2015-05-17
45 by photographer avatarNightstalker
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Horsethief Basin East Fort South Fort Loop, AZ 
Horsethief Basin East Fort South Fort Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 17 2015
Nightstalker
Hiking5.84 Miles 1,332 AEG
Hiking5.84 Miles   3 Hrs   53 Mns   2.31 mph
1,332 ft AEG   1 Hour   21 Mns Break16 LBS Pack
 
Partners none no partners
I was looking to bag East Fort in the Castle Creek Wilderness for quite some time now. My buddy Dodson was in town from Pennsylvania and a trip to Crown King and Horsethief Basin seemed to fit the bill.

The drive up to Crown King was good. The section of road from Crown King to FR52 was really bad. FR52 out to Horsethief Basin was muddy in spots (it rained and snowed on Friday) but was generally in better condition then the short stretch from Crown King. You totally need a high clearance vehicle past Crown King right now.

We parked on FR52 and hiked down the old access road to East Fort Trail #31 as was suggested in the previous trip logs. That was a good thing since the road going in quickly turned impassable, as least for me and my Jeep! Following Trail #31 was easy enough, it is well worn and well cairned in the rocky sections. We saw at least a half dozen horned lizards between the Jeep and FR696. Returning the way we came we followed a fire break straight up the side of a hill that eventually turned into FR696. Once on top, FR696 turns into a nice jeep road and descends gradually to the South Fort Trail. South Fort trail is super short and easy to follow. We then followed FR696 back to FR52 and the Jeep. Great loop! Awesome views! Perfect weather! Headed up to the fire tower and chatted with the Ranger. Then into Crown King General Store to pick up some of the best fudge in the state and off to the Saloon for some burgers and beers. It doesn't get any better than this!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
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