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Hellsgate Wilderness from FR 134, AZ
mini location map2015-05-30
36 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Hellsgate Wilderness from FR 134, AZ 
Hellsgate Wilderness from FR 134, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 30 2015
CannondaleKid
Hiking7.00 Miles 1,752 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles   4 Hrs   13 Mns   1.73 mph
1,752 ft AEG      10 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
Again, we could have driven the 4x4 trail from FR 134 to the edge of the wilderness but we were out here to hike, not drive. So we began just a few hundred yards north of FR 134 and followed the ATV tracks to the non-gate at the edge of Hellsgate. (Whatever gate there may have been, at present there's nothing to keep livestock (or ATV's) from entering the wilderness.

We crossed a creek (that eventually feeds into Soldier Camp drainage) right at a point where there were a series of tall pour overs for a total of over a 200 foot drop within a hundred yards of winding clockwise around a large rock outcrop. While it may have looked quite appealing to climbers, we decided to hike on by and possibly attempt climbing from the bottom on the return leg.

To begin with the trail was easy enough to follow but even with a general route on the GPS map there were times when we simply took the easiest route based on the terrain and vegetation we encountered. We passed Pocket Spring and Pocket Tank and climbed the next ridge north, but as warm as it already was (upper 90's... and we thought it would be cooler up here) and the whole hike was in direct sun we decided to turn around. And I still had the Neal Mountain summit hike to do yet today.
:wlift:
On the return we dropped all the way down to the creek bed to see how far up we could go. The route was not easy and it was just like two-steps-forward, one-step-back, except in this case it was two-boulders-up, one-boulder-down. But eventually we came to a 50' drop that pours under a huge chock-stone boulder and realized we had to either go all the way back down and around on the trail, or find another route. We chose shorter in distance as well as time but no less challenging.

The moment we reconnected with the 4x4 trail we stopped to take a break on one of the few smooth rocks with a bit of shade. Between the heat and the effort we decided it was time for an early lunch. Immediately after lunch we had the longest climb of the hike... even though it was on a 'road' it was a very rocky one. I mentioned to Tracey we should have toughed it out another 15 minutes before stopping and it would have been a breeze from there. (She didn't agree.)
:whistle:
Back at the Jeep we sat in cool AC for some time before beginning the real rough drive to Neal Tank, where I'd start my Neal Mountain hike.
(By now Tracey was in "have at it while I have a nice snooze" mode.)

One video:
Hellsgate Wilderness panorama
Flora
Flora
Buckhorn cholla
Fauna
Fauna
Cow
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CannondaleKid
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