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Aztec Peak Wandering Loop, AZ
mini location map2015-09-11
10 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Aztec Peak Wandering Loop, AZ 
Aztec Peak Wandering Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 11 2015
Hiking4.90 Miles 1,450 AEG
Hiking4.90 Miles   3 Hrs   4 Mns   1.69 mph
1,450 ft AEG      10 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
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After a few hours of rest-and-refueling we were ready for another wandering hike, but like the previous one to the ruin site, we just kept on going, and going, and what do you know, we'd used up three hours.

We began by following a very old and well-overgrown (almost non-existent) 'road' until it degraded to a series of elk trails. First we came upon a mud-hole with very fresh sign of elk activity. And there within 25 feet of the mud-hole a hunter had set up his tree-stand, some 15 feet off the ground.
And yes, as AZ Game & Fish says, while it is legal, it is not very sportsmanlike. No kidding!
Whatever... we continued following the major elk trails until we ended up on Trail 160 just west of the Carr TH. But instead of turning back along Trail 160 we continued west, dropping down into the canyon until we reached the intersection with Rim Trail 139, which we decided to follow for a little bit. (Remember that for a few more paragraphs...)
Just after passing Trailside Spring I spotted something slightly out-of-place and stopped short, just in time for an Arizona Black Rattlesnake to sound an alarm. I took one quick photo then turned on the video. Unfortunately with so much vegetation along the trail it wasn't the best video. Tracey was shooting a another video from a ways behind me, but again, between me and the vegetation she got almost nothing.
Oh well, let's keep moving... except the rattler didn't want to move and Tracey didn't want to walk close to it so I had to lift it up with one of my hiking poles to get it off the trail. Man, that guy was HEAVY! And thick as well. But I did get it far enough off the trail for Tracey to pass.
From then on, I was keeping a look out for more rattlers in anticipation, while Tracey did it out of dread.
And all was going quietly until we got into an area of fallen trees and here we get a loud buzzing from another rattlesnake, but instead of being right on the trail this one was at least 25 feet from the trail, yet it was letting us know it was there. t first glance I thought it was a Mohave until I saw the black tail. Now this time the area was quite open so it was easy to get good photos and video. After about five minutes of rattlesnake break it was time to move on.

But I thought, WAIT! Let's go for one more video! I put my camera away and used both hiking poles to lift the rattler up and spread it out along a fallen log... wow! That was a LONG rattler... and then I look over to Tracey and is she shooting a video? Or even taking a photo? NO! She's just standing there! So I yelled, take a photo!
And she manages to hit the button that switches the camera to the other direction. And by time she figured out what she had done and to undo it, I could no longer hold the rattlesnake and it took off. RATS! If she couldn't get the photo of the rattler, at least she could have shot the 'selfie' and we could show others SHE looks like when spotting a rattlesnake.
I guess I should have taken my GoPro and had it mounted on my chest.

Ok, by now after two rattlesnake encounters it was time to decide whether to continue all the way around the loop or turn back or. Well, all the way around was WAY too far... remember, this was just to be another short stroll and Tracey wasn't too enthused about going past the snakes again. So I said How about we ascend along that ridge (pointing to a stand of pines) it shouldn't be too thick with vegetation. So we started scouting for a route to leave the trail but by time we found one it was not the same ridge, and we ended up thrashing through brush a good half of the way up. But at least we are following elk trails again didn't do anything to cheer Tracey up. Because all the while, she was worried she would step on a rattlesnake. Nah! They like more open areas.
But we made it safely back up to Forest Road 487, which we followed all the way back to our campsite.

Just the one composite rattlesnake video:
Two Rattlesnakes on Rim Trail 139
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