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Blasting on US Highway 60, AZ
mini location map2015-09-29
10 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Blasting on US Highway 60, AZ 
Blasting on US Highway 60, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 29 2015
Hiking0.75 Miles 181 AEG
Hiking0.75 Miles   1 Hour   25 Mns   1.80 mph
181 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I had too many things on my to-do list around home today and I wouldn't have time for a long hike so I let my mind wander a bit for ideas.

I remembered on our Sunday return from the Sierra Ancha we saw the signs stating the US 60 would be closed from 9 to 10:30 am and 1 to 2:30 pm on Tuesday and Thursday, so... how about hiking to a vantage point to watch some of the blasting along the US 60 by Oak Flat and Devils Canyon.

Sounds good to me, so I used Route Manager to map out a few possible locations within view of the blasting sites. I mapped out routes to two locations east and two locations west the US 60. On the drive out I realized I should set up on the east side so I wouldn't be looking toward the sun.

But hold up a minute pardner! Still nearly and hour before the road was supposed to be closed near the end of the passing late before Oak Flat the traffic is stopped dead. Rats!
Am I going to miss it? We sat for a while until traffic began to move slowly. As we passed the Oak Flat blasting area I saw what I figured was the problem... as they were preparing for the blasting it looked like one of the backhoes had knocked one of the concrete dividers onto the traffic lane so there was only one-way traffic until it was moved back into place.

But now I had to race to get into place before the blasting was to begin. So I drove past Oak Flat, across Devils Canyon and turned onto Forest Road 2461. Rats again!
There were two pickups sitting in my way! Just then a guy with a hard hard climbed up from the ravine and told me he'd move if I would close the gate as I passed through. No problem... I can do that. But I lost more time again, so no matter how bad I told SAMBA that the road was, I wasted no time getting to the point where I was going to start my hike. Whoops, wrong old mining road... back up and try again.

Finally I reached the closet spot by Jeep, then stuck the tripod in my pack and set off... through the dense holly and my old nemesis, manzanita. Although I'd seen some open ground on satellite view, finding it as I'm fighting through the thickets was another thing. Eventually I saw the open ground but had to backtrack to reach it. And of course time is a wasting... so I'm hopping over boulders and crashing through brush until I realized I didn't have enough time to reach my planned overlook. So I looked for the tallest boulder and headed for it.

It's just barely 9 am and the warning sirens are sounding so I'm setting up the tripod as fast as I could and just barely got the camera latched onto the tripod when the sirens stopped. As I pushed the button to turn the camera on and began to zoom the explosion takes place!
With no idea whether the area was in the frame I snapped the first photo, took a quick look and shot another. Then although I missed the actual blast, I turned on the video to catch the dust rising.
Not much to see... :-({|=
Then I waited an hour in case they would blast again before heading back to the Jeep. I made it back to the 60 by 10:40 so I should be able to head back west but I was blocked in AGAIN! And this time nobody was in sight.
So I took my time going through the gate, only for the wire used to hold it closed break.
The wire was so short I had to grab a stick to make up some of the slack and eventually got it closed. I just hope no cow decides to try it out, as it will fall with the slightest push. Oh well. By this time two hard-hats show up and have to load stuff in their truck before they could move. But it made no difference, even though it was well over a half hour past when the road should have re-opened, there was still no traffic. The guys said it was ok to go so I did.

On the drive back toward Superior it appears the reason there was no traffic, was because there was NO TRAFFIC! I suppose so many people figured it would be a snarl of traffic for a while after the road re-opened that I was almost to Superior before I saw any oncoming vehicles.

Now if only I didn't have things to so at home I would have had plenty of time to stay and set up on the west side, much closer for the afternoon blasting. Oh well, there really wasn't much to see and hear than a muffled boom and rising dust. But at least it was a nice cool morning.
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