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Saddle Mountain - AZT #22
86 Photosets

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22 by photographer avatarSredfield
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Saddle Mountain - AZT #22Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 02 2015
Sredfield
Hiking10.00 Miles
Hiking10.00 Miles
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Linked none no linked trail guides
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11/2/2015 Saddle Mountain, AZT Passage # 22

Work on the Mt Peely project has resumed with vigor following the summer heat hiatus.

American Conservation Experience (ACE) arrived in early October with their mini-dozer and completed ~2.5 miles of work, converting the ancient road into trail, carving robust drains into the old road bed and filling in huge washouts, accomplishing miracles through the boulder field at the Thicket Spring wash area, and pushing way south along the creek bed. Hand crews will start soon to finish the project.

Volunteers returned November 2 to work on the trail sign component. The trail signs along the route had disappeared in the 2012 fire so replacement is part of the project. Today volunteers placed signs at the Cornucopia/Thicket Spring Trail junction and at the Wilderness Boundary in McFarland Canyon. Signs at the Mt Peely TH and the connection junction were remounted following finishing treatment to prevent checking and cracking from exposure to the weather.

ACE had arranged for TRAL, a serious 4WD club, to haul water for the crews.in along FR25A. The cache was left at the “blue bus,” a remnant of long ago days when the road was navigable by less than heavily tricked-out 4WD outfits. We added the 2 ft x 3 ft oak Wilderness sign to the cargo manifest, so it was stashed with the water a half-mile south of the project area. After installing the sign at Thicket Spring the crew hiked to the cache, retrieved the Wilderness sign and humped it the ~2 miles over the new 260 trail to McFarland Canyon. A project last spring set the post so today’s task was simply to create a flat side on the post and bolt on the sign, which went quickly.

Having been over the “new” route several times, the crew made the trip back to the truck over the “old” Thicket Spring trail, from which the AZT is being moved. If there was any lingering doubt that the trail should have been moved it was extinguished today. There isn’t much left of this trail, which had serious issues before the fire and resulting erosion and now is completely gone in several locations. Add in the 500 foot climb at a relentless 20% grade, followed quickly by a shorter but similarly steep climb, and the new route is a huge improvement to the “user experience.”

The crew took a short break at the Thicket Spring junction, then trudged up and out to the TH. Installing the Wilderness sign was a last-minute addition to the chore list for the day, and it made for one of the longest volunteer work days on the project so far; the crew arrived back at the meet-up location well after dark.

Thanks to John M, Joe L., and John A.
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Autumn Foliage Observation Light
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Shawn
The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.
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