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4x4 to AZT #16/#17 TH, AZ
mini location map2016-03-21
21 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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4x4 to AZT #16/#17 TH, AZ 
4x4 to AZT #16/#17 TH, AZ
4x4 Trip avatar Mar 21 2016
4x4 Trip38.00 Miles 6,136 AEG
4x4 Trip38.00 Miles   4 Hrs   33 Mns   8.35 mph
6,136 ft AEG
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1st trip
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With the task of creating an in-depth condition analysis of AZT Passage #16, Shawn had to decide between:
1. Begin #16 at Kelvin and secure a ride out from the end of #16.
2. Be dropped off at the north end of #16 and hike to Kelvin.

Since it would be hard to know exactly when Shawn would reach the northern terminus of Passage #16 for his ride, option #1 was the more logical.

Next the challenge is to get out there... which is where I come in. Because I'd driven part of the route out that way exactly a month ago (camping across the canyon west of 16/17 TH) I offered to shuttle Shawn to the 16/17 TH.

Having experienced the rough drive taking Telegraph Canyon Road (FR 4) from Superior one too many times, I decided to take the Ajax Trail road east from Mineral Mountain Road instead. While the off-road distance is longer, the driving distance was almost 5 miles shorter. Time-wise they are within a few minutes. Under the impression Shawn had never been out this way (passing by the Ajax Mine complex) I factored that into the decision.

We followed Ajax Trail until it met the west end of FR 4, where we would soon pass the point where the original AZT descended through Alamo Canyon passage down to the Picketpost terminus. A bit farther east and we reached the turn onto the old (no longer numbered) Forest Road 976. FR 976 begins with a series of ascents and descents, none too big a deal although some required a good amount of suspension articulation.

On the last climb up the ridge I spotted a Gila Monster on the road, which naturally required a stop for photos and a video. This makes it my fourth Gila Monster encounter for the year. It provided lots of wide-open mouth but not a sound out of it.

The rest of the descent went fine with the exception of one bad washout, which we successfully passed albeit tipping far as I was comfortable with. (Not that I was at the time... it looked better on the return trip) The slowest part was following the narrow wash using plenty of articulation while avoiding the sharpest rock.

We stopped to check out the tank within 50 yards of the AZT #17 wash crossing. It had a reasonable amount of water but will likely be dry within a week or two. From there it was a short drive to the 16/17 TH.

Naturally this trip was an ideal time to cache more water so between us we brought 24 gallon jugs of water. We removed the empties then cached the fresh gallons in the BearSafe next to the gate.
(I dropped the empties off for recycling on the way home)

After seeing Shawn set off for Kelvin I retraced most of my route with a few side-trips to visit the petroglyphs in Cotton Wash as well as the old Reymert Mine. With the huge growth of ATV traffic since I first drove out with the Samurai (4-5 years ago?) the road to Reymert has almost become a highway. Where it required a reasonably capable 4x4 before any 2WD SUV can travel as far as the Reymert site.

Caching water sidebar...
A word to the wise... if you cache water with your name on it, please don't expect it to be there.

Example: Of two gallons which were labeled for use by a specific person until April 22, only one was left.

Of the 16 gallons in the safe a month ago, only one of the two labeled gallons was still there and all the rest had been emptied. Most of the empties were still there so it appears the weight of the empties was too great to haul out, whether on a bike or in a backpack.
So... of the 4 gallons I just cached for Tracey and her friend to use three weeks from now... in hind-sight I believe I should have left them hidden somewhere away from the safe.
If they didn't need them when they arrive, Tracey could then place them in the BearSafe for use by others.

00:50 - Gila Monster
15:00 - Forest Road 976 - Part #1
17:25 - Forest Road 976 - Part #2
As usual, with the camera so close to the ground under the front bumper it appears I'm driving fast. :o
Not so! In reality the average on FR 976 was about the speed of JJ's hikes... 4.5 mph. ;)
Gila Monster
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Named place
Picketpost Mountain
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