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Hellsgate 37 ( North ) to Tonto Creek
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mini location map2016-04-10
8 by photographer avatarjoebartels
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Hellsgate 37 ( North ) to Tonto CreekPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 10 2016
joebartels
Hiking14.25 Miles 3,200 AEG
Hiking14.25 Miles   8 Hrs      1.97 mph
3,200 ft AEG      45 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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DarthStiller
Back in the early 90's my sister went on a small group hike down this trail. Believe it was an overnight backpack. She asked me to join on a slew of trips but I just wasn't into hiking yet so it's all a blur. Anyhow, something went amiss heading out. I think the group spread out and someone took a wrong turn. SAR may have been involved, just recall it was figured out pretty quick. Needless to say, I've held some preconceived ideas this trail is a mean ol' pumpkin.

The upper end had a lot more pines and the course was more of a roller coaster than I had envisioned. With a 90% chance of rain predicted at a half inch I brought a rain jacket suitable for a rainforest. I have two sitting in the closet for nearly a decade unused. Problem being it's rarely cool enough to use without sweating up a storm yourself.

We started out in borderline freezing temps, probably 44 degrees. By the time we reached the creek I thought I was gonna burst into flames. The heat wave lasted a couple minutes tops. After watching Chris consume his standard burrito lunch with four billion packets of hot sauce the storm moved in. The wind picked up and the sky cast a Houdini spell on the sun.

The bottom half mile is a steep unstable slide. Undesirable, nothing to fret. Gotta agree with the signage at the top stating unsuitable for horses.

Heading up the rain jacket went off and on a couple times. Along the way I mentally noted the questionable route options. Roughly three or four angled unsigned junctions. Easy corrections peeking at Fenix. Seems to be quite a bit of mid trail signage I doubt was here twenty years ago. Mid trail signage seem rare in general, so kudos to those that made it happen.

The storm unleashed on our last three miles. About a half a mile involved small hail. Only 1 gate, not 37. Other than numb hands by the finish it was a dandy hike.
Named place
Named place
El Grande Tank

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 El Grande Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
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- joe
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