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Modified Mazatzal Peak Loop, AZ
mini location map2016-04-06
50 by photographer avatarAsTheCrowFlies
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Modified Mazatzal Peak Loop, AZ 
Modified Mazatzal Peak Loop, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 06 2016
Backpack17.46 Miles 3,927 AEG
Backpack17.46 Miles3 Days   6 Hrs   49 Mns   
3,927 ft AEG47 LBS Pack
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Well, this triplog is a little behind but I figured I would post it while I have the chance....

It was time for our annual backpacking trip and this time we decided to hike the Mazatzals starting at Barnhardt TH with intentions of Spending two days at Chilson Camp and two days at Horse Camp Seep with a long final day to get back out on Barnhardt. That was until we saw (and experienced) the weather forecast for the next few days. With the thought of hiking out 10 miles in the rain on Sunday we decided at Chilson Camp to hike around the peak back over to Y-Bar Spring for an easier hike out on either Saturday and Sunday....

Okay, enough backstory! Wednesday morning I picked up my friend Shaun who didn't make the beer run a few days earlier and we were off to Claytons. Jerry and Clayton were ready and waiting so we threw their bags in and went to pick up our 5th crewmember, Larry.. With the Kia groaning under our weight (and the 4+ pounds of frozen meat in my backpack) we took off for the 87. Once again we stopped at the house of Ronald McDonald and had some coffee and grease before hitting the trailhead. Good thing I don't go backpacking this direction all the time!

Once at the trailhead we all loaded up and got to it, after I *finally* managed to snap a group photo... It only took about 8 times of setting the timer, adjusting focus, and running to the group. With a 47lb pack on...
Camera 7 - Me 1.

The trail was a little tougher on me the second time around with my "everything and the kitchen sink" packing method but hey, I love roughing it! It also didn't help that at around the 5 mile mark we uncovered our beer from the burnt out stump ( and I threw another 13 pounds on... That last two miles to Chilson Camp seemed to take forever but I'm pretty sure I actually moved faster just to get the 60lbs off as soon as possible. Good thing I had new hiking shoes and a pack that didn't get uncomfortable with the weight, it was just that my feet didn't want to lift off the ground!

Before we finally made it to Chilson Camp I tried to find the spring via the location on my GPS. It shows it on the right side of the trail about 40' above your location on the trail. Every description I've read said there is a spring box up there and it's where the water goes across the trail. Well, there was no water on the trail so I dropped my pack and hiked up. Found water on the ground and followed it to an 18" or so diameter pipe with a lid. Removing the lid revealed brown mud water about 1" deep..... Discouraged I went back down and grabbed my pack to continue onto camp. Wasn't looking forward to backtracking for the water we saw in the canyon about a mile back. Funny thing is when we got to camp, there was a Homer's bucket with about 20 unopened bottles of water by the table and fire pit.

We got camp all set up and decided to hike back for water before making dinner so we grabbed our pumps and a few of us decided to cut straight up to the trail and avoid having to go north before we could head southeast.... 3 went one way and two went the other... As we were scoping for a clear path to bushwhack, we managed to find a beautiful hole in the ground about halfway up that was full of water :) We finally found the spring but it was nowhere near the GPS coordinates I had. (If you would like to find my coordinates, there is a geotagged photo in the photos section). It took about 15 minutes for the other folks that didn't want to hike up with no trail to finally get above us so we could tell them to come back. They promptly decided to come right down the side in about 2 minutes... Probably should of came with us to begin with!

Anywho, we drank some beer that night and had a good cheeseburger for dinner.. After catching a healthy buzz we caught some sleep and were woke up about 2am to a nice rain on our tents.. Next morning Jerry discovered his tent was not waterproof... Good thing we hung tarps above us beforehand!

On Thursday we cooked some breakfast and hiked down the Brody Seep trail for a bit and shot west to check out some pools of water in a nice V rock formation.. There was little trail so we followed the creek bed. This should have been a good notion for us to not go this way on Friday when we hiked to Y-Bar but I will get to that madness in a bit.... We drank a few beers and hiked back to camp to be lazy the rest of the day. Later, while we cooked dinner, a thru hiker on the Arizona Trail stopped in and asked if he could set up camp by us which was fine by us. His name was Mike and you can read his excellent blog here: freeroamingphotogra ... amp/ After filling up on a massive steak, potatoes, sweet peppers, and mushrooms, it was time to finish off the rest of our beer to lighten the load the following day. We also decided at this time to not go up to Horse Camp Seep, instead we would head to Y-Bar and spend one day there instead of two. With all the rain, we didn't want to be hiking out on Sunday when it was raining.. When we went to bed we had the notion we would sleep in, cook breakfast, and head out around noon. This was a bad idea...

So... Friday morning we woke up and took our sweet time getting ready. While we ate our breakfast Larry and Clayton decided we should take the Brody Seep trail back to AZT rather than backtracking on the Barnhardt trail to the AZT.. After what we had learned so far, we should have said no... But we went anyway. We left about noon and it was started to get cloudy and sprinkling a little bit. The trail on the way to Brody Seep was pretty hard to follow and I'm pretty sure we were on it only about 10% of the time. As we closed in on Brody Seep the going got worse and we could not find a clear trail anywhere. The amount of felled trees was crazy to say the least. I was a little ahead of the group and came to a *very* steep incline with no indication of a trail. In the end it started raining and I decided to just power up the hill. I had to grab whatever I could to pull myself up very slowly. I think it took me about 30 minutes to get up about 300' in a 10th of a mile. Once up I finally found the trail and it started raining a little. I dropped my pack and headed down the trail only to have it disappear. I switchbacked a few times on my own avoiding the vegetation and finally found the group after quite a yelling fit.. They were still at the very bottom of the hill and only Shaun was on his way up. I made him come to me and then I headed back to my bag to put my rainfly on it as it started pouring (and hailing) on us. Long story short, this little ordeal cost us about 3 hours of time to get everyone to the top.... After that the trail was decent enough but it was a steady uphill most of the way to Y-Bar spring. We passed it by and found an excellent camp... It was a very long day and we were all ready to eat and rest.

Sidebar, on our way we were expecting to find a branch in the trail to Y-Bar Tanks... Where the heck is it at? We could not find it at either end!

After we set up camp that night we really wanted another beer but we were running low on water. Most of us had Pat's Backcountry Brew's but it took water to make it... I was pretty filled up after a roast beef sandwich and some beef stew so I volunteered to go with Clayton and Larry back to Y-Bar Spring. I had a new water filter in a bag and was ready to try it out! After the quick quarter mile hike I dropped my bag under a small waterfall and filled it up.. Didn't take long to have 10L of water. Larry and Clayton used UV treatment on Nalgene bottles and the light was so bright moths kept flying into the water. After we got back I made a few flat beers (Larry has it down, the rest of us suck) it was time to pass out. We watched the sky go back and forth from bright stars to dark clouds and were pretty confident we should head out the next day.

Saturday morning we woke up and made some breakfast. I had Spam and a Mountain House dehydrated biscuits and gravy which was pretty awesome I must admit :) We were out of camp fairly early and on the way back via Y-Bar I'm pretty sure everyone in the group was thinking we were making the right decision by leaving a day early. The trail back was fairly steep going downhill and I'm sure no one wanted to do it in the pouring rain. We were back at the car by 2pm or so and decided to stop for a drink on the way home. I'm pretty sure we scared a little with our stench at Circle K.. Good thing I couldn't smell myself :)

Sunday around noon there were a flurry of text messages from everyone stating they were glad we left a day early because it was pouring rain! Fun trip, can't wait to check out more of the Mazatzal's!
Campsite HAZ Food
Named place
Named place
Chilson Spring
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Big Kahuna Falls - Mazatzal Wilderness Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Chilson Spring Dripping Dripping
Couldn't find the location on the map. Spring was actually closer to camp.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Y Bar Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
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