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Mazzie Swingset, AZ
mini location map2016-08-21
24 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Mazzie Swingset, AZ 
Mazzie Swingset, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 21 2016
CannondaleKid
Hiking4.60 Miles 1,063 AEG
Hiking4.60 Miles   2 Hrs   47 Mns   1.84 mph
1,063 ft AEG      17 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
Although still ailing from rolling an ankle (again!) while hiking followed a few days later with a crash-&-burn while mountain biking, sitting around was NOT an option so we sought something falling in line with:
1. Not too far to drive
2. Somewhat cooler
3. Short hike as in under 5 miles
4. Trail or old road - no bush-whacking
5. Moderate elevation gain
6. Scenic and including one or more of historical/interesting/different/fun

Crazy enough, this hike was the first that came to mind. While I had been at the mines and within a hundred yards of the swing-set a number of times previously, I had no idea it was there until I caught wind of it during one of my time-consuming down-the-rabbit-hole Internet labyrinth paths earlier this year and simply filed it away for future reference. Ok, so the future is today.

Good thing we took the Jeep as FR201 was pretty rough with some hardened-mud areas and definitely more exposed rock than the fit would have cared for. Even in the Jeep it felt pretty rough.

THE HIKE:
We arrived at the TH where FR191 meets FR201 to find a pickup parked there. We guessed it was hunters doing scouting. We would followed in their tracks along FR191 for over a mile before they disappeared into the brush. The hike along FR 191 wasn't as smooth going as a trail but it was easy enough. Good enough for an adventurous ATV'er or crazy 4-wheeler, but no way would I have driven it.

At 1.3 miles (100 yards before FR191 becomes vehicle-impassable) we had to make a decision...
A. Continue along FR191 descending so we'd have a longer slog up
B. Ascend an old mining road to the ridge and follow it across

Due to my poor memory from 3+ years ago, thinking we'd avoid a longer climb we chose B. Big mistake! As soon as we reached the first rise we saw the road continue to ascend well above the ridge, but with nothing but a steep drainage and manzanita on either side, we had to continue until we were even with the ridge, albeit well above it now.

While I remember crossing the ridge reasonably easy enough the last trip, things grow in 3+ years and the manzanita and holly were now well on their comeback from a fire some years ago. There weren't any game trails to speak of compared to the past either so my already badly-bruised left thigh, knee & shin (remember? the mountain bike crash) were taking a beating passing through the manzanita. Eventually I held back and let Tracey lead through the thick areas, letting her locate all the dead-ends, double-back and find a better way.
[-X
We hoped to follow remnants of another mining road around to the south and skip the needless climb over the summit but it was thoroughly enclosed in thick brush so up-and-over it became. And just like the previous trip, once at the top we realized the mine we were headed for was well down the other side and the brush was every bit as thick as the road would have been.

After another manzanita labyrinth transit we end up-slope of the vertical shaft mine, which again meant doubling-back to locate another route. Finally we reached the flat area of the mining operation and could now begin the search for the swing-set itself. From my research I had a vague idea of where it could be but even satellite view provided no clues other than a few relatively open areas from the old mining operation.

First we would find the detritus of a burned-out hulk of a mobile home, possibly used by the last miners, and probably burned out by vandals at a later date. It must have burned hot as there were pools of melted aluminum around the periphery of the steel frame. Since this wasn't our objective, we wasted no time scanning the wreckage for items of interest but spent it instead scanning down-slope toward my expected location of the swing-set.

Wow! Whadd'ya know? There it is! We could just barely see the top bar but it definitely was a swing-set, and within 100 feet of my guesstimate waypoint. And we could even follow my planned arc through open areas to reach it!
:y:
When we reached it I took quick stock of it... 4 swings with cracked and sun-baked rubber seats, a glider and ladder bars. The two empty sets of hooks may have held swinging bars. Tracey was all set to jump on a swing until she saw the condition of the rubber seats, so thinking they would just break she headed off to the ladder bars. Upon closer inspection I noticed there were metal bands inside the rubber seats so I took advantage of that. Surprisingly the swing pivots made no a sound... no squeak from years in the sun with no lubricant, nothing. There ain't no quality like that anymore.

Ok, so Tracey gets jealous and decides to take her turn on the swings.
Tracey on Mazzie Swingset

Her sheer joy of being a kid again if but for a few minutes was dampened only by the black marks on her hiking pants from the ancient rubber pads.
(I had the same thing on mine... luckily it washed out easily)

Ok, the fun's over, time to head back. And for the return, we will take the easy route, following ancient roads all the way. There would be some areas obstructed by brush but it was by far easier than the manzanita & holly thrashing we experienced earlier. (Yep, I messed up on the no bush-whacking part of condition #4 for the hike.)

Although the return along FR191 was easy enough, I had to walk carefully as any wobble to the outside of my left ankle on loose ground brought enough pain as a reminder. Thankfully no falls this trip, just a bit more bruising from the bushwhacking.

Oh yeah, late in the hike Tracey kept trying to brush what she thought was bits of vegetation from her pants only to realize it was blood soaking through from her shin... yup, courtesy of me allowing her to lead through the nasty stuff.
:guilty:
But all's well that ends well, and it was a very enjoyable hike... 74-84 degrees.
Named place
Named place
Pine Butte
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