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Aztec Peak and Six Disks, AZ
mini location map2016-11-11
30 by photographer avatarFLYING_FLIVER
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Aztec Peak and Six Disks, AZ 
Aztec Peak and Six Disks, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 11 2016
FLYING_FLIVER
Hiking5.38 Miles 930 AEG
Hiking5.38 Miles   6 Hrs   50 Mns   2.08 mph
930 ft AEG   4 Hrs   15 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I have hiked around Aztec Peak twice before, during my ‘Pre-HAZ’ days, and my ‘Pre-Locate-Benchmark’ days. This time, I parked at the top of Aztec Peak and searched for 6 little disks in the ground, then finished by hiking back to the top via part of the Reynolds Creek and Murphy trails.

I have read articles that Edward Abbey would tell fire outlook visitors that Aztec Peak should be called Aztec Mesa. After roaming around the top, I tend to agree with him.

Of the six disks I attempted to locate, four were located, one is gone and one is buried 14 inches below dirt and rock - and not found.
Aztec Benchmark and its two reference marks were set in 1938, atop the peak. The surveyors placed them 47 feet east of the ‘original’ fire lookout tower. The original tower, built in 1925, was about 800 ft east of the present tower, and just east of the final turn in the road to the top. The original tower was on the easterly edge, whereas the present tower is near the southwest end of the peak.
The two Aztec Benchmark reference marks are in great shape. However, sometime after May 2013, the Apache BM disk was stolen. All that’s left is a hole and a circular silhouette.

Next up was Murphy Benchmark (1938), which is located west of Murphy Ranch (now AKA other owner’s names). I easily located both Murphy reference marks, and then spent more than 3 hours attempting to locate and unearth Murphy BM. I failed to do it.
Surveyors, in 1938, set the benchmark disk in bedrock, 14 inches below ground level. (The surveyors DID put some kind of a surface mark at ground level, but that is long gone).
After many measurements from the reference marks, and attempts to dig down 14 inches, I finally gave up. The ‘soil’ below the surface is mostly rock, about the size of a human fist, and packed tightly. It was like a rock quarry, and digging through that stuff was impossible with the tools I brought along. I should have brought a pickaxe.
Alot of wire and nails from the now, long gone Height of Light was found, but no sign of any wood.

After the Murphy debacle, I hiked north to the Reynolds Creek Trail and wound around the Murphy Ranch area and went back to the top of the peak.
My off trail portion was a true obstacle course, dodging charred trees and other charred vegetation. Not a pretty sight.

This was a rather short hike that took all day, with my search for the Murphy benchmark disk taking up most of my time. I’ll need a pickaxe and a metal detector next time. :)
Named place
Named place
Aztec Peak Aztec Peak Fire Lookout
_____________________
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost
J.R.R.TOLKIEN
HAZ Member
FLYING_FLIVER's
250 Photosets

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  2016-11-11
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