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Camo Tanks via Pedestal Arch, AZ
mini location map2016-11-30
40 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Camo Tanks via Pedestal Arch, AZ 
Camo Tanks via Pedestal Arch, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 30 2016
Hiking8.20 Miles 1,831 AEG
Hiking8.20 Miles   5 Hrs      1.73 mph
1,831 ft AEG      15 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
1st trip
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Although we aborted our attempt to reach the eastern Camo Tanks the hard way a few weeks ago, since Tracey had never been there she was ready for another go. So I threw together a few alternatives and without deciding on any one in particular headed out for Bulldog Wolverine gate. Once in Bulldog we drove north and east on FR1356 until we could decide which of three separate 'trail-heads' we would start from. We chose the first one, which was adjacent to FR1356 & Weeks Benchmark (Top Hat).

We decided to take Orohai Wash and continue the most direct route, first to Pedestal Arch then on to Cottonwood Spring Catchment Camo Tanks. Surprisingly, (in reality, NOT so surprisingly) we encountered vehicle tracks along the wash as far as a mile past the glaringly obvious 'No vehicles allowed' sign at the start. While my Cherokee could have handled 95% of the route, it was quite obvious it had been two full-size rock-crawlers, not ATV's.
[Kind of disgusting how folks feel just because it is 'public' land they have a right to ignore whatever regulation they want if it suits them, whether it destroys vegetation or not.]
We also noted a set of motorcycle tracks on a roughly 6-mile loop following the same route as we did except the part of our hike up the drainage to Pedestal Arch and Camo Tanks.

Enough of the vehicles... thankfully we did not encounter vehicles at all. In fact over the whole trip we saw practically nothing but beautiful scenery... no humans, and a few small critters and birds.

Rock hopping and scrambling played a big part of our day but nothing dangerous so it was a delight. I'd have to say the worst part of the hike was the numerous encounters with Christmas Cholla. While some were out in the open and easy to avoid, most were growing in among much less threatening plants. So the, usual thing when passing by a jojoba, for instance, is not bother to avoid it as it is quite benign, no thorns. Which, today, meant we both had a few sharp encounters. (Thankfully only one drew blood)

The ascent to Pedestal Arch seemed to go on and on but with great views every step of the way it was enjoyable. We took a short break at the arch then scanned for the best route to the Camo Tanks. Looking at satellite and topo view on Route Manager, I wasn't sure what if any would be the best approach from the arch, but thankfully I had one I had drawn out 3 or 4 years ago that worked out just right... no treacherous climbs, not even much effort. In fact, of all my trips to the tanks this is by far the most enjoyable.

Once at the tanks we took a few minutes a check it out... yup, it's still waiting for the scheduled replacement. I showed Tracey where I filmed a rattlesnake when I was here in June 2013.

Rattlesnake at Cottonwood Spring Catchment

Then we took time out for our picnic lunch. Wow! We had an AWESOME view of Four Peaks...
Yup... although I planned to take a photo of Four Peaks after eating lunch, we were already a mile away before I remembered.
Tracey said she'd wait for me to go back... either that or I could come back on my own. Yeah, right!
We followed a different wash for about a third of the return trip, and wouldn't you know it, the motorcycle had been through here as well. And just about a quarter mile from where we had left the wash earlier, we found the point where the rock-crawlers had to turn around where it was impassable to motor vehicles.
Whoops... except for the motorcycle of course. I will admit, the rider had to have gotten a very thorough workout to travel through the roughest terrain. That said, I still don't like the fact that he did it at all!
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