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Mazatzal Divide Trail #23
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mini location map2017-02-19
18 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
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Mazatzal Divide Trail #23Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Feb 19 2017
friendofThundergod
Backpack20.90 Miles 4,236 AEG
Backpack20.90 Miles
4,236 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I had been meaning to get out to the Deadmans Falls area for awhile now and last week's barrage of triplogs from there reminded me of that. So with Monday off to honor our founding fathers, I packed for an overnight trip into the area with Jackie and the pups. The forecast was less than promising and the boots on ground report from the trailhead was even worse. Nevertheless, after a fruitless 2 hour wait at the TH waiting for conditions to improve, we embarked on our modest trek into the Mazatzals.

The rain was constant, but light and not the soaker type, if that makes sense. The visibility was low, but we could see far enough to observe the abundant cascades and falls that had formed in every drainage, spout and water carry crevice along the way. The old favorites were absoluting roaring and the canyon was thundering with water falls in places I had never see run before. We hit snow about 1.5 miles from the saddle and broke trail through a fresh six inches, or more for most of that stretch. The divide trail to Chilson was pretty much a creek hike and the rain seemed to pick up some too during this stretch, so I suggested we quit getting wetter, get some tents up for us and the pups and just camp at Chilson. We could make our way to the falls in the morning with light packs and better conditions.

We set the tents up quickly between the rain drops, one for us and one for the pups. We knew there was the possibility we could get wet on this trip, so we came very prepared and were able to mitigate many of the ill effects of the weather. The extra tent was an example, give the dogs a dry place to sleep and keeps a couple wet dogs out of our tent. I completed perhaps one of my greatest outdoor feats in a long time, when I was able to some how get a fire going. I nearly gave up on the task, but I could tell that it was going to make the night for a shivering Jackie, so I kept at it. Small fire in middle, drying sticks stacked just outside to dry, then carefully feeding the small fire, trying not to smother, then whittled dry wood chips into it, then burning its source and finally I got that fire roaring, with the catalyst being a half dead, some how half dry manzanita bush. Despite hard work building, only enjoyed fire until about seven when another wave of showers came in that lasted on and off until midnight. No worries though, we slept well and stayed dry.

We got a late start for the falls because we spent some time hanging out all of our gear to dry and we did not exit our tents until we saw certified sun rays. The hike to the falls went quick and they were absolutely amazing. I tried one route down to the falls, but got turned around by some slick rocks. I was more interested in the views from the rim on the other side anyways, so Jackie and I backtracked to the initial overlook and skirted the rim for various views of the falls. After a little photo shoot and some relaxation time overlooking the falls, we headed back. At camp we stuffed our relatively dry gear into our packs and headed back. The hike back seemed to fly by in comparison to the hike in. This was undoubtedly aided by the fact that the prior day's snow had completely melted and aside from some water the trail was clear.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Chilson Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
You could float into the spring right now and paddle across the lake that has formed at Chilson Camp.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Deadman Canyon - North Fork Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Deadman Canyon Falls - North Fork Medium flow Medium flow
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