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Mazatzal Peak Super Loop, AZ
mini location map2017-05-06
30 by photographer avatarjacobemerick
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Mazatzal Peak Super Loop, AZ 
Mazatzal Peak Super Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 06 2017
jacobemerick
Hiking21.16 Miles 5,374 AEG
Hiking21.16 Miles   14 Hrs   42 Mns   1.88 mph
5,374 ft AEG   3 Hrs   27 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Have you ever wished you could do the Mazatzal Peak Loop and lose a pint of blood at the same time? This alternative on the old classic will deliver!

Barnhardt to Chilson
Not much to say here, did most of it in the dark. Trail maintenance from last year is holding up. Sandy Saddle junction is well cairned and the trail down to Castersen looks reasonable. Finished Barnhardt in two hours, took another twenty to zip over to Chilson Camp.

Brody Seep
Started easy enough, a huge cairn marking a rocky slide down to and over the wash below. Trail was reasonably easy to pick out, tread holding up well and a few cairns scattered about. Some overgrowth will force minor detours. Brody Seep was difficult to reach but well worth it. Above the seep it looks like there were two slides that knocked out a section of trail years and years ago and I ended up bushwhacking for a few hundred terrible yards. FOTG's track shows the correct route to follow. Final leg up to Mazatzal Divide Trail was short and painless, even found some old log steps (somewhat charred) along the route.

Fisher
Junction w/ Brody was difficult to pin down but the tread picks up in a few dozen yards and is easy to follow down to the wash. I tried briefly to pick up the path on the banks and then just followed the wash - assuming hikers from yesteryear did the same thing. This wash makes a sudden, scenic drop and forces the trail to head up a manzanita-and-deadfall choked slope towards crumbling cliffs. Tread can be picked up a few times, but it's easiest just to hack up where possible. Below the cliffs there are some rock slides that seemed to knock out the trail. Picked it up again on the other side and more-or-less followed it along the steep slope until the next wash. Again stuck to the wash, as the banks had manzanita well over my head. Eventually hacked across and found a single lonely cairn in the middle of the next wash, first cairn sighting on Fisher. Then it was a 500' climb through manzanita and deadfall (there's a pattern here), with a faint tread weaving back and forth in tight switchbacks to a saddle. Quick drop and then a 1000' climb up a steep tributary of South Fork Deadman. Didn't even try to find the trail at this point, not with all the pine deadfall, just stuck to the creek and balanced from one log to the next. Found water and a steep waterfall near the fork, no water at Fisher Spring, and a few cairns and traces of path up on the ridge above. Did not find the exact junction with Mazatzal Divide, though I'd guess my path was close to it.

Mazatzal Divide
After a hammock nap at Bear Spring it was time to head north to Y-Bar. After spending the last six miles on "trails?" this felt like a luxury I did not deserve. You know when you are driving on a two-lane country road without a single other car for miles and you purposefully drift between the lanes and feel like a rebel? Yeah, that. Until I almost stepped on a rattle-less snake. Then I stuck to my lane.

Y-Bar
Was a bit overgrown compared to the last year. Plus there were some thorny bits, and the loose rock on the downhill was not pleasant. My knees were also hurting by now so I might be a bit harsh here. The gusty winds did feel good, almost a little chilly. Reached the trailhead with thirty minutes to spare before sunset.

Didn't see a single other person out there on the trails, which was both amazing and a little daunting.

Mazatzal Miles: 85.3/274 (31.0%)
Named place
Named place
Bear Spring - Fisher Brody Seep

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bear Spring - Fisher Quart per minute Quart per minute
Full spring, lots of leaking around the base.

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 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Brody Seep Quart per minute Quart per minute
Several large, clear pools that are easy to pull from.

dry Fisher Spring Dry Dry

dry Fisher Tank Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hawaiian Mist Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Windsor Spring Dripping Dripping
Few stagnant pools.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Y Bar Spring Dripping Dripping
Actual marked spring was dry. Another one, few yards to the west, was dripping and flowing across the trail. No good spots to pull/collect from.
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