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Mazatzal Peak Summit
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mini location map2016-03-12
88 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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Mazatzal Peak SummitPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 12 2016
AZHiker456
Hiking11.52 Miles 4,304 AEG
Hiking11.52 Miles   11 Hrs   41 Mns   1.33 mph
4,304 ft AEG   3 Hrs    Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Peter_Medal
After a night of car-camping at the Barnhardt TH, Peter and I met up with the TLC Hiking Meetup Group. Our primary objective: Mazatzal Peak. The TLC gang was doing it as an ultra day hike: up the Y-Bar [aka Shake Tree] Trail, then bushwhacking to the summit, then bushwhacking via this awesome drainage over to the Barnhardt Trail, and finally returning to the TH via the Barnhardt Trail. Given that Peter and I were backpacking, we opted for the Barnhardt Trail over Y-Bar.

We launched a few minutes before 8 AM, [about 30 minutes after the TLC crowd]. After around 3 hours give or take, [including stops to rest and enjoy the scenery], we reached the turn for the awesome drainage that would lead us to the summit of Mazatzal Peak. We cached our backpacks .15 miles up the drainage and somehow managed to load ALL of our food into my daypack, along with 1+ liters of water and other essentials like our guns, my DeLorme SOS Device, portable cell charger, etc. This was only the second time in my life backpacking; so, [as I took forever to get my pumpkin in order], Peter decided to have a little fun… first he constructed a [‘drainage’] monogram, “TLC”; then, [seeing that I was still not quite ready], he proceeded to build a cairn that literally had me laughing out loud. In fact, I can’t recall ever having laughed so hard at the site of a cairn…! [-X :lol:

Shortly after we cached our stuff and continued up the drainage, we bumped into the TLC crowd. They had already summited and were coming down the drainage. They informed us that:

1) the waterfalls we’d seen thus far were “NOTHING” compared to those further up the drainage
2) it would take at least 2 hours to summit from our current location
3) we were in store for a “wicked nasty bushwhack”

#1 proved to be very true;

#2 was pretty accurate; [thanks to Peter who graciously carried my heavy daypack for most of the way, I flew to the summit in about 1 hr. 40 min from the point where we ran into the TLC crowd, while it took Peter a little longer with the burden of the heavy pack]…

…as for #3… let’s just say Peter and I concluded that the TLC crowd either went a completely convoluted way off Mazzy Peak to the drainage that really did involved some “wicked nasty bushwhacking” OR they are just not accustomed to bushwhacking. We considered the “brush factor” from the top of the drainage to the summit of Mazzy Peak to be mild.

The summit views were absolutely incredible; and way better than the views from North Peak, [which I still found very beautiful]. I spent about 20-25 minutes on the summit and then started to head down, a little disappointed thinking that Peter might not make summit. Luckily, not more than a few minutes after starting my descent, Peter and his dog Tyson emerged from about the same spot I had en route to the peak, along a ridge leading up to the nearby UN 7823. Peter, Tyson, and I sat under a tree, taking in some much needed nourishment from my daypack. I then took the pack from Peter so he could enjoy the final push to the summit without extra weight, and joined him for the short push up.

For the descent, Peter once again worked his magic by relying on the terrain in combo with maps/routes he had studied prior to the hike… impressively, [without even consulting my Route Scout topo], the path he chose leading back to the drainage made for a much more pleasant [and more scenic] route back. It also allowed us to access some of the best spots for viewing the exceptional waterfalls.

By the time we finished sightseeing in the drainage and worked our way back to where we had cached our backpacks, we didn’t have much more than 30 minutes until pitch darkness. Peter had some extra batteries on hand, which literally shed light on why my top-of-the-line, Black Diamond headlamp was performing worse than a cheap, $2 flashlight from Walmart. Let’s just say, after replacing only 2 of the 4 old batteries, my headlamp was just as bright as Peter’s super bright one. Having two reliable light sources definitely made for a more pleasant evening!

Peter found a perfect spot just West of the drainage for us to set up camp. He then constructed an amazing fire ring and went right to work preparing the most delicious dinner. Most who have tasted Peter’s cooking will agree that’s professionally quality… and the meals he can whip up with just a pan, chopsticks, and fire ring in the middle of the wilderness are more delicious than what most people can make with a fully equip kitchen at their disposal. The extent of my cooking [at home], involves scrambling eggs or baking a pre-made/ready-to-bake, organic, gluten-free meal; and for backpacking, it’s the likes of freeze-dried fruit, kale chips, protein bars, and squeeze pack cashew/pecan butter. Needless to say, Peter’s two-course meal of sausage, lamb, turkey meatballs, onions, white sweet potato, pepper, other veggies, thai red curry, Naan, and much more was an AMAZING treat!
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