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Mazatzal Peak Summit
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mini location map2017-11-04
11 by photographer avatarte_wa
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Mazatzal Peak SummitPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 04 2017
Hiking12.00 Miles 4,400 AEG
Hiking12.00 Miles
4,400 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Lesa convinced me, after doing Wrightson a couple weeks back, that we need to continue climbing respectable peaks. I slipped and mentioned Mazzie peak as being, in my memory, a "pain in the ass". so naturally, she loves the idea of a challenge and jots it down on the bucket list. i should know by now when to keep my mouth shut. :o
we hit this trail at 9:20 thinking it would be an easy assault from the southern flanks coming up from cactus saddle. having a quick snack break here (#2, the first about 2 miles in along shake tree) we were ready to scoot booty up the path we agreed upon from the bottom. scrambling up and pushwhacking (yes, with a P) we mostly followed the route we scouted from the bottom. there were a bit of non-agreeable areas that we had to skirt around. no problems, yet. it was slow going, steep and tested our navigation skills. not too bad, obvious routes exist and you can make good or bad choices here, depending on how well you pick a point in the distance, follow it, then continue in this fashion. there are cairns along the way but following most of them seems fruitless since there are a dozen ways to skin this cat. just head UP, staying away from cliffs and a big manzanita forest that grows closer to the top 2/3 of the ridge. we stopped for a bit about halfway up, and were greeted by an amazing although short-lived airshow! one, then 2 F-16 falcons came ripping out of deadman canyon and across the mazzy peak area UPSIDE DOWN and then did a half-roll to right themselves only to scream past us and over a ridge towards mt. peeley and out of sight deep into another canyon (deer creek, iirc). it was quite the sight. the fighters were prolly within 6-700 feet of us, and i could clearly see the pilot. LOUD.
so, pushing on, we found our way to the top of this ridge and continued on to the peak, now with fast moving clouds dropping light rain. up top, photos of course.. then a quick snack, trip register autographs and thumbing through the list i noticed several of our own HAZ member's scribblings. at this point i had already suggested following John's route down so we took suicide ridge around the bend and headed down into the ravine just before that area where 2 drainages converge. here, we scrambled and hopped boulders for likely a mile, mile and a half pushing our tired bodies to pick up the barnhardt trail, and both of us thankful that it would be a quick 4 miles back to the truck. barnhardt has this funny tendency to feel easy going up, and short, to the saddle/intersection with the divide trail, but hella longer going back out and downhill. funny, that! we passed a few twenty-something preppy kids coming in, and after i told them where this trail stops, and made sure they had provisions and a headlamp especially, made our way up to the big kahuna, and back to the vehicle. all 8 hours 45 minutes of a big ol, ass kicking hike. it was mostly dark when we arrived, then drove out towards mesa to watch a rising full moon. following John Fritz' route might not be the easiest or most rewarding way to do this trip (we did fritzski's loop in reverse this time) but it felt good. it felt old school. it was worth it. now, to keep my mouth shut before i slip and mention something like R2R2R so that will be penciled in, some where, on some calender, soon. :scared:
GREAT trip. it's 5 stars all day long. GREAT company, Lesa is a stormtrooper. i kept feeling the need to compare this trip to Wrightson, but it's definitely tougher. we'll come up with a hike that surpasses this one in epic views, awesome scrambling, intense satisfaction.... but it won't be easy. rincon peak, perhaps?
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