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Blue Ridge - AZT #27
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14 by photographer avatarDarthStiller
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Blue Ridge - AZT #27Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 10 2017
DarthStiller
Hiking16.00 Miles 2,071 AEG
Hiking16.00 Miles   7 Hrs   12 Mns   2.34 mph
2,071 ft AEG      22 Mns Break
 
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wallyfrack
I had Friday off for Veterans' Day so I decided to take advantage and do a hike up north. Wally was also up for it even though he thinks he did it before with Joe, Denny and Bruce on their AZT segment mission.

Wally, Andy and I did the southernmost segment of this passage last July as part of the Cabin Loop. This is one of the few segments that seems to be able to be done as dayhikes from either direction, so I decided to start from the north TH and hike it SOBO to about the halfway mark.

We noticed some frost on the grass on our drive up and expected colder temps than we actually got. It was a bit chilly at first, but quickly warmed up from the sun hitting us and the exertion. Pretty much all of this hike is thru ponderosa pines. There is one section where the pines are kind of shorter, so maybe there was a fire 20-30 year ago? Only two spots where there are some views. First is after you make the climb upon the mesa, you can see north to Flagstaff. The second is right before you descend into the valley/river crossing downstream of the reservoir.

On our way back Wally made note of a 3 mile stretch just south of the mesa ascent that seems to be graveled with non-native material. Once he pointed it out, it really did stand out. Not sure what it was for, probably erosion control. I didn't make the hike any easier or more difficult. It almost looked decorative.

On our way in as we approached the Blue Ridge Campground, there were signs for the Horse Bypass. It wasn't labeled well enough whether or not this was a bypass for the AZT or just the campground. We decided to start to hike thru the campground and I noticed on the GPS mapping that the trail was nowhere near us. We decided to bushwhack directly to the trail, and soon I heard buzzing near my ears. I thought it was bees, but now I think it was wasps. As we approached the trail, which is actually a jeep road, a barbed wire fence became visible. the wasps buzzing around me went away for a bit, but soon came back. As I was making my way over the fence, pushing the top barbed wire down to give proper safe crotch clearance, the wasps were again buzzing near my ears. I made it over the fence without incident, only 100+ yards later to feel a sting on my belly just above my waist. Apparently one hung on and climbed under my clothes. to make it worse, a half mile later, after the climb up on the mesa during the comfortable flat hike, I felt a second sting under my clothes on my back just above my waist. Still dealing with two very itchy welts today. Oh well.

during this entire 16 mile hike, I saw no other souls than Wally. Saw 2 trucks parks at campgrounds and road crossings, but no people or moving vehicles. Very nice to spend the entire day walking thru windy, peaceful pines. We made better time than I expected and made it home before sundown.
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