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Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa TH - BCT, AZ
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29 by photographer avatarMudhole
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Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa TH - BCT, AZ 
Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa TH - BCT, AZ
 
Hiking17.68 Miles 1,603 AEG
Hiking17.68 Miles
1,603 ft AEG10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
I won't lie... this day hike was a dog. This 17.8 mile double section ended up being my biggest single-day hike mileage to date. I was joined today by Patrick Fuchs, and we did our usual car shuttle to put a vehicle at the Table Mesa trailhead and then made our drive back to start on the Carefree Highway at the hard-to-spot Bob Bentley trailhead. Roadside parking at Bob Bentley was sparse, but we were able to park right at the locked gate alongside the road. Yes, I said locked gate. With no signage posted here, many start at the Game & Fish building about 1/4 mile to the east, but we're nostalgic so we slipped under the barbed wire and made it official.

Today we would do 2 sections of this trail - Bob Bentley trailhead to Emery Henderson trailhead, and from there to Table Mesa trailhead.

In the past few weeks, I've only been hiking some occasional short trails around my home, so this was a good test to see how I can still do on the longer miles. Anyways, this section of the Black Canyon Trail has the reputation of being the least impressive part of the whole thing - but the views actually didn't disappoint especially as we got further north. I'll admit that the first few miles before Emery Henderson trailhead (about mile 7) were flat and pretty basic, but necessary.

We set off from Bob Bentley trailhead and quickly move north through the "boring" section. Flat desert somewhat next to a dirt road that had little to look at except the views of the mountains and mesas in the distance. We saw some oddities, like a dying saguaro cactus that was oozing some sort of black sludge from a wound. We crossed an intersection of the Maricopa Trail, and started seeing more signage for the Black Canyon Trail. I must say that the BCT is VERY well signed along the way, including at every junction we came across. The trial surface was in great shape as well.

Once we came across the Emery Henderson trailhead, it was easy to see why many start their BCT hike here as well. Skip the boring part and get right down to business. I must mention that the trailhead is very well-developed with a large parking lot, quality pit toilets, and even shaded canopies for parking a couple of RVs. We took a quick water and snack break here before pushing on. For some reason I didn't take a picture here. Not long after EH, we came to the junction for the Boyscout Loop, which is a fork in the trail that re-merges after 1.2 miles regardless if you take the east or west arm. We went left as we had read that the trail followed along a higher ridge instead of down in a network of washes. The views on the east section were well worth it.

The trek from Emery Henderson to Table Mesa was a quality section of sonoran desert wilderness. Quality trail surface, rolling drainages, forests of saguar cacti, Doe Spring (which had water and lots of trees around it just off trail), and terrific views of the Bradshaws to our west. I would say that the last 3-4 miles was probably the best as the trail wound through at least a dozen washes and arroyos, up and over small ridges, past a large mine, and dropped us off right at the Table Mesa trailhead where our shuttle car awaited us. With lots of room for at least a dozen vehicles, the Table Mesa trailhead is a great staging point for section hiking this part of the Black Canyon Trail.

Just over 36,000 steps since we started, it was time to head home.
_____________________
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clean away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." - John Muir
 
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