|Coon Creek Butte - Aztec Peak Quad, AZ|
|Coon Creek Butte - Aztec Peak Quad, AZ|| |
Coon Creek Butte - Aztec Peak Quad, AZ
|Hiking||8.00 Miles|| 5 Hrs 46 Mns ||1.43 mph|
|1,749 ft AEG|| 10 Mns Break||20 LBS Pack|
|Another peak on my list for far too long... probably due to not worth the long drive just for one peak.|
Well then, let's make a weekend of it. So we drove up Friday afternoon, found a nice shady spot just over a quarter mile from the Oak Creek Cabin and set up camp.
(Surprisingly, the cabin was practically spotless inside, with no evidence of critters, but with no a speck of shade within a hundred yards, we settled for our tents.)
Up with the sun, we hit the trail not long after 6 am,leaving plenty of time for extra wandering. We followed Coon Spring Trail 124 from the cabin to the intersection with the now-decommissioned Coon Creek Trail 254. At that point we set off for the climb up Coon Creek Butte.
I had spent plenty of time on Route Editor using both Topo and Satellite view hoping for a relatively easy ascent. Initially we thought following cow paths would lead us through the worst of the thick vegetation but that didn't last long. While the route we chose had the mildest slope, the trade-off was thickets of among other vegetation, the dreaded mature holly and manzanita.
Knowing this wasn't Tracey's favorite kind of hiking, I thought ahead and had my titanium-blade shears, so when faced with a seemingly dead-end, out came the shears and even 1-1/2" holly or manzanita were cut through like nothing. Thankfully we reached the rocky cliff-like area where there were what seemed like a series of steps and soon we were into the very mild slope of grass. (Yup, I brought gaiters for Tracey, so no fox-tail complaints today)
Once up top things opened up, probably due to it being so flat and many areas with exposed flat bedrock. Since we approached from the northwest we had a nice walk to the summit, wherever it was... it was so flat there I could walk hundreds of feet in any direction with no more than a 1-foot change in elevation on the GPS. There was no summit cairn or log to be found so Tracey found a nice smooth boulder to take a break while I did my usual summit photos and video before joining her in admiring the western view.
As usual, in hopes of finding more items of interest we took a different return route. Shortly before dropping back down we encountered some well-used deer/elk trails, which made for much easier going than the climb was. We considered ourselves lucky those trails led us to one of the very few gaps in the cliff-like rocky areas. We still had watch every step through the boulders, but once through, it was pretty clear sailing, taking the shears out only where the game trail went against the grain in a few places.
Since we took a different route down, we had a longer walk to reconnect with the Coon Spring Trail, but once we reached it, rather than turn back we decided to follow it farther east, seeking a shady spot for our lunch. But since the trail was more open, there was no shade, and the farther we went the hotter it got. So we turned around and went back to the last shade on some flat boulders in the drainage adjacent to the trail.
After our lunch-break we took a leisurely stroll along the trail back to the cabin.