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Aztec Peak Rim Trail Loop, AZ
mini location map2018-05-31
25 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Aztec Peak Rim Trail Loop, AZ 
Aztec Peak Rim Trail Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar May 31 2018
Hiking10.50 Miles 1,915 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   6 Hrs   26 Mns   1.70 mph
1,915 ft AEG      15 Mns Break22 LBS Pack
1st trip
Tracey wasn't happy with the bush-whacking on our previous 2-day trip so I was tasked with coming up with ON-trail hikes for this Thursday/Friday weekend... somewhere no too hot and not off-limits. Since we hadn't been in the Aztec Peak area for 3-4 years I figured we'd have plenty of trails to choose from.

First up would be a road-walk, trails 140, 139, 160, road-walk, off-trail wandering, road-walk... or something like that. Of course, I didn't mention to Tracey the conditions of Trail 139 or the off-trail stuff. Having read hikerdw's triplog from last weekend as well as the comments referring to the conditions, I remembered we were led astray by elk trails when we did the loop 4 years ago. So I figured I'd bring my titanium shears along and clean up the worst areas. Since it was so easy to lose the trail going counter-clockwise, I decided we'd hike it clockwise.

The road-walk, Moody Trail and the first part on the Rim Trail went easy enough but when we got to the thick stuff I wasted no time pulling out the shears and getting to work. As much as Tracey doesn't like going through thick and thorny brush, she would push ahead to locate the next rock cairn, while I cut through the brush in the straightest line to that point. She split her time between tossing the trimmed brush to the side and located the next cairn, and we would repeat the sequence.

Whenever a rock cairn was almost completely covered by brush, I cut right to the ground so the cairn would be visible from either direction. As we continued toward Armor Corral Spring every once in a while I retraced my steps to make sure the cairn lines-of-sight were adequate. When doing so, I realized part of the problem staying on-trail in this area was due not only to the myriads of elk trails, but to placement of additional rock cairns where they most likely did not belong... again on elk trails. While those placements may have seemed correct when going counter-clockwise, as we located the oldest cairns going clockwise, it was more obvious which were more likely where they belong and which were leading astray.

Only after completing the heavy trimming did I realize it took over an hour to travel just over 200 yards. After all that effort, the rest of the hike would be a breeze. Items of note were the numerous bear tracks and scat, one of which was fresh (VERY fresh... still wet), a large elk antler, which we found while wandering aimlessly near our camp as well as what appeared to be a system of wood poles to measure humidity.

I'm posting my GPS track for the Rim Trail from Moody to Parker, which I edited to remove the extraneous back-and-forth travel.
Butterfly Weed
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