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Big Bug Mesa, AZ
mini location map2018-09-13
15 by photographer avatarkingsnake
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Big Bug Mesa, AZ 
Big Bug Mesa, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 13 2018
Hiking12.83 Miles 890 AEG
Hiking12.83 Miles   4 Hrs   49 Mns   2.66 mph
890 ft AEG
1st trip
Partners none no partners
It’s been almost four years since I last explored Big Bug Mesa ( [ photoset ] ). In 2014, I hiked up Pine Creek Trail #289 from Pine Flat. Last year, the Goodwin Fire ( [ photoset ] ) ignited just west of Pine Flat, before growing to over 28,000 acres, threatening Spring Valley, Mayer and Poland Junction.

I mapped out a loop around the mesa top that would be at least 13 miles, and take in several “whazzits”. (What I call objects I see on satellite view that I can’t identify, or otherwise wish to explore.) Part of my loop would be on jeep trails, part on mild cross-country terrain. I staged out of Five Corners.

The first whazzit on my itinerary was just a bit up FR 103, the main jeep trail across Big Bug Mesa. It turned out to be a spring box with about 4″ of decent rain water in it. The water had to be rain, because there was no pipe feeding in from a spring.

My next planned whazzits were a cluster of a half dozen near an old mining camp.

What I found were an orange 40 ft. Hyundai sea container. Next to the sea container was what I thought was maybe a 10k generator, but was actually a water purification unit; I did not see any gallon capacity on it. At the end of the sea container there was a surplus Army M809 5-ton 6×6 in dump truck configuration (M817). On the other side of the sea container, was the drum roller, with conical spikes, for road construction.

In all, there were three M809 5-ton trucks in the mining camp, all in woodland pattern camouflage, with bridge weight markers on the front grill and unit designations on the bumpers. It’s been 17 years since I retired from the Army, so on my hike video I bolo’d narrating the unit: One of the M809s was vehicle 59, from Foxtrot Company, 181st Brigade Support Battalion, 81st Armored Brigade, of the Washington State National Guard. 🇺🇸

The final whazzits were a 5th wheel trailer and a 500 gallon plastic water tank. Nobody was around, maybe not for years, as what I thought was a old stone fireplace turned out to be bags of cement that years of storms had turned to hardened cement.

ON my way east, I also found a wooden tower and a cement 'bench' (for want of a better word).

Where FR 103 turns south, I headed northeast on FR 103A. I thought I’d seen a whazzit on sat view, but turns out it was just deadfall. I went 1.5 miles on FR 103A, stopping at a clearing that had great views northeast towards AZ-69 and Dewey-Humboldt. FR 103A looks like it continues southeast to Grapevine Springs, but don’t hold me to that.

I backtracked up FR 103A a bit, before turning down an informal jeep trail. When it petered out, I continued cross country until I hooked back up to FR 103A. By the time I arrived at the next whazzit, eight miles into my day, my left shoulder was getting sore from my pack. Dunno why, as I was carrying my normal load.

On satellite view the whazzit looks like a collapsed 5th wheel, but it is a cattle tank lined with rubberized canvas. There was maybe a gallon or two of muddy water in it. 🤢

After checking out the tank, I ate lunch: G2, Cape Cod Sea Salt & Vinegar Chips, some home-assembled gorp, and a blue cheese buffalo wing chicken finger from QT.

There were a few other whazzits I wanted to check out, but with my sore shoulder I figured it best to bail to the trailhead, which was still over four miles away.

I shall return!

Hike Video:
Spring Box
Named place
Named place
Towers Mountain
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Quite a few dense clusters of small flowers. Western Yarrow and Fleabane Daisy particulraly prominent, along with some sort of red fern -- which appearaed to be the immature form of a fine green fern it was always in the company of.
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