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Round Valley to Ballantine Cabin, AZ
mini location map2019-10-27
25 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Round Valley to Ballantine Cabin, AZ 
Round Valley to Ballantine Cabin, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 27 2019
Hiking8.20 Miles 2,272 AEG
Hiking8.20 Miles   6 Hrs   49 Mns   1.24 mph
2,272 ft AEG      13 Mns Break22 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I wanted to return with my shears for some well-needed trail maintenance over the last .1 mile to the cabin, but for something new I decided to try a different route.

I knew there was an ATC trail between Round Valley and the Ballantine Cabin so I spent some time on Route Editor and using the Satellite view I mapped out the trail as best as I could.
It appeared to be slightly shorter and with less AEG than the route I took two days ago so I figured even with some trail maintenance it would take much longer. If only that were true... it turned out wrong on both counts!

I began just off Forest Road 1704 at Round Valley and followed the reasonably well-defined ATC trail. The first part was running through a pretty rocky wash but soon started to climb.
The second half-mile produced plenty of thorny bushes overlapping the trail and since I wasn't wearing full body armor like the ATC riders, if I couldn't handle a spot quickly with my hand clippers (my shears were in my pack... waiting for the maintenance at the cabin) I would take a short detour.

After a mile or so the trail began its first steep ascent... at the same time I wondered if this was a good idea after all. While the overall AEG wasn't quite as much as the Ballantine Trail, it came in MUCH steeper bits at a time.
I soon realized this was most likely a ONE-WAY ATC trail, and that one way was DOWN!

With many deep ruts in solid rock being narrower than my boots I was forced to climb alongside the trail almost as much as on it. Even in the very few areas the trail was mainly dirt it was easier to walk alongside than one foot in front of the other in the ruts.

To offset the additional pack weight of the shears I was carrying the same amount of food and water as I USED last trip (not what I had along), so before I was half-way to the cabin I was seriously thinking about turning around. Although I began 30 minutes earlier and it was cooler than two days prior, I was burning a lot more calories and was already close to halfway through my fluids.

Oh well, I'm here, I might as well continue... besides, if I'm that burned out by time I get there, I'll skip the trail maintenance and just head back.

Whatever, when I reached the cabin (via the ATC trail NOT the hiking trail) I took a quick lunch break and quickly began attacking the cat's-claw. But even with the shears it was very slow going and I spent close to an hour on the first hundred yards from the cabin. At that point I decided to leave any spots where one could just lean to one side or the other to avoid the thorny brush and just clean up the last 25 feet where the hiking trail leaves the ATC trail.

Once that was complete I figured I have the shears out, I might as well trim a few of the worst spots on the ATC trail where I had to take detours on the ascent. And of course, I got a bit carried away, which my biceps are feeling a day later.

Oh yeah, by spending two hours more on the trail and burning lot more energy I ran out of water with two miles to go... but it was all downhill, in which trying to keep from sliding down on the pea-gravel or the steep drops took more energy than the ascent.

But with plenty of sustenance at the car it was all good. But I've chalked that ATC trail up to:
Been there, done that, never again!
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