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Pine Mountain Verde Rim Loop
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mini location map2020-04-24
60 by photographer avataroutdoor_lover
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Pine Mountain Verde Rim LoopCamp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 24 2020
outdoor_lover
Hiking10.90 Miles 2,200 AEG
Hiking10.90 Miles
2,200 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Pine Mountain has been on my list for several years now. But I never thought I had enough vehicle to get there, and if the current road is any indication, I was right, at least for me and my vehicle. But things change and so do vehicles. :y: And even with the truck, that road though. 5 MPH tops for the last 7 miles. It wasn't hard, no need for 4L, but just rocky and rough enough that unless you wanted to keep hitting the top of the cab with your head, you were going to have to take it slow. :sweat: There was an outfitter camp in the campgrounds, but I was the only other vehicle when I arrived.

My first time in this area at all and it was pretty sweet. I started a bit late, I think it took me about 1 1/2 hours to get from I-17 to the TH. I thought about doing a bigger loop, but with the later start and me dinking around the first 3 miles of the hike taking photos, I had to stay with the original plan. I also wanted to do the rough drive back while it was still light.

It was interesting to learn after about 1 1/2 miles of hiking the Nelson Trail, that I'd been hiking on Private Property? Apparently, although no indication at the start, part of the Nelson Trail is not on Public Lands, according to the signs later encountered. There were also fresh survey ribbons and stakes along the way, which makes me wonder what the fate of this particular stretch of trail will be. It would be a shame to lose it, as it is a beautiful section of the trail.

The first 3 morning miles were beautiful, with Sycamore Creek flowing, springs running and trees glowing with new spring growth. The birds were very active too. Then it started to heat up, the water dried up for the most part and the gnats were out in force. Luckily there was a breeze at times, but I kept moving. Decided to do the loop CW, just to get the uphill out of the way as soon as possible. Just before topping out on Rim, I ran into the Outfitter, with 2 others. Hunters, with 3 Mules and 6 Hounds. Looking for Spring Bear and Lion I guess. They weren't the talkative type and neither was I, but I did sweet talk the hounds a little.

Topped out on the Rim and enjoyed the views. It was rather warm and the gnats were incessant, but I found some shade under a pine for a break and a snack and then I hit the top of Pine Mountain. I was kind of amazed how the top itself was almost devoid of trees, but the views were really sweet. Back down and around and more trail along the rim for a bit. Hit the Pine Mountain Trail and started the descent. Trail is pretty rocky here, so there was no cruising, just trying not to roll an ankle. Hung a right back onto Nelson and kept going. Got back to the non-loop part of the hike and the trail got better and I started to cruise for the finish. My "back to the barn" mentality was interrupted by a sun bather on the trail. He was over 4' long and gorgeous. I couldn't help but stop and admire that beautiful skin. He modeled for me for about 20 minutes or so and then he went off to go find some lunch. And my cruising resumed. A few brief stops for photos the last 1 1/2 miles and then it was back to the truck. With the exception of the Guide and his Clients, I hadn't seen another soul all day. Until now. The Campground was filling up. Several cars and quite a few people were there. Time to go.

I was hoping to not meet cars on the road, but on a Friday afternoon, even with that road, the hope was for naught. Luckily there were only two coming in. The road is a single lane, with very few spots to pull over for oncoming traffic. The first small SUV had to get up off the road, as I was climbing a hill. I had to get up off the road for the 2nd small SUV. It's not that easy, as the tall grass along the road tends to hide even the bigger rocks. No clue whether either of them made it to the Campground, or if they were even going that far. Hit the highway and headed for home. Looked like a normal Friday Night in late April, as far as traffic goes. Lots of vehicles headed north, many pulling trailers.

The Truck did great and I was so happy. I'm feeling a bit liberated in that there are a few more areas I can now get to without the worry of breaking a vehicle to do it. Trying to break the truck in right, and that always involves a little pinstriping. :D

This was a great area! I'll be back to do some other Loops here as well. There are several options out there. This was my first time above 4000 feet in over 1 1/2 years, so it was a good hike to acclimate to something higher. And much cooler than the Valley for sure. Not sure if my desert hiking is over for the season or not, but it was nice to see and hear the pines again.
Culture
Culture
Benchmark
Named place
Named place
Pine Mountain
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
There are a few blooms starting, but nothing significant. Verbena has a few clumps here and there and the Lupine is just starting to think about spring.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Beehouse Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Black Alder Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

dry Dry Creek Dry Dry
At FR 68 Crossing

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Little Sycamore Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Crossing Water in Dugas

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Nelson Place Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Pine Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

dry Tank Canyon Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Willow Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
_____________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
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