|AZT 28 Turkey Mountain Loop, AZ|
|AZT 28 Turkey Mountain Loop, AZ|| |
AZT 28 Turkey Mountain Loop, AZ
|Hiking||11.60 Miles|| 5 Hrs 48 Mns ||2.09 mph|
|1,098 ft AEG|| 15 Mns Break||18 LBS Pack|
|Thankfully Tracey had a few days off during the week so we could get away from the heat and enjoy some solace while knocking out a bit more of AZT 28.|
Due to ongoing foot issues which seem to crop up at the 7 to 8 mile point of a hike I mapped three segments within that range. Depending on local trail & Forest Road conditions upon arrival we would choose two for out-and-back hikes.
As it turned out the car-camping spot I picked out along Forest Road 82 within 100 yards of AZT 28 made the choice easy for the first hike... just an out-and-back hike from our campsite to Foot in Tree Tank.
Since we had camped overnight we took our time getting going so it was about 7 am before we took the short walk over the AZT and set out northbound. The first few miles were ground we had covered while hiking back in 2014 and mountain biking in 2015 but being so long ago there were only a few spots we recognized... the roughest/rockiest parts we encountered while biking came to the forefront. Of course we didn't recognize any of the gates because they were all new.
(Thanks Shawn & ATA gang!)
Following the trail at an easy pace without a sound but the odd bird or cow bellowing was a joy. The bellowing was due to a calf being on the opposite side of a fence from its mother, possibly from laying next to the fence and later rolling over to get up, which we had seen more than once before. If one or the other back-tracked a few hundred yards they could pass through a wide opening in the fence, but of course we were unable to communicate that to the cows so we simply continued on.
Foot-in-Tree Tank seemed to come up sooner than expected so we stopped for a few minutes to grab a quick snack before turning back. While contemplating the name of the tank I spotted an old stump across the tank which appeared to have what could be thought of as a foot so I took a jaunt over to it for a closer look. Who knows if it had anything to do with the name, but no matter, I chose to believe it was.
Ok, time to head back. But wait... do we really want to backtrack the same part again? If by doing so we would have covered a 2 mile segment for the fifth time?
(Two out-and-back hikes and once biking due to returning by a different route)
Let's see, Turkey Mountain is a half-mile east... how about we head that way, bag the peak then return via FR 82G to FR 82 and back to camp. Sounds good, let's do it.
(I will be haunted due to a failed calculation of the distance... more about that later.)
From Foot-in-Tree Tank we followed an old trail east until within a quarter-mile of Turkey Mountain at which time we simply headed directly to the summit. There was plenty of open area between trees and boulders so it was a reasonably easy ascent, taking advantage of a few elk trails along the way.
Due to the number of trees around the summit our sight-lines were somewhat limited, with Tremaine Lake to the north being the only thing I could readily identify.
The descent was easy but for one fence for which we had to doff our packs and scurry under before continuing on. Shortly after connecting with Forest Road 82G I realized I had a problem with my left foot (not the usual right foot issue) which turned out to be due to a seam in the sock rubbing between the boot and fourth toe, almost to the point of a blister on the top. Of course it had to be the toe I broke some 4 decades ago which had healed with a distinct curvature, and thus contributing to the issue at hand.
(Unfortunately, of the few hikes I had done wearing the new boots only one reached 5 miles so I hadn't realized this could be an issue.)
Anyway, I took off the boot, turned the sock inside out, tied the boot as tight as I could to keep my foot slightly back from the part of the boot that met the toe and we set off again. And of course, that is when it dawned on me that my earlier mileage calculation was off, by well over a mile. Loathing ANY additional distance I said the heck with it, we're going cross-country, heading back on as direct a line back to camp as possible.
Thankfully our route reconnected us with the AZT at a gate, which, since we had to cross another fence during our cross-country excursion was a welcome sight. Once we hit FR 84 we simply followed it back to camp. As it turned out, although the off-trail return saved us over a mile, the total distance was still 3+ miles more than I had bargained for.
Oh well, live and learn... or not.
I just added a couple photos pulled from my dash cam of an accident we encountered on the drive up 87 the day before. It happened less than 10 minutes earlier, most likely the result of the accordion-effect of traffic in conjunction with inattention. Although in the 14-mile single-lane "35 mph" zone, speeds had ranged from 5 to 65+ mph.