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AZT 28 to Hay Meadow Tank, AZ
mini location map2020-07-30
20 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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AZT 28 to Hay Meadow Tank, AZ 
AZT 28 to Hay Meadow Tank, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 30 2020
Hiking8.40 Miles 837 AEG
Hiking8.40 Miles   4 Hrs   23 Mns   2.31 mph
837 ft AEG      45 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
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1st trip
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The original plan for today was to drive from our camp up to Dave's Tank along FR 82/704 and do an out-and-back.
1. North to where we left AZT 28 and climbed Pine Mountain three weeks ago.
2. South to Foot-in-Tree Tank where we headed off to Turkey Mountain yesterday.

However after our (my) painful hike yesterday, rather than sit and read books on our tablets the rest of the day we took a drive up to Long Lake with the added function of providing an idea of the road conditions of FR 704. As a result of the noted conditions, we decided it wouldn't be worth the hour or more to drive to Dave's Tank to start the hike.

Instead, we chose the convenience of hiking directly from our camp again, only this time hiking south over ground we had biked and hiked five and six years ago. Due to my toe issues yesterday we set the no-farther-than turn-around point at Hay Meadow Tank to limit the hike to a maximum of 8 miles.

Add to that the fact I may have been prepared for a foot issue by packing my old Ascend boots subliminally(?) as I had no recollection of packing them) and even though the soles of are pretty well worn smooth, all it took was one attempt to put my left foot in the boot it was in yesterday and the instant pain said no way! and the decision was made. I tied the boot super-tight to keep my foot from moving forward/back at all and was able to hike without further toe issues.

In a way we were fine with re-hiking ground we had covered twice before (5 & 6 years ago) because almost nothing was familiar to us. At times we really had to think, did we actually BIKE this rough rocky area? Obviously looking back at our biking track we HAD, but I'm sure there were plenty of complaints from the peanut gallery (Tracey) because one thing I did remember was that we took a much longer return route along roads instead of the AZT.

No matter, we did make it to Hay Meadow Tank without footwear issues. To help ward off that possibility on the return I took off my boots and we took an extended 45-minute break... something FAR from the ordinary for us.

Anyway, during that break we were treated to the antics of a flock of swallows (I think?) dive-bombing the surface of Hay Meadow Tank over and over again. At first it appeared they barely touched the surface as though taking a quick drink but by the vastly higher number of times they skimmed along a foot or two above the surface without touching it I assumed they may have been scooping insects off the surface. But even after a half-hour of watching and taking tons of photos at a burst (most of which featured no bird in the photo) I wasn't sure I ever saw a disturbance of an insect on the surface immediately before a bird skimmed in the same spot.
(If anyone has an idea what the birds were actually accomplishing, I'd be interested to know)

Break over, time to hit the trail again, or will we? Although I voiced a quick thought to saving maybe three-quarters-of-a-mile by returning via FR 211/82 to our camp, Tracey nixed that in a hurry... the lack of shade (warming to mid-90's already) and the fact road-walks aren't exactly fun put the kibosh on that thought.

Back on the trail my mind and legs must have gone into robot-mode as I hardly remember any of it, yet even as I say that, I did notice ONE PARTICULAR STONE on the return trip which I had noticed a few hours earlier... I even back-tracked to Tracey to point it out to her. Although it really wasn't anything special (maybe 1.5" in diameter) I now regret I failed to take a photo of it.

Once moving again I was back in robot-mode and the rest was a blur. Best of all weirdly enough, I experienced no foot issues whatsoever... and I was fine with that.

Having packed all but our tents before the hike, it wasn't long before that was accomplished and after a quick lunch we were on the road. In absolutely no hurry to get back home we settled in for a peaceful easy drive... yeah right, like that was gonna happen. Too bad even a small percentage of the other drivers weren't in the gotta get there fast and/or driving 75-80 mph only to slow down to the same speed as the vehicle they were passing causing others to line-up behind.

At least there were no roll-over accidents like the one we encountered on the trip up.
Dash cam photo at rollover site
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