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Big Bug Mesa Rd 103 and Trail 9434, AZ
mini location map2020-09-17
13 by photographer avatarnancyesan
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Big Bug Mesa Rd 103 and Trail 9434, AZ 
Big Bug Mesa Rd 103 and Trail 9434, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2020
nancyesan
Hiking9.00 Miles 370 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.00 mph
370 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
We needed a new place to escape the Phoenix heat which would likely allow social distancing, so decided to drive our Jeep up Poland Rd from Poland Junction, about 4 miles north of beautiful downtown Mayer off Hwy 69. We hadn't driven Poland Rd since before the fires of 2016 and 2017 and remember it being very rough. Surprisingly, it was smooth gravel all the way through Breezy Pines to the five corners intersection where we turned a sharp left onto 103 which climbs steeply onto Big Bug Mesa, our first exploration of this area. What a shock to find 103 also freshly graded, suitable for any passenger car or camper.

Since our goal was to find a nice place to hike in the cool morning hours, we parked at a wide intersection of a side road and hiked 103 all the way to its end at a point overlooking Little Wolf Creek and surrounding area, a dramatic view even in spite of the smokey air. About half way to the point the road became rougher with exposed boulders, so a car would have to park there and start the hike, but our Jeep could have handled it easily. During our entire 9 mile hike we did not see another person, so it has a special place on our list of beautiful, pandemic avoiding places.

The mesa top has a healthy growth of mature pines, juniper and oak spaced far enough apart to hopefully save them from another wildfire. Most of them have blackened bark and there was very little brush between them, so apparently their fire resistance saved them. Closer to the end of the road the trees were smaller and mostly dead with a heavy growth of bushes on the slopes. We saw no sign of any trail going off the end of the point as shown on trail maps for trails 9434 and 304. We did, however see a marker for 9434 along the road leading to the point and also found an unmarked trail going east from the road and across a cattle guard through a fence, and then heading south along another fence.

Prescott NF road maps for this area show dispersed camping is allowed along 103 and other roads in the area. Areas along the road have been cleared and graded for campers to drive in. The area ranges from 7000 ft when first reaching the top after driving from the bottom, to 6700 ft at the end point. I can't think of a nicer place to escape the heat for a weekend.
Fauna
Fauna
Wild Turkey
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Broom Snakeweed
Buckwheat sp.
Common Mullein
Scarlet Bugler
Slimleaf Plainsmustard (Pink Windmills)
Wild Chrysanthemum
Large-Flower Brickellbush
Wild Geranium
Fleabane sp. - f
Goldenrod sp.
Common Sunflower
Fendler's Ceanothus
Arizona Thistle
Slender Goldenweed - f
White Heath Aster - f
Annual Goldeneye
Western Yarrow
Toadflax Penstemon
Wright's Deervetch
Thistle sp. tbd.
Mountain Parsley
Cudweed
Canadian Horseweed
Camphorweed
Fall Tansyaster
Dandelion
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nancyesan's
9 Photosets

  2020-09-17
  2019-10-31
  2019-10-10
  2019-09-19
  2019-08-29
  2019-08-15
  2019-07-18
  2018-09-20
  2013-09-03
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