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Skull Mesa - Mattys Fork Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-02-13
29 by photographer avatarjoebartels
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Skull Mesa - Mattys Fork Loop, AZ 
Skull Mesa - Mattys Fork Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 13 2021
Hiking19.06 Miles 3,156 AEG
Hiking19.06 Miles   10 Hrs   1 Min   2.18 mph
3,156 ft AEG   1 Hour   16 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
I picked a loop Bruce had us on six years ago. More so for a step up in recent efforts to miles/aeg with some off-trail. In hindsight, it's crystal clear why Bruce chose the loop weeks after legend HAZ'r Oregon_Hiker toured with FOTG. Semi surprised Bruce was game as it would be pushing the envelope of time with my lackluster options of getting to-fro. I just made damn sure I was ready for a full day, right down to bringing a rare notable size lunch.

Went from sweating, shedding layers getting to the event to layers back on for a borderline cold start. Bruce paid our dues at the hut. I took advantage of the porta-potty station with nicer facilities than Oscar Taylor's at the Biltmore, where I bussed famous folks tables cringing when they asked "where is the restroom", and we were underway.

Off the road(cough trail), we encountered a nice looking welcome(?) sign neither of us could read without specs and continued up Inspiration Ridge to #247. #248 obviously needs a much better Official Route on HAZ for the lower portion alone. Midway up, I had to get rid of a layer before unnecessary sweat took hold. #248 ascends Skull Mesa, crosses, and then descends down to meet up with #247 again. #1 copout from 5-15 yr noncontributing HAZ members trying to weasel by without contributing squat back... all the good stuff is taken. God forbid exploring included the thousands of rarely-used unpublished Guide pages on HAZ that are nice at sunset, blah blah blah. #248 is still available, and it's far from the exception. Off rant. Unlikely... somebody has to fill in for CDK!

The route of #248 across Skull Mesa is highly questionable. I've been here twice at least, and that's the best I can offer. We went off-trail down the origin of Mattys Creek. With nice weather, scattered clouds, relatively easy progress, and a couple of cool areas of rock then trees... this might be the nearest slice of paradise to home.

We had lunch in Mattys Creek, played around with styrofoam light chalk, limestone, or something white.

Bruce was excited about the cabin. It was a gander. Then we opted to try and avoid Mattys Creek taking a trace of a pack trail out. Glad we took a stab, maybe another in the future. That said, the creek is much easier and less painful in shorts.

I was a touch concerned Bruce wanted to skip #4 out for an adventure. This area is not crystal clear to me, and I was in good hands. It was fab, and we even got a stroll in on Metate and Towhee. Super easy, but fond memories make 'em a winner.

After seeing nary a soul since the first quarter-mile, we saw quite a few horses, a couple of hikers, and one mtn biker that appeared to be heading out to bike-camp.
- joe
HAZ Member
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