We headed into Mazatzal Wilderness for trail recon of Davenport Wash Trail. There was trail maintenance done in late 2019 just before Covid by ACE trail crew and wanted to check out how much was completed. Started from Barnhardt about 730 on Friday morning and made it to the divide in a few hours. Then headed over to Chilson Camp and the start of Davenport Wash Trail.
First mile of Davenport is really noticeable with how much work was done. There was some good tread work and rock/tree obstacles removed compared to how it was prior. Eventually the trail reaches a large grassy area above South Fork of Deadman Creek. This area is difficult to clear trail that will last because it’s all grass. However, the crew put up many cairns across the area so just have to hike from cairn to cairn and it’s followable. Towards the bottom there are switchback cuts that make the trail easier to follow down to the creek. South Fork of Deadman Creek was flowing strong with plenty of water for camp. We ended up camping on a bench just above the creek for 2 nights.
After pleasant night of camping by the creek I headed up trail to continue the recon. From camp there is cool rock ramp for trail that is easy to follow. For the next 1.5 miles it’s decent trail as it crosses two drainages (the first one had good water) and gains about 500 feet of AEG. Took a side trip to check out Divide Spring from top of the ridge about ¾ mile off the trail. Nothing left of the spring now except some thick brush and trees in the area.
Back on trail from the ridge it heads into the thick brush and I could see where the maintenance crew stopped. The wall of brush has been an issue for a while because the area has not been touched since before the Willow fire in 2004 which decimated the trail. However remarkably there are still remnants of trail that survived under the brush I discovered on previous trips. Regardless it will take serious effort to clear but there is at least something there.
Spent the rest of the day clearing some trail remnants and scouting more areas ahead. Then headed back to camp for another pleasant night by the creek and croaking frogs! Next morning, we hiked back out towards Chilson Camp clearing some cats claw along the way. Made it to Barnhardt around 3pm and headed home. Good to see Davenport again and evaluate the conditions. Also, nice to see so much water in the Mazzies in many of the spots that are usually dry!