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North Peak Trail #24
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mini location map2009-01-17
29 by photographer avatarGrasshopper
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North Peak Trail #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 17 2009
Grasshopper
Hiking13.90 Miles 3,732 AEG
Hiking13.90 Miles   10 Hrs   20 Mns   1.35 mph
3,732 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
I joined topohiker today for what was planned to be a continuation of his May'08 hike (ref: his hike description-"Mazatzal Divide TH to Wet Bottom Creek"). We started southwest of Payson at the Mineral Springs TH on North Peak TR#24. This TR24 has a published distance of 3.5mls one way to end at the Mazatzal Divide TR#23. We were looking forward to hiking this new trail(for us) with hopes of covering a few additional miles south on TR23 before needing to turn around and head back the way we came in.

The last posted HAZ trip log for this North Peak TR was in Dec'05 and did not sound pretty. It has now been an additional 3+ years since an update and 4+ years since the devastating "Willow Fire" in Aug'04 which pretty much took out most of this area and a majority of the Mazatzal Wilderness. Assuming that there had most likely been no trail maintenance since before Aug'04, I pretty much knew we should expect lots of dead/downed trees, trail washouts, needed route finding, and trail overgrowth. Well, I was correct on all these but I kind-of forgot about the added variable of snow fields at some trail elevations on the north facing slopes. We three started in at 9:am from the Mineral Creek TH and did not reach the west end intersection of 24/23 (at "The Park") until ~1:30pm and had clocked not 3.5mls, but 4.6 miles(some of which was off trail-roaming trying to find the trail).

We had a very interesting discussion/negotation on our short lunch break at "The Park" regarding what was the best route back. There were really only two options: (1)back the way we came which we all understood would be difficult, could be risky(for safety reason), and also very time consuming(we knew we did not want to still be on the North Peak TR after dark); or (2)add another 4+ additional miles to our hike out by heading north on a safer, known trail- the Mazatzal Divide TR which would exit us at the City Creek TH but an additional 9+ hiking forest road miles from our vehicle at the Mineral Creek TH :-k Well, we first decided on the safety side to take the known longer Mazatzal TR back hoping that we could reach the ending TH before dark and thumb a ride with someone/anyone back to our vehicle. We then started out, then within 300ft of heading up #23, we found the actual trail intersection of 23/24(which we had previously missed coming in to "The Park" area); So now another short discussion and since we can now actually see a real trail section of #24, we make a 90 degree right turn and start heading back on the North Pk TR#24 :roll: . Then we closely follow what we see as this TR24 and less than another 300ft, we intersect the Mazatzal Divide TR23 again.. :lol: . So much for team decision making under pressure! I think we all three looked up to the sky at the same time and then almost immediately after, started hiking back north on the Mazatzal Divide Trail.. We three all do believe in a "higher :pray: power"!!

Please also see topohiker's trip log and my attached trip "pic set with detailed note captions" to walk-you-through our adventure this day..much of which was very scenic with North Peak draped in snow!
Flora
Flora
Desert Mistletoe
Geology
Geology
Tapeats Sandstone
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Hike HAZard
Named place
Named place
Mogollon Rim North Peak The Park
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