username
X
password
register help
GuidesRoutes
 
Photosets
LabelsComments
triplogs photosets comments more
Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
96 triplogs

Jul 08 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
South Fork - Gold Ridge LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 08 2017
jacobemerick
Hiking13.42 Miles 3,289 AEG
Hiking13.42 Miles   6 Hrs   20 Mns   2.31 mph
3,289 ft AEG      31 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Had to back in PHX for an afternoon commitment but had the Mazzie itch so South Fork - Gold Ridge Loop it was. Early start to beat the heat and be back by the promised noontime.

Gold Ridge Trail #47
Great trail for a predawn hike, with wide tread and steep sections, though cattle in the dark are spooky creatures. Temp at the trailhead was 87F at 3:20 AM for some awful and terrible reason. Thought I saw a burnt yucca at mile two, turned out to be a skunk with tail raised. If I would have gotten sprayed I might have smelled yuck-e (yuck yuck yuck). Sunset beat me to the top of the trail by twenty minutes, apparently needed an earlier start (heh).

Camp Grasshopper
Looked nice. Was empty. So was FR 201. Quiet at the top.

South Fork #46
This trail was gorgeous. Not even kidding. Easy to follow, easy to hike, and the scenery was jaw-dropping. Huge trees, especially in the first few miles, almost completely spared from the fires. Only needed to check the GPS twice, once at Pigeon Spring because I thought the route went right past it (it doesn't, trail stays a few dozen yards to the west) and once about two miles down when the bank gets a bit thick. I'm still a bit in awe of how pleasant this trail was. Well-cairned, wide tread, and relatively low amounts of overgrowth / deadfall for this wilderness. It does climb up along the banks frequently, almost as if it's scared to stay in the creek bed for more than a few yards, which I imagine would get annoying if you hike up it. Hiking down was a dream. I think I'm in love.

Mazatzal Miles: 148.2/275 (54%)
Culture
Culture
Cairn
Named place
Named place
Pigeon Spring
Meteorology
Meteorology
Sunrise

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Pigeon Spring Dripping Dripping
Murky and green, could be filtered in a pinch (I wouldn't).

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max South Fork Deer Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Pools as high as 5500'.
_____________________
Jun 24 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Verde River / Deadman Mesa, AZ 
Verde River / Deadman Mesa, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Jun 24 2017
jacobemerick
Backpack27.91 Miles 4,568 AEG
Backpack27.91 Miles2 Days         
4,568 ft AEG
 
1st trip
With most of the Mazatzal trails south and east of Chilson Camp knocked out I figured it was time to look in the other direction. Can't get much further northwest than Deadman Mesa #17.

pre-trail
Parked near the powerlines and AZT along 194 and walked the 2.7 miles to Twin Buttes trailhead in the pre-dawn. Almost chilly out. This would be the last time I'd be almost chilly for a long time.

Verde River #11
As others have stated, this trail is rocky. Rocks that rock, rocks that roll, rocks that drop you on your pumpkin and lol. This trail has a lot more than that, though. The views are ridiculously good, starting with the north side of the Mazatzal Mountains and then turning towards Verde / Hardscrabble. There are some genuinely good sections, where the rolly rocks ease up and you can gaze around without watching your step. Plus it's amazing that this is still part of the Mazatzal Wilderness: no wildfire scars, very different terrain compared to the mountainous south, and plenty of shade-giving vegetation. Only had to check GPS once or twice on some faint sections, otherwise this was a breeze to travel. Made it to the trail junction in four hours feeling pretty darn good.

Deadman Mesa #17
Trail sign appears to be gone. Few big cairns marked the junction and a few charred pieces of wood were strewn around, that's it. The cairns marking the start of Deadman Mesa were tiny and obscured by the foxtails - if it wasn't for recent foot traffic pressing some of the vegetation down it would have been annoying to stay on track. Cairns and tracks seemed to give up about 50' above Fossil Creek so I just picked a descent that looked the most painful and rolled down.

Now things get fun. According to the topo maps there are eight crossings to deal with. One of my sandals had fallen off my pack somewhere on the Verde (d'oh! I'll be back on this trail in the fall and will search for it then, until then I'm sorry) so I would either have to do the crossings dry or barefoot. Kept to the track and crossed over some rocks and was faced with an impassable wall of basalt, so I had to backtrack and cross back over, stay on the east bank, and then cross further upstream.

So went the next two miles. I only crossed when I was forced to, usually barefoot and then waiting for feet to dry before hiking a short distance and then re-crossing, making slow and tedious time. Ended up doing six total, might have gotten away w/ only four but the brush got ridiculous. Speaking of, the banks were painful and thorny and had recent flood damage. I only found cairns once where the trail avoided a large swing in the creek - otherwise this section is all bushwhacking. It took me almost five hours to walk those two miles. I'm not a big fan of Fossil Creek right now.

Found where the trail starts the climb up the mesa (someone tagged a few tiny cairns and branches to help with the first hundred feet, so there's that) and camped nearby. Had been tempted to turn this into a dayhike but the heat (well over a hundred now) and the difficult last few miles had taken the oomph right out of me. Napped, swam, drank water, drank some more water, napped again, and eventually drifted off to sleep a bit after sunset. Overnight lows never dropped below 85 (ugh) and a had 2am skunk visitor (yay) so I didn't get much sleep.

Started the climb before sunrise and made it to the basalt fins with the first light. Trail was well-marked and easy to follow, though I suspect downhill would be a bit crumbly and tedious. Plenty of cairns and good tread, especially for being this remote. Route-finding on the mesa was only slightly tougher with thicker vegetation, but a two-track showed up after a mile. Next mile was on-and-off the two-track, then the trail 'ended' (I think, again there were no signs). Then I 'just' followed the road for five miles and 1300' and powerlines for four and a Hardscrabble crossing.

Another quiet day in the Mazzies. Didn't see a single person on trail or on the road sections.

Mazatzal Miles: 143.1/275 (52%) :y:

dry Bills Tank Dry Dry

dry Bull Tank Dry Dry

dry Deadman Tank Dry Dry

dry Hardscrabble Creek Dry Dry
No flow at the mouth. Did not venture upstream to check.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Strawberry Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Some promising pools where it flows into Hardscrabble, under the powerlines.
_____________________
Jun 11 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
S Mazatzal Roundup, AZ 
S Mazatzal Roundup, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 11 2017
jacobemerick
Hiking35.42 Miles 6,039 AEG
Hiking35.42 Miles   16 Hrs   14 Mns   2.62 mph
6,039 ft AEG   2 Hrs   44 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Wanted to knock out a gaggle of trails in the southern Mazatzal area. Most of them are AZT, so I figured a +30 mile day wouldn't be terrible. Today my feet disagree, but details.

Little Saddle Mountain #244
Did most of this trail lit by headlamp + full moon. Seemed pretty. Along the creek things got a little overgrown and it was hard to navigate in low light. Turned off headlamp at 4:30 and enjoyed the predawn views for the last mile.

Saddle Mountain #91
This trail is legit. Big views, well maintained, and minimal elevation gain. I cruised along this section when I wasn't drinking in the sights. I wanted to make the Story Mine loop at the end for completion sake and regretted it - as soon as the path leaves the AZT it is quickly swallowed up by catclaw. And I didn't even find the mine :(

Sheep Creek #88
Beautiful drop into McFarland. Bit steep, could see the south direction being painful. Headed to Squaw Flat Spring to complete this segment of the trail and was surprised at how easy the way was. Few deadfall, some overgrowth, clear tread. Still no water at the spring so I filtered up at a murky pool on the way back.

Thistle Spring #95 (Sheep Creek :next: West Fork)
Pleasant jaunt along McFarland and then a sudden twist and climb up a dry wash. Legs were starting to get angry here so that climb was not appreciated. There was a tripod set up at the West Fork junction that was weird.

West Fork #260
Short climb and long descent. It's a short one, so there's not much to say. Decent views. I tried to track where 25A came down into the canyon below to pass the time.

Cornucopia #86
Hot climb up a trickling creek. A few sections didn't have any burn damage, so I imagine that this is what the non-ponderosa pine forest areas looked like before 2004/2012 (depending on where in the Mazzies you're looking). Sporadic junipers, willows along the creek, and random tall pines. Could be wrong. Anyways, after the junction w/ Thistle Spring the trail got mean fast. Steady uphill over rolling rocks in full exposure to the sun. As soon as I tapped the Mazatzal Divide Trail sign I turned and fled back downhill to the shade.

Thistle Spring #95 (Cornucopia :next: West Fork)
Tough climbs with well-earned views on top. Lost the trail on the second (shorter) climb and meandered around until I could pick it back up. This trail is definitely getting thick, probably because the AZT skips past it now, but being able to see (Little Saddle Mountain?) and Saddle Mountain to the south and Sheep / Peeley ridge to the north from one spot was pretty awesome. Fast drop back to West Fork where I found the tripod waiting - glad it didn't go War-of-the-Worlds or anything.

West Fork #260
Again? Same as last time, only hotter. Filtered some water at the bottom for a late lunch break.

25A to Cross F Trailhead
For a road walk / connector this was pretty nice. There is a well-defined trail connecting the West Fork / Cornucopia junction south to the end of the road, and then the road jumps in and out and back and forth across West Fork Sycamore Creek. A smell of diesel hung in the air but I didn't see or hear any vehicles along the way. Most of it was shaded and a breeze was starting to kick up and rustle the hot air. Connecting to N Beeline was annoying, as the old track is gated off as private, so I just jumped into the creek and hung out with some cattle before climbing back out north of the trailhead.

Sunflower #344
A quick water refill and shirt change and it was back up on Little Saddle Mountain to connect to Sunflower. LSM was pretty in the light, partly shaded and dancing along the edge of the creek. Turning onto Sunflower meant a quick drop and climb, going under some powerlines, and then miles of rocky two-track. Closer to Sunflower the path breaks off on its own and swings towards Diamond Mountain before going under N Beeline. But it's not done yet - another half mile of AZT, a quick crossing of the Sycamore, and then a dusty haul up to Bushnell before this trail is completed.

N Beeline to Cross F Trailhead
The tumble down from Bushnell parking back to Sycamore was graceless but got me back on N Beeline without playing frogger on AZ-87. Whole herd of deer was near the bottom of the bridge, unperturbed by the traffic overhead yet terrified of me. Paved roadwalk was about as fun as paved roadwalks can get. No traffic, as the sun was setting by now, and I returned to the trailhead before eight.

Mazatzal Miles: 129.8/275 (47%)

Asides
Hot. Drank 3 gallons of water (~half mixed w/ electrolytes) and 2 frozen powerades (for good luck). Forecast promised 85ish, thermometer claimed 95+.
Not a single person on the trails today. Well, there were some vehicles at Cross F when I stopped back in the afternoon, but didn't see any people on the trail. Only one driver was spotted from a distance. Quiet day in the Mazzies for such accessible trails.
Distance wasn't that big of a deal, though I need some better insoles to deal with the darn rocks.
Really need to start looking to the west/north. There's a lot of trails up there (Verde/Wet Bottom/Red Hills) that I haven't touched yet :(


dry Thicket Spring Dry Dry
Dry at spring. Water can be found downstream along Cornucopia Trail.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Upper McFarland @ #88/95 Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Pools below junction.
_____________________
1 archive
May 20 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Deer Creek Loop, AZ 
Deer Creek Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar May 20 2017
jacobemerick
Backpack31.16 Miles 6,757 AEG
Backpack31.16 Miles2 Days         
6,757 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Inspired by a recent read (John Alcock's 'After the Wildfire') I decided it was time to visit the Deer Creek area. Plus I needed to finish up a chunk of the Mazatzal Divide Trail, which is like right there.

Deer Creek #45
The first four miles of this is a breeze. Everything is well trimmed and easy to follow, and even the gravesite has also been cleaned up. Things start to get hairy after 4.5 miles. The trail begins to criss-cross the creek, with massive cairns to mark the crossings, though the actual paths on the banks are not always easy to pick up. Ivy and deadfall complicate things. It's not terrible, just something to be aware of. Gowan Camp is pleasant and there were a few stagnant ponds in the creek to pull from. The last section from the camp up to Peeley trailhead is much easier.

Mazatzal Divide #23 (Peeley :next: Bear Springs)
Oh man, the views. Kept tripping over my jaw this whole time. Plus the stands of pines spared from wildfire behind Peeley... This was heavenly. As usual, the AZT was easy to follow and a cruise to hike. Recent maintenance has been done around the Bear Springs area (and it looks great!).

Deer Creek Connector
This was my first dedicated off-trail section in the Mazzies and it could have been worse. The creek starts off rocky and easy to follow, eventually gaining deadfall and thorny brush and sharp drops. There was some plastic tubing along/buried in the rocky bed that was confusing... Did one of the ranches pull water from Bear Spring at some point? Or maybe a leftover from Gowan Camp? Also a lot of bear sign and some game trails on the banks that looked too good to be game trails...

Aside: I ended up setting up camp along this 'connector', about 1/2 mile from Gowan. Couldn't pass up an idyllic cascade and some perfectly spaced trees for the hammock. Anyways, had a visitor of the bear-kind in the middle of the night that made for some heart-pounding entertainment. One of these days I'll get smart enough to bring a weapon/mace along, until then I'll just have to use my charming demeanor and quick wit to keep the wildlife from eating me.

Davey Gowan #48
Must have been fantastic back in the day. Finding the start from Deer Creek Trail is easy thanks to a few blazes (thanks @Grasshopper!) and the tread is still very defined, if a bit narrow. First half mile is beautiful, then the burn area takes over and there is deadfall, washouts, and rampant brush to deal with. Not the worst Mazzie trail - the tread sticks around, even if you have to crawl around to find it.

Gold Ridge #47
My initial plan was to take South Fork down, but after dealing with thorny stuff in Deer Creek and Davey Gowan I just didn't want to earn any more stripes. So I figured Gold Ridge might be easier. And it was, almost too easy. Manzanita was beat back to a respectable distance and the views were great. Easy way to finish the weekend.

Mazatzal Miles: 109.2/275 (39.7%)
Flora
Flora
Columbine
Named place
Named place
David D. Gowan Pigeon Spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bear Spring - Fisher Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Deer Creek / Canyon - Mazatzal Wilderness Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Lots of dry sections, but where the pools were they were clear and welcoming.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Pigeon Spring Dripping Dripping
Small pools below spring, trough was maybe 1/2 full of pea soup.
_____________________
May 06 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Mazatzal Peak Super Loop, AZ 
Mazatzal Peak Super Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 06 2017
jacobemerick
Hiking21.16 Miles 5,374 AEG
Hiking21.16 Miles   14 Hrs   42 Mns   1.88 mph
5,374 ft AEG   3 Hrs   27 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Have you ever wished you could do the Mazatzal Peak Loop and lose a pint of blood at the same time? This alternative on the old classic will deliver!

Barnhardt to Chilson
Not much to say here, did most of it in the dark. Trail maintenance from last year is holding up. Sandy Saddle junction is well cairned and the trail down to Castersen looks reasonable. Finished Barnhardt in two hours, took another twenty to zip over to Chilson Camp.

Brody Seep
Started easy enough, a huge cairn marking a rocky slide down to and over the wash below. Trail was reasonably easy to pick out, tread holding up well and a few cairns scattered about. Some overgrowth will force minor detours. Brody Seep was difficult to reach but well worth it. Above the seep it looks like there were two slides that knocked out a section of trail years and years ago and I ended up bushwhacking for a few hundred terrible yards. FOTG's track shows the correct route to follow. Final leg up to Mazatzal Divide Trail was short and painless, even found some old log steps (somewhat charred) along the route.

Fisher
Junction w/ Brody was difficult to pin down but the tread picks up in a few dozen yards and is easy to follow down to the wash. I tried briefly to pick up the path on the banks and then just followed the wash - assuming hikers from yesteryear did the same thing. This wash makes a sudden, scenic drop and forces the trail to head up a manzanita-and-deadfall choked slope towards crumbling cliffs. Tread can be picked up a few times, but it's easiest just to hack up where possible. Below the cliffs there are some rock slides that seemed to knock out the trail. Picked it up again on the other side and more-or-less followed it along the steep slope until the next wash. Again stuck to the wash, as the banks had manzanita well over my head. Eventually hacked across and found a single lonely cairn in the middle of the next wash, first cairn sighting on Fisher. Then it was a 500' climb through manzanita and deadfall (there's a pattern here), with a faint tread weaving back and forth in tight switchbacks to a saddle. Quick drop and then a 1000' climb up a steep tributary of South Fork Deadman. Didn't even try to find the trail at this point, not with all the pine deadfall, just stuck to the creek and balanced from one log to the next. Found water and a steep waterfall near the fork, no water at Fisher Spring, and a few cairns and traces of path up on the ridge above. Did not find the exact junction with Mazatzal Divide, though I'd guess my path was close to it.

Mazatzal Divide
After a hammock nap at Bear Spring it was time to head north to Y-Bar. After spending the last six miles on "trails?" this felt like a luxury I did not deserve. You know when you are driving on a two-lane country road without a single other car for miles and you purposefully drift between the lanes and feel like a rebel? Yeah, that. Until I almost stepped on a rattle-less snake. Then I stuck to my lane.

Y-Bar
Was a bit overgrown compared to the last year. Plus there were some thorny bits, and the loose rock on the downhill was not pleasant. My knees were also hurting by now so I might be a bit harsh here. The gusty winds did feel good, almost a little chilly. Reached the trailhead with thirty minutes to spare before sunset.

Didn't see a single other person out there on the trails, which was both amazing and a little daunting.

Mazatzal Miles: 85.3/274 (31.0%)
Named place
Named place
Bear Spring - Fisher Brody Seep

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bear Spring - Fisher Quart per minute Quart per minute
Full spring, lots of leaking around the base.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Big Kahuna Falls - Mazatzal Wilderness Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Brody Seep Quart per minute Quart per minute
Several large, clear pools that are easy to pull from.

dry Fisher Spring Dry Dry

dry Fisher Tank Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hawaiian Mist Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Windsor Spring Dripping Dripping
Few stagnant pools.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Y Bar Spring Dripping Dripping
Actual marked spring was dry. Another one, few yards to the west, was dripping and flowing across the trail. No good spots to pull/collect from.
_____________________
2 archives
Apr 14 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Copper Camp Loop IIPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 14 2017
jacobemerick
Backpack33.60 Miles 5,993 AEG
Backpack33.60 Miles2 Days         
5,993 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Short Version
This is a fantastic loop through a remote section of the Western Mazatzals. The trails are sweet, the views are big, and it almost entirely avoids the Willow/Sunflower Fire burn areas.
-------------------------------------

Long Version
Prelude
Drove up on Thursday and car camped at Horseshoe campground. Mostly quiet, road was a bit rough. Not sure if I'll be taking the minivan on 205 again until it gets graded.

479/477
Plan was to do most of this road walk in the dark, though alarm failed me and then I got confused trying to find my way to the dam from campground. Following roads is hard. So only 479 in the dark. Start of 477 was difficult to track through the wash, then a rocky, hilly ride to wilderness boundary. Tweaked my left knee early on which filled me with confidence. Brief pauses at Cholla Tank and Trail Springs to check on water situation.

Copper Camp #87
Trail starts humble enough - no formal trail sign, horse gate is overgrown w/ prickly pear, sporadic tread, and few cairns for the first mile. Plus the final drop is badly washed out. Along the creek things gets more fun. Trail criss-crosses the creek repeatedly, and it definitely pays to look for the cairns. Creek was very overgrown and forced me to a crawl repeatedly. Path will climb up along the sides of the valley (reminding me of Upper La Barge Box) and is in shockingly good shape for the most part, only a few bad overgrown patches and washouts. Water flowed in several sections, including the loading corral. Then it climbs up Squaw Flat in a punishingly exposed way.

Cairns help a lot on the climb, as the trail can be difficult to trace over the grassy/rocky slope. I made some bad water decisions and made the haul up with only two liters in the afternoon and it hurt. Once it crests near 5400' it ventures through lovely pines, where some angry yellow rattler was waiting for me, and then deadfall and route-finding after you enter the burn area. A surprise seep at the junction of Sheep Creek Trail was very appreciated. I pushed on to Squaw Flat Spring expecting to find more water there and didn't. Set up dry camp here and read for a few hours before a most exhausted sleep.

Sheep Creek #88
Woke up early and made it back to junction and that seep before sunrise. Watered up and headed up the trail, which quickly climbed out of the burn area with none of the deadfall or route-finding issues that the end of #87 had. The roller coaster was fun to do in the cold morning temps, and then it was down down down. Knee felt surprisingly good and most of the trail was broad and easy to roll down. Last few hundred feet of descent began to get a bit choked up. Creek section was fantastic, reminding me of a rocky Midwest creek with piles of leaves and soft grassy banks, and the trail criss-crossed a few times and was well-defined. Beyond the end of Cypress Ridge the desert took over from the trees and the banks became thorny and nasty.

Trail seemed harder to follow so I began switching between hopping along the rocks in the wash, connecting game trails, and hunting for cairns. Then the old fence line led right to Sheep Creek proper and my planned breakfast stop. After a too-long break I checked out Round Spring and then promptly lost the trail on the way up to the corral. Took some hunting to find the trail sign, assumed it was the junction of Sears, and started heading west a few hours before noon.

Sears #90
The first few miles of this was taxing. Trail and I played a game that I kept losing. Cairns helped, as did some glimpses of the tread, but there were no prints to speak of. Near the fulstrum I decided to check out Lizard Spring, choosing water over a cement thing, and had a terrible time descending down the hill. Bit of a path leading down but it involved a whole lot of sliding. Found plenty of water and a weird tree, so it was worth it? Climbed back up to trail and then had an easy time dropping down into the unnamed wash. Trail was clearly marked the whole way, and then the wash was easy enough to trot along. I followed some cairns where my GPS told me to exit the wash and had a very bad time. Eventually found the trail after spilling a whole lot of blood and it was stupid wide and easy, looking more like an old two-track than trail.

Trotted down past the corral and finished the drop into Davenport. Cairns took a sharp left turn at the bottom of chalk cliffs and, vaguely remembering a discussion on here about a Sears Trail re-route, I decided to follow it instead of the road. I'm not sure if this was a smart idea. Instead of what looks to be a straight half mile of road in the wash I was on a zig-zagging route with plenty of little climbs up and down washes that made for a frustrating ending. Finished the last of my water right before meeting back w/ 477, and then decided to follow cairns instead of the road in hopes of finding an actual trailhead sign for Sears. Never did. Did meet another rattler at Sears TH Spring. Oh, and that spring looks toxic.

Final few miles of road walking was not a lot of fun, especially with a few vehicles blowing dust and diesel fumes on their way to/from the ranch. Dam was pretty busy with fisherman and photogs. Considering that I hadn't seen a single person on the trails, guess it was only fair that there were crowds at the end.

Mazatzal Miles: 78.6/274 (28.7%)

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Camp Creek @ Loading Corral Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Chalk Tank 1-25% full 1-25% full
Dripping from under the roots.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Copper Camp Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Big pools, clear flowing water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Lizard Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Good flow above and along spring.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Round Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Overflowing spring.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Sears TH Spring Dripping Dripping
Ugly green ponds of water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Sheep Creek - Upper SE Fork Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Sheep Creek Seep Quart per minute Quart per minute

dry Squaw Flat Spring Dry Dry
No sign of dampness or spring.
_____________________
2 archives
Mar 26 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
City Creek Loop, AZ 
City Creek Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 26 2017
jacobemerick
Hiking18.41 Miles 4,297 AEG
Hiking18.41 Miles   8 Hrs   48 Mns   2.53 mph
4,297 ft AEG   1 Hour   32 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Snuck out from fatherly duties to knock out a quick loop in the Mazzies. Yay for ditching responsibilities!

Pole Hollow Canyon
As far as connectors go, this one is solid. An old two-track runs along the length of the wash, so there's always the choice between walking the sandy/gravel creekbed or overgrown road. There is plenty of deadfall so I switched between the two frequently. Not sure how much foot traffic this gets, as I didn't see any recent tracks yet there were a few paths trod around some of deadfall. Anyways, water was flowing from the spring. Once I passed that things dried up.

North Peak Trail
Is way more enjoyable than I thought it would be. The first mile played in and out of Mineral Creek and then the climb hit. Steep enough to get the heart pounding, short enough to not outlive its welcome. And big views the whole way - not quite Rock Creek level, but close. Above the climb has been recently trimmed, sometime in the last year or so, and I didn't have any difficulty until the camp on 6178. Manzanita and deadfall took over the path, and while someone had tied pretty pink markers along the path and even knocked down a few bushes, I still lost it and wandered aimlessly in the wash for a bit. Had to use GPS to get back and make it to The Park relatively unbloodied.

Pete's Pond makes for a great lunch spot. Although it has a game cam now, so I guess no midnight skinny dipping for the campers.

Mazatzal Divide Trail
Bumped into the first (and only other) hiker of the day near Wet Bottom on my way out of Pete's Pond. Then it was solo hiking up a new stretch of the Mazzie Divide for me, up and down and up and down. It was a fun, if somewhat tiring, journey to and over Knob Mountain. Every creek crossing was flowing which was pretty cool. Oh, and that cluster of pines just south of Knob was clutch. The descent after AZT fork was gentle enough to only tweak my knee a half-dozen times and long enough to get a bit tedious near the end.

On an aside, used a new piece of equipment this hike: inReach Explorer+. Wife and I have been discussing me using a satellite communicator after an incident in early '16, and with some of my planned outings this year she finally put the foot down. It performed well for communication, so-so as a GPS tracker. Had hooked Route Scout as a backup and it worked admirably. As it usually does.

Mazatzal Miles: 59/274 (21.5%)
Named place
Named place
Pete's Pond

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Mineral Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Mineral Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Pete's Pond 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Pole Hollow Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max SE 5395 Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
_____________________
1 archive
Jan 28 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Hidden Valley Loop - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 28 2017
jacobemerick
Hiking15.60 Miles 4,760 AEG
Hiking15.60 Miles   12 Hrs      1.56 mph
4,760 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Spoiler: this is probably the best day hike in the Supes I've been on. Period.

Started early (5AM) from Peralta. A dozen cars already in parking lot, must be a lot of campers out there this weekend. Cold breeze all morning long. Dodged ice, especially on Ely-Anderson. Ely-Anderson was a bit tough to navigate in the dark, but predawn light helped about halfway up. Barely made it to the summit before sunrise and shivered through some photos and quick peak log signing. Then it was down to the main attraction: Hidden Valley.

Dropped down the west canyon instead of heading out on 4041 in an effort to get out of that darn cold wind sooner. Found Al Reser's camp easy enough, couldn't find the chair though. Checked out the view from eastern side, thought briefly about following the eastern ridgeline for a bit and it looked a bit too hairy to tackle solo. Seems doable, just hairy. Backtracked instead and then went up to western side. Carlson/Stewart talked about walking below 3999, following the ridge northward, and this turned out to be totally easy. Plus I found an old horse path (with a horse shoe to prove that it was a horse path) to boot. Also found a few mining claims on this side, and maybe other mining stuffs. Maybe. On the north side of 3999 was an AMAZING viewpoint of down into Hidden Valley, plus Malapais/Four Peaks/Tortilla Peak/Music Mountain/etc. Hung out there for a long time drooling over the view. Then back to the descent to the NW edge of Bluff Springs, which ended up getting tougher near the end.

Original plan was to drop down either north exit or the northeast exit. Neither of these looked fun, so I dropped down west of the waterfall instead. It was stupid scary on the first time, especially with wet/icy rock face, and I don't think I'll do it again alone. Good angle of the falls, tho. Legs were shaky so it seemed like a good time to stop for lunch at the base of some of the falls. Salami and crackers taste so much better when you're getting misted by fresh water. Then it was time for a completely terrible bushwhack down the creek to Little Bull Pass and a straightforward, if exhausting, climb up Terrapin.

Only bumped into two hikers and a trail crew all day. Surprising, especially with the 6+ pages that were filled out at the trailhead sign-in. Got chatty with the hikers (one knew a lot about Magill) and burned a bit more daylight than expected.

Even though I barely hiked Hidden Valley proper, only following the creeks to Al Reser's camp, this area was utterly enchanting. Once you drop below 4041 it feels like a totally different world. Could definitely waste a good weekend/week just playing around on the surrounding peaks and hiking up and down along the creek. A return trip is already high on the list.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Barks Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bluff Spring Mountain Canyon Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bluff Spring Mountain Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
_____________________
Jan 14 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Turk - 5057 - Three Sisters Loop, AZ 
Turk - 5057 - Three Sisters Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 14 2017
jacobemerick
Hiking16.50 Miles 4,960 AEG
Hiking16.50 Miles   8 Hrs   20 Mns   2.25 mph
4,960 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Heavily inspired by @trekkin_gecko fantastic loop I headed towards Carney TH in hopes of finishing before the forecasted afternoon rains. Barely made it, but just barely.

Turned off onto Lost Goldmine just before entering wilderness. Enjoyed this trail more than I thought I would - lots of little up/downs, and the dim bulk of the Supes reaching up in the darkness mixed with the nearness of overreaching branches in the headlamp made for a nice combination. Turk's Head was fun, even if the first ten minutes of climb was all prickly predawn guesswork and not a lot of luck. Only made one Huge Mistake(tm) on the way up and tried climbing up a chute that didn't want to be climbed. Slid back down on my belly and felt bad about my life choices. Found a different way and watched the first part of sunrise from the peak, got impatient, and headed back down (easier to find cairns in the daylight) to finish up Lost Goldmine.

First part of Hiero was a zoo. Parking lot was filling up fast and there were dozens of groups on the trail. Tried to push past the crowds quickly to start on the real climb of the day - 5057. Trail was meaner than I remembered, might have had something to do with the direction (I only took it downhill before). It was well-cairned and the brush was trimmed back, it's just a steep trail. Stopped for two good breaks along the climb, the first time to drink a liter and the second to pull a liter from a pool near the last haul up, and then hit the saddle. Skies looked unfriendly so after a few photos I took the Ridgeline trail and zipped up to the peak of 5057. And by zipped it was a mix of hobble and limp - leg cramps started on Hiero.

From the peak it looked like most of the storm was going to east of Peralta, but then I saw some lightening near Superior and got scairt so I rolled down off the peak and started towards Three Sisters. Trail out to Three Sisters was faint and hard to make out so I just stuck to the top of the ridge. Didn't go all the way out on the sisters acos cramping was getting bad and it didn't look like a good place to stumble, just took a few pics and stared down sadly at little sister. Has anyone even done that one recently?

Descent to West Boulder Saddle from Three Sisters seemed to take forever, especially after bumping into the creek. Cairns were confusing and I got turned around in the same place as last time in this section, so I used the last of my phone's battery and RS to figure out that right direction. Creeks had a good amount of water and I wondered what sort of fun backpacking loops you could start from the saddle. Descent down Carney was a descent down Carney. First person seen since leaving the 'main' stopping point on Hiero was trying to find Cave Trail (except for the two ridgeline hikers I woo-hooed at from 5057 and didn't see again) and then there was another dozen groups between the split and parking lot. Parking lot was full... Geesh, who dropped the Lure Module at Wave Cave? Jumped in van just as the big drops began to fall :y:

A surprisingly quiet and enjoyable loop, as long as you can ignore the crowds at the two trailheads.

(Aside: did not post RS route because battery died on West Boulder Saddle and incomplete loops are weird. Can post if peeps be curious.)

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hieroglyphic Canyon Light flow Light flow
Flowing water where the trail last leaves the creek, several good pools there.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hieroglyphic Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Water running from pool to pool to pool.
_____________________
3 archives
Jan 08 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Tortilla Peak 4918Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 08 2017
jacobemerick
Hiking8.60 Miles 2,776 AEG
Hiking8.60 Miles   6 Hrs   45 Mns   1.50 mph
2,776 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Kicked off 2016 by climbing up Malapais, only makes sense to start this year by hiking it's brother from a different mother.

Started at TH the same time as some hunters and they offered a ride down 213, which was most awesome. The driver mentioned that he did some trail maintenance on Peter's Trail over the last few months, and sure enough, Peter's Trail was in great shape. Seemed chilly out, though I didn't see a lot of frost. Creeks were running good. Found Kane Spring. Now, on to the exciting stuff.

Cutting off Peter's Saddle toward the peak was tough. The ground is pretty crumbly and, since I chose to circle around a little hill, I wasn't able to plan more than a few dozen yards in front of me at a time. Lots and lots of brush to deal with. Seemed to take forever to reach the first saddle past Peter's. Along the way I thought I saw a hint of a trail and two cairns, wasn't able to pick out anything else from here though, so I'm going with tricksy bighorns. Following the ridge wasn't that bad, soft ground but relatively clear. Saw two good routes up the ridge, chose the second one which turned out to be Joe's route (at least I think so, there was a tree assist). Once I got on top of the ridge I took my time, avoiding the tippy-top, and thus avoided the inevitable cliff-outs. Past the ridge there was a solid brushy climb, then some harder rock and sporadic brush, then the final (and surprisingly difficult) last few yards to the very peak. I like it when a peak is a real peak. Malapais just felt like rolling hills up there, and no one knows what Bluff Springs is up to.

Peak log was pretty empty. After the searches for Jesse in 2012 there were a few groups in 2013, 2014, no one in 2015, and a sizeable group in Jan 2016. And that's it. I signed it, thought about looking around for plane parts (totally forgot about them on the way up, peak log reminded me), decided to lounge and eat some crackers instead, and then headed down for a northern exit.

Northern route was peaches and cream compared to the south. For a while, anyways. It was flat and easy sailing for a time, and then there was a twenty foot drop and things got all boulder-y and overgrown. Spent most of the time dancing along the eastern slope below the ridge, might have been easier to top off. Super slow going until reached the saddle between 4622 and 4484. Climbing out of the saddle was easy, skipping on them flat red boulders, and made semi-good time to 4581. Not much to see here, just awesome views back at Tortilla Peak. The drop down 4581 to the north was easy at first, then got harder and harder as I got closer to the creek that would (mostly) take me out. So much bloody cat claw. Once I reached the base of that creek the cat claw went from knee-high to over-my-head, so that was neat. Eventually it was worth it. Found what I was looking for, an old dam on the little creek, though there wasn't any clues as to it's use. Something something ranching, probably. Or maybe LDM. Let's go with LDM. Followed tanks for a bit, and when creek got bush I pulled up the northern bank, rounded a saddle, and then had a fun 500' descent with a few cliff-outs and even more thick vegetation before finally finding the road. Got back to PHX shortly after three, perfect timing to get some final weekend stuff before it's not-weekend again.
Named place
Named place
Kane Spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Kane Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
_____________________
2 archives
Dec 31 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Pyramid - Lost Mine Loop, AZ 
Pyramid - Lost Mine Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 31 2016
jacobemerick
Hiking7.93 Miles 1,851 AEG
Hiking7.93 Miles   2 Hrs   36 Mns   3.37 mph
1,851 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Had an epic planned for today, but then found out that I was the on-call. New York colleagues all have social lives so I couldn't get too far out of town today. So to South Mountain!

Second car in the parking lot at 6:40. Just barely light enough to leave the headlamp in the car, trail was easy to follow and (most) junctions were simple to resolve. That climb felt great. Combined with the humidity this morning it fogged up my glasses nicely. Passed two runners (on their way down?!?) and stopped for a quick snack break at the peak. Juncture with National Trail, with that epic cloudy view of Telegraph, was another reason to stop and gawk for awhile. Chatted with another hiker coming up from the pass before continuing to Goat Hill. The split up to the peak was easy to make out without checking route, enjoyed my first sun of the day with a cool breeze up there. While on the peak I got paged twice, once for work and once from wife, and the latter was reason to take an early exit down Lost Mine Trail. This option was a ton of fun, would love to take it up if I'm out here again. Played around at the mines before losing the trail(s) and just taking the wash out. Saw over three dozen people after rejoining Pyramid Trail - really thankful for the solitude that the early start gave me.

Oh, and recently jumped on the iPhone train and used RS for this trip. It's freaking awesome.
_____________________
Dec 17 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Battleship Mountain - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Dec 17 2016
jacobemerick
Backpack12.00 Miles 3,000 AEG
Backpack12.00 Miles2 Days         
3,000 ft AEG10 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
reynchr
We wanted to get outside and enjoy the cooler temps at a memorable campsite, so to Battleship it was.

Started from Canyon Lake TH just after 8AM. Last night's rain was pretty obvious - most of the footprints were washed out and a lot of the rock bowls had sitting water. We cruised up to the wilderness sign and then headed down into canyon, deciding to try the La Barge Creek route instead of climbing up Frog Peak. La Barge Creek ended up being a great choice - easy rock-hopping, obvious paths through the thicker sections, and great scenery along the way. Plus none of the usual Boulder Canyon Trail traffic. Jumped on the main trail and saw a few groups on our way up to Battleship. Reached the stern at 12:30 with our leisurely pace, chilled for a while, watched a large group attempt the ridge and turn back, and then I went on alone and bagged the summit while @reynchr starting setting up camp. Relaxed some more, started a fire, watched what looked to be a search & rescue somewhere in the Goldfields, then bundled up for a rather windy and chilly night.

Woke up before sunrise (partly because my tarp had blown over during the night and a down bag does little for blocking wind by itself) and started a morning fire. Slow start and we were heading down after 8. Brief stop at Second Water to filter a liter or two, another pause at the ol' paint mine, and then the slog up and over Frog past at least a dozen groups. Busy trail. Reached the car around noon. Nice to have a relaxed outing with a friend (and a good book).

Notes on Battleship:
- totally forgot about the little drops to the left when it cliffs out. clicked after a few minutes of wandering
- also forgot about the two crack climbs. was mostly focused on the gravelly section near the end, which wasn't nearly as bad as I remembered
- this has got to be one of the best mile-long hikes in the Supes
- lot of groups heading out to do this hike w/o any previous experience. great ambition, if a bit scary
- chollas can actually make for good handholds if you don't mind pulling out the needles afterwards
_____________________
Dec 11 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Mount Ord from Slate Creek THPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 11 2016
jacobemerick
Hiking15.50 Miles 4,108 AEG
Hiking15.50 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   3.10 mph
4,108 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Was in the mood to work up a sweat without thinking too much and Ord delivered. Empty trailhead at 8:30, bumped into some hunters walking at the 27/626 junction, then saw another four trucks parked along 626 before hitting the peak. Icy roads and snow in the shade for the last two miles, brought back fond memories of Michigan hiking :y:. On the way down bumped into some runners (!) and other hikers, turned out that Team Red, White and Blue were out today. Super friendly peeps, great to learn about them.
_____________________
Nov 24 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Hackberry Spring from Horse LotPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 24 2016
jacobemerick
Hiking3.50 Miles 500 AEG
Hiking3.50 Miles
500 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The wife was busy helping prepare dinner for the extended family, so the boys and I headed out for an easy loop in the Supes. Parked at the horse lot and took the track down to First Water Ranch. They had a ball here, running around the old corrals and trying to figure out where all the gates were. Eventually made it down to First Water creek and bumbled downstream. There was plenty of water in the tanks, nothing flowing. There were a few tricky spots that the almost-2yr needed help, but the 3yr handled it like a champ and led for much of the hike. Much of the hike was along trails on the banks that were easy to follow.

Hackberry Spring made for a good break spot for second-breakfast. Lots of water there too, pipe was dribbling and the pool barely overflowing. Continued downstream and then cut up the saddle that meets with the trail to Garden Valley (not sure if has a name). This is when the 2yr old crashed and I had to carry him the rest of the way out. 3yr old made it to the ranch before he also needed help. Finished the hike carrying both kids and hoping my back was back to par. Needless to say, they both ate a ton at dinner that night.

Saw one group near the springs and two more in First Water Ranch valley on the way out.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Hackberry Spring Dripping Dripping
_____________________
Nov 20 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Little Four PeaksPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 20 2016
jacobemerick
Hiking2.10 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking2.10 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Had some plans for Four Peaks today that fell through, so I decided to do them anyways. Decided to do the much more treacherous and remote Little Four Peaks, anyways.

Started early enough that I needed a headlamp for the first bit, especially after the old track faded away and a few trails wound away into the desert. Continuously picked the wrong one and ended up doing much more bushwhacking than I wanted to in predawn light. Decided on doing this 1234 and stuck to the rightmost wash up the first false peak. It's kinda like the chute on Brown's if you use a little imagination and you haven't had a cup of coffee yet. Kinda. #1 was bagged pretty easy after a few Class III scrambles, or maybe Class IV, and the wind up top kept knocking my hat off. The descent down to the 1-2 saddle was quick. #2 was a pretty short climb, though there was a small chunk of manzanitas... er, chollas to wade through on the way to #3. I must have missed the backwards Z on the descent. Things got more fun climbing up #4 with a bit of crack shimmy-ing needed. Once I got to the top I saw another little peak to the south... Either my count was off or there's a fifth peak. Well, peaks were made for bagging, so headed down, passed by what was obviously an amethyst mine, and then zipped up. Must have been some Class VII or IX climbs up this one. Looked around for a descent down past that mine and couldn't find it, so just followed the ridge back to near #1 and then shortcut back down to the van.

So, back and forth on Little Four Peaks... Mother Lode Pequeño Dos Veces? Kinda glad I forgot to bring the peak brews, would have taken me longer to drink four beers than it would have to do this hike.

Aside - lot of glass on the old, blocked track in from the parking area. Definitely not dog safe.
_____________________
Nov 05 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Amethyst Peak 7524Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 05 2016
jacobemerick
Hiking9.70 Miles 3,300 AEG
Hiking9.70 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   2.16 mph
3,300 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a half-serious Mother Lode attempt, more on testing out some approaches and exploring Sister Peak.

Spent the night near the overflow lot. Ridiculous views of the sunset up there, worth the extra wind exposure. Started on the trail at five to forty-odd degree temps, made it to the saddle at six and the mine area a short time after. Recent maintenance on Amethyst Trail was much appreciated, it was really easy to follow in the predawn light. Plan was to make it up the chute for a late sunrise... ha ha ha. Didn't reach Amethyst Peak until eight. Ugh. I really hate that chute, especially when it's damp and slippery from yesterday's rain. Made the mistake of hanging to the left too long and had to do an annoyingly tricky swing over the ridge to get back to the right chute and back to crawling under the undergrowth. Final climb up Amethyst was a joy compared to the chute. Hung out on the summit and ate second-breakfast before taking the more direct route down to the divots, stumbling around them for a bit, and then starting my way up Sister's. Made it 3/4s of the way up when GPS died. Turned around and headed back down that gol' darned chute, returning to the overflow lot a bit before noon.

Lessons learned:
- spending the night near the trailhead > spending the night on the saddle. less gear to worry about, better rest, etc.
- the trailhead itself was stupid crowded. at least three groups camping in the parking lot, including a bunch of cots that were literally set up on the first few yards of trail. didn't feel too bad about tromping through them all with my bright headlamp.
- trail up to saddle was more fun in the dark. spices things up a bit, and the views are great under starlight.
- have heard that 4321 is easier, but climbing up the chute to Amethyst took a lot out. either need to pace myself better, re-focus for 1234, or just be a better person.
- had the perfect amount of gear for the 'Lode. except for extra GPS batteries, anyways.
- GPS tracks helped a ton w/ route-finding. feel much better about the 'Lode than I did after my last visit.
- next attempt needs to have zero time constraints. in October I was worried about getting back to my hiking partners in time, this time was worried about making it back for a double-date in san tan. when I (eventually) get this knocked out it needs to be slow/careful.

Oh, and in the spirit of FOTG's hiking music, I had "Love Kernels" by Rachel Bloom stuck in my head. All day. Far too catchy of a tune.
_____________________
Oct 22 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Quartz Peak Trail - Sierra EstrellaPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 22 2016
jacobemerick
Hiking8.00 Miles 3,000 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   7 Hrs      1.23 mph
3,000 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
reynchr
We've been wanting to break into the Sierra Estrella for years now, so might as well start with this one. Y'know, the only one with a path up it.

@reynchr and I made it to the trailhead on Friday around 8:30 PM (good grief that's a sandy pin-striper of a drive, he owned it though) and car camped near the trailhead. After a few too many beverages we listened to the coyotes howl and slowly drifted to sleep. Aside: sleeping in a hammock is hella comfortable after a few choice beverages. Saturday morning came too early and we started up the trail around 6 AM.

I made it to the peak in less than 2 :y: and slowly began bumbling over towards Butterfly to burn some time (much thanks to @trekkin_gecko for that route). Cross-country on the ridge is ridiculous. Made it to the western wing and was trying to find a way up that wasn't too taxing on my non-existent climbing skills when I glanced back and saw @reynchr a few hundred yards below Quartz. I turned around and hacked, tumbled, bled, and cried my way back without summiting either Butterfly and collapsed on a flatter piece of white rock twenty minutes after him. Temps were high by the time we headed down and it took us a humbling three hours to descend into the triple digits.

Thoughts:
- the trail is really well-designed. the last bit of bouldering is a bit of a surprise, adds a last-minute sprinkle of difficulty.
- a pit toilet _and_ table at the trailhead? so fancy.
- torn on the drive. two hours from gilbert can get you better payoffs in the mazzies or payson area imo.
- the ridge was nuts. one of my dream hikes is a sierra estrella ridgeline, and nope not ready for that any time soon.
- oh hey, did you know some beverages dehydrate you? :themoreyouknow:
_____________________
Oct 08 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Brown's PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Oct 08 2016
jacobemerick
Backpack5.20 Miles 2,064 AEG
Backpack5.20 Miles
2,064 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
reynchr
After doing Brown's Peak and Amethyst Peak last year (both as day hikes) we've (reynchr and cousin) have been talking about how to do the Mother Lode. We camped at the saddle to save elevation difference, started early in the morning to maximize daylight, and each hauled a separate daypack for the big day. And we barely scratched Mother Lode.

Saturday - to Brown's Saddle.
Parking lot was almost completely full. We passed at least a half-dozen groups on their way down, most of which had only done Brown's Peak. About halfway I started to hear thunder in the distance (there was a 30% forecast) so I put on my afterburners, reached the saddle, and had 1.5 tents set up before the other two joined me. Pulled on the last rainfly minutes before the rain started. Nothing bad, just enough to want to keep our gear/clothes dry in a tent. Rained on and off for the rest of the afternoon, more sprinkles with a light breeze than anything, with the last hour before sunset dry enough for us to make dinner outside and enjoy a cloudy sunset.

Sunday - Brown's Peak
After a rainy afternoon in camp, an epic lightening storm after sunset that kept us cussing, a midnight bear visitor (didn't see, just guessed by the snout sniffles), and then a stiff wind overnight we headed up Brown's chute a bit after sunrise. The plan was to start earlier, but this felt safe. Made up to Brown's Peak no problem - it felt so easy without the long haul to the saddle. We sat on the peak and worried about the route to Brothers. Eventually we started heading down the ravine and made it about 50' down when the other two decided to call it quits. I pushed on alone, taking the wrong ravine down and taking forever to start up the steps of Brother. Made it up three or four legit rock climbs before it finally seeped in how utterly stupid I was being, doing this solo with no climbing experience and only snippets of knowledge about the route. Turned around and sped up Brown's (sooo much easier when you've done it once, holy wah!) and almost beat the other two back to our camp. We sat around and drank a ton of water before meandering back down to the parking lot.

Misc
Just doing Brown's Peak as an overnight was a great idea, ignoring all that nonsense about Mother Lode.
I hauled up far too much water (13L!) thinking that I'd have some extra if the other two ran out. They did not so we watered some of the more prickly plants in the saddle for future enjoyment.
Lightning is hella scary. It's pretty when it's over the Mogollon Rim and Sierra Ancha. Not so pretty when it less than a half mile away on top of Brown's Peak.
Physically I _think_ I'm ready for Mother Lode, but not alone. Doing some of those down climbs without a partner is hella nerve-wracking.
Don't think Brother is too bad, once you get the feel for it. Sister still scares me. Might do another Amethyst just to get a better feel for it.
_____________________
Sep 30 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Cave Trail #233Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 30 2016
jacobemerick
Backpack6.10 Miles 1,940 AEG
Backpack6.10 Miles2 Days         
1,940 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners partners
reynchr
Hiking partner has upgraded some gear recently so we headed out for a test run to Lone Pine. Passed three (three!) Search and Rescue trucks on the drive out, must have been an exciting day. No activity at the trailhead, so hopefully they found who they were looking for. We left Peralta Trailhead at 5 on Friday, 2 other vehicles there, both day hikers. I made it to Fremont via Peralta in ~45 and swung over to setup my tarp under the pine just in time to catch the last rays of sunlight on Weaver's. @reynchr made it up shortly after and we had dinner together and watched the Milky Way show up overhead. Ignoring the Phoenix light pollution leaking over Ridgeline it was great sky viewing (new moon).

Left shortly after sunrise and followed Cave Trail down. Marveled at all the traffic coming up Peralta trail as we bumbled around above. Enjoyed the cairn factory (the vortex is strong here) and found the massive Geronimo Cave by luck. Only cliffed out once - not bad for our first time on this trail, especially with all the forks and lying cairns. One day hiker passed us right before we hit Bluff Springs - he was doing the same loop and had his boosters on plaid. Three full rows of cars in the parking lot by the time we pulled out and Carney Springs was hopping. Hello, autumn in the Supes.

Temps - 80s high, 60s low
Water - 4 liters consumed each
Base weight - 4 lbs (me), 13 lbs (@reynchr)
_____________________
Sep 23 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Rock Creek to the Park, AZ 
Rock Creek to the Park, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Sep 23 2016
jacobemerick
Backpack27.00 Miles 6,750 AEG
Backpack27.00 Miles2 Days         
6,750 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Basic two-day backpack loop. Wanted to check out the water situation up top, try a few new trails, and visit the park. If things were going swimmingly there were a few extension options, but swim they did not, so kept it simple.

Half Moon
Excellent shape. Had to check the GPS a few times, mostly through the open sections when I didn't spot the next cairn right away. The cat claw clawed, the wash crossings were boulders, and the only tricky section was on the northern end before the ridge. Trail split, maybe? Not sure. Once I got up on the ridge it was pretty simple again. 4/5, would hike again. Oh, and none of the washes were flowing, didn't check the upstream springs.

Rock Creek Trail
Good grief. This trail is humbling on several levels. First, the trail maintenance is on point. There were sections, especially through the never-ending-hill-climb, that looked better than the AZT (spoilers). And once you get up to rocky land the designers really start showing off. That goes to the second - the views are outstanding. Visibility was poor today, but I can't wait to climb this on a clearer day. Last, it knocked me flat out. Was cramping while filtering from the rock pools. The last thousand feet, and the descent beyond, was torturous, especially as the trail started to fade in and out. And yeah, the descent down to Hopi Springs is nonexistent. Manzanitas chewed up my shins something fierce all the way to Mazatzal Divide.

Mazatzal Divide (N)
I've been on the Y-Bar :next: Hopi section before, so the only new section for me was Hopi :next: The Park. The trail has seen better days. The climb up to the last Deadman Crossing is pretty loose and crumbly, and the climb down to the Park was very overgrown. Lot of sidewise walking. The views were amazing though, especially west towards Midnight Mesa. That was the optional add-on, btw, a trek down Willow Springs towards Mountain Spring and beyond, but LOL bad things.

The Park
Was okay. The pines were cool, the campsite(s) were neat, but the water sitting in Wet Bottom was gnarly (turns out I totally misjudged the distance to Pete's Pond - should have loaded that waypoint). Punctured the wife's sleeping pad around eight and had a midnight skunk visitor, so yeah, I didn't really like the Park.

Mazatzal Divide (S)
It was nice to knock out the big climb of the day right away, almost all in shade, and get rid of the most overgrown section of the trail (or so I thought). Stopped at Horse Camp for coffee and stroopwaffles and nostalgia of my first overnight up here. The trail from Horse Camp to Chilson was a mixed bag - some sections that were close to five feet wide cleared and some encroaching. Stopped at the tanks halfway between Chilson and Barnhardt Junction to pull a liter (I think there was water there only because of the rain a few days ago) and then had a quick lunch near the junction.

Barnhardt
Is under active maintenance :y: Passed a few crews along the way, chatted with them, sounds like they are clearing a wider path up to Chilson to set up a base camp for more work on the AZT. CCRC? CCRE? CCRECEC? Totally forgot the acronym. Anyways, the trail is looking good where they've gone and is quite stabby where they haven't. Besides those crews there were maybe five other groups on the trail... The only people I saw the entire outing. Mazatzals can be awesome for solitude.

Drank 7L the first day, 5L the second.
Base weight 9.5 pounds, 2L water capacity plus 3.2 pounds of food.
Donated a few ounces of blood to the local flora, as per tradition.

Mazatzal Miles: 45.7/274 (16.7%)
Culture
Culture
Campsite

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Big Kahuna Falls - Mazatzal Wilderness Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Few clear pools, likely from the rain a few days ago. No trickles.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Chilson Spring Dripping Dripping
Though it'd take a bit of patience to pull more than a few mouthfuls from it.

dry Hawaiian Mist Dry Dry

dry Hopi Spring Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Horse Camp Seep Dripping Dripping
Well, technically the seep was dry, but there were plenty of standing pools along Deadman that were deep enough.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Rock Creek Falls @ 6,100 Ft Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Few pools right next to trail crossing. Water was murky but filtered just fine. No trickles.
_____________________
1 archive
average hiking speed 2 mph
Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

help comment issue

end of page marker