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Carefree Hwy to Emery Henderson - BCT - 8 members in 15 triplogs have rated this an average 1.9 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Jun 13 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 377
 Photos 7,633
 Triplogs 575

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Carefree Hwy to Emery Henderson - BCTPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 13 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking10.38 Miles 314 AEG
Hiking10.38 Miles   4 Hrs   2 Mns   2.58 mph
314 ft AEG      1 Min Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I started this hike from the Emery-Henderson TH and headed south towards the Carefree Highway. The trail is a combination of singletrack and an old dirt road. The BCT markers all note that motor vehicles are prohibited, and the road looks like it hasn't been driven on in decades. Very faded. In a good way.

There was a hawk that was making a lot of noise as I walked through the same area out and back. I zoomed in on it and got a decent photo. I would think it must have a nest there to have been making that much noise.

After the trail crosses New River, the markers are a little confusing. There is a big cairn right after the last marker that leads to a dirt road that heads up a bank and intersects a road heading east-west. It was on that portion that I saw the rattlesnake. Nice that it was laying flat out and very easy to spot. However, once up on the bank, you can see the next trail marker is a little further to the west. On my way back I headed to that marker and hiked the singletrack section that has the only switchback on this entire section of the trail.

The last mile or more was a section of the MT that I hiked just last week. The official HAZ track for this section of the BCT shows it going all the way to the Carefree Highway. however, once the MT reaches the Bob Bentley TH(?) and heads west, there is absolutely no sign of the BCT heading south. It looks like this section of the trail has been not only decommissioned, but totally eliminated. the last BCT marker was actually about a half mile north of this point.

Headed back with no incident. Didn't see any other hikers. Saw one biker on a dirt road that was perpendicular to the BCT at one point. Temperature was pretty moderate, finished up just before 10:30am. Early clouds and breezes helped with that.
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Jan 02 2020
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
 Routes 230
 Photos 9,161
 Triplogs 721

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Carefree Hwy to Emery Henderson - BCTPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 02 2020
kingsnake
Hiking13.85 Miles 375 AEG
Hiking13.85 Miles   4 Hrs   46 Mns   2.91 mph
375 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I first hiked from Carefree Highway to New River Rd. back in 2011 [ photoset ] . But I did not start making YouTube videos, in earnest, until 2014. So, I had not made a video of the Biscuit Flat segment. I wanted to do something closer to Lake Pleasant, but ran out of time, deciding to do this instead.

To tell you the truth, I was not really looking forward to it. If you read that link in the previous paragraph you will know why: In 2011, the entire area between Bob Bentley Trailhead and the New River was riddled with garbage, particularly shotgun shells and various shot up home appliances. 😣

I hiking from the Emery Henderson Trailhead just after 9:00 a.m. Even though it was 41°, it was sunny, so it felt good with only a shirt on, no jacket. After playing “Frogger” across New River Rd., I headed south towards New River. I’ll skip telling you about my outbound hike, since I wandered down various jeep trails, so suffice to say that I could not cross New River dry (a rare event) and I crossed paths with a small herd of burros. Also, it was obvious that someone had done a huge cleanup all across Biscuit Flat, as I only spotted occasional shotgun shells.

There is no parking lot at Bob Bentley ( https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituar ... ey-5550459 ) Trailhead, so either park on the side of Carefree Highway or just inside the gate. (If it is unlocked, which it probably is.) An obvious jeep trail heads northeast, but turn east along the less obvious jeep trail paralleling AZ-74. In 250 yds., at Deadman Wash, the jeep trail splits. Turn left along the more obvious of the two. (Or pick your way up the middle of the riparian area, looking for birds or flowers.)

There’s quite a few cholla, in a variety of species, saguaro are rare, and I only spotted one barrel cactus. There was plenty of green grass, and even some dense clusters of a leafy plant, due to the heavy winter monsoon. The small heard of burros were quite vocal about me interrupting their grassy meal. 🐴

I knew Jeffrey MacDonald, the "Fatal Vision" family killer, had once been at FCI Phoenix, but had no idea that one the Meat Puppets had also done time there. Besides the Ben Avery Range, you may also hear shooting at the prison, but it is another range, not a jail break.

Today, mid-monsoon, New River had flow 100 ft. wide and 4″ deep. (The river bed is about 400 ft. wide.) In the morning, heading south, I tried to rock hop, but gave up after getting my feet wet. In the afternoon, on the way back north, I didn’t bother, and just splashed right across.

To summarize the southern most segment of the Black Canyon Trail: It’s not all that scenic, but it is a fair number of miles. And, at least, it has been mostly cleaned up!

Hike Video: https://vimeo.com/476677508
Fauna
Fauna
Wild Burro
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Some white fluffy things in the New River bed, some tiny purple things along Deadman Wash, and a fair number of brittlebush.
_____________________
http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
2 archives
Dec 22 2018
joebartels
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 Guides 245
 Routes 837
 Photos 12,313
 Triplogs 4,968

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
BCT - Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa, AZ 
BCT - Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 22 2018
joebartels
Hiking18.00 Miles 1,631 AEG
Hiking18.00 Miles   7 Hrs   8 Mns   2.73 mph
1,631 ft AEG      33 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Choose this hike to get it over with in the best possible conditions: pleasant weather after a moisture rich October.

Bentley to Emery
Either something that never panned out or has yet to get enough attention to amount to squat. Glad I did it. Blips of interesting vegetation. Curiosity of area cured.

Boy Scout Loop from Emery Henderson TH - BCT
Trailhead is impressive. Serious Saguaro country. Boy Scout Loop from the Gasline Rd would be an outstanding 3.25 mile hike.

Table Mesa Rd to Boy Scout Loop - BCT
Good segment through desert rich hills. Well, if you don't mind concerning gunfire in the northern mile.

Synopsis
Portions were trashed as expected. Gleaned ideas for future hikes. Easiest 18 mile hike I recall. Tread is a touch rocky in areas. Consumed a whopping 30oz.
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- joe
Dec 22 2018
The_Eagle
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 Guides 9
 Routes 805
 Photos 10,311
 Triplogs 1,630

65 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
BCT - Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa, AZ 
BCT - Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 22 2018
The_Eagle
Hiking17.94 Miles 1,832 AEG
Hiking17.94 Miles   7 Hrs   8 Mns   2.69 mph
1,832 ft AEG      28 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
After we set up the Shuttle on Table Mesa Road, we started as the full moon was setting and the sun was rising.

We started from the area that some are calling the Bob Bentley TH. Not really an official TH, but it's shown on Google Maps. Parking is beside the road, with passage next to a locked gate and no signage. Not sure who this Bob Bentley is/was, but the best I can figure, this is, or is close to where the historic trail Native American/Sheep trail was located. Some start 1/4 east at 51st Ave. I tried checking the BLM BCT site, but because of the Government Shutdown, the web site is down. :?

I expected this section from Carefree highway to the Emery Henderson TH (about 6 mi.), to be a bore. It was not great, but better than expected. We were brayed at towards the beginning, but never saw them. The beginning portion (until you start to see official signage), follows game/burro trails. We hiked past running water that seemed to go on for a couple of miles, until we reached the source at the FCI Phoenix Federal Prison. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_C ... n,_Phoenix

At the unexpectedly nice Emery Henderson Trail Head, we continued North. I like this portion better. Interesting area for potential future little climbs to the west, that I'm sure would yield nice views of Lake Pleasant.

Saw one runner, one hiker and a handful of mountain bikers.

Without a doubt, the flattest 18 mile hike I've ever done, Just the hike I needed to test things out.

Another section of the BCT completed! Carefree Highway to Bumblebee Complete.

wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
1 archive
Dec 30 2017
mt98dew
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 Guides 24
 Routes 19
 Photos 416
 Triplogs 1,788

52 male
 Joined Oct 24 2010
 Phoenix,Az
Carefree Hwy to Emery Henderson - BCTPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Run/Jog avatar Dec 30 2017
mt98dew
Run/Jog10.20 Miles 250 AEG
Run/Jog10.20 Miles   1 Hour   59 Mns   5.14 mph
250 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
It's hard to believe it's been 3 years since I last did this trail. Not that it is worthy of a yearly visit, it just doesn't seem that long ago. Got on the trail around 8am. Cool, but no need for a jacket. Started from the Emerson TH and went north to south. Though the drive is a little farther, road access and parking is a lot nicer from this end compared to the south end. The trail hasn't changed much over the years. Compared to the other segments of the BC Trail, this segment is pretty flat and straight. The trail bounces between dirt road and single track and the signage is decent enough that you can identify when the trail leaves the road and becomes a single track. The only areas that might cause confusion is crossing the Agua Fria Wash. The cairns and signs that helped negotiate that have long since washed away. But there are visible signs on either ends of the banks that should guide you to where the trail picks up again. The other area that might cause confusion are the roads. There are quite a few roads out and the trail does utilize some of them for a portion of the hike. There was a couple of times where the road split and there was no signage indicating which road was the trail. The trail basically is heading in a southeast direction, so if you keep that in mind you should be find. Trail signs are frequent, so if you don't see one within mile, it means you probably took "the road not taken". The left knee acted up on me again. But I found that by "high stepping it" periodically I was able to keep my knee from stiffening up so much that I had to stop running. I imagine that I looked kind of funny with that "hitch" in my "geddy up", but it got me through.
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Dec 30 2017
Mudhole
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 Routes 28
 Photos 1,661
 Triplogs 20

48 male
 Joined Apr 05 2013
 Peoria, AZ
Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa TH - BCT, AZ 
Bob Bentley TH to Table Mesa TH - BCT, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 30 2017
Mudhole
Hiking17.68 Miles 1,603 AEG
Hiking17.68 Miles
1,603 ft AEG10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
I won't lie... this day hike was a dog. This 17.8 mile double section ended up being my biggest single-day hike mileage to date. I was joined today by Patrick Fuchs, and we did our usual car shuttle to put a vehicle at the Table Mesa trailhead and then made our drive back to start on the Carefree Highway at the hard-to-spot Bob Bentley trailhead. Roadside parking at Bob Bentley was sparse, but we were able to park right at the locked gate alongside the road. Yes, I said locked gate. With no signage posted here, many start at the Game & Fish building about 1/4 mile to the east, but we're nostalgic so we slipped under the barbed wire and made it official.

Today we would do 2 sections of this trail - Bob Bentley trailhead to Emery Henderson trailhead, and from there to Table Mesa trailhead.

In the past few weeks, I've only been hiking some occasional short trails around my home, so this was a good test to see how I can still do on the longer miles. Anyways, this section of the Black Canyon Trail has the reputation of being the least impressive part of the whole thing - but the views actually didn't disappoint especially as we got further north. I'll admit that the first few miles before Emery Henderson trailhead (about mile 7) were flat and pretty basic, but necessary.

We set off from Bob Bentley trailhead and quickly move north through the "boring" section. Flat desert somewhat next to a dirt road that had little to look at except the views of the mountains and mesas in the distance. We saw some oddities, like a dying saguaro cactus that was oozing some sort of black sludge from a wound. We crossed an intersection of the Maricopa Trail, and started seeing more signage for the Black Canyon Trail. I must say that the BCT is VERY well signed along the way, including at every junction we came across. The trial surface was in great shape as well.

Once we came across the Emery Henderson trailhead, it was easy to see why many start their BCT hike here as well. Skip the boring part and get right down to business. I must mention that the trailhead is very well-developed with a large parking lot, quality pit toilets, and even shaded canopies for parking a couple of RVs. We took a quick water and snack break here before pushing on. For some reason I didn't take a picture here. Not long after EH, we came to the junction for the Boyscout Loop, which is a fork in the trail that re-merges after 1.2 miles regardless if you take the east or west arm. We went left as we had read that the trail followed along a higher ridge instead of down in a network of washes. The views on the east section were well worth it.

The trek from Emery Henderson to Table Mesa was a quality section of sonoran desert wilderness. Quality trail surface, rolling drainages, forests of saguar cacti, Doe Spring (which had water and lots of trees around it just off trail), and terrific views of the Bradshaws to our west. I would say that the last 3-4 miles was probably the best as the trail wound through at least a dozen washes and arroyos, up and over small ridges, past a large mine, and dropped us off right at the Table Mesa trailhead where our shuttle car awaited us. With lots of room for at least a dozen vehicles, the Table Mesa trailhead is a great staging point for section hiking this part of the Black Canyon Trail.

Just over 36,000 steps since we started, it was time to head home.
_____________________
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clean away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." - John Muir
Nov 22 2017
toddak
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 Guides 8
 Routes 7
 Photos 1,244
 Triplogs 474

56 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Carefree Hwy to Emery Henderson - BCTPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 22 2017
toddak
Hiking13.50 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking13.50 Miles   5 Hrs      2.70 mph
250 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Nov 12 2017
rcorfman
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 Guides 1
 Routes 128
 Photos 1,440
 Triplogs 1,145

61 male
 Joined Oct 17 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
BCT Yo-Yo No Go, AZ 
BCT Yo-Yo No Go, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Nov 12 2017
rcorfman
Backpack58.15 Miles 5,714 AEG
Backpack58.15 Miles3 Days         
5,714 ft AEG20 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
My plan was to hike from my home, to the south end of the BCT, then hike the BCT to its north end at the Prescott NF boundary, turn around, and head home. The goal was four days out and three days back for a total of ~166 miles.

In preparation, I stashed a gallon of water and food resupply at the Big Bug trailhead, 2 gallons at the Glorianna TH, 2 gallons near the Table Mesa TH, 2 gallons at the Emery Henderson TH, and a gallon at the southern end off of Carefree Hwy. I also performed some trail maintenance trimming brush from the southern end of the BCT. It's not maintained and is overgrown and I wanted an easier time through there on my return which I expected to be in the dark.

Day 1 - Sunday, 15 miles
I left my house about 2pm and saw my neighbor unpacking from a trip along the Escalante Route, GCNP. We chatted for a minute before I continued. I took my trail access into the SE side Deem Hills Park, and got on the Circumference trail and followed it up to the saddle and then took the Basalt trail down to the other side of the Circumference trail and followed it to the NW of the park where I got on the Canal road to 51st Ave, crossed the bridge over the CAP, and continued on 51st to near the 303 where I diverted east a bit to cross under it. From there I headed to Gibson Tank, an old cattle corral and watering station that was fairly large. I think it was last worked in the mid 80s, so about 30 years ago. From there, I finished my walk NW to the Carefree Hwy and about 57th ave, where there is a locked gate just west of Carefree Hwy mile 28. A bit west of the gate is a wildlife crossing in the fence that I took, then I headed east on the dirt road until I turned north onto where I believe the BCT is supposed to start, there the Bob Bentley TH may one day be built. There are no trail markers until reaching the Maricopa Trail, (which aligns with the BCT about a mile north of Carefree Hwy and a bit west of 51st Ave, north to Pioneer Rd.), not long after that, the first BCT trail signs are seen.

It was getting dark where the BCT and MT part ways and there was thick brush to the west filled with birds making quite a racket. I stopped and listened to them for a few minutes. I was able to make it past the federal pen before turning my headlamp on. The only tricky part in the dark was crossing New River. Normally I'd look for trail signs across the way but wasn't able to in the dark, so I depended on some GPS tracks I had on my GPSr to pick the trail back up on the other side.

I made it to the Emery Henderson TH a bit past seven and found my cached water and set up camp under the north most ramada. Technically, there's no camping at the TH but I figured I'd be in and out without anyone knowing I was there with a minimalist footprint. There is a camp host there now too, something I haven't seen there for a few years.

Day 2 - Monday, 23 miles
I don't know when I got up, but there was a beautiful sunrise. I was on the trail about 7. The sky was overcast and temps were perfect for hiking through the morning. I took the west side of the Boy Scout loop and then enjoyed walking through a stand of giant saguaros along one of my favorite sections of the BCT. The sun came out and it started to warm as I headed up and over the hill into the Table Mesa area. I had took a short food and water break at my water cache in Table Mesa. When I reached the Little Pan Loop, I went right to the east side. It was getting warmer as I finished the loop and I was ready for a break by the time I reached Cottonwood Gulch, about 17 miles in.

From there, I knew I could make it to the Agua Fria before 5 so no night hiking today. This is the part of the trail I'm most familiar with too as I've done it several times. I passed the only crested saguaro I know of along the BCT. If you know of any others along the BCT please let me know. Most of this section is all up hill until the final descent to the Agua Fria. When I reached the descent, I decided to call home and check on some things before finishing, as I wasn't sure I'd have phone service by the river. I did, so it didn't matter but it was nice to relax for a few minutes before finishing up for the day.

I enjoyed the day's hike, but my legs were bothering me all day, I got a blister on my right heel which totally surprised me, and a mild case of chafe which I didn't notice until I stood up after my break at Cottonwood Gulch. Thank goodness for Body Glide to finish the hike with and medicated powder before bed.

Day 3 - Tuesday, 20 miles
I was slower getting out of camp this morning than yesterday even though I started earlier. Ugh. After about 2.5 miles, I reached the next Agua Fria river crossing and stopped for a few to clean up some. I didn't feel like cleaning last night and it was a bit chilly this morning. Plus, I was stopping for water anyway as there was no reason to carry extra water for the distance from camp to here. The past few years, there has been a large pool of water here but it seems to have got washed away since last spring. The river is always changing. Slate Creek was dry and then it was warm walking to Soap Creek. I felt like I was moving okay, but I was slow. Then from Soap Creek to Black Canyon Creek I was loosing muster and halfway up from Black Canyon Creek to Maggie Mine Road, I was really flagging and stopped in some small shade and drank a bunch and ate some. That helped a bit, but I was still dragging. By the time I reached the Glorianna TH, I was ready for another break and my water cache, especially so after walking through the scorched desert from a summer wildfire. At least the trail is in good shape.

I had about 10 miles left from Glorianna to General Springs, the next water and my day's target. It was looking like I'd finish in the dark. The trail continued in and out of the burn and I was not enjoying myself at all. the whole day I'd had little energy and was wanting off trail. When it took me well over an hour to hike 3 miles and all I wanted to do was lie down, I figured it was time to go home. I tried calling my family but no answers, so I sent a text to come get me and I turned around and headed back to Glorianna TH. My wife was there waiting for me and we headed down the hill and had dinner at Chileen's in Black Canyon City. Just so you know, it was Taco Tuesday with $1 tacos.

Aftermath
Not sure what my problem was. I think I'm getting a cold as my nose is getting stuffy. Perhaps it was that, perhaps not. This morning I went and picked up all my cached water and resupply. It was nice not walking today.

More water reports
I crossed the Agua Fria in three places: The north east end of Little Pan Loop, going south from BCC TH and going north from BCC TH. The BCT crosses it in five places (in addition to the three I mentioned, the SW end of Little Pan Loop [usually has water] and way north [normally dry]). There was flowing water at all three crossings I passed. The Agua Fria goes above and under ground many times on its length, so perhaps there should be a few Agua Fria water sources?
_____________________
Go find a LonelyCache
Nov 11 2017
rcorfman
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 Guides 1
 Routes 128
 Photos 1,440
 Triplogs 1,145

61 male
 Joined Oct 17 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Carefree Hwy to Emery Henderson - BCTPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 11 2017
rcorfman
Hiking1.88 Miles 47 AEG
Hiking1.88 Miles   1 Hour   20 Mns   1.48 mph
47 ft AEG      4 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I'm planning on yo-yoing the BCT starting tomorrow and decided to do a bit of trail maintenance on the southern most part of the trail. It's basically only used by burros and coyotes these days and without them the trail would be completely overgrown.

I took a pair of loppers and some gloves with me and spent a bunch of time making the trail passable. I actually don't know if this really is the trail, but I tracked it with the GPSr a couple of years ago and then I did find a trail of old flagging and some trees and bushes and such that were cut along the path, so I think it is. There are no trail markers at all though. I have compared my track to that on the BCT Coalition's web site and it is very similar.

I start at a gate just west of mile 28 of the Carefree Hwy. Actually, there is a wildlife passage through the fence maybe 30 yards east of the gate (the top wire is removed and a plastic wrapper is covering the second wire), then walk east along a dirt road until I reach the place to head north, where the BCT starts.
_____________________
Go find a LonelyCache
Mar 10 2017
rcorfman
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 Guides 1
 Routes 128
 Photos 1,440
 Triplogs 1,145

61 male
 Joined Oct 17 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Bct Fkt, AZ 
Bct Fkt, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 10 2017
rcorfman
Backpack80.29 Miles 6,374 AEG
Backpack80.29 Miles4 Days         
6,374 ft AEG21 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Last week I got just over halfway hiking the BCT when I threw in the towel due to a swiftly flowing Black Canyon Creek and Agua Fria River. What I didn't mention, is that I was attempting to set an initial mark for the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for hiking the BCT from end to end. I believe the BCT is a gem of a trail and my purpose in the attempt was to hopefully garner this National Recreation Trail some more interest and recognition. I knew any mark I would set could be bested by many others but I hoped my endeavor would at least let people know of the trail and hopefully hike it too. Since I had publicly announced the attempt, I figured I better give it another shot.

March 10, Staging - 2.6 miles, 255 aeg

Not much to say here. My daughter dropped me off at Orme Road and FS 68B at dusk and I walked for about an hour to near the Prescott National Forest Boundary, the northern end of the BCT. I had thrown my gear together last minute and unfortunately, had left my wind jacket and groundsheet at home. I didn't bring a shelter and the moon was big, so I pulled my beanie over my eyes so I could sleep.

March 11, Day 1 - 31.13 miles, 2188 aeg

I set my alarm for 5 and was stirring by 5 after. It didn't take too long to get going and I was heading to the PNF boundary, the start of the BCT about 5:40. I officially started my FKT attempt at 5:47 AM.

With the moon out, it was nice hiking as the sun slowly made its appearance. There was some cloud cover, so the sunrise was very nice. In the early light, I thought all the snow had melted from the Bradshaws but as the day brightened, I was able to see that there was still some snow on the north facing slopes. When I reached the Agua Fria river, I quickly took my shoes and socks off and waded across. The water wasn't as cold nor as swift as the week before.

After I crossed Old Sycamore Rd and was heading down towards Big Bug Trailhead, there was a group from the Black Canyon Trail Coalition doing some trail work. I talked to a couple of the men for a few minutes. It appears that the Prescott National Forest has approved a corridor for extending the BCT north, all the way to the Verde River. There's a route over jeep roads for now. I don't know if there is any schedule for building actual trail.

I took a short break at the Big Bug Trailhead, then took off my shoes and socks and waded across Big Bug Creek. I grabbed a liter of water, before continuing.

The trail had dried out some since last week and there was no longer any mud and a few of the creeks that were flowing last week were just a trickle or small pools this week. There were more flowers out though, especially when I dropped down Antelope Hill and beyond.

I stopped for water at Government Spring. I left there a half hour earlier than last week. It was hotter out too and I was starting to fade, so when I was a couple miles before my planned stop, I took a break. I took my shoes off and actually laid down for a few minutes. That helped a lot and afterwards, I was able to cruise the rest of the way to my planned camp.

So this day ended up being a repeat of last week. I started and ended at the same places. I kept the same plan, even down to this trip's menu.

March 12, Day 2 - 28.93 miles, 2872 aeg

I hit the snooze button a couple times this morning and didn't make it on the trail until a bit past six. I had no trouble moving once on the trail though, so that was good. There was still water flowing just north of the Gloriana trailhead, but as before, I had water cached at the trailhead, so I continued to it and filled up there. I didn't leave with as much water as last week since I knew there would be plenty ahead.

Shortly past the trailhead, there was a bike packer breaking camp. He gave me some beta on the upcoming trail, namely Black Canyon Creek. Supposedly, he was meeting a friend at the trailhead and riding back to Rock Springs. I expected to see him again, but I never did.

There was still good flow of water through the canyon just north of and below Maggie Mine Road. There was a lot more flowers than last week as I went through there and then dropped down to Black Canyon Creek. The creek had dropped about a foot from last week and wasn't flowing nearly as swiftly. I wasn't concerned about crossing it today. I did make sure everything was sealed up in my pack before I crossed, just in case I might fall. I did take my shoes and socks off and waded across as I figured it wouldn't be that bad, and it wasn't.

There was some water in Soap Creek, and when I was climbing up towards Soap Creek Rd, there was a nice pool of water below, with what appeared to be a slide. That would have been a great place to relax and splash around at. Once I reached the road, I was surprised to see trail on the other side. I've always followed the road for a quarter mile or so until it turned to trail again. I don't know if this is new trail or if I had never noticed it before. I think it's probably new trail. Anyhow, it was nice to avoid the road.

When I reached Slate Creek, I quickly grabbed a liter of water before continuing. I knew I would reach the Agua Fria shortly, but the water here was cool and clear, and I didn't know how turbid the Agua Fria might be. As I neared the Agua Fria, I found a good stick to use as an aid crossing the river.

The Agua Fria was flowing pretty good. There's a large pool of water where the trail is as it gets backed up from a bunch of debris. Usually, one walks down stream a ways until there is a good place to cross. The current was very swift as the water poured out from the mass of debris. After securing everything in my pack, I ended up crossing over to the debris and working across it for a ways. Once I was off the debris, it was easy to finish fording the river. The stick helped a lot and I decided to carry it the two miles to the next crossing and not have to worry about finding another.

The next crossing of the Agua Fria was much simpler. One walks upstream a short distance where the river is shallower and breaks into two parts. The water was maybe knee high. Again, I sealed everything inside my pack just to be safe, though it really wasn't necessary.

Once across, there is a huge pile of sticks and branches and other debris that has piled up that I had to walk across to get to the trail. It's easy enough to walk across but it was just amazing how much stuff there was.

Shortly after the river, the trail starts climbing. About halfway up the climb, the trail goes around a false summit before continuing the ascent. I had some sand in my shoes from the river so I stopped under a tree and took a break to clean them out and to wring my socks out too. I cleaned the shoes out too well, because afterwards, my insoles started slipping around. I had to stop a couple of times in the next few miles to reposition them. What I finally tried, was rubbing the bottoms of the insoles in some dusty sand. That worked, and they stayed in place after that. Moral of the story: don't clean between the insole and sole of your shoes.

When I reached Little Pan Loop, I took the west side of the trail. The west side is all trail while the east side follows road for the first part of it. I like the west side better, so that's why I took it.

I was hoping to make another 30 miles but it was getting late and that wasn't looking likely. Plus, the heat was getting to me and I was worried about water. I had a gallon cached near the Table Mesa Trailhead at 27.5 miles or so, so I decided to make it there with enough water for the night and then use the cached water for tomorrow. My main concern though, was getting across the Agua Fria for the third time, before dark.

From above, it looked like the best place to cross would be downstream a bit from the trail, but when I reached the river, the crossing looked pretty good right at the trail. It looked deep for the first few steps, but then would get shallow quickly and be easy the rest of the way. Again, I sealed everything inside my pack, then I rolled my shorts up and took the plunge. It wasn't as deep as I was expecting; it was just above my knees and was easy to get across. I grabbed a liter of water along the way and barely stopped to get my camera back out of my pack.

The sun was starting to set as I climbed up from the river and it wasn't long before I stopped to get my headlamp and finish the hike to my water cache. I found a nice place to camp, but I kept finding small clumps of cactus spines as I was cleaning the area. I ended up setting camp up right in the middle of the trail since I didn't want to poke a hole in my Thermarest.

A BLM Ranger saw my headlamp as he was driving by making his rounds, so he stopped to see what I was doing there. We talked for a few minutes before he left.

March 13, Day 3 - 17.6 miles, 999 aeg

I knew it would be hot today, so I wanted to get going early but didn't get on the trail until a bit past six. Not far down the trail, I realized I didn't know where my bag of spare batteries was. I would need a set for my GPSr later in the morning, so I stopped to figure out where it was. I opened my pack up and started pulling things out but didn't spot it. I finally found it at the bottom of the pack, outside the pack liner. It was 6:20 by the time I was finally on the trail.

Despite my intentions of being hydrated this morning, my mouth seemed too dry when I was trying to eat. I was able to get the food down, but I had to drink more than I figured I should have had to. Somewhere in the morning, I saw a burro. That was nice, especially since I hadn't seen much wildlife so far. Most of the trail is pretty easy from Table Mesa south and it is easy to make good time. I especially like the part that winds through the saguaros north of the Boy Scout Loop. When I reached the Boy Scout Loop, I took the east side. The west side is mostly roads while the east side is all trail. When I reached the south side of the loop, I stopped to change out the batteries. It was nice to know right where to find them.

I made it to Emery Henderson Trailhead a little past 10. I had a gallon of water cached there so I grabbed it and rested at one of the ramadas for a bit. I took my shoes off and drank a bunch of water and ate a bit too.

The temps had been pretty nice so far, but when I left Emery Henderson, it seemed very hot, especially when I crossed New River Road and entered Biscuit Flats. Once south of Emery Henderson, the trail isn't used nearly as much and it is narrow and overgrown in places. This whole section of trail could use some love. There was one part completely overgrown that I was walking through absent mindedly when I almost stepped on a rattlesnake. The Diamondback didn't want to be stepped on so it let me know it was there. The Commemorative Air Force was also out flying in formation so I got to watch them make a few passes too.

By the time I was near the Federal Penitentiary, I was hurting. I wasn't able to slake my thirst and I carried a bottle so I could easily get a drink. I had no desire to eat either. In hindsight, I think overall, my food was lacking in sodium and having to drink more with the heat, I became a bit hyponatremic.

When I was about past the penitentiary, there was water running down the trail for a ways. My guess is that some convict tried to tunnel out and broke a water pipe. Ha!

The last mile and a bit of the BCT is not marked in any real way and is very difficult to follow. I mapped it out November, 2015 and was following the tracks on my GPSr. It was especially overgrown in places this year. There are places where you can tell the trail is there and there are other places where it's just gone. Every once in awhile, there is some old flagging on a bush. I really don't know where the trail is supposed to end, so I took it to a gate on the Carefree highway just west of mile post 28. My official finish time was 1:19 PM.

My plan was to hike from the end of the BCT another 8 miles or so to my house. I knew I was in a bad way, especially when I wasn't recovering after resting a few minutes, so I called my dear wife and she came and picked me up.

FKT
I was able to complete the BCT in 2 days, 7 hours, and 32 minutes (Saturday 3/11 05:47 to Monday 3/13 13:19).
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Lots of wildflowers after crossing Antelope Road and dropping down Antelope Hill. Before then, not so much.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Black Canyon Creek @ BCT Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bumble Bee Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Government Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Troughs at coral full, pond full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Purcell Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
Muddy

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Slate Creek @ BCT Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Soap Creek Light flow Light flow
_____________________
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Jan 03 2016
rcorfman
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 128
 Photos 1,440
 Triplogs 1,145

61 male
 Joined Oct 17 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Black Canyon Trail to Home - Part 4, AZ 
Black Canyon Trail to Home - Part 4, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Jan 03 2016
rcorfman
Backpack14.05 Miles 450 AEG
Backpack14.05 Miles   5 Hrs   47 Mns   3.01 mph
450 ft AEG   1 Hour   7 Mns Break22 LBS Pack
 
triplog for Black Canyon Trail to Home - Part 3

We spent the night at the Emery Henderson Trailhead at one of the ramadas. It was a bit breezy but definitely warmer than the previous three nights we'd been out. Craig slept on a table and I slept under the stars. We were on the trail around seven.

It was definitely warmer than the previous mornings as it wasn't long before I removed a layer and not long after that when I removed my beany and gloves. Not long after sunrise, passed by four wild burros. I've seen burros out here several times but it's always a pleasure to see them. They tend to group a short distance away and watch you, instead of running away.

We sort of lost the trail when we crossed the New River Wash. It was difficult to spot the trail sign on the other side with the sun in our eyes.

The whole Biscuit Flats area is basically worn out ranch land that is no longer being used. We passed by some old water tank pads and windmill pads and also by a stock tank that had some water in it. I heard a lot of shooting that I figured was from the Ben Avery Shooting Range but as we neared the range, the gun reports quieted.

After passing the Federal Penitentiary, the BCT is shared with the Maricopa Trail heading south until it crosses Deadman Wash where the Maricopa Trail heads west and the BCT continues along the wash. This is the sketchiest part of the BCT as there are no trail signs nor cairns. I did see some old flagging which I believe is marking the trail. Anyway, the trail first travels a short distance along the east side of the wash, then crosses over to the west. Once on the west side, it stays between the wash and an old road. A lot of times the trail is not noticeable and other times it just seems like an old burro trail. Then there are times where it seems obvious it is a trail. It's tough to follow and I was using tracks I had on my GPSr that I created in November to help navigate. This part of the trail may very well disappear in the next few years unless something is done.

Eventually the trail disappears completely but it is only fifty yards or so south to a dirt road that parallels the Carefree Hwy. We followed that road west to around where 67th avenue would be and stopped for a break, happy to have hiked the BCT from end to end in one outing. :y: :y:

After our break, we crossed through the fence at a game opening (the top wire is removed and a yellow tube covers the next wire), crossed Carefree Highway, and crossed another fence through its game opening onto State Trust land. From there we headed cross country towards Gibson Tank. Actually, we were following an old jeep trail that essentially no longer exists. Once we reached Gibson Tank, we followed a road that angles toward 51st Avenue. It reaches 51st just north of Loop 303.

Craig had developed quite a nasty blister so instead of heading east a ways and crossing under the 303, we just hopped the fence and crossed the 303. The traffic was so light we didn't even have to slow down to cross either direction of traffic. The fence on the south side of the 303 is about 7' tall and would not be easy to climb over without ripping clothes or skin. Fortunately there was a spot where Craig slid under the fence. I handed our packs over, then followed him.

Once on the other side, Craig tended to his foot, then we continued on, following 51st Ave towards the CAP canal. We decided that I would go ahead and once I crossed over the canal, I'd call my wife so she could get Craig there while I continued walking to my house. Craig's main objective was to walk the BCT and he had done that, so his motivation was slipping.

Once I crossed the canal, I turned my phone on and called my wife, then turned into Deem Hills and made the last push to home. I felt really good here and was walking fast, passing several people. I walk these trails all the time so I was on very familiar ground. I turned off the Circumference trail and followed the trail that dumped me out at the top of Hackberry. From there it was just an easy eight minute walk home, where I rang the door bell. Not sure my wife was thrilled about that.

Craig was already there eating lunch. I joined him and we had a beer. Then we headed out back and enjoyed more beers and the spa. What a great way to end a hike!
Fauna
Fauna
Wild Burro
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1 archive
Nov 30 2014
mt98dew
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 Guides 24
 Routes 19
 Photos 416
 Triplogs 1,788

52 male
 Joined Oct 24 2010
 Phoenix,Az
Carefree Hwy to Emery Henderson - BCTPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Run/Jog avatar Nov 30 2014
mt98dew
Run/Jog10.10 Miles 250 AEG
Run/Jog10.10 Miles   2 Hrs   13 Mns   4.56 mph
250 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I repeated a hike from several years ago doing the first stage of the BCT north to south. Little annoyed that the TH was gated and close when I got there (6:50am). I guess they don't open the gates until sunrise which was at 7:11 today :( . I know that wasn't an issue 3 years ago when I did the trail. I didn't want to wait so I ended up parking on the side of New River Rd.

Jogged to the end of the trail without too many issues. The trail seems to to see frequent enough action from bikers that it was easy to follow. The big exception was crossing the Agua Fria Wash. It's huge and very rocky. There was no evident track crossing that. The best advice I can give you, is when you reach the wash focus on the two closest hills in background (should be in a south, southeast direction). As you move in that direction you see a trail sign on the bank of the wash, which will be your exit point for the wash. The other minor issue is near the end of the trail, you'll come to some power lines. Te actual trail gradually drifts to the east of these lines. It is cairned, but it looks like it is getting lost amongst the weeds. It looks like most bikers/hikers follow the track that runs underneath the powerlines which is wrong. When you past through a fence opening, that is the end of the trail. Iactually went past the fencing for a short way following the Maricopa Trail for a short ways before turning around. I did this hike as an in and out. On the way back I spent some time building up some cairns and restanding some trail signs that had fallen over.

Saw a beautiful sunrise as I started my jog. I heard burros on multiple occasions and near the end of the hike I saw a grouping of 5 watching me as I jogged by. Hunters were out in force. Literally had gunshots all around me, though no shots were scary close.
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Dec 29 2013
AZWanderingBear
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 Guides 27
 Routes 61
 Photos 2,620
 Triplogs 700

65 male
 Joined Jan 23 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Carefree Hwy to Emery Henderson - BCTPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 29 2013
AZWanderingBear
Hiking13.11 Miles 510 AEG
Hiking13.11 Miles   4 Hrs      3.50 mph
510 ft AEG      15 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Just wanted some good miles today away from the mountain bikers. Totally gorgeous day, so I knew they'd be all over the Sonoran. So I chose the southernmost section of the BCT. From the Carefree Highway to the Henderson TH on New River Road, the trail is mostly flat and covers unremarkable desert of mostly buckhorn cholla and brittle brush. I started on the Maricopa Trail near the prison, thus missing the section alongside the shooting range but of course passing by the New River Landfill. The cultural aspects of this section of trail are obviously extensive. LOL

Continued north past the Henderson TH where the trail begins to get more interesting. A couple were at the junction of the trail and a jeep road collecting brass left by shooters who apparently feel threatened by medium sized home appliances. I've been a shooter pretty much all my life, both personally and professionally. I've shot at a wide variety of targets and some folks who shot at me for whatever reason. Just never seen any reason to bang away at a microwave.

Was nearing the Jeep as the sun was setting and some coyotes began their plaintive howls from places nearby. Love the sound. Nice way to end a hike along a mostly deserted trail.
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All you have is your fire...
And the place you need to reach
Oct 16 2011
mt98dew
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 Guides 24
 Routes 19
 Photos 416
 Triplogs 1,788

52 male
 Joined Oct 24 2010
 Phoenix,Az
Carefree Hwy to Emery Henderson - BCTPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 16 2011
mt98dew
Hiking10.10 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking10.10 Miles   2 Hrs   8 Mns   4.73 mph
250 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Partners none no partners
Hiked from what I believe is the Emerson Trailhead. I hiked north to south. The parking facility was nice for being as far removed as it was. It would have been nice if they had posted trail maps of the surrounding areas to give bikers/hikers an idea of their choices. Luckily I had HAZ and had a pretty good idea of what to expect. The trail was as described: flat, straight and not much of a wow factor. I did get out on the trail just prior to sunrise and so was treated to a beautiful sunrise as it crested the Four Peaks. Saw several rabbits and on couple of occassions heard and in the distance saw (wild?) burros. I hiked in for about five miles to what I guess is the official beginning of the Black Canyon Trail. (I did this section backwards.) It is at this point (5 miles in) that I realized the Maricopa Trail system briefly tied in to the BCT. It looked as though the Maricopa trail continued on to the West, but I have no idea where or for how long. On my way back I discovered where the Maricopa joined the BCT (I would guess about 3.7 miles into the hike).
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May 30 2011
kingsnake
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 Guides 95
 Routes 230
 Photos 9,161
 Triplogs 721

59 male
 Joined Dec 20 2010
 Sunnyslope, PHX
Carefree Hwy to Emery Henderson - BCTPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 30 2011
kingsnake
Hiking12.40 Miles 713 AEG
Hiking12.40 Miles   3 Hrs   54 Mns   3.18 mph
713 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Directions: North I-17, exit west Carefree Highway. Go 6.4 miles to New River Rd, turn north. (Warning, this is *just* after the Lake Pleasant Pkwy. traffic light.) Go 7.2 miles to Emery Henderson TH. Supposedly closed at dark, but it was open when I got there at 5 a.m.

Report

Time out: 0506. I like getting an early start to minimize heat and sun exposure, and also avoid any possible crowds. Dawn is about 4:50 a.m., with sunrise about 5:20 a.m. Hit the trail as soon as I could see it without a flashlight. Crossed New River Rd, passed through a gate, entering a large grove of staghorn cholla. (I assume, I am no botanist.) After about half a mile, the vegetation changed to a large grove of teddy bear cholla. Between the landfill and the wash, the vegetation changed again, this time to a large grove of brittlebrush. Very distinctive vegetation bands. As I neared the wash, I spotted an old wooden horse trough and a circular cement pad. Stay right of the cement pad. When I got to the wash, I aimed for the orange pole on the south side. Then I started the largest climb of the hike: 15 feet up the other side.

The trail is single track north of the New River wash; jeep trail south of it. The vegetation gets much less dense south of the wash, but there are some really huge staghorn cholla: I'm not kidding some of them are eight feet tall and wide.

Just past a depression on the east side of the trail, I crossed a nice gravel road, which the maps claims is "W. Desert Hills Dr." Okay ... On the south side of the road is another gate. I passed through it, and rather than continue on the trail, turned immediately west along another jeep trail, which soon began angling southwest. Oh my, I have never seen so much expended ordinance in my life, and I spent 21 years in the Army. Literally thousands and thousands of empty shot shells littered the trail. 12 gauge, 20 gauge, Federal, Remington and even some Italian manufacturer named Fiocchi. If gunfire makes you uncomfortable, you probably want to avoid this hike, as not only is the Ben Avery Range at its southern terminus, but there is a Sheriff's range by the federal prison. I heard gunfire both from the Sheriff's range and from northwest of my location, presumably from the north side of New River Rd.

I crossed an east-west power line, then about 3/4 of a mile later, at a T-intersection, turned east. The shot shell density considerably decreased. 3/4 of a mile after that, just before rejoining the main trail near Ben Avery, I came upon a trail that followed another power line, north. I turned up that. About half way back up to the federal prison, I saw what I at first thought was a 20mm round, half buried in the dirt. (I think it may have actually been a really big bob, of some kind.) At the southwest corner of the prison, the power line trail, the main BCT trail and the Maricopa Trail all intersect. I continued north, back up the same way I came a few hours earlier, to the wash.

I was thinking I would hike up the wash about a 1/4 mile, then get on a jeep trail that paralleled it to the northeast. However, the wash itself is not practically hikeable: It is way too rocky. (Sandy, I could have dealt with.) Eventually I got on the jeep trail, where I found various bits and pieces of a home safe. No cash or jewels, as the crooks got all the loot. After a half mile, there was a sharp turn west on a roughly paved road. (An extension of Anthem Way?) My plan was to go a little ways west on that, before turning north up a cattle trail to New River Rd, then turn west a short way back to the Emery Henderson TH. However, that area was fenced off, probably for future development once the housing market recovers about 2020.

Time In: 0933. Duration: 4h 27m. Hike time, minus breaks, map reading, etc.: 3h 54m. Distance: 12.4 miles. Pace: 3.18 mph. AEG: 713 feet. (How, I don't know, but that's what my GPS said.)
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
average hiking speed 2.52 mph

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.

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