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Half Moon Trail #288 - 16 members in 42 triplogs have rated this an average 2.6 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Aug 22 2020
Andrewrdc
avatar

 Triplogs 6

53 male
 Joined Mar 29 2015
 Chandler, AZ
Half Moon Trail #288Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 22 2020
Andrewrdc
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,443 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   4 Hrs   23 Mns   1.98 mph
1,443 ft AEG      20 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
First time hiking Half-Moon trail... looking for some peace and quiet. I hiked this trail in preparation for a future backpacking trip where I plan to connect the Barnhardt, Mazatzal divide, Rock Creek and Half-Moon trail for a loop that brings us back to the Barnhardt TH parking lot. Was concerned about this portion because it didnt seem well traveled and, based on original trail description, might require a good amount of "route finding". Although the trail did not seem to have been used in some time, it was pretty clear, well marked and easy to follow. Yes, when crossing the creeks (all dry BTW) it took a minute to find the path out of the creek on the other side, but, otherwise trail was in great shape. Had a very enjoyable day, warm but not HOT and got the solitude I was looking for. Great day.
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1 archive
Mar 21 2020
jacobemerick
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 Guides 31
 Routes 74
 Photos 1,022
 Triplogs 136

35 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
North Fork Falls of Deadman CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2020
jacobemerick
Hiking21.02 Miles 4,585 AEG
Hiking21.02 Miles   11 Hrs   31 Mns   2.31 mph
4,585 ft AEG   2 Hrs   24 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Needed a little day hike to get away from the world. Delivered.

Half Moon #288
Great shape. Some sections have been cleaned up since my last visit a few years ago. Every creek and drainage was overflowing, Barnhardt and Rock required using deadfall to get across dry. A recent redirect at the end, within sight of Rock Creek TH, that was confusing, but it eventually looped back down.

Rock Creek #42
There were a few sections of new overgrowth on the climb up to the creek crossing, nothing worth fretting about. Once I got past the first half mile of climb this one actually felt fun, especially in the cliff breaks. Yeah the falls were flowing. Snow became a minor issue after 6000', hiding tread and adding a few slips, all fun & games. Descent to Hopi is 95% defined with a narrow break in the manzanita and a few cairns. Hopi Spring looks amazing.

Horse Camp Seep / Deadman Falls
Saw my first hikers of the day here ( @Metalrunner! ) and quickly puttered down to check out the falls from the north bank. They are amazing. Photos don't do them justice. I could have spent all day sitting on that rim, listening to their roar and feeling the mist fly up.

Mazatzal Divide #23
Is more of a waterway than a trail. Sloppy going. Saw a few backpackers here, told some stories, gave unsolicited advice, etc.

Barnhardt #43
Quite muddy. Suspect that there had been a lot of traffic in-and-out today, churning up the path, though I only saw three this late in the afternoon. Those falls were flowing too. A few sections are starting to get shade from taller willows/manzanita, which would be heckin' awesome.

This was exactly the break I was looking for today, complete with long periods of solitude and an almost-constant sound of falling water. I get why some OG members have been here so many times.
Named place
Named place
Deadman Canyon Falls - North Fork
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Mar 15 2020
AZTay
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 Photos 6
 Triplogs 14

33 male
 Joined Dec 09 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
North Fork Falls of Deadman CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 15 2020
AZTay
Hiking18.00 Miles 3,169 AEG
Hiking18.00 Miles   11 Hrs   32 Mns   1.91 mph
3,169 ft AEG   2 Hrs   6 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Did a loop using a prior triplog (half moon, rock creek, divide trail, and barnhardt trail.) Did it counterclockwise and got in some good elevation the first several miles. There were several waterfalls along the way that were flowing decently. Deadman/Sandy were flowing pretty well! Spent an hour or two walking around the top of the rim. Will have to go back and hike down into the canyon.
1 archive
Jan 15 2020
LJW
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 Photos 672
 Triplogs 188

26 male
 Joined Jun 02 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
North Fork Falls of Deadman CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 15 2020
LJW
Hiking23.37 Miles 4,820 AEG
Hiking23.37 Miles   8 Hrs   37 Mns   2.97 mph
4,820 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Went back to Deadman/Sandy Falls to get the last of the good flow there and on Rock Creek/Barnhardt. I had never been on Half Moon or Rock Creek, so I took the loop counterclockwise eager to get to those first.

Car was making an awful sound underneath on the drive in, so I left it a mile and a half down the road by Barnhardt Mesa. Started on Half Moon and there was a hunter sitting and glassing the hills above Barnhardt Canyon. He said there was a hunter ahead down Half Moon, and I asked if I might spoil his morning by heading that way. "If you do, you do," he shrugged. I carried on expecting Half Moon to be a overrun with cat claw, but it's been cleared as wide as any trail in the area. Tread was ruined by cows near the Rock Creek junction, but otherwise it's in great shape.

Rock Creek trail was in great shape as well, except for a few parts where snow has bent the brush and trees over the trail. Not sure I'd take the loop ccw again on account of how steep Rock Creek is, but it's well worth the effort. Clear skies and expansive views toward the rim and great views up the canyon into the mountains. Waterfall had a good flow. Trail levels out after that and falls into limited disrepair. I was wrong in my last triplog about the Rock Creek trail on the west side of its highpoint toward the Maz. Divide. A trail does exist, mostly as a thin seam between the manzanita that is harder to find the closer to the Divide Trail it goes.

Falls are winding down from the late December snow but still had a good flow. Won't be long until they dry up. Big Kahuna Falls was running stronger than last week. Barnhardt has less snow but is still slippery and icy in parts. Mazatzal Divide trail is muddy with the warming weather. Only hikers I saw all day were a gentleman and his dogs near Chilson and a couple on Barnhardt where it levels out.
Named place
Named place
Deadman Canyon Falls - North Fork

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Barnhardt Creek at Half Moon Trail Heavy flow Heavy flow


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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Deadman Canyon Falls - North Fork Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rock Creek at Half Moon Trail Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek Falls @ 6,100 Ft Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Sandy Saddle Falls Medium flow Medium flow
1 archive
May 19 2019
Frostshocknoob
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 Routes 141
 Triplogs 127

31 male
 Joined Sep 05 2014
 Phoenix, AZ
Half Moon Trail #288Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 19 2019
Frostshocknoob
Hiking4.71 Miles 722 AEG
Hiking4.71 Miles   2 Hrs   49 Mns   1.92 mph
722 ft AEG      22 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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Jan 23 2019
MountainMatt
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 Guides 3
 Routes 192
 Photos 3,379
 Triplogs 507

male
 Joined Jan 24 2016
 Arizona
Half Moon Trail #288Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 23 2019
MountainMatt
Hiking5.47 Miles 1,169 AEG
Hiking5.47 Miles   4 Hrs   21 Mns   1.68 mph
1,169 ft AEG   1 Hour   6 Mns Break30 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Nice little stroll on the Half Moon Trail which if I had known it was this nice we would have used it on this past weekend’s backpacking trip.
Rumor has it that Chainsaw Chums did some maintenance on this bad boy which I salute you because it currently a clear and clean expressway.
Made a side visit to Eisenhauer Spring and a few other hilltops I’ve been curious about and looped back to the trail but not before getting caught in a nasty little drainge that slowed me up a bit.
Maybe next time I’ll actually hike this nice little trail as a connector instead of our pick up truck convoy which was equally fun.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Barnhardt Creek at Half Moon Trail Heavy flow Heavy flow
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Little Barn River

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Eisenhauer Spring Dripping Dripping
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout A big tub of reliable and filterable water
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3 archives
Apr 23 2017
KBKB
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 Guides 3
 Routes 22
 Photos 2,169
 Triplogs 233

59 male
 Joined Apr 22 2012
 Fountain Hills,
Half Moon Trail #288Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 23 2017
KBKB
Hiking12.03 Miles 2,533 AEG
Hiking12.03 Miles   7 Hrs   23 Mns   1.75 mph
2,533 ft AEG      30 Mns Break30 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I did an out-and-back hike of the Half Moon Trail and part of the Rock Creek Trail by myself on Sunday.

I had hiked these trails several times in the past. Back in either 2001 or 2002, after scouting these trails individually, I put them together as part of a loop consisting of the Half Moon, Rock Creek, Mazatzal Divide, Sandy Saddle, and Barnhardt trails. I had a lot of fun on that hike. While I do recall there being some catclaw, I don't recall it being much of a problem. Also, back in those days, there was a really nice trailhead with parking and decent signage near the junction of the Rock Creek Trail and the Half Moon Trail. This was the Rock Creek Trailhead.

Later on, several years after the Willow Fire in 2004, I hiked it again with my wife and a friend accompanying me. It had totally changed. What was once an enjoyable trail had become a nightmare of catclaw and other thorny bushes. We made it most or maybe even all of the way to where the Rock Creek Trailhead used to be, but we could not see it. I think it had been washed away. I ended up discarding the socks that I had used on that hike, so damaged from catclaw were they.

After reading some of the recent triplogs, it seems that the trail is largely clear of catclaw, so I decided to go see for myself. I also wanted to assess the condition of the initial part of the Rock Creek Trail as well as take a look at the new Rock Creek Trailhead.

I am happy to report that the Half Moon Trail is largely clear of catclaw and other thorny brush. An 8-10 foot lane has been cut through the stuff.

Route finding is pretty easy too. There is a well trodden path in most places and large cairns along the way. The only spot that got confusing for me on the way out was in a section of pasture where I saw cows. The cows had made there own paths in this area, which necessitated looking for cairns.

The official GPS track is fairly accurate with regard to the actual track. The only deviations that I noticed were at spots where there was significant deadfall. At the first such point that I encountered, there was a well worn path around the deadfall. At the second, which I think was just after the Rock Creek crossing, a fallen tree crosses the trail. It's not convenient to go either over or under the tree, but there is an obvious path around it.

On the way back, I passed by the descent leading back down to Rock Creek. There's a large campfire circle just beyond the turnoff. If you walk past it, you've gone too far. (The GPS track got me back to where I needed to be.)

The last half mile or so of the Half Moon trail is more difficult navigate than the trail up to that point. It narrows considerably, there is actual brush to contend with and there are a number of other paths which might draw you away from the actual route. The GPS track is very useful here.

When, according to the GPS, I reached the end of the Half Moon Trail, there really wasn't much there to indicate that I was at the end. I was either in or near a wash / creek and there was still trail ahead of me. This is the Rock Creek Trail.

When I switched my GPS watch, a Suunto Ambit 3, to use the official track for the Rock Creek Trail, the first thing I noticed was that I was already a fair ways into the track. As near as I can tell from studying the tracks and the maps is that the Rock Creek Trailhead is about 3/4 mile away from where it used to be, which was pretty much at the intersection of these two trails.

I only hiked about 1.5 miles along the Rock Creek Trail from the end of the Half Moon Trail. Route finding wasn't too hard - I don't think I would have needed the GPS track to figure it out. While there was water in the creek, it wasn't enough to make the crossings difficult. There were two areas of deadfall that had to be negotiated. The first was a fallen tree which I managed to get over by straddling the log all the while wishing that I was more flexible. The log is just high enough off the ground to make it difficult to go over, but is not high enough to make it easy to go under. The second deadfall across the trail is the upper limbs of a tree. You can't go through it. But there is a trail around it which leads over the trunk of the very same fallen tree. You do have to go uphill on loose terrain - I grabbed onto one of the tree limbs to help get up to where I could cross the trunk.

After that, as far as I went anyway, it's smooth sailing. Okay, so it's pretty steep here. There were some sections where it felt like I was gaining a foot of elevation for every step I took. But, aside from the steepness, it's easy hiking. Once again, an eight foot wide (or so) lane has been cut through the brush. When I got home and looked at a satellite map, I noticed that this lane apparently continues much of the way up.

On my way back, I chose to follow the GPS track for the Rock Creek Trail back to the actual trailhead to see what it looked like. I think it's larger than the old trailhead (from before the Willow Fire) used to be. I found a path which leads back to the doubletrack that I had just hiked back on to get to FS 442 (off of which the Rock Creek Trailhead is now located). Anyway, as noted earlier, the trailhead is about 3/4 of a mile away from where the Half Moon Trail joins up with the Rock Creek Trail. The official GPS track for the Rock Creek Trail goes northwest on FS442. At about 1/10 mile up the road, there's an old and unmaintained doubletrack leading to the south and then west. The maps that I've looked at indicate that this is still FS442, but I'm guessing that the current 442 now continues on a fairly straight line to the northwest. If you wish to avoid the road, there is now a trail leading from the parking lot to that doubletrack (old FS442).

I looked around, but did not see an obvious short cut from the Rock Creek Trailhead to the Half Moon Trail. I explored several likely looking paths from the trailhead, but none of these panned out. In each case, I was stopped by a wall of impenetrable brush. I ended up hiking back up Rock Creek Trail until I saw what looked like an old path leading upwards. I followed it and came across an actual path, perhaps a portion of the pre-fire Half Moon Trail. The section that I was on paralleled the current Half Moon Trail, so I continued upward until I got to it. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably just go back to the current intersection of the Half Moon and Rock Creek trails. (Well, actually, if I had to do it over again, I'd skip going to the Rock Creek Trailhead.)

The return trip was largely uneventful. I saw many cows along the way, including at least one bull. He scurried off though and did not bother me.

I did encounter two other hikers (or perhaps hunters?) who told me they were out looking for bear. They were carrying spotting scopes; I'm not sure if they had firearms or not. They weren't really dressed the way that hunters normally dress.

Anyway, I had a good day hiking. Now that I know the condition of these trails, I may attempt doing a loop again sometime in the future.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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2 archives
Feb 26 2017
extremehikerbabe
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 Photos 104
 Triplogs 47

27 female
 Joined Oct 17 2016
 Phoenix
HM-RC-MD-Barnhardt Loop, AZ 
HM-RC-MD-Barnhardt Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 26 2017
extremehikerbabe
Hiking20.00 Miles
Hiking20.00 Miles   12 Hrs   50 Mns   1.56 mph
 no routes
1st trip
After reading various triplogs and trying to find out as much information as I could about these trails, I set off with a friend to conquer these newly discovered trails. I had no idea they even existed and when I found out they formed a loop I had to try it. No idea of the actual mileage as I didn't track due to battery worries but I would say it was 18+, probably closer to 20, based on the route I downloaded which was 22 miles total but we didn't follow that exact route. Not really having any idea what to expect we headed out at 630 and planned for a 12 hour hike. Having done legs the day before at the gym I learned never to hike after leg day again. The trails were amazing though and we came across many waterfalls. The trails were definitely rough until we hit the divide and when we did I don't think I had ever been more happy to see a trail. The hike from there to the truck was brutal only in that we were tired and sore and it felt like the longest hike of my life. The hike from Rock Creek was absolutely amazing though. I want to go back and check out all the cliffs and the waterfalls and spend more time there. I liked the fact that we pretty much got to climb over the mountain range, too. Overall a very rewarding hike as I know now that I can complete an almost 20 mile hike in a day. I love pushing myself when it comes to my hikes and seeing just how far I can go!

The trails:

Half Moon: Half moon is easy to follow at the start however there are places where the trail disappears. If you follow GPS and watch for cairns it is easy to make it to Rock Creek. However there is a part where Half Moon drops down to Rock Creek and if you aren't paying attention you can miss it (as we did!) The connection to Rock Creek was marked by an old wooden post where a trail sign once was.

Rock Creek: Rock Creek starts off easy until the last mile or so to the saddle. The trail is very faint but if you follow GPS it is not too hard to find. However once you get to the saddle the trail disappears. Following GPS helps somewhat and there are cairns but it is very hard to find and we just cut straight down guided by GPS until we hit the divide. Luckily the bushes you have to cut through aren't thorny.

Any questions about the trails just ask!
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4 archives
Feb 11 2017
The_Eagle
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 Guides 7
 Routes 799
 Photos 9,897
 Triplogs 1,392

64 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Visiting the Twins - Sandy and Deadman, AZ 
Visiting the Twins - Sandy and Deadman, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 11 2017
The_Eagle
Hiking22.02 Miles 5,807 AEG
Hiking22.02 Miles   13 Hrs   7 Mns   1.82 mph
5,807 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
This destination is in my top 5 in the state.
Every year I try to plan something around the snow melt in the Mazatzals to take advantage of the geology.

We twisted it up a bit this year and turned it into loop since @chumley did battle with the Catclaw on the Half Moon Trail.

A 7am start at the Barndart Trailhead and we met @The_N, Nick awakening and waiting for @DallinW and the rest of the gang to arrive for their Backpack.

The Barnhardt Trail is a beauty. It's always a great one in first light. With the snow melt going on right now in the Mazatzals, everything is running. Hawaiian Mist and the Big Kahuna were flowing as strong as I've ever seen them flow.

A huge thanks to whatever army cleared the trail above Big Kahuna falls. It's a superhighway now. :y:

The Mazatzals Divide has seen some love, but there is a few areas where you have to skirt around fallen trees.

The drop into the unnamed canyon to get to North Fork of Deadmans, took longer than in past years. This wasdue to much higher water flow than previous years. Where we'd been able to walk in the bottom of the canyon in past years, we had to skirt around this time.

Even in Deadmans, though travel was easier that the unnamed canyon, it was still slower than in the past.

We checked out the Lower Deadman Falls, then made our escape to the top.

Shortly after we arrived at the top, we met two couples, backpacking and spending the night there.

Both Deadman Falls and Sandy Saddle Falls were flowing as good as I've ever seen. We had some lunch at the top of Deadman Falls and then started over to Rock Creek Trail.

Some Falls :next: [ youtube video ] .

From the Mazatzal Divide trail, it's 0.60 mile and 600' up to the high point of the hike, at better than 7,000'. There are Cairns that mark the "Area" this trail is supposed to start at the Mazatzal Divide trail, but no real sign of a trail. We tried following the GPS track, but the lower 1/3rd is almost impossible. The manzanita just beat the crap out of your shins all the way up. Part way up you start see the tread of the old trail, but it's still a slog through the brush.

From the top to Rock Creek Falls, it's about 1.5 miles while loosing 900' in elevation. Rock Creek falls are impressive, but dwarfed by what we just came from.

We had a bit of trouble finding the start of the Half Moon Trail. After a few false starts we were off like a heard of Turtles. This trail was easy to follow for the most part, thanks to senior @Chumley and a chain saw. We lost our sunlight while crossing Rock Creek, having to wade through this one as well as Barnhart Creek on the exit. There was no keeping dry on those two.

A long, hard beautiful day in the Mazatzals with Brush Commander Bartels and the Turtle Express!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Barnhardt Creek at Half Moon Trail Heavy flow Heavy flow
Strong flow from snow melt

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Big Kahuna Falls - Mazatzal Wilderness Heavy flow Heavy flow
Yowzers!

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Chilson Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Did not go off trail to check, but the trail below was wet

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Deadman Canyon - North Fork Heavy flow Heavy flow
Best Flow I've seen there

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Hawaiian Mist Heavy flow Heavy flow
Yea Baby

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lower Deadman Canyon Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow
Boo yah

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek at Half Moon Trail Heavy flow Heavy flow
We could not stay Dry crossing it

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek Falls @ 6,100 Ft Heavy flow Heavy flow
Good flow from the snow melt

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Sandy Saddle Falls Medium flow Medium flow
Lots-o-water
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There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
1 archive
Feb 11 2017
joebartels
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 Guides 241
 Routes 829
 Photos 11,881
 Triplogs 4,719

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Visiting the Twins - Sandy and Deadman, AZ 
Visiting the Twins - Sandy and Deadman, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 11 2017
joebartels
Hiking22.00 Miles 5,600 AEG
Hiking22.00 Miles   13 Hrs   7 Mns   1.82 mph
5,600 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break14 LBS Pack
 
Deadman Falls makes Bruce's eyes light up like a seven year old on Christmas. My memories had it as a power wow destination, just not in my top twenty favorites. Which is featured on profile pages as the heart icon. Bruce upped the ante with a loop-option and said Denny was interested in joining. Temps you dream about all summer sealed the deal, oh boy!

Barnhardt Trail #43
@The_N greeted us at the trailhead awaiting his backpacking party. The seep then Hawaiian Mist rolled off quick with Big Kahuna screaming hello soon after. The lackluster origin of those names is under the @Mr_Squishy, water is everywhere.

Per typical scenario the split second I blurt out an obscenity we stumbled upon human life in the middle of nowhere. We chatted with the cowboy camper ten feet from the trail then moved along. Continuing on we quarreled who was the most obscene. As much as I hate to bow to defeat it's impossible to top Bruce. There is undoubtedly a stone faced young lady near Long Canyon still clenching her husband's hand in terror from the words spewed from said froth of scum.

North Fork Falls of Deadman Canyon
Bruce is proud of his houdini route to the bottom of Deadman Creek to get under the falls. The approach was slow due to water flowing at a higher rate than usual. The payoff is a monster waterfall. Which in reality is a fraction of the main attraction. The journey is worthy to any explorer. Magic shows just weren't made for reruns.

Back up top Sandy Falls we met a nice group arriving to set up camp. Midway into Bruce's story about his childhood I threw out the silencer bomb "it's 1:30pm and we're only halfway". Perhaps a little overkill like pouring muriatic acid on a 7-Up stain. Yet he shut up mid sentence how he was the first child to wear Huggies and the world owes it to his pumpkin for the invention of the safety pin.

Rock Creek Trail #42
The westernmost half mile of Rock Creek Trail #42 is harsh. With gps and cairns under the manzanita it took 45 minutes to wade a half mile up to the ridge border for Yavapai and Gila counties. I stomped dozens and uprooted two for a good workout. A tree rooter is desperately needed. Six years ago @DarthStiller wrote
"The downhill portion to the MDT is overgrown with Manzanita, but it's still navigable. I kind of felt that the rockiness of the trail was more a hindrance to me than the overgrowth."
The rocks have been stabilized by a swath of 3-4 foot manzanita.

Rock Creek from the ridge down was fantastic. The creek and falls were roaring. We got to the bottom just before sundown.

Half Moon Trail #288 - Under a Full Moon!
I failed to put us on Half Moon twice so we gps'd a short distance until ribbons and cairns got our attention. With cairns, gps and pants we made it through fine. Blood likely makes an appearance if you take away any of those three. The easiest way to get this trail cleared is to dye Rock Creek blue and promote the heck out of it.

Great to feel tired again, thx guys!
Named place
Named place
Garden Seep
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
hints here and there

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Barnhardt Creek at Half Moon Trail Heavy flow Heavy flow
white caps like a river

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Big Kahuna Falls - Mazatzal Wilderness Heavy flow Heavy flow
spectacular, free admission to the show

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Center Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Good steady flow. I think Bruce filled up a quart and said it tasted good unfiltered. We saw spaceship sized cow patties ten minutes later...lol

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Chilson Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
too squishy to check the spring, the entire side of the mountain was oozing water

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Deadman Canyon Falls - North Fork Heavy flow Heavy flow
about as good as it gets

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Garden Seep Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
More people probably see this seep than any other water in the Mazzies so I added it! Best flow I've seen, almost a creek.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Hawaiian Mist Heavy flow Heavy flow
Dainty beast! Remember this isn't a niagara show off. There is more to life than volume.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lower Deadman Canyon Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow
this heavy hitter was swinging hard and cracking bats

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek at Half Moon Trail Heavy flow Heavy flow
I got across the raging creek on a twin shaky scholarship. The gents in tow swallowed their pride and walked across.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek Falls @ 6,100 Ft Heavy flow Heavy flow
If water is your game, then Rock Creek is your playground.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Sandy Saddle Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow
Everything looked beautiful!
_____________________
- joe
Feb 11 2017
DallinW
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 Guides 1
 Routes 105
 Photos 1,740
 Triplogs 228

29 male
 Joined Feb 26 2015
 Gilbert AZ
Y-Bar - Deadman - Rock Creek, AZ 
Y-Bar - Deadman - Rock Creek, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Feb 11 2017
DallinW
Backpack27.47 Miles 6,244 AEG
Backpack27.47 Miles2 Days         
6,244 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Me and Bradley met up with Nick (@The_N) around 7:45 AM Saturday morning to chase some water falls in the Mazzies. The trailhead was getting busy so we quickly gathered our things and headed up Y Bar. It wasn't long before excitement started to build about the falls as we crossed drainage after drainage with substantial flow.

We hit our first little patches of snow on Y Bar in the stand of pine trees just before the first saddle. The closer we got to the divide the wetter it got. Once we hit the divide, we all chuckled at the thought of carrying water. We would just drink from the nearest drainage for the rest of the trip. :D Water was seeping out of every pour of the mountains along the divide!

We did a side trip over to the Bear Spring area for some lunch. There are a lot of new downed trees along the divide. The dead/burned trees are just too easy for mother nature to push over. One spot in particular was a little tricky to maneuver around.

From Bear Spring, we headed back along the Divide to Horse Camp Seep, where we camped for the night. After we set up camp, me and Nick followed North Fork Deadman Creek from Horse Camp down to the falls. This was my first time seeing the falls and Deadman Canyon. What an incredible view! I got a little woozy standing close to the ledges to try and get some good shots! On the way back to camp we followed Sandy Saddle Creek back to the AZT, then the AZT back to camp.

I was extremely skeptical about a "comfortable" trip in the Mazzies in February, but I was so wrong. Mostly sunny, warm but with a consistent light breeze, wispy clouds dancing with Mazatzal Peak. Yup, this was as good as it gets.

The next morning was a slow start. It wasn't cold, but it was just way too comfortable laying around in camp listening the creek flow and an occasional sprinkling of rain on the tarp.

Rock Creek was a fun navigational challenge from the Mazatzal Divide Trail up to the saddle. It's pretty much a bushwhack at this point, but if you are familiar with the area you shouldn't be worried about getting lost. The trail gets very interesting and much easier to navigate on the other side as you descend down a finger off the mountain with big views of Tonto Basin and the rugged canyons which come off the eastern faces of the range. We spent plenty of time exploring the falls and just enjoying another nice spring-esque day.

We got off on the wrong foot with Half Moon from the start when we passed the junction and started heading down the road. We decided to cut up the hill instead of going back. We would be suckered a few more times. A notable one was about a mile after the Rock Creek TH were the trail suddenly drops off a ridge into the drainage but what looks like a well trodden trails keeps following the ridge for a while longer before dropping back down to the road that goes to rock creek.
Named place
Named place
Deadman Canyon Falls - North Fork

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Barnhardt Creek at Half Moon Trail Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bear Spring - Fisher Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

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

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Horse Camp Seep Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Lower Deadman Canyon Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rock Creek at Half Moon Trail Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek Falls @ 6,100 Ft Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Sandy Saddle Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Windsor Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Y Bar Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
_____________________
1 archive
Feb 11 2017
The_N
avatar

 Routes 54
 Photos 1,508
 Triplogs 325

34 male
 Joined Mar 18 2015
 Payson, AZ
Y Bar - Deadman - Rock Creek, AZ 
Y Bar - Deadman - Rock Creek, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Feb 11 2017
The_N
Backpack27.47 Miles 6,244 AEG
Backpack27.47 Miles2 Days         
6,244 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Mazzie Waterfall Tour 2017. Slept at the TH Friday night and before the hike even started I spotted a Teva, a Tortoise & an Eagle on Saturday a.m. Nice to meet you fellas. Myself, Dallin & Bradley set off up Y Bar first. Looks like some work was done on Y Bar. Still rocky as ever, but some of the old deadfall was removed and replaced by new deadfall. No navigational issues here. Water flowing from every drainage. We hit the Divide and set out for Bear Spring and a lunch break. Essentially, all we did was add 2 hours of snow plowing by adding this trip. Good times, though. There was plenty of new deadfall along this stretch that we have previously cleared. Bear Spring was not the oasis it usually is during warmer months. It's currently still snowed in. There were a couple of 'unnamed' falls along the Divide between Y Bar and Bear Spring. The Divide Trail was a real treat this weekend. Patches of snow and plenty of water. We didn't even carry any water. Get thirsty, drink from the next drainage. We arrived at Horse Camp with wet feet, set up, and me and Dallin took off for Deadman Falls by following the creek there. Truly, a spectacular sight. Cacti and pines below a huge waterfall and neat geology. We ran into a group of backpackers I had chatted with at the TH. They were camping right at the edge of Sandy Saddle Falls. Back at camp, we enjoyed a very comfortable night, huge fire & an early a.m. sprinkle or two. Sunday a.m. we were off and headed up Rock Creek Trail. Not much of a trail to begin with. We followed the path of least resistance until finding cairns and the actual 'trail' which still requires pushing through manzanita. The other side of Rock Creek Trail is pure beauty. Perhaps one of my favorites. A snowy, pine covered hillside to the North meets a rocky, cacti & manzanita covered hillside with a raging creek in between. The views of the Mazzies, Tonto Basin and beyond are amazing, as well. After some steep downhill, we were cruising and missed the Half Moon junction. A quick uphill bushwack straightened us out. Half Moon Trail was the biggest unknown for me on this trip. Turned out the be in much better shape and more scenic than I imagined. Where the trail disperses, cairns are there to guide you. The 2 big seas of catclaw are impressive. We finished back at the Barnhardt TH just as storms moved in. Ended a great trip with the first thunder/lightning show of the year.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Saw a few small species of blooms. The show is just getting started.

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Barnhardt Creek at Half Moon Trail Heavy flow Heavy flow

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Horse Camp Seep Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 North Fork Deadman Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek at Half Moon Trail Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek Falls @ 6,100 Ft Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Sandy Saddle Falls Heavy flow Heavy flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Windsor Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Y Bar Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
_____________________
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
Feb 11 2017
Tortoise_Hiker
avatar

 Routes 78
 Photos 7,395
 Triplogs 2,793

59 male
 Joined Apr 02 2005
 Mesa, AZ
Visiting the Twins - Sandy and Deadman, AZ 
Visiting the Twins - Sandy and Deadman, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 11 2017
Tortoise_Hiker
Hiking22.02 Miles 5,807 AEG
Hiking22.02 Miles   13 Hrs   7 Mns   1.82 mph
5,807 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 no routes
1st trip
I don't get out with these two enough. Always a good time.

We ran into a Hazer(Nick) 8) in the parking lot and then started off on the Barnhardt trail. It was in great shape. Next up was the Mazatzal Divide Trail. It was in good shape with a couple trees down. The last time I was on here we were doing the AZT and there were trees down Everywhere! It was fun to reminisce about our AZT hikes. From there Bruce took us down Canyon to see the bottom of the falls. This was a pretty cool area. It is worth it! I'm slow at this off trail stuff but Bruce and Joe never seem to age :o . Next was a short but steep climb out and we were at the big falls in no time. They were flowing good. It made my first time being here Awesome! We meet four backpackers here that would be setting up camp. The one guy let us know how much he liked and used HAZ. After Joe shook hands and gave out autographs we took lunch overlooking the falls. On the list of top lunch spots for sure! From there it was off to hit the "Rock Creek trail". Route Scout really helped here. It was a Manzanita jungle and I struggled here too. The 3 footers were bad then the four footers were kicking my butt. Once over the hill a trail starts showing itself. From there the pace picked up a little. Rock Creek Falls was flowing pretty good as well. When we bottomed out Bruce got water and I changed out socks and we were ready for Half Moon Trail. The last time on this one the whole group shed some blood and tears. We would wind up doing half this one in the dark. Joe kept us on trail and with Chumley's trimming this trail wasn't "half" :) bad . Probably pretty good in the daylight. The big moon was fitting for this section and a nice way to finish. Might have finished in daylight without the off trail and Manzanita bushwack but it was worth it, in my opinion :y: . Thanks for the great hike gentlemen, like HAZ, :yr:
Fauna
Fauna
Teva
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
Tortoise Hiking. Stop and smell the Petrichor.
2 archives
Sep 23 2016
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 74
 Photos 1,022
 Triplogs 136

35 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.
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1 archive
Feb 26 2016
Tough_Boots
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 2,708
 Triplogs 755

64 male
 Joined Mar 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Barnhardt / Rock Creek Loop, AZ 
Barnhardt / Rock Creek Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Feb 26 2016
Tough_Boots
Backpack21.20 Miles 4,872 AEG
Backpack21.20 Miles2 Days         
4,872 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
I've done this loop a few times but never as a backpack so me, 9L, and Lily decided to go for it while the water and waterfalls are plentiful out there. This is definitely one of my favorite loops. We started up Barnhardt and quickly made it to Chilson Camp for lunch. Then we headed to Horse Camp Seep to set up camp. After a short rest, we backtracked to the north fork of deadman canyon falls. I headed back the same way with Lily and 9L decided to take Deadman Creek back to camp though he eventually got forced out and bushwacked along the west side.

We had a nice fire-- wood is plentiful. What we assumed was probably a maintenance crew left quite a few nice big logs cut there. 9L is a nice guy so we only burned one and left the rest for future campers.

We didn't really rush around the next morning and probably finally started hiking around 9:30ish. We forced our way up Rock Creek. There's very little sign of the trail on that side. We'd pick it up every now and then but mostly we just pushed through manzanita. I didn't make Lily wear her pack for this trip because I figured that would make this stretch near impossible for her. Closer to the saddle, the trail does become more obvious and then its pretty clear the whole rest of the hike. Whoever has been doing maintenance out there the last couple years is a god. We also ran into our only fellow hiker on Rock Creek who recognized Lily from HAZ-- nice to meet you, Roger.

We finally hit Half Moon which at this point was a bit more challenging than I remembered (even with Chumley's makeover)-- possibly because it was getting a little toasty and I was ready to be done. I was also breaking in a new pack which is much bigger than my normal one. Half Moon is actually pretty annoying-- up and down, in and out of drainages the entire way, successfully and unsuccessfully dodging cow pies. Lily was obviously getting tired and hot too but luckily water was flowing in a couple places the last mile or so and that really got her going.

Still lovin' those mazzies!
_____________________
Feb 26 2016
John9L
avatar

 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,073
 Triplogs 1,634

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Barnhardt / Rock Creek Loop, AZ 
Barnhardt / Rock Creek Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Feb 26 2016
John9L
Backpack21.20 Miles 4,872 AEG
Backpack21.20 Miles2 Days         
4,872 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
I had some PTO to burn & Kyle was interested in spending an overnighter at Horse Camp Seep in the Mazatzal Wilderness. Everything came together quickly & we headed out Friday morning.

We arrived at the Barnhardt TH around 9am to an empty parking lot. We geared up & headed out. We cruised up the trail & took a short break at Big Kahuna. From there we made steady progress & continued north on the Divide Trail to Chilson Camp where we took our lunch. The camp has a water cache of at least ten gallons without a note or a date. After lunch we hiked the last few miles to Horse Camp Seep & settled in for the afternoon. We set up camp & then gathered additional firewood & then hiked over to the two waterfalls over Deadman Canyon. The falls were still flowing but were much lighter compared to last month when another HAZ group visited. We spent some time exploring the area & returned to camp for sunset. I brought a foil dinner loaded with steak, onions & potatoes. It was delicious cooked over the fire coals.

We woke on day two & took our time as we ate, filtered water & tore camp down. We started hiking around 9:30am & headed north on the Divide Trail & connected onto the Rock Creek Trail. We were prepared for heavy Manzanita & ongoing route finding issues. I constantly checked route scout for the preloaded route & this kept us pointed in the right direction. We eventually topped out & started our descent on the east side. The route is more discernible as we headed down. A few minutes later we saw a person hiking up. It turned out to be Haz member Mr14ner. It was good meeting you!

We continued down & had a few more sections with route finding issues but no significant issues. We eventually dropped into the drainage and admired the waterfalls that had a good flow coming over them. The rest of the descent flew by as there are obvious signs of trail clearing completed in the past year or so. We hit the Half Moon trail and continued on taking a few breaks to rest and giving time to Lily to drink water from the creek. We were back to the Barnhardt Trailhead around mid-afternoon.

This was a tough and rewarding hike! The Horse Camp Seep area is fantastic and I’m glad we stayed there for the night. The Rock Creek Trail has some tough sections but is fantastic overall! Thanks Kyle for organizing this one. The Mazzies never disappoint!
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1 archive
Feb 12 2016
outdoor_lover
avatar

 Guides 7
 Routes 53
 Photos 12,949
 Triplogs 568

58 female
 Joined Aug 19 2011
 Scottsdale, AZ
Barnhardt Trail #43Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 12 2016
outdoor_lover
Hiking5.50 Miles 1,250 AEG
Hiking5.50 Miles
1,250 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Messing around in Payson...Decided to hit this since the Water was Flowing. Only my 2nd Time on this Trail and I still haven't seen the Falls. Started at 1:30, hit a few Patches of Snow and Ice on the Trail but was fine with it. Until One Section that Ultimately Stopped Me and with my Turn-Around Time coming up anyway, I turned around there. The Trail was at a Slope with No Shoulder and a 30 Foot Stretch of Ice with no Snow for Traction. A Slip here meant that you wouldn't just be going down, but you would keep going down....I went halfway and just could not get any Traction anywhere further. I started to Slip and grabbed a Bush that ended up having some Impressive Thorns...Nope...Done.... ;)

Got back to the Car and had time to go down to the Creek and get some Photos before it got completely dark....I love the Menagerie of Color in that Creekbed and it was cool to see Water there.... :)
_____________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
Feb 28 2015
friendofThundergod
avatar

 Guides 24
 Routes 301
 Photos 8,655
 Triplogs 815

38 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Rock Creek Trail #42 - MazatzalsPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 28 2015
friendofThundergod
Hiking18.85 Miles 4,593 AEG
Hiking18.85 Miles
4,593 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners partners
BiFrost
Tough_Boots
Myself BiFrost and Tough_Boots had committed to an ambitious trans-Mazzie key swap with some fellow Hazzers, however, the ominous forecast coupled with the length and difficulty of the hike led to a cancellation. So I applied some FOTG logic to the situation. I figured if we scaled our day back to about 20 miles and 5000 feet of AEG that would make us immune to any adverse effects from the weather. Surprisingly, I got two people to go with me using that logic ; We went with the Rock Creek Barnhardt loop as our destination. This is a loop that has been on my radar for a while and the timing was perfect (not referring to weather conditions) as the dreaded Half Moon Trail was the recent recipient of some trail work by another HAZ member, Chumley.

This hike ended up being quite the hike. A very cold day and steady rain for most of it. However, I should note that occasionally, the rain would stop for a minute in order to give the wind a chance to blast us with maybe 30-40 mile an hour gusts, or then it might let up for a few minutes to allow its cousin hail to pelt us and Blanco for a bit. Kyle and myself both admitted to being a little overwhelmed by the cold during a few rough patches. OH and by the way dropping one's glove in the water on the very first creek crossing is not a sound strategy for keeping hands warm under these conditions.

I know Karl was cold, but he seemed to take it the best. His only request was no stopping and we emphatically agreed. He got to the car just before us and had it running by the time we got there, he was pretty much in beast mode all day, in fact, I asked him if he was cold, and his only response was, "I'm just here so I don't get fined."

The hike was certainly a little test of our mettle, but there were some great moments caused by the inclement weather. Some very nice cascades along trail, flowing water everywhere and the usual suspects were gushing along Barnhardt. Similarly, as we were topping out on Rock Creek we literally were engulfed in a cloud for a moment it seemed to have been blown into us at about 60 miles per hour and not fog a real cloud if that makes sense! I even asked Kyle, "are we in a cloud?" He said, "I think so." Just one of the cool moments that helped to ease the difficulty of the hike.

Perhaps the highlight of the hike was the Half Moon Trail. I have never hiked this trail before, but I could certainly appreciate the evidence of the trail work completed near Rock Creek. Kyle and Karl previous Half Moon vets were ecstatic about it's conditions as well. See Karl's photo set. Nice job Chumley.

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


water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Hawaiian Mist Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Hopi Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Significant pool at spring site.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Horse Camp Seep Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek Falls @ 6,100 Ft Heavy flow Heavy flow
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3 archives
Feb 28 2015
Tough_Boots
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 2,708
 Triplogs 755

64 male
 Joined Mar 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Rock Creek / Barnhardt Loop, AZ 
Rock Creek / Barnhardt Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 28 2015
Tough_Boots
Hiking19.00 Miles 4,530 AEG
Hiking19.00 Miles   9 Hrs   15 Mns   2.05 mph
4,530 ft AEG
 
Partners partners
BiFrost
friendofThundergod
First of all-- Chumley, you did an amazing job fixing the Half Moon. I don't have a single scratch from that trail. You made a miracle happen :app:

Here we go... first thing to know-- if Lee comes up with "Plan B", first make sure he understands what a "Plan B" is or you end up doing what you were trying to avoid :lol: I should just blame myself-- I knew what I was getting into. I just love that loop.

It rained and hailed all day. Not just most of the day-- all day. And it was cold-- oh man, it was cold. The Half Moon was nice and Rock Creek is just as steep as I remembered. Its a beautiful "trail" so usually worth it. At the falls, we scoffed at Lee's idea of turning around. We made it up to the ridgeline and made our way down to the AZT. We followed trail as best we could but ended up bushwacking a good bit down to the trail. I realized at some point that I had lost my pack cover and had no clue where. I'm not gonna pretend I looked very hard-- that baby is gone. Finders keepers-- I think I have a couple extra :D

Karl and Lee went ahead of me as I stopped to see if maybe I could fit my rain jacket over my backpack-- no go. Very quickly I realized that I had pretty much just ruined my life. Without my jacket on, my sweat soaked shirt underneath quickly sucked every ounce of heat from my body. I put the jacket back on and started walking to get my temp back up. I was actually cold enough to worry a bit that I might have a serious problem especially since we had over 10 more miles to go. I felt myself slowly regain some warmth but was still really really cold. I caught up with Karl and Lee near Horse Camp Seep where we had talked about stopping for lunch. I was already prepared to tell them that I couldn't stop and needed to keep moving when I realized they had the same idea.

We booked it the rest of the way. I only stopped quickly a couple times to pull a small snack out to eat on the run. The rest of the hike actually went by pretty quick for me. I warmed up enough to not want to die and once we dropped into Barnhardt canyon, I felt better and better. We saw one group of hikers all day-- a group of college age girls having a nice little hike up to the falls.

I got home to a nice hot shower. It almost immediately hit me how tired and hungry I was.
_____________________
Feb 28 2015
BiFrost
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 Guides 4
 Routes 361
 Photos 7,786
 Triplogs 925

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Rock Creek / Barnhardt Loop, AZ 
Rock Creek / Barnhardt Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 28 2015
BiFrost
Hiking19.20 Miles 4,415 AEG
Hiking19.20 Miles   9 Hrs   9 Mns   2.27 mph
4,415 ft AEG      42 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
friendofThundergod
Tough_Boots
The original plan was to do a trans Mazatzal hike with key swap but with the gloomy weather report the trip was cancelled. So just to make sure we made the right decision Lee, Kyle and I did the Rock Creek/Barnhardt Loop...well it was definitely the right decision to cancel the original hike. Very cold, windy, with hail to go along with the terrain. I think that Lee and Kyle summed up the trip well. It was a real test to see how much we could handle the cold and wind. Of course all the creeks and drainages were flowing nicely only issue was we were too cold to stop and enjoy. But without a doubt the highlight of the trip was the recently cleared Half Moon Trail...Thanks Chumley :D Nice wide track through the nastiest sections of cats claw. After Half Moon it was up the Rock Creek Trail and over to the AZT Divide trail. By now we were all soaked so the consensus was to just keep moving. Eventually made to Barnhardt Trail and headed down for the last stretch to the vehicle...nice to be finally be out of the rain!
Flora
Flora
Catclaw Acacia
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1 archive
average hiking speed 1.99 mph
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