The original plan for the day was to climb a few mountains and visit a wreckage along the way. But the Samurai is out of commission for a few days with a broken spring so that meant the hike would be 4 miles longer. The drive in from Battle Axe was easier but with the extra distance through Superior and the extra hiking miles it was obvious the plan had to change. By time we reached the point of the original planned 'trailhead' it was three hours later than expected. Two of those hours were spent hiking uphill-and-down along the newly completed AZT#16. Having hiked in the wash below a month ago the up-and-downs did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm we gained from this new perspective from far above. The views were simply awesome!
Finally to our 'start' point 3 hours behind the plan morphed into a 'follow the AZT#16 until we feel like turning around or until something more interesting popped up' while doing recon for future hikes. And as usual for those of us with advanced cases of ADD, something else did catch our attention. Off in the distance we noticed what appeared to to be a road heading off to the west along the base of Peak 3306. With the thought of a return trip with the Samurai we just had to check out this 'road'. 'Road' it may have looked like from a half-mile away, but close up was pretty obvious it hadn't seen use in years if not 60+. (It wasn't on my 60 year old map) Ok, road or not, we had to follow it to its conclusion. By time it faded into nothing we were halfway around Peak 3306, or The Thumb so we decided to continue one around.
So far the going had been reasonably easy and we didn't expect that to change, but change it did. The canoyn we dropped into got narrower and thicker with brush the farther we went. At each new obstacle the conversation 'do we continue or turn back?' would take place and each time 'let's cover new ground' took precedence over 'what if we can't get through' so the circumnavigation continued. A few times we had to climb up the canyon walls to make it through some sections but eventually we broke out onto a road I had driven on the way to my canyon hike last week and we knew we were home free. Now it's just a matter of walking along the road until we hit the wide flat wash until we reconnected with AZT#16 again for the last 2 miles of hiking back to the car. Having covered this ground by vehicle and on foot numerous times before I expected it to be a bit of a chore, but this time I wasn't alone and the time passed so quickly it took me by surprise when we hit the AZT#16 again.
Although our plan changed drastically it turned out to be well worth the change... and the other mountains are still there. I'll have the Samurai up and running shortly and we'll be ready for another shot at it.
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.