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Saddle Ridge Trail #14 - 7 members in 26 triplogs have rated this an average 3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Mar 16 2019
MountainMatt
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 192
 Photos 2,791
 Triplogs 443

27 male
 Joined Jan 24 2016
 Arizona
Saddle Ridge Trail #14Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2019
MountainMatt
Hiking14.58 Miles 1,358 AEG
Hiking14.58 Miles
1,358 ft AEG30 LBS Pack
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Perhaps one of the last couple times out here this year before it warms up too much for my comfort level as the weather was about as perfect as it gets and dare I say a tad warm with no shade and breeze for a few portions.
I’ve now hiked the full entirety of Saddle and Whiterock numerous times besides Pine TH to Oak Springs and a little segment near Whiterock Spring I’m just always far off trail by then and simply use this expressway as a means to other interests.
Kicked it old school this deep off trail trek and did not use any navigation assistance with a app or true map.
I just relied on my familiarity of the area that only came from many many miles of hiking around this sacred land which at times can be tough to do especially when you get down in the heart of the cedar belt with no solid highpoints but it all went great.
Packed nearly 4 liters of water for the pups and I using the majority of it, we refueled at some of the many reliable slickrock pools that reside at the head of a lot of these canyons out here with many of them holding water throughout the year.
Encountered 2 pairs of AZT through hikers on the trail in the morning but once off trail and as always out here I never saw a soul just many signs of humans a bit more ancient like.
Wilderness, tranquility and peace the way it was meant to be.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Nice carpets of yellow.

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Hardscrabble Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
The rock and dirt dam broke at the FR 428 crossing and was pumping out raging whitewater that created a near 3 foot deep crossing.

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 Saddle Ridge Pasture Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
Overflowing.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Saddle Ridge Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
Overflowing.
_____________________
http://www.mattwhelanphotography.com/
Dec 05 2018
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Upper Mazatzal Loop, AZ 
Upper Mazatzal Loop, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Dec 05 2018
jacobemerick
Backpack51.92 Miles 9,373 AEG
Backpack51.92 Miles2 Days         
9,373 ft AEG
 
1st trip
After traipsing around the wilderness for three years, this adventure completes the last of the Mazatzal trails for me. Saved this one for last, as it was one of the OG planned routes and I figured that I would need every bit of experience, both in terms of hiking and gear, in order to knock it out in two days.

FR 194
Road walking in the dark. Bumped into two hunters, didn't even realize the season was starting in a few days.

Saddle Ridge #14
Once my eyes adjusted from the two-track to a single track it was pretty easy going. Cairns are big and tread is (usually) easy to make out, a dark line in the light grass, even with no moon to speak of and a few dozen candles strapped to my head. Sun waited until I was 4 miles in before it began to lighten the sky. After that it was smooth sailing, easy going over the pleasant trail, and the snow-dusted North Peak beckoned me onward with icy promises. Watered up at Whiterock Spring, which is heckin' beautiful. Only annoying section is that drop off of Polles Mesa, that got a little painful. Briefly checked out Polk Spring and then crossed the East Verde with little fanfare. That half mile of trail on the south side dragged.

Bull Spring #34
The haul up and over Copper Mountain was just enough to warm me up. It's better defined than I remembered - then again, last year, I had been stumbling down this way hours after sunset, so I may have been biased. Conceded to giving my legs a twenty minute break near Bullfrog Spring to down some water and caffeine before the main climb of the day. Then it was off to the races, a steady march up to the pass, and I passed the time looking around at the other roads criss-crossing their way up these hills. The tread on this trail is smooth and easy enough to let the eyes wander, a rare treat in the Mazzies.

Trail began to fade immediately after the AZT junction, which is to be expected, though it was never hard to track through the waist-high brush, even without a cairn in sight. Beyond the pass there are two minor drainages to swing through, the first of which has an old mining exploration and trailside tank to check out, before the drop into the valley of Bull Spring(s). Along the way I began to pick up the smell of something big and dead and I wondered if something would be fouling up one of the two water sources ahead (ick!) or if I'd stumble upon a kill (yay?). Never found the source of the smell. Anyways, took a break at Bull Spring to pull up to full capacity, struggled a bit to find a steady tread in the area, and then proceeded to LF Hilton, which is in rough shape.

Wet Bottom #269
One of the two sections of trail that I feared the most - yet it had such a great start. No sign at the junction by the cabin, just a curve in the trail. As soon as it crosses the drainage a steady line of cairns show up (a promising sight, after the cairn-free Bull Spring Trail) and a wide, rocky tread marches up the hillside. I was feeling a little tired at this point (over 20 miles behind me) and I noticed, with some dismay, that after the climb there was a second little drainage and valley to walk through. At least there were some good rock tanks down here, so I took the time to guzzle one of my bladders and refill it.

The west side of the valley marked an important point. First, there's a spur trail to Childer's Seep (which I didn't have the time or energy to check out today). Also, it marks the edge of the Willow Fire boundary. This, this is what I was looking forward to the most: a Mazatzal trail near 5000', south of the East Verde, that was spared from that fire. It was immediately gratifying. Old junipers and pinyons and other trees that I'm not smart enough to name (no ponderosas) clustered on the top of this mesa. The route swung back and forth, offering views north to Limestone and south to Wet Bottom Creek and Midnight Mesa, mostly shaded along the way. The cairns were large and the tread, even when it was covered by low branches, was well-defined. I did lose it a few times, either due to impatience or grassy sections.

When the trail began to drop is when it got harder and harder to follow. There were a few obvious re-routes done in more recent years that deviated from my track and, sometimes, didn't even make sense to me. One particularly memorable example was where the route dropped steadily down a drainage with small, humble cairns, only to suddenly be re-routed 300 yards for a mild switchback using huge, chest-high cairns, and then revert back to the little rock piles and original tread. And then, below contour 4400', the trail hugs the north side of a ridge and all bets are off, with game trails, thick growth, and loose ground all conspiring to cause mayhem. I fought this for almost an hour and made a mile of progress and decided to call it a night.

Found a pleasant saddle with a flat spot protected by a large pinyon and quickly set up camp, getting the basic structure in before light left the sky. After the initial rush I took my time boiling water for dinner and tea before settling in with the Kindle. By eight I was completely out and, with the exception of a few rollovers, slept right through the night, one of the better sleeps I've had outside. Woke up an hour before light and just barely got my camp packed up before it started to drizzle. Made oatmeal and coffee under the soft, inconsistent patter of tiny droplets.

The final four miles of trail passed by quickly, becoming steadily better defined the closer I got to the next junction. The only nasty bit was a valley (more like a mesquite maze surrounded by a moat of catclaw) that I eventually did find a way, but not the right way, through. Took a while to pick up the trail on the far side. Squaw Butte became more defined as I descended and the morning drizzle faded in and out, never enough to warrant taking my poncho out for. Reached Highwater at 900, which was the planned campsite for last night, putting me a solid 3 hours behind schedule.

Highwater #20
Feels like I was just on this thing. Watered up at Canyon Creek, otherwise kept my feet moving northward. The rain and mist was starting to thicken and I was started to get worried that my contingency plan (spending a second night out here) might not work with these cold temps and wet weather. This time I followed the trail all the way to the proper junction w/ Verde and found a lonely pole, no sign, to mark it.

Verde River #11
The second feared section of trail, and it was... impeccable. Seriously. It is in at least, if not better, as good of condition as Highwater. Shortly after the junction it cuts right down to the river with a series of rocky switchbacks and then, complete with good cairns, marches along the sandy banks with a few jumps to avoid different obstacles. The first two miles has a lot of bovine traffic, and they stuck to the tread. I was surprised to see a well-defined trail so remote and took advantage of it, putting on the afterburners to make up time.

Rain was coming down pretty steady by now, which, coupled with the wet brush, had my shirt, pants, and boots completely soaked. The temps were in the mid-50s so, as long as I kept moving, this wasn't a problem. Thanks to the well-defined trail and flat going there was no real need to stop, so I didn't. Sure, there were plenty of cool things to take photos of (Squaw Butte kept stealing the show, but there was also Red Wall Rapids, a few very rugged washes, and even a campsite or two), and there were also long stretches of straight path through creosote. Things got a little hairy near the end, when I got impatient on the far side of 2878' and decided to take a more direct route instead of backtracking to the tread and had to play spider-monkey on some rock walls above the Verde. Made it to the East Verde in one piece and let a deep sigh out - it was almost all known trail from here.

Watered up, changed socks, and launched towards the final 11 miles with just a hair over three hours of daylight left. Initial climb to Deadman Mesa Trail was new ground and was steep and rocky and simple to follow. Then I swung east and began the long climb to Twin Buttes. There were two things that I wasn't ready for. The first was fogged glasses... the harder I climbed, the more I steamed, and harder it was to see, which forced me to take periodic breaks to wipe the fog away (cue flashbacks to Midwest hiking). Second was the mud. Everyone complains about the rocks on this trail, yet the mud is so much worse. Even a 20' section of mud would add pounds of clay to each boot, weighing me down and throwing my balance off. I would pray for rocks just to knock some of the clods off.

This quickly became a muddy death march. Thankfully the trail is easy to follow and I could dedicate my focus on sliding one foot in front of the other and not hunting cairns. At least I saw some elk, and cattle, and even a very fat rabbit to break things up. Was within a mile of the boundary when I had to haul out the headlamp, which didn't help at all, and I stumbled-tripped, all balance and coordination wiped out by the haul, in a generally correct direction until, ten feet from the metal posts, a pair of headlights flipped on and completely blinded me. Two hunters (a different set) were very friendly and offered me a ride back down to my Jeep below, which I couldn't agree to fast enough.

Mazatzal Miles: 275/275 (100%)
Fauna
Fauna
Elk
Culture
Culture
Campsite
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage Sunset
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
Along the Verde, so lovely.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bee Tree Tanks 26-50% full 26-50% full
Super muddy. A gang of elk were going to town in it.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bull Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Both cement trough and metal ring were full of clear water, minimal green stuff near bottom, tasted great.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bull Trap Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Plenty of shallow pools, tho Bull Spring up a ways seemed more appealing / dependable.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max East Verde River Medium flow Medium flow
Plenty of water, though there are still dry crossing spots if you hunt for a bit.


water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Polk Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Beautiful area, lots and lots of water.

dry Red Metal Tank Dry Dry
Nothing.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Red Saddle Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
Lots of mud, murky water would be hard to reach and totally not worth it.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Rock Creek Heavy flow Heavy flow
Almost as much water flowing into the E Verde as... the E Verde itself.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Saddle Ridge Pasture Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Whiterock Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Tank was overflowing with clear, cold water.
_____________________
2 archives
Nov 10 2018
MountainMatt
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 192
 Photos 2,791
 Triplogs 443

27 male
 Joined Jan 24 2016
 Arizona
Doll-Saddle-Polles-Rock, AZ 
Doll-Saddle-Polles-Rock, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 10 2018
MountainMatt
Hiking20.09 Miles 3,625 AEG
Hiking20.09 Miles   12 Hrs   34 Mns   1.95 mph
3,625 ft AEG   2 Hrs   16 Mns Break40 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I’ve been wanting to make it back out here since my last trip to the area in March.
Since then I’ve been inspired by the hiking options in the seemingly endless amounts of vast unspoiled and seldom seen land.

A late 8am chilly start of course quickly warmed up on the big road walk to tank top weather within the hour or so.
Besides the mystical man in the distance dressed in all white riding a all white horse near Mine Road Spring we did not encounter another human all day.

After climbing up Saddle we explored around Polles for quite some time, had lunch and then headed NE down into the heart of Rock Creek.
Almost got cliffed out while descending one section but a little class 3 climbing filled with catsclaw and scrub oak soon led to gentle flatlands.

Once down in RC my mind was blown!
A true untouched, wild and pristine desert riparian paradise that just feels ancient and forgotton.
Two miles of rugged but manageable canyon descending along with a decent amount of tripod time was the highlight of the hike down within the jungle.
We came across a family of coatimundi with one of being the size of small bear cub, I swear that one in particular was so huge it was unreal!

Climbed out of the canyon before nightfall, wandered around some flats that appeared promising for wildlife activity and eventually linked back up with the AZT before complete darkness.

Having walked the good ol’ road back to D Baby in the dark I figured we’d get comfortable play some music, enjoy the headlamp hike and vibe out which eventually led to my friend dropping her iPhone near Boardinghosue Canyon.
I remember when and where she took her jacket off and luckily we were on a road and it was destined to be where the jacket switch occurred which it was, just a little quick 3.2 mile RT detour to make it happen.

Sore legs, stoked on life and a memory card of awesome views, things that seem to be a trend with a solid Mazzy expedition.
Culture
Culture
Cag Shot HAZ Food
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
Desert Riparian Glory!

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Boardinghouse Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Dry at crossing but near the mini shack seems to be a nice spring source with reliable clear flowing water and pools.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max East Verde River Medium flow Medium flow

dry Mine Road Spring Dry Dry
Dry at road crossing.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Polk Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Gods gift to earth.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rock Creek Medium flow Medium flow
A true desert riparian paradise.

dry Surprise Spring Dry Dry
_____________________
http://www.mattwhelanphotography.com/
1 archive
Mar 27 2018
mazatzal
avatar

 Routes 31
 Photos 2,166
 Triplogs 1,074

62 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
AZT #25 - Rock Creek, AZ 
AZT #25 - Rock Creek, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 27 2018
mazatzal
Hiking7.70 Miles 1,360 AEG
Hiking7.70 Miles
1,360 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners partners
Sredfield
From LF Ranch / East Verde River, AZT #25 heads mostly NNW for about 11 miles and then NNE for a mile or so and then SW for 5 miles - the wrong way if heading for Utah!

For a few years I’d been thinking there should be a way to cut across Rock Creek and Alder Ridge to East Tank from Saddle Ridge near peak 4895. This would chop out that 5 mile SW section and shorten the trail by 3 or 4 miles! Sometime last year Shawn mentioned the same idea.

We scouted a route from Saddle Ridge across Rock Creek. Shawn had previously scouted the route on Alder Ridge. It looks like a great “short cut” off-trail route but probably won’t be the official trail anytime soon but perhaps one day.

Saw two thru hikers: Endless and QB (Queen Bee) who were completing Superior to Pine in 6 days!
_____________________
Mar 14 2018
MountainMatt
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 192
 Photos 2,791
 Triplogs 443

27 male
 Joined Jan 24 2016
 Arizona
Saddle Ridge Trail #14Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 14 2018
MountainMatt
Hiking21.67 Miles 3,256 AEG
Hiking21.67 Miles   10 Hrs   21 Mns   2.49 mph
3,256 ft AEG   1 Hour   38 Mns Break30 LBS Pack
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Some much needed humpday fun deciding on Bull Springs or Polles Mesa, I went for the Polles choice walking halfway down the LF Ranch road since there would be more water options along that trail considering it was a warm day.
Turning the corner of Boardinghouse Canyon I heard what sounded like girls splashing around in water and sure enough 8-10 girls were enjoying the random pools and flowing water in this section.
They were all nurses and part of a wilderness therapy group and backpacked to the Bull Trap cabin the past couple of days, I didn't stay long but probably should have talked more as they were all a big fan of Miss Payton.

LF Ranch was closed to hikers today so I continued on the Saddle Ridge Trail and headed up to Polles.
I stopped at the gem of Polk Spring and stashed some water to lighten my load and relaxed in the idyllic riparian are before continuing out into the sun.
Once up on Polles I left the trail and began my cross country bone hunting expedition and almost immediately was greeted with a nice little two point.
I made my way to most of the tanks and draws on the mesa's south-side, very easy walking and never really had to bushwhack.

Near one of the tanks I encountered the most bizarre arrangement of supplies that had to be hauled in by horseback or even illegally brought in by quad/utv just because of the sheer quantity of gear.
I'm talking enough rations to keep 10 people fed for a month, 20 gallons of water, expensive solar chargers and many other miscellaneous tools and camp supplies.
I saw a coffee cup with an AZ trail association sticker on it so figured maybe its part of a trail maintenance group but wouldn't make sense considering its remote area and the many miles away from the actual AZ trail.
I talked to one of the locals who says he knows of a hunting guide that stashes supplies on the mesa to make future trips easier for clients and himself so as of now that is my best guess.

At 5pm and still many miles to go I picked up my pace on my loop back and surprisingly ended up finding the most sheds with a freakish finale of a trophy coues antler!

Made it back to the road by nightfall and just had couple of headlamp miles back to Doll Baby with perfect weather and a ride waiting for me.

A great and much needed personal day in the Mazzies!




Named place
Named place
Polk Spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Boardinghouse Canyon Light flow Light flow
Random pools and even flowing water in the middle slickrock section of the canyon.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Polk Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Basically it’s own creek crystal clear water that’s a tad bit warmer than nearby water sources.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rock Creek Medium flow Medium flow
A cool clear healthy creek with solid flow.
_____________________
http://www.mattwhelanphotography.com/
1 archive
Nov 10 2017
toddak
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 5
 Photos 1,071
 Triplogs 399

54 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 10 2017
toddak
Hiking26.00 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking26.00 Miles   12 Hrs      2.17 mph
4,000 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Partners none no partners
A few moonlit warmup miles from Doll Baby, then NOBO to Pine. Many miles of rugged, rocky hiking, but the navigation is straightforward.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Oak Spring Dripping Dripping
full and clear

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Whiterock Spring Dripping Dripping
full and clear
_____________________
Apr 09 2016
DallinW
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 105
 Photos 1,740
 Triplogs 228

27 male
 Joined Feb 26 2015
 Gilbert AZ
AZT: Roosevelt to Washington Park, AZ 
AZT: Roosevelt to Washington Park, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Apr 09 2016
DallinW
Backpack132.20 Miles 26,979 AEG
Backpack132.20 Miles7 Days         
26,979 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
April 9th
Miles: 19
AEG: 6,413 ft

We started the climb from the 188 around 7:30 AM. The goal for the day was to make it to Pigeon Springs. The weather was great, and the views of Roosevelt Lake got more spectacular as we climbed out of the basin. After taking a break at Buckhorn Spring, the trail climbs relentlessly before topping out and contouring the mountain.

Eventually we turned a corner and BAM!, the four craggy peaks were staring us right in the face. Quite the view! The trail through the Four Peaks passage is very well maintained, except for a small stretch where we were pushing through overgrowth that nearly obscures the trail. Despite the large swaths of burned forest, this passage was one of my favorite so far. Eventually we reached Pigeon Springs and found a relatively flat spot to set up our tents.

April 10th
Miles: 19
AEG: 2,196 ft

The morning began with a clear sky. After packing up the gear we headed for Pigeon Springs Rd to begin the long road walk. I'm usually not a fan of road walks, but this was an exception. There were great views on either side of the Superstitions, Sierra Ancha, and Lake Roosevelt. The immediate area itself was very beautiful as well. Around 10 AM we could see clouds beginning to build on top of Browns Peak, and a storm hitting the Supes.

We stopped to take out the rain jackets and a white mini-van rolled up and asked if this road would take them all the way back to the 87. I pulled out my map and told them it looked like the road ended well before reaching the 87 and that they needed to turn around and take El Oso or the other forest road. The wife sitting in the passenger seat seemed concerned that we were about to be backpacking out in the rain. :roll: By 11 AM it was lightly raining, which was initially quite exciting (I needed to test the rain gear anyway).

Just as we reached the Boulder Creek drainage the storm began to give us its all. Heavy rain, wind, and thunder! By the time we reached Sunflower, the trail was a muddy slip and slide, my phone was soaked and unresponsive (may it RIP ](*,) ), and we were slightly chilled.

We waited under the 87 underpass for my brother to arrive, who was picking us up so I could take an exam for an online class I'm taking before returning to the trail the next day.

April 11th
Miles: 12
AEG: 2,643 ft

After finishing up my exam, we were back on trail around 1 PM. Under the 87, we did some last minute gear prep before heading out and ran into three other hikers, Giltch, Kegel, and Minus. They were 17 days into their thru-hike and were excited to get into Pine for some much needed beer. We were all aiming for McFarland Canyon for the night.

We started up Saddle Mountain and enjoyed all the green scenery in the area. Just before reaching camp, we passed the half way mark for the AZT and celebrated with the thru-hikers before settling down for the night in McFarland Canyon.

April 12th
Miles: 21
AEG: 5,249 ft

The thru-hikers were up and leaving camp just as we were beginning to pack up. We weren't sure if we would ever see them again. The trail gets a little hard to follow just after McFarland Canyon to Thicket Spring. The Guthooks app says to head straight up a wash but apparently there is an alternative route that is clear of brush and well defined that you can take at the first junction past McFarland.

Once we reached the junction for the Peeley TH we stopped to take a break and ran into Joe, a gentleman I had met at a trail maintenance event about a month earlier. Quite the coincidence, if we would have left a minute earlier we probably would have never seen him. He was meeting up with another fellow to remove some downed trees along the trail.

The views along the Mazatzal Divide from Peeley to Y-Bar were my favorite for the entire trip. The rugged peaks of the Mazatzals and expansive views on either side were exciting to see. We ran into Minus again at the Bear Spring junction taking a lunch break. After taking our own lunch break at the spring, we headed for Horse Camp Seep.

As we approached Horse Camp Seep, we ran into the three thru-hikers again. There was another hour or so of light, so they continued on, we decided to call it a day where there was water. Horse Camp Seep was a sweet spot and had great camping.

April 13th
Miles: 18
AEG: 2,907 ft

The goal for the day was to make it to the East Verde River, a relatively easy day that was mostly downhill. We made our way along the Divide trail and passed "The Park", an inviting stand of pines and great campsites. We stopped to take a lunch break at the Red Hills seeps. From here the trail descends steeply to the East Verde River. Not very fun for the knees.

We camped just across the river and enjoyed the warmest night of the trip. We were now done with the Mazzies, and I felt the proposed "overgrowth" was kind of blown out of proportion, or there has been a lot of trail work in the past couple of months. Probably a bit of both. ;) I never felt like the trail was hard to find (except for the stretch between McFarland and Thicket) or that I had to deal with excessive brush that I wouldn't expect on most wilderness trails.

April 14th
Miles: 23
AEG: 4,196 ft

With burgers and beer on our minds, we got up early to make it into Pine with sufficient time to hit up THAT brewery and the market. The rocks along Whiterock and Hardscrabble Mesas were annoying and it felt like I was constantly stubbing my toes or rolling my ankle. Otherwise the area is quite beautiful and welcoming. The rocks put these two passages high on my list of "one and done" passages.

We reached Pine around 5pm with plenty of time to get burgers and beer. Lo and behold, we run into Minus, Kegel, and Giltch at the brewery along with another thru-hiker, Thomas, who was taking a zero in town. We joined them and enjoyed the comradery. Thomas decided to join us at camp for the night near the Pine TH while the others reserved the cabin in the back.

April 15th
Miles: 17
AEG: 3,303 ft

We woke up with frost all over our gear. :yuck: After packing up, Thomas headed for the Highline and we headed for breakfast at the Early Bird. Just before we finished up eating we ran into Minus who was getting some breakfast himself.

We headed for the Highline. It was nice to be climbing on a well graded trail with less rocks, especially because a hole was beginning to develop in my right shoe. I could feel every rock under my foot on that spot.

At Red Rock Spring we made a quick stop and finished off the last bit of the Arizona Trail Ale we picked up the night before at the market.

Once we reached Webber Creek we caught up with Thomas who was drying out all his gear. We stopped to take a break, and eventually Minus came strolling down the trail to join us. Minus decided to hike with us for a stretch after the break. The Rim gets right up in your face along this stretch and red dirt contrasting with the green pines and cedars made for great scenery.

We were about 9 miles from the finish and a little antsy to finish up. Eventually Minus stopped to take a lunch break and we continued on after filtering some water. Now with only 5 miles left, we kicked it into high gear and made for the Washington Park TH. Clouds started to build along the rim.

We reached the trailhead and got ready to hunker down for a few hours of inclement weather before our ride would arrive. However, after a few snow flurries, the clouds broke. Eventually Thomas and the other three thru-hikers caught up with us, we exchanged information, and said our goodbyes. All of them were very enthusiastic about Arizona and couldn't stop commenting on the diversity of the state and how we had a pretty cool home.

---------------------------------------

Besides my foot issue due to my failing shoe on the last day, I felt great this entire trip. I never woke up sore or feeling exhausted. I listened to my body, and I was proactive about keeping my feet and knees happy. It really paid off and made the trip that much more enjoyable.

This concludes all of Southern and Central Arizona passages for me. I'm looking forward to the easy walking on the plateau to the UT border!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Lots of lupine in the middle elevations, not much at the highest and lowest elevations.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bear Spring - Fisher Gallon per minute Gallon per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Chilson Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Pools and light flow in drainage just south of spring.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max East Fork of Chase Creek @ Highline Light flow Light flow

dry Granite Spring Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Hopi Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Flowing across the trail.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Horse Camp Seep Quart per minute Quart per minute

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max North Sycamore Creek @ Highline Medium flow Medium flow

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Pigeon Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Flowing over the cement box.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Polk Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Flowing across the trail, really muddy.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Pool East of 4264 - Boulder Creek Light flow Light flow
Pools with light flow in some areas.

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Shake Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Great flow, great water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Upper McFarland @ #88/95 Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Webber Creek @ Highline Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Whiterock Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Best water of the trip.
_____________________
1 archive
Mar 12 2016
friendofThunde
avatar

 Guides 18
 Routes 280
 Photos 7,737
 Triplogs 718

37 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
AZT Trail: Picketpost to Pine, AZ 
AZT Trail: Picketpost to Pine, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 12 2016
friendofThundergod
Backpack161.56 Miles 32,262 AEG
Backpack161.56 Miles6 Days         
32,262 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I was kind of looking to see where I was at for another big trek this summer and Karl was looking to experiment with a lighter weight higher mileage backpack, so I proposed Picketpost Mountain, or the beginning of section 18 of the Arizona Trail to Pine and the end of section 26 of the Arizona Trail. Karl was down for four days and had a somewhat flexible plan for ending his trip when he needed to. Meanwhile, I was about 50-50 if I could do the entire hike and was content with just seeing how far Karl and I could get and then playing the rest of my trip by ear, or I should say by body.

Day 1: 29.92 miles 6268 aeg

We made it to our planned first night's campsite on day one, Walnut Spring. Section 18 really exceeded my expectations. This is about the best time of year to be walking though that desert right now and Whitford proved to be a real treat with the flowing water and abundance of green. The climb was grueling and relentless but it offered some very solid views of the area and was really made manageable by liberal use of switchbacks. Karl was so confident with our performance at that point in the day that he insisted we bag Montana Mountain while we were up there. I agreed, but only because I was born in Montana and I said it had to count it as our break. Reavis Ranch looked like Daytona Beech and I had not apprehensions about making the short trip past it to my cozy little campsite at Walnut Spring. Got to Walnut just at headlamp time. Blew through camp chores, made a fire, ate and got to bed as soon as we could.

Day 2: 25.67 miles 6392 aeg

We came up a little short on our proposed campsite on this day, but the hiking was great so no worries. No stranger to the Eastern Supes, but Sunday still offered me all new areas after Two Bar Ridge. Cottonwood Canyon was great! No shortage of water in there and some cool little sites in this random little riparian jungle in the far corners of the northwestern Supes. A little bit of road and then it was the traverse from hell along the 188 waiting for that damn bridge to come into sight. From the bridge it was up the stairway to heaven. Where fittingly we had a trail angel waiting for us with tons of snacks and H20. After our sugar, hops, and caffeine binge at Mills Ridge we decided to just push for Buckhorn Creek. However, on that side of Four Peaks, pushing for a few extra miles usually entails a nice chunk of aeg as well, so we earned it. I did find a set of Indian ruins though along the way, so that was cool. We were both excited to learn that after carrying all that fresh water from Mills Ridge, there was water flowing in Buckhorn Creek. Oh well no filtering to do, quicker camp set-up, quick fire and in bed even earlier than previous night.

Day 3: 31.24 miles 5239 aeg

Day three was all new ground for me. Four Peaks makes you work, but alas the beauty of nature is enhanced by the ardor of the journey. I really enjoyed this section, an instant new favorite! I hiked through perhaps one of my nicest sunrises in a long time and marked several rock pile sites along the trail for future exploring. This section just kept getting better for me as we neared Four Peaks and started contouring towards Pigeon Spring. The lingering and previous snow had some of the creeks flowing nicely along this stretch and the trail got very nice as we approached its end. The road felt a little like Mad Max with the amount of Jeeps, trucks and atvs out. However, I must say not one negative experience with any driver and I do not think I have been offered as much water in such a short amount of time as I was along that 11 mile stretch of road. One guy asked, "is there anything else I could give you?" I said I could use some sunscreen and he offered up the whole bottle. The hike down into Sycamore was also very nice, again a great time to be in the lowlands, a little water, some flowers and green. However, it was hard to appreciate at times with the fatigue and anxiety over coordinating a last minute drop off of some additional things I felt I needed, if I was going to have any chance of reaching Pine. The drop and pick went smooth, a small adventure, but relatively smooth. We did not get an ideal spot to camp, but spirits were high after our resupply.

Day 4: 24.7 miles 6297 aeg

This was the day Karl and I would be saying our goodbyes. Karl decided on a Peely exit and I would push on to Bear Spring from there. More new trail for me to start the day and again I was not disappointed. The canyons on the way up to Saddle Ridge were picturesque, there was a lot of water and signs of some pretty extensive trail work in spots. I will admit things got a little dicey after we left the quaint McFarland Spring area, but we endured. The trails definitely need some work in there. I found myself kind of embracing the ruggedness and challenge the area presented. However, I could see that area becoming another hiker's hell if they were not expecting it. Karl and I parted at Peely. Losing Karl sucked, as he and I had a good thing going the first few days. Karl was keeping our pace in the areas where I tend to day dream and I was doing what I could do to keep us at a respectable place for some of the more stout climbs. But no time to dwell, I was solo now and needed to reach Bear Spring, just another 2000 feet of aeg and a shade under ten miles. There is no sense harping on the point, but the Divide Trail is getting nasty along there and I did make it to Bear Spring before head lamp conditions, but I was obliterated from that last little push from Peely. I replaced Karl with another Carl at Bear Spring. I am going to assume he spells his with a C. Anyways, I ran into Carl, better known as Spiced Rum on HAZ. He was on the final night of a backpack to gather some information for future work in the area. We chatted it up for awhile and I am not ashamed to admit I took some extra snacks from him. He was leaving a day early and I could not believe the amount of food I was going through on these long days, so I had no problem taking the charity. Superb stuff too, some great dried fruit, trail-mix and a Rice Crispy treat. Good guy all around and a source of wealth on some other major trails that I am interested in. And what a nice little spot to camp near Bear Spring, that saddle is great, I see why toughboots is fond of the place.

Day 5: 26.9 miles 4051 aeg

This was my make or break day. I had my city creek trailhead bailout option if needed, or I was pushing for the East Verde via the dreaded Red Hills and making my final push for Pine from there. The divide trail has its ups and downs, both in terrain and condition, but overall it was pretty smooth going. There is a section of Divide Trail that is now immaculate from about the intersection with Brody Seep to the intersection with Barnhardt. Kudos to that trail crew. I stopped for way too long to soak my legs and filter water and then realized I was looking at about ten more miles to include the worst part of the Red Hills and it was nearly three. My rational side said, "set up camp here, hike out LF or Saddle Ridge tomorrow," however, my other side said, "quit making excuses and finish the original plan." I am not sure what it was, but I was really dreading the last half of the Red Hills. Out of paranoia of being too exhausted to complete the entire section and having to dry camp somewhere I carried way too much water. This weighed me down and annoyed me even more as several of the creeks and main valleys I crossed had running water in them. As it turned out, while my worries were warranted, I did just fine and to be honest felt the area did not seem as bad as it had before and I must give props to the horse(s) whose tracks I followed through the entire Red Hills section, a doable stretch, just may require more time and detail. Camped at the Verde where I was serenaded to sleep by cows, frogs, chickens, maybe peacocks, cats and perhaps even a species of monkey. A very lively river at night.

Day 6: 23.08 miles 4329 aeg

This was the one I was waiting for, the "easy" day. A nice early start, I don't think there is a better place to be in the world than a half hour before light in the mountains somewhere, just pure serenity. There were ankle breakers abound on this day of Whiterock and Hard Scrabble. A nice steady pace was all I tried to keep and I followed a liberal break plan, as I crawled into Pine. The final two sections were not my favorite, but they were also the last two sections of a 160 mile trek so they would have had to have been perfect to really capture my imagination. Nevertheless, I got through both of them and endured the lava rock tread and bland road. I did find the last few miles to be more redeeming with the scenic Oak Spring and Bradshaw tank area. It was a reunion at the trailhead with Jackie and the pups, Del Taco and then home.

Final Notes

I need to work on a better nutrition plan for these big ones. I simply did not bring enough caloric energy for the type of days I was doing and the amount of energy I was putting out. I need to go healthier and more efficient, just a good lesson to learn.

Karl played a huge role in getting me through those first four days, very glad to have him through there, he was missed later.

A good song to have stuck in your head while hiking is Passion Pit, "Take a Walk."

I can definitely go lighter on these ones too, I packed light, but by no means did I make any attempts to go ultra-light. In the future, that may be needed to knock out some of these more ambitious multi day treks.

The hardest days by far were Day four with its nearly 7000 feet gained and day five with its 27 legit miles through the Mazzies without as much as a foot of road relief until the very end.
Flora
Flora
Brittlebush
Named place
Named place
Four Peaks Oak Spring Pigeon Spring
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
About normal to not so great, to really good in spots. Most action in the first few sections though.

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bradshaw Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bullfrog Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Did not observe spring area, but light flow in canyon and some of surrounding drainages..

dry Chillicut Spring Dry Dry
Very dry in area, trough in disrepair, might find a seep if lucky.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

dry Crabtree Spring Dry Dry
Did not observe spring, but some light flowing water with small pools in wash near

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Oak Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Full trough, flow in wash, quality water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Pigeon Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Spring box full, quality water, seeping out around base.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Pine Creek at Reavis Gap #117 Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Reavis Creek at Fireline #118 Medium flow Medium flow
Nice flow as usual

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Reavis Creek at Gap Trail #117 Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Reavis Saddle Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
A pool in area marked spring, not overly reliable though from my experience..

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Rogers Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Saddle Ridge Pasture Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
Muddy and dirty.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Sandy Saddle Falls Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
some pools, not much in way of flowing water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Shake Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Medium flow in wash with several nice pools and small cascades.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Theodore Roosevelt Lake 51-75% full 51-75% full

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Walnut Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Spring box full, good quality water.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Walnut Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Box is full, quality water

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Whitford Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle

dry Windsor Spring Dry Dry
_____________________
6 archives
Feb 14 2015
friendofThunde
avatar

 Guides 18
 Routes 280
 Photos 7,737
 Triplogs 718

37 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Mount Peeley to Twin Buttes, AZ 
Mount Peeley to Twin Buttes, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Feb 14 2015
friendofThundergod
Backpack47.34 Miles 8,911 AEG
Backpack47.34 Miles
8,911 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
I have been meaning to do hike since last Spring when I saw the sign just off Twin Buttes that said Mount Peeley 48 miles. The idea of a north to south or south to north trans-Mazzie hike really appealed to me and it would give me a chance to cover several areas of new ground in the Mazzies. There was also the added bonus of knocking out a couple sections of the AZ Trail, something that is still not really on my radar, but a little closer after this weekend.

The HAZ network helped make this one possible. I ran into slowandsteady after Serena's event two weeks ago and she mentioned her and bifrost were also looking for a shuttle in the area. As it turns out they needed a car left at Peeley to complete a section of trail they were day hiking and would also be traveling to Flag later that evening. Therefore, they had no problem using my car to complete their shuttle then dropping it off at Twin Buttes on their way to Flag. I should mention though, all week I kept telling Karl yup leave it at the Pine TH, until he informed me that was not on Twin Buttes road and another 12 miles further into town. I am glad we cleared up that before I stepped off with the intention of my car being on Twin Buttes ;)

My original plans were to do this in an ambitious over night trip. However, after mulling over the miles and AEG, I figured why not make it three days and utilize my Monday off? Even with the trip scaled back to three days, I had a bad feeling about bringing Cup along. I knew from the few areas I had hiked that although it was the AZ Trail, there were certainly some rugged areas in there and I felt with the warmer temps it just might be a little taxing on Cup, so it was just Blanco and I for this quick adventure.

Even though I planned for three days and packed for three days, I told myself if day one went smooth, I would shoot for two days. I got kind of a late start on the first day, but still seemed to be making pretty good time, so I thought I would revert back to my original plan and just turn this trans-wilderness romp into an ambitious over nighter. I ended up about three miles past the Park at the junction of Red Hills and Mazatzal Divide Trail. 25 miles covered just over 11 hours of hiking and about an hour's worth of breaks and filtering water.

I thought by hitting 25 miles on my first day, I was setting myself up for a pretty easy hike out to Twin Buttes. I got a much more FOTG approved starting time, however, the going just seemed slower all day on the second day. I was happy to cover some new ground but found Brushy Trail and Bull Spring Trail to be a tad underwhelming for stretches. However, I ran into several elk along Brushy Trail which was a pleasant surprise so there were some redeeming qualities about that stretch of trail. Tons of "goat heads," or what I call goat heads made life miserable for Blanco and myself coming up the initial stretches of White Rock Mesa. Cacti the dogs easily learned to avoid, but impossible to avoid this plant for the dogs, seems to be more prevalant in cattle country. Poor Blanco could barely make it 20 feet without getting several of those balls of spikes in his pad. He even laid down in frustration and gave up at one point. The trail finally got a little more scuffed up and rocky and the goat heads passed. The trail seemed to drag a little towards the end, it got pretty warm and a few of the short climbs kicked my pumpkin a little more then they should have. We reached TH and vehicle just after 5:30 p.m. Just over 22 miles covered on second day in a little over 11 hours with probably an hour of breaks and water refills.

Overall, a nice little test of endurance and mettle. I wish I did not carry three days worth of stuff and such warm clothes. I certainly had to keep a steady pace, but it never felt too much like a death march, trails are a tad nasty in spots, but I enjoyed their ruggedness. Blanco was a perfect companion for this trip, no complaints, just hard hiking, he hit the wall a little on the first day, but led us out most of day two. In hindsight, I should have ended in Pine and knocked out that final AZT section in there, with the road miles it could still be done as an over-night I think.
Fauna
Fauna
Elk
_____________________
3 archives
Dec 20 2014
BiFrost
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 338
 Photos 6,903
 Triplogs 803

49 male
 Joined Nov 20 2012
 Phoenix, AZ
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Dec 20 2014
BiFrost
Backpack16.83 Miles 3,738 AEG
Backpack16.83 Miles2 Days         
3,738 ft AEG
 
Linked linked
Partners partners
desertgirl
Paintninaz
slowandsteady
Sredfield
tibber
The Whiterock Mesa AZT #25 section takes some coordination as a day hike so we all decided it would be more fun as an overnight staying at LF Ranch. We planned a nice leisurely meet up time at 11am McDonalds in Payson to setup the car shuttle. We drove to north end of the section at Twin Buttes and left a vehicle. Then headed to the south end start at Doll Baby TH to hike into LF Ranch. Hiking the road was uneventful but easy even with the large hill in the middle. Even with the late start time we arrived at the ranch by 4pm. We enjoyed some beverages, checked out the ranch and settled into the bunk house before Marianne served a nice 7pm dinner. After relaxing a bit we all turned for the night.

Next morning we had a hearty breakfast at sunrise with the dogs eagerly awaiting something to drop off our plates. I think a few morsels made it to the ground :) With breakfast out of the way we thanked Marianne for everything and headed up the start of Whiterock Mesa AZT #25 which begins at the East Verde River crossing. It starts uphill right away but is not too steep. First stop along the way is Polk Spring. Very nice riparian area with flowing spring water coming out of the embankment which supported a nice grove of trees. After taking some pics and looking around we continued up the trail which gets a bit steeper and rocky right after the spring.

Once up the first significant climb the trail levels out for a few miles. We passed Red Saddle Tank which had a lot of water. Then over to Whiterocks Spring with only a few small pools...filterable if you really needed it. The trail then climbs abruptly form the spring for the second real climb of the day. Good views of the Mazatzals to the south including North Peak as we climbed this section.

Then the trail levels out again and begins the long gentle climb up Saddle Ridge which eventually reaches the end at Twin Buttes Road. This section is over 5 miles of the passage and is very rocky, somewhat poor trail condition, and on this day lots of mud from the recent rains making the walking more difficult. However, despite that everyone just enjoyed being out in the near perfect weather. Made it back to the vehicle before 4pm and headed to Payson for Mexican food :D

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Polk Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
strong flowing spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Red Saddle Tank 26-50% full 26-50% full
very muddy tank

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Rock Creek Light flow Light flow
decent flow with small pools

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Saddle Ridge Pasture Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
decent water not too muddy
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3 archives
Dec 20 2014
slowandsteady
avatar

 Routes 67
 Photos 966
 Triplogs 694

45 female
 Joined Jan 05 2012
 Phoenix,AZ
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 20 2014
slowandsteady
Hiking16.83 Miles 3,738 AEG
Hiking16.83 Miles
3,738 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked linked
Partners partners
BiFrost
desertgirl
Paintninaz
Sredfield
tibber
After meeting Maryann last month, I decided to see if I could recruit people to stay over at LF with us. I was excited that our whole AZT crew was willing to share in the experience.

Maryann is a wonderful cook. The bunkhouse kept us warm and cozy. Her pups provided the entertainment!

As far as AZT #25 goes...The East Verde is a pretty area to cross, Polk Spring was magical to see with steam rising up in the early morning. Other than that, I was glad to have company to chat with!
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Apr 13 2014
mazatzal
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 Routes 31
 Photos 2,166
 Triplogs 1,074

62 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Bull Spring Trail #34Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 13 2014
mazatzal
Hiking13.80 Miles 2,390 AEG
Hiking13.80 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   2.37 mph
2,390 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
 no routes
Partners none no partners
I took the road out to LF Ranch / Bull Spring trail and then followed the lower jeep road (3600 contour) out to where it begins to ascend "Bull" peak. From there I headed back to the E Verde and went up Saddle Ridge trail and explored the Polk Spring area. Headed back along the road to the TH. Saw one deer near Polk Spr.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Boardinghouse Canyon Light flow Light flow

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

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Rock Creek Medium flow Medium flow
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Mar 15 2014
BobP
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 Guides 2
 Routes 183
 Photos 3,861
 Triplogs 2,279

57 male
 Joined Feb 26 2008
 Scottsdale, AZ
Saddle Ridge Trail #14Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 15 2014
BobP
Hiking20.30 Miles 5,875 AEG
Hiking20.30 Miles
5,875 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
friendofThundergod
The Mazzies never disappoint. This adventure was no different. It had trails, bushwhacking, roads canyons, making cool wrong turns, lots of Indian stuff, and lots of water. I had been to the area 4-5 times but this time covered lots of new territory.

I met Lee about 7am and we were off about 45 minutes later. I won’t go into the first thing he asked me to borrow but its PT backwards. :) We headed down the trail with the dogs and when we got to the boundary, Blanco couldn’t fit thru the new blockade with his pack on :doh: . We stopped and checked out some littered pottery areas and it’s the first time I saw some different colors out there on the mesa. About an hour and a half after we started, I left the trio and headed towards Cane Springs Moutain. I never made it because there was just to much cool glyphs, manos, arrowheads, tools and other evidence of a past long gone. I had planned on heading down LP Canyon but settled on Cane. Found some more current cool stuff.

Met back up with the crew about lunch time and enjoyed the gorge. The guy who likes Indian stuff had only seen the pottery and no other cool stuff :A1: like a 25 pd 12 point elk rack with skull. A little while later, he’d scramble to an alcove and find one piece of pottery and some smoke stains. But he’d have 3 more days and was heading to the really cool area. We headed down The Gorge and it was frickin awesome. We were gonna hit some side canyons but decided they’d have to wait for another trip. There was a few drops that we bypassed one in particular wasn’t very pleasant especially for Lee with his big pack. It was 150ft or so climb in aerated soil traversing big drops at times. This was between Indian Springs canyon and Greenhorn. Back on solid ground, the dogs went for a swim and I watched the cool frogs. This is where we’d go our separate ways.

I went up Greenhorn to Camp Gulch. I was admiring the falls and peacefulness so much that I missed the Hiero split that I planned on doing. So I did something I regretted, I headed straight up to a cool peak, 1200ft aeg in less than a half mile. The top was volcanic pebbles that took away all my mojo for this cool peak, plus the mesa was above it. From the mesa, I headed to find Ross since I was no longer with Bing. This would be the first of a few cool mistakes I’d make in the next few hours. I left road ridge for trail ridge then followed a cow trail to Bull. I got turned around in the dark and was heading in the wrong direction back to Road ridge. After about .25 mile I figured it out. I could now see Twin Buttes and Headed for it. About an hour later, I made another .25 mile mistake, but mostly because I saw something cool and just headed towards it. It was a cool 14 hour adventure and I'm glad I had my headlamp and map and the full moon helped. My gps didn't track. Cool meeting Bing and the dogs. Look forward to doing some other stuff.
Named place
Named place
Ross Tank
_____________________
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If you like this triplog you must be a friend of BrunoP
Mar 15 2014
friendofThunde
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 Guides 18
 Routes 280
 Photos 7,737
 Triplogs 718

37 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
East Verde RiverPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 15 2014
friendofThundergod
Backpack44.40 Miles 11,372 AEG
Backpack44.40 Miles4 Days         
11,372 ft AEG
 
1st trip
The idea for this trek came from reading the blog of someone who found some pretty nice cliff-dwellings in area of the northwestern Maztzals called the Gorge, the details were vague and it was not clear whether they were found along the East Verde or in one of the side canyons leading into the Gorge. So I made a big loop in route manager utilizing Saddle Ridge Trail #14, the Gorge the East Verde, and Verde River Trail #11. I showed the loop to a couple of HAZers and was a little disappointed to find out someone had already pretty much did the same loop. I thought for a minute I had designed quite the unique off trail back-pack adventure, but of course somebody had already did it, no worries though I knew it would be a good rugged adventure, and I felt I was kind of overdue for one. Bob P joined me for most of day one.

The trip into the Gorge went smooth, I actually overshot my own route by a mile and half because I had hiked in so quick with Bob, I did not realize I was so close to where I wanted to turn-off by the time we split and I hiked another two miles before realizing I wanted to turn-off long ago.

Speaking of splitting, Bob seemed to have had a pretty ambitious route planned for entering the Gorge, so I thought best with dogs and a four day pack to stick to my route and meet him near L.P. Canyon. Bob went on to find a pristine set of petraglpyh, a full elk's head mount, and I got a much steeper and rockier descent into the Gorge. I only went back about six tenths of a mile before saying pumpkin it and taking the quickest route I could find into the sheer sides of the Gorge, rather than the gentle northern slopes of my intended route. In hindsight, I should have stuck with safer first route, as I nearly took Blanco out with a couple boulders that some how managed to find his five hole. I actually almost took Bob out with one as well, I think it was the heavy pack, I was not light on my feet at all..

Had a great time in the Gorge with Bob. We both really enjoyed the scenery in there, the sheer drops, tinkling water falls, deep pools, and mini oasis. Speaking of sheer drops, I was actually relieved to have Bob with me, I would have obviously had to navigate the drops in the canyon regardless, however, it was nice to have company. Bob actually led the way on most, and I cringed as the dogs confidently followed him along 10 inch wide paths a 100 or so feet above the canyon floor, lined with agave for good measure. However, these walks on the wild side were few and generally negated by a quick little "Yahtzee" trail or two that made travel down the Gorge not as horrible as I had thought it could be. I left Bob at Green Horn Canyon and continued down stream towards the East Verde where I almost immediately encountered one of my biggest fears, another huge water fall, we got through it and one more fine, but we were all very happy to be finally reaching camp along the East Verde. I was beat and the dogs were beat, day one ended up being a 14 mile day, with 8-9 of those miles being off trail, oh and I was wearing a four day pack..

I kind of changed my plans I intended to spend two nights along the East Verde, but after not finding the ruins, I decided to just push through to the Big Verde and plan something from a base camp there. The East Verde was beautiful, I started the morning off trying to stay dry and taking the steep out of the way bypasses the cattle take for the deeper spots, however, I think the law of diminishing returns quickly kicked in for me, and I decided they were too hard on the dogs, too over-grown half the time and annoying, so I just started plopping the pack on my head and wading through the river. This actually was a decent strategy in parts where it got thick I just took the water. Although, I learned quickly how a waste deep wade can turn into an arm-pit and neck deep wade. But it really was not that bad, reminded me of trout fishing back home. I camped early after hitting the Verde, I stayed in a really nice spot located in a side canyon off the Verde River Trail. The camp site was awesome and it became even more rewarding when the discovery of a piece of pottery led me to climb three levels of hills to find the largest Pueblo style site I have every found blindly. Just a really large compound with large sections of preserved walls and defined rooms, I have not seen anything that large or preserved outside of the Agua Fria monument area, so that helped alleviate the disappointment of not spotting in cliff-dwellings the previous two days.

The nights were all great, did no rain-fly for last two. The full moon almost literally made it hard to sleep it was so bright. I scaled back day three because Cup seemed a little stiff in the morning. But by scaled back I mean we only hiked the Verde River Trail to Dead man Mesa Trail to Fossil Creek then up to Hell's Hole via Hard Scrabble, then an off-trail cross country route back to the Verde River Trail where we took a nap at camp and went back out again after the temps cooled. Side note Hell's Hole was not that impressive, and I think we need to work on an official route for Dead man Mesa Trail, hike bot seems way off, I followed a well cairn path to Fossil Creek and it was considerably different than hike bot, and I find this is usually not the case?? Likewise, am I the only one who could not follow Dead man Mesa Trail once it hits the Fossil Creek area? I ended up just wading back and forth looking for something that resembled a trail, and think ultimately I just took a series of cattle trails. Hard Scrabble Creek was a bush whack and wet going up to Hell's Hole, so we climbed out there and just rode the contour lines back to the trail while stumbling across ruin sites and ravines that always looked much work at first glance. However, I considered it a success because we never had to drop back into the Fossil or Hard Scrabble Creek drainage's and I was done with creek walking for a while.

Our second hike of the day consisted of following the Verde River Trail past the confluence with the East Verde and towards High Water Trail, but I am not going to lie, I lost the trail after awhile and turned back, it can be tough to follow in spots. However, the parts where we were on trail were pretty cool, you go through a mesquite and hard wood forest that provides a a great canopy through a grassy stretch full of nice spots to camp and close to the river. But then I lost patience with trying to follow the trail and turned back. We actually went back up the East Verde River a little to find the fishing pole and case that I had found the day before, but also left along the trail. I cached that pole and case and will now only need a reel and line if I want to go fishing down there. I explored a few hills, dogs were showing signs of being beat, and it was warm out, so we headed back to camp.

I only did some modest exploring on way out, I went out to Ross' Tank to gain an idea of the canyons leading into the Gorge, and marveled at their depths and drop offs. Then I thought I wonder which one Bob climbed out of? Then the thought crossed my mind, maybe he is still climbing out of one.

Hike out was nice for training Blanco around cows, pretty much indifferent to them now. He was never really bad before, but occasionally he would run up to and startle them, not cool when they have horns. I swear the dogs smelled the car when we hit Twin Buttes Road because they found a second wind. I don't know why I felt I had to scale it back for Cup she finished stronger than ever. In the end the miles were not all that crazy for four days, but they were definitely rugged with about half of the total coming from off trail miles. I was also able to just get some nice chill time around the campsite, finally finishing my book on the English Civil War, so if anyone ever wants to discuss the underlying implications of the Presbyterian and Puritan led Parliament overthrowing the Catholic Monarchy and Charles I feel free to P.M. me. Finally, I did not find the set of ruins I was looking for, but it gives me an excuse to come back.
Fauna
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Gila Monster
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2 archives
Sep 01 2013
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
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50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Saddle Ridge Trail #14Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 01 2013
DarthStiller
Hiking11.80 Miles 2,300 AEG
Hiking11.80 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.82 mph
2,300 ft AEG
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1st trip
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We did this as an out and back from the Doll Baby TH, just with the intent to do only about 12 miles and see what's on this trail since I've never been there before. On our way, we looked for a junction with the unofficial Bullfrog Ridge "trail", which is mentioned in the Falcon book. I also have the Tonto NF topo map that shows an unmaintained travelway along BullFrog Ridge, which can be used for a lasso loop hike to connect with the Bullfrog Spring Trail and back to the Doll Baby TH. We did find some kind of jeep road in that area by a wash that looked like it goes up to Bullfrog Ridge. Later in the day I noticed what looks likes might be a jeep road that switchbacks across the north face of the ridge, although it doesn't match what's on my topo map.

The jeep road from the Doll Baby TH to LF Ranch is a good 3.6 miles before you even get to the Saddle Ridge Trail. The Saddle Ridge Trail starts just after the start of the Bullfrog Spring Trail and skirts to the east of LF Ranch down to the East Verde River. The crossing was a little tricky and we got our feet wet, but it wasn't too bad.

From the river, we made our way up to the top of the mesa, which was a pretty long slog. Once we got to the top, our AEG was only 1500', but it felt like more. The trail is very steep and there's a lot of rock. At the top we hiked about another mile and took lunch. At the top it was most short trees (pinon pine?) and prickly pears. and a lot of cow patties.

We made out way back without incident, although the weather seemed hotter than it was. the humidity this year seems to be worse that most other years I can remember. On the way back past LF Ranch we could hear a rooster crowing and saw a vehicle parked there through the trees.
Named place
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Bullfrog Ridge L F Ranch
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Oct 27 2012
JuanJaimeiii
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52 male
 Joined Jan 30 2011
 Chandler, AZ
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 27 2012
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking23.47 Miles 2,327 AEG
Hiking23.47 Miles   7 Hrs   38 Mns   3.07 mph
2,327 ft AEG
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AZT 26 and AZT 25 N2S

Started out at the Pine Trailhead late Saturday morning with a destination on the Arizona Trail of LF Ranch.

I took my time along the way since I really didn't have anywhere to go except dinner at the Ranch. I had phoned earlier in the week and let her know I would be coming. She said she would have dinner ready around 6:30pm. Both Hardscrabble and White Rock Mesa are a little difficult to follow as there really isn't much of a trail up there. Mostly just cairns to guide your way.

I saw several hunters out doing their thing. I couldn't help but think that maybe I should have been wearing an orange vest. Anyway as the sun was setting I made my final descent down towards the Verde River. The waters were lower this time and I was able to find a place to cross without taking off my shoes. On the other side I was greeted by Maryanne who said dinner was almost ready. Perfect!

I settled in and shortly thereafter she brought out a green salad, a baked potato, some pinto beans, and a HUGE steak! Wow was that good. If you happen to be hiking the Arizona Trail and doing these passages I would strongly recommend stopping in and staying the night at LF Ranch. This was my second visit and both times were very enjoyable.
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Jun 21 2012
JuanJaimeiii
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 Routes 562
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52 male
 Joined Jan 30 2011
 Chandler, AZ
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 21 2012
JuanJaimeiii
Hiking23.10 Miles 4,343 AEG
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fricknaley
We had some breakfast I tell you! Mary Ann out did herself. Bacon, Fresh Eggs, Potatoes, and muffins. That plus some coffee was our send off from LF Ranch. She then walked us down to the river and showed us the best spot to cross. The river was awesome and surprisingly warm. About a hundred yards downstream we saw her horses horsing around. I suppose they were just having fun. :)

Anyway right away this passage starts climbing and goes up for a good little bit. Jeeze breakfast wasn't even settled yet! Once up top of the mesa it levels out for awhile. We encountered a pretty rocky terrain for a lot of this passage as well as 26.

Speaking of 26 someone from the Arizona Trail Association may want to get out there and put up some signs. There were none for the first few miles. Thankfully we had Nicks GPS plus I had some good detailed print outs. Otherwise there would have been no way to know where we were going and where to turn.

The last part of 26 from Oak Spring to the Pine Trailhead is really nice and was the best part of the passage.

It's always fun hiking with the Frickinator! Good times and great slurpees on the way home!
Fauna
Fauna
Cow Wild horse
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Jun 21 2012
fricknaley
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44 male
 Joined Jun 20 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 21 2012
fricknaley
Hiking23.10 Miles 4,343 AEG
Hiking23.10 Miles
4,343 ft AEG
 
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JuanJaimeiii
after a fun night at the LF Ranch we set off early to try and avoid the heat on what i knew was going to be a rough day temperature wise.

immediately crossed the Verde which was so cool...just stood in the middle of it for a few...then continued on our way. a lot of ascending on this segment combined with the heat really slowed me down. i still enjoyed this segment more than i thought i would.

by the time we hit hardscrabble i was feeling it. miles of unrelenting heat and sun exposure combined with the rocky trail had me in serious zombie mode. by the time we ended the first big descent i full on bonked. my legs just quit and i was overheated. first time i've ever experienced that little treat. jj found oak spring for me, which was about 1 minute away, so i soaked my shirt and dunked my head. though i was cashed, this did perk me up and i was able to rally from this point on to bring the hike home, albeit in wobbly fashion. thankfully from my bonk point to the end was the nicest stretch of this segment so that helped too.

the drive home was filled with as many cherry slurpees as i could find between payson and oro valley :y:

thanks john for a memorable adventure on the azt. can't wait for more :)

608.27 miles done and 33 segments. 10 to go
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May 12 2012
topohiker
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male
 Joined Oct 29 2005
 Scottsdale, AZ
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 12 2012
topohiker
Hiking34.32 Miles 4,952 AEG
Hiking34.32 Miles   12 Hrs      3.29 mph
4,952 ft AEG   1 Hour   35 Mns Break
 
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It's been a while since I've done the Saddle Ridge trail so I headed out to the Doll Baby TH. The East Verde River was not flowing that much. The Polk spring was producing quite a bit of water. The XXX and the Saddle Ridge spring were producing water.

I knew there were a lot of rocks on this trail, but I had forgotten there were that THIS many rock! There a couple of sections where there's so many rocks, there's no trail. At least there are cairns every 20 ~ 50 feet.

Every so often I would turn around and see a white cloud hanging over the mountains to the south.

When I got to the Twin Buttes TH, there were three backpackers taking a break. We talked for a bit. The backpackers were from the Bay Area doing the AZ trail. They started at the Mexico border three weeks prior. They quizzed me on water conditions.

I roamed around on the Hard Scrabble mesa till 3. I waited until then so the trip back wouldn't be so hot. Now I could see that the white cloud was actually the smoke from the Sunflower fire. About 5 PM the white cloud was gone. It was warm dropping down, but as the sun went behind the mountains, the temps cooled off really nice. I only was in the dark for the last 1/2 mile.

On the drive back home I saw the Sunflower fire. At first all I saw was one upper section of FR201 burning. As I got to the MNT. Ord / Sycamore exit I could see the hill side burning. It was a very sad thing to see.
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Sep 18 2010
Tortoise_Hiker
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58 male
 Joined Apr 02 2005
 Mesa, AZ
Whiterock Mesa - AZT #25Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 18 2010
Tortoise_Hiker
Hiking15.80 Miles 3,700 AEG
Hiking15.80 Miles   6 Hrs   50 Mns   2.31 mph
3,700 ft AEG
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joebartels
The_Eagle
Another section of the AZT. We took three cars to set up the shuttle this time. We got to the South parking area and started our four mile hike to the trailhead around 5:00am. I think we woke up the roosters and a couple dogs at the ranch by the trailhead. It must have been Bruce's use of his "Elk Call". I'm told the Baby Doll(now Doll Baby) Ranch was named after Caroline "Carrie Bee" McDonald who only lived 2 days and was burried on the Ranch in 1902.
We started off crossing the East Verde( very shallow) and taking our group photo. The first section has a lot of Prickly Pear cactus and Juniper.The trail was not much of a trail in a lot of spots. The gps's and Carins kept us on trail. The ground has a lot of deep cattle footprints. Some nice views but uneventful until the halfway mark when we got to Whiterock Springs. Cool spring and within a half mile of that, Joe introduced us to a Rattlesnake sunning on trail. :o . The next section had some weird rocks for quite aways. It seemed like a boneyard?. After that, good ol catsclaw!! Ouch and I had pants on. Once you make it through there it's on to some Pines and Juniper than just Juniper and the rock fields. I think this is the rockiest area I've seen so far on the AZT. Some more nice views and some yellow flowered brush and back to the car. We stopped in Pine at HB's Place for lunch. Mmm, pretty good chili burger. Thanks for lunch Dave. From there back to Payson to drop Dave off at his car so he could get home in time for work while Joe,Bruce and I could go fetch our other car. Setting up the shuttles can be part of the adventure and it's nice that everyone is understanding and easygoing to make it work. On the way back we got stuck behind a parade on Mainstreet and had to detour :) Another great adventure on the AZT. Thanks to Joe,Dave and Bruce for making these possible and quite the adventures! :D
Culture
Culture
Spring Box
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Tortoise Hiking. Stop and smell the Petrichor.
average hiking speed 2.18 mph
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