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Davey Gowan Trail #48 - 1 member in 4 triplogs has rated this an average 2 ( 1 to 5 best )
4 triplogs
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4 Triplogs
Sep 06 2018

 Guides 3
 Routes 194
 Photos 3,411
 Triplogs 515

 Joined Jan 24 2016
Davey Gowan Trail #48Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 06 2018
Hiking5.50 Miles 1,837 AEG
Hiking5.50 Miles   4 Hrs   29 Mns   1.31 mph
1,837 ft AEG      18 Mns Break30 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I've always been well aware of Peeley but for some reason never made the visit to the area and @kelly14 recent trip with the Davey Gowan Loop provoked me to finally head out here.
Road is in great condition, just a little tight for a full size pickup but certainly a fun and scenic drive.

HAZ trailhead forecast said sunny as well as NOAA but sure enough 15 minutes into my hike a little cell produced some sprinkling rain right above me for a little while until soon dispersing and the atmosphere turned back into the high 80’s and sunny that was projected.

I dipped into South Fork because it looked appealing, got tired of deadfall and the bounced up and over back on to the Gowan Trail.
The Gowan Trail as mentioned by others has been taken back by nature in some parts but there is still plenty of tread, faded pink ribbons and other old cairns to be found.

I knew I wasn’t going to complete the full loop so I proceeded to head off trail especially when two coues bucks caught my attention with one of them being an absolute stud!

I eventually made it back up to the road and I walked past my truck to check out Maple Spring since the hike felt a little short which ended up being the highlight of the day.

I walked by the spring to a viewpoint just passed it and upon my return no more than ten minutes later heard heavy breathing and splashing in the spring.
Sure enough it was a bear, not a cub but young lone bear who I got to watch through the thicket until I tried to move closer upon which he finally noticed me and rocketed down the hillside.

Great day exploring a new area to me that I already know will find myself wandering around a lot more.
Hunting Blind
Named place
Named place
Maple Spring
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
1 archive
May 20 2017

 Guides 31
 Routes 74
 Photos 1,147
 Triplogs 152

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Pigeon Spring Dripping Dripping
Small pools below spring, trough was maybe 1/2 full of pea soup.
Nov 01 2010

 Guides 47
 Routes 486
 Photos 8,946
 Triplogs 550

76 male
 Joined Dec 28 2006
 Scottsdale, AZ
Davey Gowan LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 01 2010
Hiking5.80 Miles 1,613 AEG
Hiking5.80 Miles   8 Hrs   35 Mns   0.68 mph
1,613 ft AEG
Partners partners
Since the devastating August'04 "Willow Fire" in our Mazatzal Wilderness much has changed to date with this once easy to follow and enjoyable loop hike. Especially changed is the 2 mile Davey Gowan TR48 connection between its TH Start at FR201 and ending at its intersection with Deer Creek TR45 (at the Gowan Camp area). Having had no obvious trail maintenance since the fire, the significant dead tree downfall, major trail overgrowth, and trail washouts have pretty much taken over.

GPSjoe (in Oct'03) and Preston Sands (in June'06) are the only two HAZ members I know who have posted against this loop hike and successfully completed it "on trail". After this "Willow Fire", in May'09 I made an unsuccessful and very frustrating attempt to "on trail" hike this loop. The Deer Creek TR45 section of this loop was a challenge but doable, the Davey Gowan TR48 section of this loop was just not possible. Ever since my May'09 unsuccessful attempt, I've had this burning desire to return to correctly route find this original trail segment and mark it before it completely returns to our Mother Nature.

TODAY WAS THE DAY! Joined by GPSjoe and his excellent route finding abilities, loaded with his previous and correct Oct'03 GPS Track for the Davey Gowan TR48 segment, and with my determination to "let's get it done", I knew all we needed was enough daylight to correctly find and survey tape this illusive trail section. I'm now very happy :D to report that for any advanced hikers that would now like to attempt this Davey Gowan Loop hike, that TR48 segment is now completely tape marked and doable. Also, no guarantees how much longer it will ~safely be hike-able due to continuing tree downfall, overgrowth, trail drainage washouts, and erosion, but if this kind of hiking challenge is for you, then do plan to give it a try soon. Also, I suggest you don't wear light colored hiking clothes.. ;) Also, for your reference and use I have posted what I consider the recommended default (98% on trail for TR48 and 100% on trail for TR45) GPS Route for this entire loop hike. Also, my posted and geocoded pic set with detailed captions for this 11/1/10 trip tells the visual story of what you should now expect along this hiking route loop.

Ref: Recommended Default GPS Route with all "key" way points included:
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Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
(Outside.. "there is No Place Like It!!")
Sep 04 1999

 Routes 34
 Photos 2,403
 Triplogs 1,162

64 male
 Joined Jul 28 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Davey Gowan LoopPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 04 1999
Hiking4.30 Miles 1,400 AEG
Hiking4.30 Miles   3 Hrs   15 Mns   1.66 mph
1,400 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Nice little loop back then... Not so nice now - burned, eroded and overgrown. :(
average hiking speed 1.22 mph

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

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