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Red Hills - AZT #24 - 13 members in 44 triplogs have rated this an average 3.6 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Oct 12 2019
toddak
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 5
 Photos 1,071
 Triplogs 399

54 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 12 2019
toddak
Hiking25.50 Miles 5,000 AEG
Hiking25.50 Miles   12 Hrs      2.13 mph
5,000 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Back in the Mazzies again for AZT-in-a-day, Sections 48-49 from The Park to the East Verde. Suggested approach was via Mineral Creek TH and North Peak trail, but that road and trail aren't the most pleasant. So I started at City Creek TH > up to the AZT > south to The Park > back north to the river and out to Doll Baby. Some extra hiking miles, but I don't mind. The only water I saw was isolated pools in the forested canyon along the south end of the passage.
_____________________
1 archive
Jul 29 2019
Sredfield
avatar

 Guides 3
 Routes 26
 Photos 1,414
 Triplogs 416

male
 Joined Sep 08 2002
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Volunteer avatar Jul 29 2019
Sredfield
Volunteer
Volunteer
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
scatdaddy
Miscellaneous AZT chores today, including two signs, one at the LF Ranch and one at General Springs. A bit toasty as we left LF, 102 on the T thermometer. Yes, we drove in and were indeed Wilderness "legal" as guests of the LF Ranch. Not sure if I'd rather drive that road or walk it.
_____________________
Shawn
The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.
May 07 2019
tibber
avatar

 Guides 21
 Routes 576
 Photos 25,752
 Triplogs 845

64 female
 Joined Feb 26 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 07 2019
tibber
Hiking9.60 Miles 1,674 AEG
Hiking9.60 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.72 mph
1,674 ft AEG      55 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
desertgirl
Paintninaz
Sredfield
The last day would be a long day in spite of it being a short day. My blisters were going to cause me grief and they did; especially the last miles but nonetheless, we got 'er done. And now for the climb out of this drainage; got you warmed up really fast, but it wasn't long and the trail was decent enough. We contoured our way in the manzanita cleared pathway to where we would see what looked like an old road. I thot we would be turning right (east) but no, this is the Arizona Trail as you have to travel in the opposite direction for several miles before going in the right direction toward the Trailhead :lol: .

There was lots more flora here, some new, some still smelly, the verbena that reminded me of a gardenia smell. I'm not a fan of gardenia smell. As we got to the junction where you turn the wrong way, we could see rays of sunshine in the eastern distance hitting the landscape; always a cool site. And now we continued going up the side of this mountain until we hit fir trees for a bit which was a nice surprise. As we topped out in this section and started heading back down the other side, the rain started slowly. However, as we made more progress switch-backing our way down this side, the 20% chance of rain increased significantly.

Tracy and Shawn had pulled over into an area with a couple very small trees and were huddled under a piece of plastic trying to shelter ourselves from the 100% rain. I had my umbrella up already but decided I needed to get my rain jacket out. Shawn thot that would be a good idea and then the rain would quit. Well guess what, it did start to let up fairly quickly after I had put my jacket on.

So off we went and we would soon all be taking off our rain gear. There was some more pretty flora and you could look up at the rock cliff bands above you as well as see all the rain in the distance. It seemed to linger out there which, of course, was better than lingering here. The trail would go up and down quite a few times but it was good trail so that was nice. The flora continued including some cold poppies which were a surprise to see in this elevation. We got to the Bull Spring Trail Junction and would now be hiking on that trail (Bull Spring Mesa was above us - behind us to the west) alongside Bull Spring Canyon with its ridge to our ESE.

Eventually we would finally head east more or less for the rest of the hike. We took a break here and then headed on down the trail thru some of the area that looked like it had experienced some burn. Back a ways I had noted this red rock area and wondered if we would have to go up that...but of course. So we still had to go up and down hills and thru a nicely treed area before one last rockier than heck hill to the TH. What a relief to get here. Shawn and Tracy put on some big smiles so I could get a couple photos of them as we celebrated the "DONE" factor :app: .

We still had the 3 1/2 mile road walk with its hills too. Shawn thot it was supposed to be fairly flat but it really wasn't except for the first and last 1/2 miles. We did enjoy the views along the way and the vistas but it wasn't easy plus it was a little warmer now with the humidity in the air. We found some more flora as well so that was a nice distraction from the mission to get to the car.

[ youtube video ]
[ youtube video ]

I think I got these nearly 40 miles of passages pretty well Tibberfied; I would say Tibbernated but I feel the Mazzies got the best of me. It was hard to shoot much video due to the terrain; altho for those of you that make it thru my videos you are probably eternally grateful. I don't think I would do this trek again or if I had known. I'm just past that stage I'm afraid. I'm grateful for the AZT Section Crew plugging along without nearly the whining I engage in which you can hear on the video commentary from time to time.
Kudos to those that zip thru this stuff; I do envy you. But can you twirl a baton :lol: "?

PS the geocoding and time of photos is not right. I think the photos are off by 12 hours.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
so many wildflowers. I had lots more photos. Surprise was the California poppies, even though they were closed.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Brush Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
the area behind the campground has plenty of water and the drainage had water almost the whole way.
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
1 archive
May 07 2019
desertgirl
avatar

 Guides 20
 Routes 1
 Photos 3,098
 Triplogs 430

female
 Joined Mar 31 2002
 Chandler, AZ
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 07 2019
desertgirl
Hiking9.60 Miles 1,674 AEG
Hiking9.60 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.72 mph
1,674 ft AEG      55 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
Paintninaz
Sredfield
tibber
_____________________
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
Mar 24 2018
Mudhole
avatar

 Routes 27
 Photos 1,661
 Triplogs 20

45 male
 Joined Apr 05 2013
 Peoria, AZ
City Creek and AZT Passage 24, AZ 
City Creek and AZT Passage 24, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Mar 24 2018
Mudhole
Backpack21.88 Miles 5,130 AEG
Backpack21.88 Miles   11 Hrs   57 Mns   2.20 mph
5,130 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I decided at the last minute on Friday to spend the weekend tackling AZ Trail #24 (Red Hills) as a loop starting from City Creek TH west of Payson and making my way back to City Creek. I planned to camp at the Verde just below LF Ranch, making Saturday about a 15.5 mile trek. I told myself if I could get to the Verde by 4:00pm, I'd just finish the whole thing in the same day.

I got to the City Creek trailhead right at 6:30am on Saturday with my fastpack overnight kit and headed up the trail. With a brisk 3000' elevation gain in the first 5.5 miles to get to the junction and start of the Red Hills passage, I was feeling good and taking tons of pictures along the climb. This loop starts at 3,450' and tops off at 6100', following a ridgeline with a saddle and second high point before a knee-crushing descent down towards LF Ranch by the East Verde River. A 36 degree start quickly turned into a gorgeous 60 degree day and I shed layers quickly thanks to the climb.

I was watching my timing, seeing if it was possible to stay on pace and finish the loop the same day. I was cutting it close because I couldn't stop shooting some fantastic landscape shots. I was testing out a new camera so of course I was fidgeting with settings and also getting used to a new polarization filter. After a lunchbreak at Brush Spring (great camp area, btw), I knew I was pushing my 4pm deadline for getting to the Verde so I minimized my photo time and got moving.

Making great time on the downhill section to LF, I got to the Verde at exactly 3:59pm. One minute ahead of plan :D So, a quick water fill at the Verde to get me through the last ~6 miles and I was back on the trail. Those last few miles, while racing the sunset, were punishing on the knees. Typical PODs beat up my joints and I could feel my right IT band screaming at me. I got to my truck right as the sun was setting and headed into Payson for a 5 Guys celebration meal. Another AZT passage in the books.

Besides the always-flowing Verde River, the only other trailside water I encountered was right at the 1 mile mark past the start of the Red Hills passage southern terminus. A beautiful Ponderosa-filled drainage with cool and clear pools of standing water over about a 1/4 mile area.

22.4 miles with 5597' of elevation gain is by far my new PR for a single-day hike. Not bad for an old fat guy.
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Selfie
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
No wildflowers yet, but the manzanitas were plump and were just starting to bud.

dry Brush Spring Dry Dry
No visible water, but I didn't venture down the drainage to the actual coordinates. Already had water from the seeps about 2 miles south of here.

dry SE 5395 Spring Dry Dry
No visible water anywhere
_____________________
"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clean away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." - John Muir
1 archive
Feb 04 2018
alexofaz
avatar

 Routes 10
 Photos 11
 Triplogs 39

male
 Joined Jul 10 2011
 Peoria, Az
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Feb 04 2018
alexofaz
Backpack10.90 Miles 2,669 AEG
Backpack10.90 Miles1 Day         
2,669 ft AEG30 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We combined 23 & 24 to simplify the logistic. These were a couple of the AzTrails more brutal passages with an unusual abundance of water from a recent storm with winter temps creating an inviting playground to practice your ups. You'd cross one mountain, squint across to the meanest hill in front of you and make out a trail you knew you were climbing in an hour. This track was a confidence builder, but choose your season carefully because I doubt many others enjoyed these tough passages as much as us. Another great trip with the Punished.
_____________________
Feb 03 2018
corwinwilkins
avatar

 Routes 9
 Triplogs 36

49 male
 Joined Jul 30 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Feb 03 2018
corwinwilkins
Backpack10.90 Miles 2,669 AEG
Backpack10.90 Miles1 Day         
2,669 ft AEG35 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Done with AZT 24 for shuttling purposes. Camped at Mt Peeley TH on Thursday started hiking Friday Morning. Plan was to knock out 15 miles first day, 15 second and final 10 on Sunday. Extra mileage factored in due to distance to shuttle parking.

The first 8 miles in pretty much uphill, quite the bear as once we got above 6k elevation every North facing slope was still covered in snow. So a fair bit of post-holing and wet feet. The recent storm had pretty much ever seasonal water source going, so that lift our spirits. Camped at Chilson Camp.

Day two I made everyone get up early so we could be on trail at first light. Hiked to Horse Camps Seep for watering up and morning break. Excellent site, tons of water. We cameled up hard before leaving and took ~6 liters each when leaving since once we dropped lower in elevation the likelihood of water shortened. Maybe a bad call as we found two more good sources along the way, but better safe than sorry on water in the desert. Plus, training weight! Camped at Brush Springs Campsite (spring was dry)

Day 3 hiked out the 6 miles to the LF Ranch road, took a break, and decided we didn't need to visit the river for water and tromped the 4 more miles back to Doll Baby Road for our vehicle.

Over all a very pretty and challenging hike. I worry about thru hikers in this range if we don't get more water in the spring. Going to be ugly and there's no easy way to portage out some water caches for them. It was a big topic among us all during the trip.

dry Brush Spring Dry Dry

dry Bullfrog Spring Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max SE 5395 Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Probably from recent storm
_____________________
Dec 29 2017
jacobemerick
avatar

 Guides 31
 Routes 71
 Photos 795
 Triplogs 96

34 male
 Joined Dec 09 2014
 Gilbert, AZ
Fuller Seep Loop, AZ 
Fuller Seep Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 29 2017
jacobemerick
Hiking30.74 Miles 7,366 AEG
Hiking30.74 Miles   16 Hrs   43 Mns   2.18 mph
7,366 ft AEG   2 Hrs   35 Mns Break35 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
This was supposed to be a three day backpack, sort of a reverse Midnight Mesa Loop, but the lack of water out there forced me to turn around early. So I guess it turned into sort of training dayhike?

Mazatzal Divide #23
Car camped at City Creek Trailhead to the hum of Doll Baby Ranch. It was teeth-chatteringly cold out when I started at 5:30, definitely below freezing, and I didn't stop shivering until I was two miles up the trail and I got away from the lowlands. Trail is in great shape, as expected. The grade is constant and easy to maintain a decent pace going either up or down hill, although my uphill rate was annoyingly slow thanks to my pack weight.

Red Hills #262
The first two miles were breathtaking (literally, the temp must have dropped twenty a short distance into valley). This spared forest is beautiful and beats The Park hands down. Trail conditions continued to be great even after leaving the AZT on the far side, where footprints faded and horse tracks took over. Another stand of mostly-untouched pines lurk right before the drop off. Speaking of, that drop is ridiculously steep and I didn't look forward to climbing back out at all. Path was easy to follow all the way to the old corral and there was barely anything trickling through Fuller Seep. Took a quick break here to filter water and eat an early lunch.

Getting slightly worried about water conditions I pushed onwards, enjoying the easy trail to Midnight junction (which seemed to be in great shape from here) and beyond. 500 yards further west (at the saddle) is where things started to get dicey, and it did so slowly. First it got overgrown with some deadfall, though the tread and cairns were still easy to pick out. Then it got more dicey. A thousand yards to Wet Bottom Creek, while dancing along the ridge, is when elk tracks and two sets of cairns all diverged. Eventually I found a way down and found the anticipated majestic pool of awesome all but dried up.

This was the breaking straw. If this was dry, I figured there was no way that the branch of Sycamore Creek along my route or Dutchman Grave would have water, so I probably wouldn't see water again until Mountain Spring. That was too far out of my comfort zone, especially as my planned camping (and cramping) site was near Sycamore. Drank some water and turned around, slowly hauling my way back to Fuller Seep for an afternoon snack. Climbing up the overgrown hillside was no fun, and then climbing up the steep drop on the way back to Brush junction even less so.

Brush #249
First mile was beautiful and gave me a few good views north, then the second mile got a bit steep and rocky and I had to slow down. Bumped into two AZT section hikers near Brush Spring (there are other people who hike in the Mazzies?!?) and had a quick chat before starting those little climbs out. Sun fell while we were chatting so I only had a third of my loop to do after sunset, he he. Managed to reach the saddle between 5556' and 5610' before I finally gave in and pulled out my headlamp and sweater. Then it was some steep switchbacks in the moonlight until the next junction. All in all this trail was easy to follow, had some good views, and with the exception of that one steep rocky section during the first half, downright enjoyable.

Bull Spring #34
Had braced myself for a tough downhill on this trail and was pleasantly surprised to find it sandy, gradual, and easy on the knees. The views seemed good too, from what I could make out in the moonlight. At this point I was starting to get a bit heads-down so I'll have to hit this section again (heard the LF Hilton takes walk-ins). Last mile got a bit rocky and hard to track by headlamp, especially the little hop over Copper Mountain.

Doll Baby Road
Did not like. Those rocky sections were worse than anything on the last two trails, and the repeated little climbs after so many miles was just mean. Had to keep my headlamp on to help with navigating all the rocks and only turned it off once I hit Doll Baby trailhead. Speaking of, the road between City Creek and Doll Baby was impeccable compared to City Creek and the pavement - if you're willing to drive your vehicle of choice to the humble City Creek trailhead, the extra mile to the much more established Doll Baby is nothing.

Mazatzal Miles: 196/275 (71%)
Named place
Named place
Fuller Seep

dry Brush Spring Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Fuller Seep Dripping Dripping
Several small pools of clear water w/ some green stuff on bottom, easy to filter from, barely dripping from pool to pool before sucked back into the ground.

dry SE 5395 Spring Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Wet Bottom Creek - Red Hills #262 Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Two tiny, stagnant pools above the trail crossing, barely worth mentioning.
_____________________
Nov 12 2017
ultrazona
avatar

 Routes 1
 Photos 613
 Triplogs 153

32 male
 Joined Mar 07 2009
 Phoenix, AZ
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Nov 12 2017
ultrazona
Backpack10.90 Miles 2,669 AEG
Backpack10.90 Miles1 Day         
2,669 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Check off list. Minimal water found except for Brush Springs which had large pools downstream from camp. Also in the area was a buried hunter cache with outdated mountain house, spices, coffee and canned goods. Just in case someone is caught out there in a pickle.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Brush Spring Dripping Dripping
Large and deep pools located on side trail downstream from camp.
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1 archive
Oct 27 2017
toddak
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 Guides 8
 Routes 5
 Photos 1,071
 Triplogs 399

54 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 27 2017
toddak
Hiking21.00 Miles 4,500 AEG
Hiking21.00 Miles   10 Hrs      2.10 mph
4,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
From City Creek: up MDT23, NOBO on AZT24, road walk back to start. Didn't see any water other than the East Verde.
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May 17 2017
screeslider526
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 Triplogs 49

67 female
 Joined Jun 24 2015
 Tucson, AZ
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 17 2017
screeslider5267
Hiking10.90 Miles 2,669 AEG
Hiking10.90 Miles
2,669 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Three days to do half of Passage 23 and then 24 NOBO. We had to do 6 miles of the Barnhardt Trail to even get to the AZT. Camped 2 nights, one at Horse Camp Seep, filtering out of a puddle, but it was actually fine. Then at Brush Spring. We knew it would be dry, so we tried to carry enough water from Horse Camp Seep, but it sure was heavy and it was so hot, I got a bit of anxiety about what I had left which had to take me to the Verde River. But, I've gotta tell you that no water ever tasted as good as what came out of that river as we sat under the shade along the banks. Then, a grueling 4 mile uphill hike along an unshaded double track at high noon -- not my best plan ever. We actually took several lying down breaks in the minimal shade we could find from bushes, just trying to wait out the the worst of the sun.
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Apr 16 2017
ttretta
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 Photos 55
 Triplogs 28

54 female
 Joined Jul 28 2015
 Gilbert, AZ
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 16 2017
ttretta
Backpack14.30 Miles
Backpack14.30 Miles1 Day         
35 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was the final, 3rd section of my trip, and was GORGEOUS. The trail was meticulously marked and maintained. I didn't realize until I got home that the crew had just been there the two days before, and wow, did they do a great job. Actually did the first 4.5 miles the day before, as I finished section 23. Set up camp at Brush Springs that night, and there were many gorgeous sites to choose from. The spring was full and flowing. Shared camp with a rattle snake, but that was the only venomous snake I saw. I was initially dreading the long downhill on this hike, but it was designed so well that it didn't kill my legs on the descent. I think the worst part of this section for me, (as well as section 25, since I'm section hiking) is the road from hell, aka the Doll Baby Ranch Road to the trail head.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Brush Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Full and flowing

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Bullfrog Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Flowing across the road
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Apr 14 2017
pjhikes
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 Photos 171
 Triplogs 19

63 female
 Joined Jan 12 2015
 Prescott Valley,
Mazatzal Divide - AZT #23Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 14 2017
pjhikes
Backpack31.00 Miles 6,050 AEG
Backpack31.00 Miles3 Days         
6,050 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
The Mazatzal passages have been ones that I have been dreading since we started our section hiking over two years ago because I had heard that it is overgrown and hard to navigate - so first of all just let me say a big THANKS to all the volunteers that have obviously been working to clear the trails :app: It really is in great shape (except for all the ankle twisting rocks, but I have learned that is just what you have to expect on the AZT - not much to be done there).

That said, these three days were some of the hardest trail miles I have done to date. It may be because we did back to back long weekends (Four Peaks and Pine Mountain were last weekend) and my body hadn't recovered yet? Who knows, but when we finally got to LF Ranch and started the long hike out to a car we left at Doll Baby TH I just wanted to sit down and cry. And we still had to make the scary drive back up to Mount Peeley to get my car and then make it back off that road to drive back to Prescott. Got home and told my hubby that I was going to take a shower, then a bath, then a shot of whiskey, then I'd hug him and tell him all about the trip (in that order - and since I kind of smelled he was willing to wait).

But I digress - so day one was from Peeley to just past Barnhart Trail TJ where we found a lovely campsite. We did stop at Bear Spring to filter some water (plenty there, and the bees were kind enough to share). We had leapfrogged another section hiker (Terry) that morning, and ran into her again at Bear Spring. But then she left us in her dust and we never saw her again. One thru hiker came past as we were setting up our tents. He was trying to get to Pine in two days (wow). Saw no one else all day.

Day two was a struggle. It started with rolling an ankle and going down hard on my knees and hands. Fortunately it was not on the otherwise narrow trail that hugs the side of the mountain with a drop off on one side :scared: It's always on the flatter, "easier" trail sections where I feel confident about actually lifting my head for a moment to look around - but the trail has to teach me a lesson and throws a rock right under the side of my foot causing the ankle to roll and make me collapse. Sigh. So, with a sore ankle and roughed up knees, I carefully picked my way as we made our way into passage 24 (after a lunch stop at The Park). Our initial plan was to get to Brush Springs, but it was such slow going that we only made it about a mile into the passage where we camped in the pines near some pools and seeps (where we again filtered water). There was water in many of the creeks and pools along the trail, so I did not check out the other water sources this time. We heard what we think was a fox screeching after it got dark. But then it got very quiet, and colder than I thought it would be since the day was quite warm.

Day three was another slow day with lots of rocks and ups and downs - with that last downhill to LF Ranch and the long hike out to the TH. But again, the trail in Passage 24 was also in great shape - thanks to all who made it so much better than I had planned for.

This brings our total miles done to 652. Getting there.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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Nov 27 2016
sandyfortner
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 Photos 888
 Triplogs 61

63 female
 Joined Mar 16 2009
 apache junction,
Red Hills - AZT #24Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Nov 27 2016
sandyfortner
Backpack14.30 Miles
Backpack14.30 Miles
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
scatdaddy
Did this section along with Mazatzal Divide as a 3+ day backpack. Had camped at The Park Saturday night where we were protected from the wind but did have rain/slush during the night. Yet, when we arose, there was nothing falling from the sky. By breakfast break-time we were looking at blue skies and sunshine! Beautiful stretch of trail along the creek/drainage and stunning views when we topped out at the saddle! At one point we were able to see San Francisco Peaks, but unlike the previous day, we couldn't see the snow on them now because the clouds were moving back in with a vengeance. The area around Brush Springs has a lot of downfall and that slowed us up - both from clamoring over / around /under it and documenting. Several stretches in the Red Hills also need tread work, which kept my full attention as I am not a fan of walking on steep slopes with little tread! :scared: We just took at short lunch break because the weather was really starting to look threatening AND we knew we had dry beds and warm meals at the LF Ranch waiting for us!! :y: Arrived at LF about an hour before the sky opened up. Shawn, AKA Greyhound, met us and got us settled into the bunkhouse. We met the dogs, wandered around and took pics of the peacocks, chickens, livestock, etc. Supper was YUMMY and filling. It was so nice to sit in a dry room with steaming hot food, knowing we had beat the rain and snow. Monday morning was cloudy but the rain had stopped. Maryann fed us a wonderful breakfast. We visited for a bit and Shawn showed us an alternative route to Doll Baby. Just as we arrived at the TH it began to sprinkle. Soon we could see the mountains and EVERYTHING we had hiked was blanketed with snow! WOW! So glad to be out before that hit. There are portions of that tread that I would not have wanted to do with snow or even rain making the slope slippery.
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Autumn Foliage Observation Light
Still color in the sycamores as you get closer to the East Verde.
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:M2C: Goldilocks
May 11 2016
markthurman53
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 Guides 83
 Routes 488
 Photos 5,777
 Triplogs 405

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
AZT #24 City Creek to Doll Baby Ranch, AZ 
AZT #24 City Creek to Doll Baby Ranch, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 11 2016
markthurman53
Hiking22.10 Miles 4,975 AEG
Hiking22.10 Miles   11 Hrs   21 Mns   2.36 mph
4,975 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break20 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
City Creek Trail to Arizona Trail #23 Red Hills to Doll Baby Ranch Trail and return via road to City Creek Trail. At the time of this hike there was no water until east Fork Verde River. Trail is in good condition with the Brush Trail (part of Arizona Trail) being fairly rocky. Did run into a bear along the upper portion of the Red Hills Trail. He didn't hang around long enough for me to get a picture though. Great view all the way north to San Francisco Peaks.
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Apr 09 2016
DallinW
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 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.
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1 archive
Mar 12 2016
friendofThunde
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 Guides 18
 Routes 280
 Photos 7,723
 Triplogs 716

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
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6 archives
Feb 27 2016
friendofThunde
avatar

 Guides 18
 Routes 280
 Photos 7,723
 Triplogs 716

37 male
 Joined Jan 21 2013
 AZ
Red Hills Trail #262 - MazatzalPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Feb 27 2016
friendofThundergod
Backpack16.60 Miles 3,848 AEG
Backpack16.60 Miles
3,848 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners partners
DallinW
I headed to the Mazzys for some trail maintenance this weekend. I wanted to combine a nice little over-nighter at a cool campsite with a solid afternoon of trail work. I chose the Red Hills, as I had been pining to camp in there since my Mazzys thru hike last year. That little stand of pines dotting the main drainage along the first few miles of the Red Hills trail after you leave the Mazatzal Divide is a real nice little area. I PM'd the boss to make sure it was ok and he offered some tools, but it was easier to borrow some from Chumley rather than drive across the valley late afternoon. On a hunch he might be interested I invited DallinW.

Jackie, myself and the dog pack met Dallin at City Creek trailhead sometime just before 8. Dallin finished up some packing and Jackie and I got a head start. It was not long before Dallin caught us. I picked his brain for a few miles about the Colorado Trail and then he was off well I coached Jackie up her biggest climb yet. I think there were ten, "one more switchback" from me. A quick hike from the divide to our nice little campsite. Then it was set up, grab a quick snack and hit the trail. Jackie stayed back to nap and enjoy a book. Dallin and I cleared from camp all the way back to the divide intersection. The section we did was certainly not the worst of the Mazzys, however, it was definitely in need of some TLC in a few areas. Chumley's pruners broke like ten meters from the signed intersection, so Dallin finished up that little area and we headed back to camp.

We rested a little and then continued our work north up trail. Jackie came along this time, but I had lost my zeal after transitioning to the hand clippers and saw. Nevertheless, we cleared another eight tents of a mile. That put the day's total at about 1.8 miles of trail cleared. I was hoping we could have done more, but not having a pair of loppers for our afternoon run, really killed our efficiency and productiveness. But hey if I was thru-hiking that area, I would find much appreciation in hitting a nice little 1.8 mile stretch of pretty good trail.

We had a raging fire most of the night and ate large amounts of food around it. We were in bed relatively early and generally slept well with what I thought was a chilly, but not overly cold night. There was about a half hour interruption in my slumber somewhere around 2 a.m. after Blanco got sprayed by a skunk. Not sure how it all went down, but he got it pretty good in the face. To his credit he did seem to minimize the smell some by rubbing his face in grass for about 20 minutes. But the initial attack was heavy.

We all had to be back to Phoenix relatively early so we broke camp rather early and made the easy hike out. Jackie was not overly thrilled about following skunk dog for most of the day, but she did give us two thumbs up for our trail work. The hike out was naturally fast with the 5.5 mile downhill and great trail. The Mazatzal Divide Trail is in great shape along from the divide to City Creek TH.

Final Notes:

I hope to get out on one of the more formal trail clearing operations in the near future, but it was still nice to contribute a little drop in the bucket. I could not think of a better place to put in an afternoon of work and it was nice to meet Dallin and get some good intel on the CT. The stand of pines proved to be a great campsite and we really enjoyed our surroundings. In the end, it was just nice that everyone came back with the same amount of fingers and tails after my first real trail clearing endeavor.
Named place
Named place
North Peak
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2 archives
Apr 12 2015
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 20,568
 Triplogs 1,922

69 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
East Verde - Doll Baby Ruins Loop, AZ 
East Verde - Doll Baby Ruins Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 12 2015
CannondaleKid
Hiking8.80 Miles 1,749 AEG
Hiking8.80 Miles   5 Hrs   15 Mns   1.76 mph
1,749 ft AEG      15 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
trixiec
Although we enjoyed a nice cool overnight and were well-rested, after the long, tough climb of yesterday I knew Tracey wasn't going to go for another one like it, say, the North Peak Trail (one of the planned possibilities) so it was time to adjust the expectations just a bit.
:bdh:
While we began on a trail (one of her dictates) we were soon boulder-hopping and canyoneering along the East Verde River. One more than one occasion we wondered if this was the end and we'd have to turn back. (Either that or get real wet... not gonna happen!)

And of course, for the nth time, we are HAZ Tracks blind because I had not planned on hiking along the river. Oh well, that's the reason I'll always have a GPS along. Of course we couldn't get lost following the river, but it would be nice to know if we had to bail out and climb we'd have an idea of what route would work best.

But, once we completed what would turn out to be the highest climb up the north wall to avoid a large deep pool, we figured no matter how creative we had to get, we were not turning back. As soon as we encountered massive evidence of bovines we knew the worst was behind us.

Along the flat area toward L F Ranch we stopped at a defunct (well-rusted pump) windmill and a tank, which appeared to be unused in a long time. Tracey took this photo stop as a quick snack stop as well. But as usual, once the photos are done we're on the move... as she was still eating her Fiber One bar.
:whistle:
So... by time she finished her snack, finally having both hands free, she realized her hiking pole was back at the windmill. Ok so it wasn't more than a few hundred yards, but it wasn't something she had in mind either.
:-({|=
Now it was time to find our way across the river one last time and head toward the L F Ranch. Before reaching the ranch we came across a couple large cairns, and what-do-you-know, it was part of AZT #24. Since we had spent way more time than expected on the hike along the East Verde River, we decided to skip the ranch and start heading south. We did just that until we heard the calls of various birds, including a hawk circling above us. But the more I listened I knew there had to be peacocks somewhere nearby. And since I'm so easily distracted, what's another distraction? So I headed straight toward the sound, and was rewarded by a quick photo op.
8)
Ok, time to get moving! We continued along AZT #24 just until it veered away from FR 406W, where we continued along the road. Next up, the Doll Baby ruins site on Peak 4104. But rather than continue along the road to the well-beaten trail up to the top, we decided to take a more direct approach, at least from where we were on FR 406W when we spotted a tall cairn marking a long-lost road. By seeking out the various game trails we found a reasonable trail up toward the summit. When we came to the first large flat ledge with a view over FR 406W and toward the East Verde River we sat down for lunch.

Lunch over and within a few hundred yards of the ruin site we quickened our pace. It turned out to be just like the photos from Hank and Larry's photosets of late last year, one of the largest ruins we'd encountered. While exploring the site, we encountered a couple older women and two poodles, no less. They told us they found five metates a short distance below toward the north. Since we already planned on continuing northward along the edge of the bluff, why not seek them out.

We were expecting five individual metates, so were a bit surprised by one large boulder with four metates ground into it, and the fifth metate on another boulder nearby. As I wandered around them I found a small alcove which being so close to the metates we thought may well have been used as a grain storehouse. It was fun to speculate, but who knows?

Ok, so now we're thinking about the second ruin Hank and Larry had been interested in. We continued along the bluffs until we found a drainage that looked easy enough, scanned for and found a few game trails and cow-paths and proceeded to thrash through the brush to the bottom of the drainage, where we quickly decided to skip ruins #2 and head back to the trailhead. On the last leg along FR 406W we scanned the slopes around the second ruin site and believe we have a good plan of attack for the next time we are up this way.

East Verde River/Doll Baby Ridge panorama composite
(Sorry, the video features just a few glimpses of the actual ruin site... I put off the ruin site video while the two poodles were running loose and totally spaced-it... such is life when the mind wanders so.)
Named place
Named place
Copper Mountain East Verde River
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CannondaleKid
1 archive
average hiking speed 2.02 mph
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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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