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Tag: Mazatzal Wilderness (page 1 of 2)

Sunday Hike – Deer Creek

Marilyn and I hiked about eight miles on the Deer Creek Trail (four out and four back).

I noticed a prickly pear cactus with a lot of really ripe fruit. As I looked closer, I noticed a rather messy spider web covering a lot of the plant. Looking closer still, I noticed a spider with what I guess is an egg sack on the bottom of one of the fruit. It wasn’t until I got home and started processing the image that I noticed what an unusual looking spider it is.

I think that this is the South Fork of Deer Creek.

At this point we had crossed over the creek / wash feeding into Deer Creek and were hiking along the fence line.

In this spot, I noticed some agave stalks on the hill.

Looking into Deer Creek and one of the mountain behind.

I thought at first that these were fruit on this scrub oak, but have since learned that they are oak galls which are sometimes called oak apples.  They are growths which are caused by the secretions of gall wasp larvae. In any case, the one in front was slightly larger than a golf ball.

These berries were smaller and a lot more abundant. I think that these are actual fruit instead of galls.

Marilyn, approaching an overhanging branch…

Another view of Deer Creek. We didn’t see any water in the creek.

This is Davey Gowan’s gravesite. Gowan was a Scottish immigrant and pioneer who discovered Tonto Natural Bridge while hiding from Apache. From the accounts that I read of him, he was buried very close to where he died while traveling from a cabin that he had in this area.

A picture of Gowan’s headstone:

After proceeding on from Gowan’s gravesite, we started out seeing one peak in the distance, the steep terrain eventually block our view of that peak, …

…revealing a different peak instead.

Eventually our views of that peak disappeared too; here’s another look at it just before I lost sight of it too.

At about four miles in, I came across the Mazatzal Wilderness sign.

And, only a short way beyond the sign, I encountered a large gully, water flow through which had washed away the trail.  I think that the trail continues in the slight gap in vegetation at the left of this photo, but am not certain as I saw a similar gap somewhat lower down to the right (which is not in this photo). Marilyn had stopped to wait for me about half a mile back, so I decided that this would be a good spot to turn around.

A view of one of the smaller washes I crossed on the way back to where Marilyn was waiting:

I didn’t notice the insects on this flower until I chimped the photo to make sure that I has the flower in focus.

We encountered these yellow flowers a short ways later.

Neither Marilyn nor I recalled seeing this gate before. If it was there on past hikes, we either didn’t go far enough or we’ve just don’t remember it.

This is the south fork of Deer Creek, just before it feeds into the main branch of Deer Creek.

North Peak Trail – Mazatzals

On Sunday, I hiked the North Peak Trail with a visit to the North Peak in the Mazatzals.  Hike distance was nearly 11 miles with around 4,000 feet of total ascent.

Bob and Mike, who accompanied me for part of the hike, can be see in this photo.

I think this is Manzanita fruit:

This was a photo from the summit. If you look closely, you’ll see a lot of flying ladybugs. I didn’t spend much time at the summit because I was in a hurry to start back down.

This is a close-up of the flowers from the above photo.

Not too far away from the cacti with the flowers, I found this marker.  I was hoping that it would state the elevation, but I don’t see it on this marker.  There may be another nearby marker with that information.  I don’t think that this was actually the highest point.

This flower reminds me of a Mariposa Lily, accept that it’s purple instead of orange.

I got this shot in late afternoon on my way back to the trailhead.

Sunday Hike – Half Moon / Rock Creek Trails

I hiked about 12 miles round trip on the Half Moon and Rock Creek Trails beginning from the Barnhardt Trailhead.

Back in 2002 (or maybe 2001), I had first scouted these trails and then hiked them as part of a loop.

Later, after the Willow Fire of 2004, Marilyn, Nick, and I hiked the Half Moon Trail. It was miserable after the fire – some of our clothing was torn to shreds by catclaw and other thorny bushes.

I’ve become interested in perhaps doing a loop in this area again, so I decided to hike the Half Moon Trail to assess it’s condition. A lane of eight feet or wider has been cut through the thorny brush for most of the trail. The same is true for sections of the Rock Creek trail as well. I’ve posted a complete triplog at hikearizona.com.

Sunday Hike – Black Ridge Loop

Marilyn, Nick, Bob, and I hiked the Black Ridge Loop on Sunday…

Sunday Hike

Marilyn, Marie, and I hiked part of the Sunflower Trail and part of the Little Saddle Mountain Trail on Sunday.

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Sunday Hike

Photos from the Cross F area north of Sunflower…

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Cross F Wildflowers

Marilyn and I did a short hike near the Cross F Trailhead on Sunday. The area still has abundant wildflowers…










Friday Hike – Black Ridge Loop

Nancy, Eva, Linda, Doug, and I hiked the Black Ridge Loop on Friday.  Starting from the Cross F Trailhead, this loop utilizes FR 393, a short portion (several hundred yards) of the Sunflower Trail, an old rancher trail to Brunson Tank and more of the same to the Little Saddle Mountain Trail.  From there, the Little Saddle Mountain Trail (which is also the Arizona Trail) leads back to the trailhead.  We hiked eight miles in about six hours with just over 1900 feet of total ascent.  Route finding was somewhat challenging on this route; we wouldn’t have figured it out without the GPS track posted at the hikearizona.com.

A view of the old Beeline Highway from FR 393:


A view of the power lines from FR 393.  The horse trailer and truck are parked at in the clearing at the end of FR 3460.  (I inadvertently hiked up 3460 on one of my scouting hikes.)


Another early morning view from FR 393:


A view from the trail leading up to the ridge:

Linda, Eva, Doug, and Nancy:


We saw a lot of flowers on our hike.  I think this is Lupine.


A view from the ridge:


This might be Jimson Weed / Thorn Apple.


Poppies and Lupine:


I don’t know what these are:


Linda identified this as Indian Paintbrush:


A nice looking tree at the top o fthe ridge:


I nearly stepped on these small cacti while walking back to the trail after photographing the tree.  There were a lot of them in the area.


Another view from the ridge:


We saw this dead tree as we neared Brunson Tank:


Two views of Brunson Tank…



An outcrop near the intersection of the Arizona Trail and the rancher trail:


Old rusty barbed wire hanging from a tree:

A view from the Little Saddle Mountain Trail:

Nancy, Eva, Linda, Doug, and Kevin at the Arizona Trail sign. It’s 393 miles (along the Arizona Trail) to Mexico and 407 miles to Utah.


We saw some of these horses earlier in the hike too.


This one was friendly – it was curious about my camera.

Nancy with the horse:


Several other horses wanted attention too…


Black Ridge Loop Scouting Trip

Starting from the Cross F Trailhead yesterday, I scouted part of the Black Ridge Loop to see if it would be suitable for a hike in March.

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Friday Hike – Mt Peeley Summit

Bob, Nick, Bill, Denise, Linda, and I hiked to the top of Mt Peeley on Friday.  The ascent consists of roughly two miles of hiking on the Arizona Trail (which is the Mazatzal Divide Trail through that section) followed by half a mile of less defined trail to the top of Mount Peeley. When we descended the half mile portion, we hiked a bit more of the Mazatzal Divide Trail before turning back.  Total distance was 7.9 miles with 1500 feet of total ascent.

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