Viewing posts about Backpacking.

Moody-Coon Loop: Coon Creek

An easy start on Coon Creek Trail

Waking up in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness, sleeping under a twisted oak with only a down quilt between me and the elements, was a pleasant and leisurely affair. I ignored the predawn rush and continued reading my book from last night, eagerly devouring the last dozen chapters before emerging onto a…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted May 12, 2020
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Moody-Coon Loop: Moody and Below the Rim

Fantastic section of trail on Moody Point

Descending down Moody Point Trail was an exercise in variety. The route quickly entered a devastated burn section, cutting wide switchbacks through a dead, gray landscape, exposed to the sun, and obvious mud damage to the tread. The trail maintenance was fantastic - thorny stuff cut back and helpful…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted May 8, 2020
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Moody-Coon Loop: Climbing up Parker to Aztec Peak

A cold, dark morning on Parker Creek Trail

Musk of skunk hung heavy over Parker Creek Trailhead. As I laced my boots and checked my pack I wondered idly if my Jeep had been sprayed on the drive up, or if I had just missed an encounter a few minutes ago. Either way it reeked. I double-checked my pack, making sure that my key was safely tucked…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted May 3, 2020
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Upper Mazzie Loop: Wet Bottom Paradise

A barren, damaged basin beyond the saddle

Bull Spring Trail passes through three drainage basins after it leaves the AZT. With each basin it swings north to avoid losing too much elevation, though there is always some drop, and then it crosses a rocky bed before climbing up the other side. The first one is Red Metal Canyon and it looked…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted January 27, 2019
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Upper Mazzie Loop: Saddle Ridge to Bull Spring Saddle

Predawn light on North Peak

This morning started like so many of my Mazatzal adventures: pitch-black sky, frigid air, and a stumbling gait towards semi-familiar lands. There was something different about it, something that I tried to ignore, lest I jinx the whole outing. If I succeeded in this overnight loop then I'd finish my…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted January 23, 2019
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Rim Trail and Aztec Peak

Early start in the Sierra Ancha

While sleep was hard to find, perched on a hammock near the Pueblo Canyon overlook, watching the moonlight play over the Sierra Ancha cliffs and Cherry Creek valley was simply breath-taking. I didn't begrudge the multiple times I woke up from a rustling branch or distant twig break much - they gave…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted September 19, 2018
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Center Mountain to Pueblo Canyon Overlook

Big trees along FR 410

Tall pines shushed in the light breeze over the narrow two-track, and I practically had to pinch myself to make sure that I wasn't dreaming about the Huron Mountains of Michigan. I was in the Sierra Ancha range, still in Arizona, and I didn't even have to drive all the way to the Mogollon Rim to get…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted August 25, 2018
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Fuller Seep

Early morning light on North Peak

Heading out on an ambitious backpack in the Mazatzal Wilderness seemed like the perfect way to end 2017. Of course, backpacking in the end of December meant dealing with cold temperatures, even in Arizona, so my pack was heavy with all the cold-weather gear that usually collects dust in my closet.…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted January 17, 2018
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Across the Mazatzals: Escape down Davenport

Sunrise on Table Mountain

Another night of partial sleep crept by in the Mazatzals. This time a couple of skunks and deer were the primary disturbers of my rest, though I'm sure there were some coatis at some point. Waking up and packing up was relatively easy this time, as I was camping on a slab of concrete, which made…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted September 29, 2017
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Across the Mazatzals: Crossing Deadman Creek

The start of Deadman Trail

Waking up was hard, and getting all my stuff packed up and ready to go was even harder. Not only was I sore from yesterday's beating on the trail, two nights of broken sleep was beginning to wear on me. That elk towering above me at ten last night didn't help things. I managed to get some hot coffee…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted September 27, 2017
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