Viewing posts about Backpacking.

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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Across the Mazatzals: Willow Springs Bushwhack

Rocky ridge to climb, so close yet so far

Waking up and leaving Horse Camp Seep proved more difficult than planned. I slept in past my alarm, filtering water up to full capacity took a long time, and then I had to repack my gear twice to get everything sitting comfortably on my back. The sun was an hour up in the sky by the time I left…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted September 24, 2017
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Across the Mazatzals: Over Sandy Saddle

Cloudy skies over Barnhardt

Thunder rolled down from the heights of the Mazatzal Mountains, dire warnings issued from dull clouds that swam around the towering peaks. With an anxious eye I tried to decide if I should head up Barnhardt Trail today or not. This trailhead was empty and I could just car camp, wait for an early…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted September 21, 2017
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Mazatzal Project Checkup

Long views back to the west, where it all began

Halfway done with the Mazatzal Project, an ambitious and foolhardy plan that I sketched out earlier this year to hike every trail in and around the Mazatzal Wilderness. To be more precise, I've explored 148.2 / 252.3 miles (53.9%) and have completed 21 / 38 trails (55.3%) over the course of four…

  • Category Personal
  • Posted August 9, 2017
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Deadman Mesa

Tagged clump of grass marking the way out

Last time I spent the night in the Mazatzal Wilderness I had to deal with a midnight bear visitor that scared the crap out of me. This time it was a skunk. I smelled it shortly before I heard the soft scuffles through the leaves and grass under my gear and froze in my hammock, unwilling to give the…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted July 27, 2017
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Deer Creek: Davey Gowan and Gold Ridge

Morning light near Gowan Camp

Light trickled into Gowan Camp as I sat tiredly and rested, drinking water and chewing slowly on a granola bar. The half mile from where I spent last night to here was trivial, taking mere minutes to knock out, plus I had taken my time waking up and packing my gear. All in all it had been a lazy…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted June 23, 2017
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Deer Creek: Along the Mazatzal Divide

Wide trail leading towards Peeley

An open trail was a blessing and a curse. After miles of route-finding and bushwhacking it was nice to stretch out the legs and walk without watching each step. This section of Cornucopia Trail, and the Mazatzal Divide beyond, had a fine grade that was well-worn and maintained. However, there was…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted June 13, 2017
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Deer Creek: Up to Gowan Camp

Early morning light along Deer Creek Trail

Three trails start from Deer Creek Trailhead and climb up into the Mazatzals: Deer Creek, South Fork, and Gold Ridge. All of them end along Forest Road 201 near Mount Peeley Trailhead, making them more-or-less useless for anyone with a vehicle that can handle FR 201. I don't have a vehicle that can…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted June 9, 2017
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Copper Camp Loop: Sears Trail

Corral near Sears Trail junction

Another old corral sat on the low hill above Sheep Creek and Round Spring. This had to be the fifth or sixth one of the weekend, all of them cobbled together with twisted branches and a rusty strands of barbed wire. At least this one had solid corner posts driven deep into the gravel ground. I had…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted May 15, 2017
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