Viewing posts about Backpacking.

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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Copper Camp Loop: Down Sheep Creek

Morning view of the moon over the trail

A distant white dot of moon hung above the tortured remains of the Sunflower Fire. Sunrise would come soon and overpower the moon's dim light and I took some time to savor this moment. With the sunlight would be uncomfortable warmth, and right now I was so cold my fingers felt numb. The chill felt…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted May 9, 2017
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Copper Camp Loop: Climbing Squaw Flat

Tough going along the banks

Copper Camp Trail was turning out to be a real mixed bag. Since leaving the shaded pool along Sheep Creek, where I had stopped for a quick breakfast and water refill, I had strolled along an easy path, hacked through overgrowth, crawled on all fours under low tree branches, and scrambled over loose…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted May 4, 2017
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Copper Camp Loop: Road to Copper Camp Creek

Early morning light on Davenport Peak

Pale light began to seep through the morning sky, throwing the Mazatzal mountains into sharp relief in the distance. It wouldn't take long for my route, sitting far to the west and blocked from the sunrise by those mountains, to be in full sunlight. I paused and stretched and looked at the…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted May 1, 2017
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Mazatzal Wilderness Dreaming

The idea of conquering the Mazatzal Wilderness has slowly taken over my daydreams and random internet browsing. And why shouldn't it? Hiking in Arizona has not been as free-ranging as my Michigan adventures, thanks to hostile terrain and less-than-amiable property owners, and exploring designated…

  • Category Personal
  • Posted February 13, 2017
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Camping on Battleship

Morning sun over lower La Barge

When Chris and I talk about going out on a hike together, it always starts with a general idea of where we want to go and quickly devolves into long phone calls with dozens of possible destinations discussed. Weather forecasts, trail conditions, endurance, points of interest, time constraints are…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted January 8, 2017
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