Arizona Campers/Hikers [Archive] - Glock Talk

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lohmeier
02-14-2005, 20:24
Ok, curious if anyone here has hiked and camped in Arizona. I'm planning a hiking/camping trip in central arizona if the weather stays mild. The Chiracahuas are a big possiblility as well. I'm a little leary of the MEXICAN border, because I will be alone. If anyone has any awesome hikes or places that they recommend...lemme know. THANKS

mpol777
02-15-2005, 00:16
I know some parts very well, but have been pretty much everywhere in the state from low desert to high mountain and everything in between.

For middle AZ the east side of the state is the place to be. My favorite stomping grounds is the Mazatzal Wilderness inside Tonto National Forest. Hellsgate Wilderness is another favorite. There are about 240 miles of trail in the Mazatzals and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Lots of trophy animals in there as well because there isn't a lot of hunting that happens there. Not because of tags, but because the country is so rough most folks don't want to work that hard or think it's too dangerous. It's tough hiking and you best keep your wits about you, but the sights are worth it. If it isn't heaven it's damn close.

The Chiricahuas are nice, but relatively small in comparison. I've ridden around those mountains a bit and it is beautiful. I don't know it as well as Tonto since I have a local friend who leads the way.

I wouldn't worry so much about hanging out near the border. The illegals stay in the flats since it's the easiest way to travel. You can see their paths like game trails, so you'd know where to steer clear of. I've been around the border camping all by my lonesome and never had any problems with illegals or "coyotes" (smugglers). Only one tense moment out of many with that crowd.

The weather will still mild in the higher elevations for another month, month and half. It's a little tough right now with all the rain we've been getting. A lot of rock slides and if you get caught up in flash flood area it can be big trouble.

I know a ton of trails and cool places. Some are easy day hikes and others are multi-day treks where you better have your stuff together. How rough do you want to go and how long are you going for?

lohmeier
02-15-2005, 20:15
Originally posted by mpol777

My favorite stomping grounds is the Mazatzal Wilderness inside Tonto National Forest. There are about 240 miles of trail in the Mazatzals and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Lots of trophy animals in there as well because there isn't a lot of hunting that happens there. Not because of tags, but because the country is so rough most folks don't want to work that hard or think it's too dangerous. It's tough hiking and you best keep your wits about you, but the sights are worth it. If it isn't heaven it's damn close.

I know a ton of trails and cool places. Some are easy day hikes and others are multi-day treks where you better have your stuff together. How rough do you want to go and how long are you going for?

Mpol, thanks for the reply. This Mazatzal Wilderness area sounds just what I am looking for. I was thinking of the Strawberry are earlier? Is that where Mazatzal is?? I have driven through that way a couple of times and saw lots of Elk herds and running creeks..looks gorgeous. I have only done one backpacking trip (superstitions) since I bought my digital camera and would love to get some pics of Elk and the rugged country devoid of people. I have property in northern New Mexico and was going to there...but I can see more country if I go some where closer.

I have a 2 wheel drive truck so I can't take any really rough roads. I want to hike about 4 to 6 miles from road or trailhead, spend a day to explore take pictures, look for sheds, and then hike out, so a 3 day day trip with 2 nights spent in the backcountry would be perfect. I've got the gear for wet weather and the cold, and MRE's and a pot to boil water should suffice, so if you can point me in the right direction to see pretty country and trophy critters I would be very thankful.

I moved up to North Phoenix from Tucson and I am not used to all of the concrete and haze....so I need a well deserved break. I will be leaving the weekend of March 6th. If there is snowfall I will have to change plans and head south.

LOMAS
02-18-2005, 07:50
I used to live in Stawberry, one of my favorite places. Agree with the Mazatzals, several hundred thousand acres, hot springs, Verde river, and off the roads and in the wilderness area I never saw another human, but lots of wildlife. Watch for rattlers, my dog got bitten on the nose (usual place), and it took a bit to get out and treated. Rather sick a few days, but did fine. I live in Denver now but am going down there for some backpacking next month. Get a map of the area and go. There are alot of other beautiful riparian areas nearby that are well worth visiting. West Clear Creek, Wet Beaver Creek, lots of lakes above the rim. I wish you well on your trip.

lohmeier
02-19-2005, 12:32
Lomas,

Lived in Strawberry! Why would you move? Thanks for the advice I think its settled on the Mazatzal, but still trying to figure out the best place to leave the truck and get into the backcountry. I'm coming from phoenix...I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't utilize my spring break wisely. One of the great perks of being a teacher..VACATION. I wish you well on your trip.

lohmeier
02-19-2005, 12:35
MPol or Lomas,

I'm thinking the southern part of the Wilderness by Mnt. Peeley or Matzatzal Peak. Either of you been to this part?

mpol777
02-19-2005, 13:39
Sorry it took me so long to get back to ya. That part by Rye is exactly where I was going to send you. :)

Just south of Rye on RT 87 there's a forest road that will take you to Barnhardt Trailhead. It's to the west of the highway and is marked with a sign. The road is no trouble for just about any vehicle. There usually aren't many people, but you might find some day hikers down from Payson.

http://www.reloadpress.com/hiking/barnhardt/highway_small.jpg

Big printable version (http://www.reloadpress.com/hiking/barnhardt/highway_large.jpg)

http://www.reloadpress.com/hiking/barnhardt/road_small.jpg

Big printable version (http://www.reloadpress.com/hiking/barnhardt/road_large.jpg)

http://www.reloadpress.com/hiking/barnhardt/trail_small.jpg

Big printable version (http://www.reloadpress.com/hiking/barnhardt/trail_large.jpg)

http://www.reloadpress.com/hiking/barnhardt/swarea_small.jpg

Big printable version (http://www.reloadpress.com/hiking/barnhardt/swarea_large.jpg)

The trail is pretty well maintained along the route I set. It's rather slim and follows the countour of the ridge. You can see that's it's all uphill on the way in, but nothing extreme. I put a red star at a fork in the trail. You'll be on a saddle and have to choose which trail. DO NOT TAKE THE NORTH (right) PACK TRAIL It turns into the most god forsaken, ankle breaking, cliff hanging excuse for a walkway you'd ever want to be on. Just keep heading west.

You should find a good camp spot right around where the route ends near one of the two springs that are there. Give or take some. You'll be past the day hikers by about a mile and it might as well be the edge of the earth. From there you can just go nuts. If you want to stick closer to a trail I would head either west along the Club Ranch Trail or south on the pack trail towards Mazatzal Peak and Bar Basin. The Mazatzal Divide trail loops around to the pack trail of doom I mentioned before. It seems like a good loop, but trust me, it ain't. Or just pick a direction and start walking.

A few notes. Mazatzal means "Land of Deer" and there are a good amount in there, along with a ton of other critters. The sow bears will have some little ones at that point in March. Something to keep in mind and be aware of while you're there. There is also a pretty good lion population and I've met a few crazies in there. I other words, take at least a sidearm (open carry is legal) and be careful.

Also, the terms "spring", "river" or "creek" are relative terms. They mean a ditch that sometimes has water. It won't be ungodly hot so you shouldn't go through too much water, but don't bet your life on finding some up there. You should be able to come across something that time of year, especially with all the rain we've been getting now, but I've seen it when there should be and there isn't.

This area burned recently so you'll see signs of that, but it's bouncing back great. It was starting to get into trouble before and the burn was really a blessing. I was up there when it was on fire. Now that was a sight to see!

It's a beautiful area and there've been times I've seriously considered just heading in and never coming out. A man can get lost in there, in a good way.

lohmeier
02-20-2005, 21:07
[QUOTE]Originally posted by mpol777


Mpol,

Thanks a bunch. You've sold me on that trip as long as the weather holds up. I am going to go as light as possible..but you bet I will be taking my Glock 23.
I'm actually going to try to get in a morning hike in Mazatal tomorrow on Presidents day. Leaving early so I might have enough time to get up to that trailhead just to hike a mile or two in. Would love to find an Elk shed. I'm planning a Yellowstone trip in June and I am afraid that most of the good sheds will be gone by then...so I am hoping the March trip pans out. Thanks again for all of your advice, I will let you know if I get to the Barnhardt Trailhead tomorrow.