Hi all. Welcome back. I am going to try to shorten the blog posts a-little making them a little more concise and informative, with less Jim Toel rambling….. So here we go…
Location : Marshall Gulch Trailhead (NOBO Mile Marker 183)
Date: June 5th 2018
Weather: Clear skies, no clouds, starting temperature 75 degrees and at the turn around it was 92 degrees.
Total Mileage Completed : 14 on AZT
Hike Description: This hike started at Marshall Gulch Trailhead near Summerhaven – Elevation 7450ft and was a 14 mile out and back hike down below Romero Pass at 6053ft. Elevation gain / loss 4350ft.
Comments: Tom and I left the trailhead eager to get this monster hike behind us. We knew it was going to be a tough one, pushing back south toward the Gordon Hirabayashi trailhead and then back up the mountain to Summerhaven. What would be our toughest elevation gain / loss to date. But as luck would have it…. I guided us to the wrong trail right out of the parking lot. For everyone’s information the real AZT trail starts behind the restrooms at the Marshall Gulch TH, not the obvious looking “trail over here” sign at the south end of the parking lot…. No big deal…. Our “side” hike only added 1.2 miles and about 400 feet of up / down… If you do mess up like we (I) did, the southern trail, called the loop #3 trail, will run eventually back into the AZT.
So, this hike started in the pretty pines much like Hike #44 but within a couple miles you find yourself dropping in elevation through a wooded creekside downhill canyon. The highlight of this hike comes around mile 4 – 5, when you hike into the Wilderness of Rocks, an area of some of the craziest natural rock formations you’ll ever see up close. Pushing on we came to the big drop-off of the day, at mile 5.5 you will descend a quick 1500 ft with a 16.5% average grade right down to Romero pass (which is supposed to be another trailhead but it so not, unless you fly a helicopter). Once reaching Romero pass, we originally planned to press on another 1.5 miles down even farther toward the Gordon Hirabayashi trailhead. Unfortunately, this hike was just kicking our butts and with the wrong trail selection from the start coupled with the thoughts of having to climb back up, we simply decided to make mile 7 the turn. Romero pass is just a trail connection with another non-AZT trail and by the time we reach it, the time was nearly 1:00pm and it was hot…. About 92 degrees hot with no tree cover….. just exposed desert trail. Looking back up towards the massive mountain we just came down, Tom and I wetted our bandanas pulled out the Six Moons Hiking Umbrellas and started the climb up….and up and up and up and did I mentioned even when we got to the top of that mountain, the wilderness of rocks is up hill too and the wooded canyon trail, yep….that’s up also…. 7 miles, 4300 feet of nothing but up…. We did it though and survived, obviously since I am typing this…. We survived. Lots of breaks and not a drop of water remaining when we got back to the Jeep…but survived .This was a tough hike…my suggestion, try to do this hike in the fall or early spring in cooler weather. Some amazing views and landscapes though.