Hike #82 – Peeley Trailhead South – 17 Miles (Total 18)

Location : Peeley Trailhead (NOBO Mile Marker 403.3 )

Date: 10-29-2019

Weather: Partial clouds skies, starting temperature 70 degrees, warm throughout the day

Total Mileage Completed : 17 miles on AZT (1 mile approach trail)

Hike Description: 

So….. back to Peeley Trailhead. As much as I tried to find another trail intercept for this hike, everything pointed back to just making the drive down that 12 mile scary road again…. for the last time.

This hike was a little surprising to me. Intercepting the AZT at the same spot as we did on Hike #80, this time Tom and I turned south back towards a turnaround where Eric and I had ended Hike #6, way back on 09-20-2016. By this time, I was kind of expecting more of the same from the Matazals. Rough, tough and thorny. Instead though, we caught some areas of pine and cottonwood trees followed by bushy but smooth wide trail and than ending with desert “Phoenix like” looking mountain trails. A noticeable and nice change for a Matazal hike. As we ascended to the south the temperature warmed and we knew after the turn, a climb back up would be in our future. It was interesting to connect with the exact sport Eric and I left off over three years ago. It was a large tree standing alone on the side of the trail. I recall we were so exhausted when we got there on Hike #6, that we even fell asleep for a good 30 minutes, heads safely protected by bug nets. This reflection made me thing of the evolution of this journey.

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Hike #81 – Barnhardt Trail South – 10.8 Miles AZT (Total 21 Miles)

Location : Barnhardt Trailhead (NOBO Mile Marker 717 )

Date: 10-25-2019

Weather: Clear skies, starting temperature 61 degrees, cool throughout the day.

Total Mileage Completed : 10.8 miles on AZT (10.2 Barnhardt Approach Trail) Total 21

Hike Description: 

Back to the Barnhardt Trail, I said to Tom as we drove up Highway 87. At least this time there would be no scary Peeley Trailhead road. We had done this approach trail once before on Hike #79 and I was so looking forward to the return.

The hike itself was now pretty typical of the Matazals. Up and down elevation, rocky rough trail and thorny bushes. Fortunately the day was cool and the views were nice. The Matazal Wilderness / Mountains do have some of the most amazing views on the AZT. Nowhere else can you look into Phoenix, Flagstaff and Four Peaks unless you were flying in an airplane. This fact itself makes the hike worth it. I would say if you were to only hike into the Matazals once, this hike should be it. Nice easy drive to the trailhead, awesome Canyon Hike with climbs on the Barnhardt trail and once upon the AZT, you will catch some spectacular 360 degree views.

Made the turn (mile marker 411.6) at the Bear Spring connections. Bear Spring was a little bit of a disappointment. If you need water, head down there. Otherwise it was an unnecessary 1.5 mile add on.

So….. word of caution. On the return hike through the Barnhardt trail, we were clipping along at a good downhill pace of maybe 3.2mph. Tom, hike in front of me, caught his foot on an exposed root and it launched him off the side of a trail drop off. Like literally, he was there one minute and then diving like into a pool off the side of a 500 foot drop. I seriously though he was a goner and as I ran up to the spot of the trail he leap from, to my surprise, he was caught in a large bush not 1 foot off trail and 2 feet from the rock cliff. I grab his trekking polls and by the grace of God pulled him back on trail. I have no idea how he did not keep tumbling down to his death but somehow that bush caught him. Just a word to the wise. trail hiking can be dangerous. When you hike so many miles, it’s easy to loose focus. On tight winding dropoff trails, hike to the inside and watch every step…… please. Tomcat the Great, by the hands of God was aloud to hike another day.

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Hike #80 – Mount Peeley North – 16.9 Miles AZT (17.9 Total)

Location : Peeley Trailhead (NOBO Mile Marker 403.3 )

Date: 10-10-2019

Weather: Clear skies, starting temperature 72 degrees, warm throughout the day.

Total Mileage Completed : 16.9 miles on AZT (small approach trail – 1 mile)

Hike Description: 

UGH….. If you have read much of this blog you will know, I am not a fan of driving on scary ass dirt roads. The approach trail from Peeley Trailhead to the AZT is a short little .50 miler, but the 12 mile drive from Highway 87 to Peeley Trailhead was not for me. Not a tough 4×4 road, but scary with a couple spots on insane dropoffs. Now I am not too afraid of hiking trails with dropoffs. I know how to control my feet, but I never trust a car on a dirt road. Lets just say this… I had to do this drive twice. Once on Hike #80 and again on Hike #82 and I will never be back. Summit-ting Mount Peeley is not in my future.

So the hike itself was…… rough…. Only 16.9 miles and 3,520 feet up / down so statistically not too bad but….. this trail was rough, rocky and steep at times. Funny how the trail condition and not as much the actual mileage or elevation gains can make a hike tough. I literally slipped and crashed a couple times on this hike. One time loosing foot off the side and the second coming down a steep hill and lost both feet on overgrown vegetation, landing smack on my bum… hard. The trail was extremely overgrown at spots and the brambles were thick. Wore my gaiter which helps tons but my knees still got it. Nice views as standard in the Matazals, but not one of my favorite AZT hikes.

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Hike #79 – Barnhardt Trailhead North – 10.6 AZT (Total 20.8)

Location : Barnhardt Trailhead (NOBO Mile Marker 417 )

Date: 10-03-2019

Weather: Clear skies, starting temperature 69 degrees, Cool to warm throughout the day.

Total Mileage Completed : 10.6 miles on AZT – 10.2 Barnhardt Trail (Approach) Total 20.8 miles.

Hike Description: 

So….. the Matazals. The scary big mountain range on the west side of Highway 87 as driving to Payson. It was now time to take on the monster. Dayhiking into the Matazals always seems like a unattainable task. To get to the AZT, Tom and I resigned ourselves to the fact the AZT miles would be virtually 1/2 and approach trails would be the only way to do this.

The first and actually easy trailhead we needed to use is the Barnhardt trail. This tame dirt road is off of Highway 87 just before the little town of Rye Arizona. I really liked this approach trail and we used it again on Hike #81 a little later. This time though we used the trail to enter the AZT at Mile Marker 417, turning north only 5 miles up to Rocky Ridge and back. Take note the Barnhardt trail is a 6 mile trail which climbs 2265 feet through a tight canyon with pretty serve dropoffs. It’s an uphill battle but to my surprise, it was not horrible. Once on the AZT the hike up to Rocky Ridge turned a little tough about a mile from the turnaround giving the day a total of 4,408 in climbing. Rocky Ridge though has amazing views and a nice spot for lunch. The hike back as pretty much all downhill. I would actually do this 20 miler again. Easy to get to and a good workout with amazing views.

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Hike #78 – Italian Trap TH (Rincon Mountains) – 26.6 miles

Location : Quilter TH (NOBO Mile Marker 147.2 )

Date: 9-22-2019

Weather: Partial clouds skies, starting temperature 79 degrees and moderate throughout the day.

Total Mileage Completed : 26.6 miles on AT

Hike Description:   This was day #2 on a Rincon 2 day hike starting at Manning camp hiking down to Italian Trap TH and than back up to Manning, camping at Grassshack and than back to Quilter Trailhead. Monster hiking day. Elevation gain 5176 loss 9946. More tree coverage on the north side of the mountain coming back up.

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Hike #77 – Cross X – Quilter TH (Rincon Mountains) – 12.1 miles

Location : Quilter TH (NOBO Mile Marker 127.8 )

Date: 9-21-2019

Weather: Clear skies, starting temperature 81 degrees and hot throughout the day.

Total Mileage Completed : 1.8 approach trail + 12.1 on AZT

Hike Description:   Starting at Quilter Trailhead, which is a short 1.8 mile hike on Hope Camp trail (Camino Loma Alta TH) stopping at Manning Camp. Very tough, constant uphill climb. Total elevation gain 4771 ft. Manning Camp has a number of campsite and staffed with rangers year-round. Permit required. Facilities and water.

Posted in Hikes - Hard, Tucson | Leave a comment

Done with the Matazals!!!

Hi All,

Just keeping you posted on the progress. Tom and I just completed all the AZT day hikes of the Matazal Wilderness. Monster mountain climbs, long approach trails and skinny overgrown / dangerous trails. Will try to get caught up on all the missing blog posts soon. Only 5 “day hikes” to go and we have completed the mission….. Out and Back Dayhiking the Entire Arizona Trail.

Happy Hiking. Jim T.

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Still Hiking – Closing in on the finish

Hi All,

Tom and I are still at it !!!!

Up to hike #82, mile 1447, now. Completed the missing 40 mile section in the Rincon Mountains (outside Tucson) and currently chipping away on the “tough” Mazatzal Wilderness. Updating the progress map this weekend and will get caught up on the blog posts soon after…. I hope 🙂

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Hike #76 – Miller Peak from Parker Canyon Lake – 20.5 miles

This gallery contains 41 photos.

Location : Sunnyside Road just east of Parker Canyon Lake off of highway 83 (NOBO Mile Marker 16.2 ) Date: 9-5-2019 Weather: Clear skies then enjoyable “sun covering” slightly overcast, starting temperature 65 degrees and the turn about 85-88 degrees. Total Mileage Completed : 20.5 … Continue reading

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PBD Ultralight – 4-1 Trailpack

Hi All,

So…… Packback Designs (PBD Ultralight) has developed another backpack, this one is a little larger than the 3-1 and it’s call the 4-1 Trailpack. Standing at 30″ tall (total collar) and 12″ wide, 7″ deep, this 40 liter pack is fully capable of a good 3-5 day backpacking trip. Unloaded the packs weights between 17 ounces for the HyperD300 pack and up to 21 ounces for a Gridstop pack.

The question might come up…. why are “you guys” making packs now. Are you trying to capitalize and make money on hiking the AZT? The answer is clearly “no”. Tom and I both have full-time jobs and are very happy in our careers. I see pack making as an opportunity, much like this blog, to give back something of value to the hiking / backpacking community. As I have mentioned prior in previous posts, I think we are, at this point, fairly knowledgeable at long distance “day” hiking. Making a backpack from our experiences might be beneficial and if it’s something unique and different than others in the industry are producing, then I honestly believe we are adding something to the world and our community. Other manufactures that I have mentioned in the gear section of this blog are simply awesome and I highly recommend their gear and products. Our packs and pouches are slightly unique and add features that we believe can enhance your hiking experience. Check them out…

If you’re interesting in a pre-order, custom order or more information, just let us know. cs@packbackdesigns.com

Enjoy the photos. For general size comparison, the 4-1 Trailpack in Blue pockets and the 3-1 with Orange Pockets

Jim T.

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