After hearing that the Arizona Trail Association had recently completed multiple trail work trips along the AZT we quickly planned some trips to take advantage. Sections 23-24 through the Mazatal Wilderness has a reputation for being a pretty rough portion of the trail. After this trip we can verify that.
The car drop looked long but straight forward on paper. Two and half hours to drop a car near the Northern terminus of Section 24 and shuttle ourselves to the Section 23 trailhead. After leaving our first car in Payson we made the journey back down the Hwy 87 and up on forrest roads till we arrived at the trailhead. We loaded our packs and hit the trail for 40+ miles of premium AZT brutality.