Continuing the Arizona Trail quest we planned out another weekend overnighter. Starting from the Pine trailhead, in Pine, we hit the trail Southbound. Our route continued till hit hit the Verde River before linking up with a fire road for 4.9 miles of hiking to the Doll Baby Trailhead. You may remember this road from our AZT# 23-24 trip. The total mileage was only 27 miles with a primarily downhill AEG. We would put in a solid 20 mile day the on day 1 to get to a reliable water source at Whiterock Springs and then have a quick 7 miles out to the trailhead. As with all our AZT trips the trail threw us some curveballs.
The quest continues as I work towards my Arizona Trail completion date of May. This weekend we had Sections 20-21 on the docket. These passages made up just under 40 miles of trail leading from Roosevelt Lake to Highway 87 near Sycamore Creek. We planned to do it as an overnighter, which was aggressive but doable. As is typical of these trips we under estimated the abuse from the topography and overestimated the availability of water. Through all the pain, we were granted with gorgeous views of Roosevelt Lake, Four Peaks, as well as a few beautiful bits of trail.
Our plans fell apart for the planned backpacking trip so we looked at our AZT completion list and adapted. Section 22, AKA: Saddle Mountain, is straddled between Highway 87 and the Mount Peeley Trailhead. The idea of driving 1.5 hours on a rugged dirt road for the car drop was not ideal. We found the Deer Creek Trail that connected to that trailhead which created a 25 mile loop with the AZT section. It also only required a 20 minute car drop right off the 87. Added bonus. We packed our packs and drove out under the stars.