The Arizona Trail, Day 4: Central Kaibab Plateau, Part 1 (Trans-Arizona/Utah Hike Day 11)

I ran into Dolly, a former colleague of mine from Grand Canyon, at Jacob Lake this morning after a rather indulgent meal (I admit, I had the ice cream cookie sundae after breakfast. One thing about thruhiking, I know I’ll burn it off in short order.) After a discussion with another couple about my hike over breakfast, Dolly lightens my load for a bit and shortly I’m backpacking south again.

The aspens take center stage today; a glorious display of color across the Kaibab. I’ll let their beauty speak for itself in this part.

Logistics & ecology reports follow the photos from the day.

Hiking through aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking past aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through ponderosa & aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking past ponderosa & aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking past ponderosa & aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking past ponderosa & aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Aspen trees in fall foliage, seen hiking the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking past aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Aspen trees in fall foliage, seen hiking the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest

In the land of Arizona
Through desert heat or snow
Winds a trail for folks to follow
From Utah to Old Mexico

It’s the Arizona Trail
A pathway through the great Southwest
A diverse track through wood and stone
Your spirit it will test

Oh, sure you’ll sweat and blister
You’ll feel the miles every day
You’ll shiver at the loneliness
Your feet and seat will pay

But you’ll see moonlight on the borderlands
You’ll see stars on the Mogollon
You’ll feel the warmth of winter sun
And be thrilled straight through to bone

The aches and pains will fade away
You’ll feel renewed and whole
You’ll never be the same again
With Arizona in your soul

Along the Arizona Trail
A reverence and peace you’ll know
Through deserts, canyons, and mountains
From Utah to Old Mexico

“The Arizona Trail,” Dale R Shewalter
Aspen trees in fall foliage, seen backpacking the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Aspen trees in fall foliage, seen hiking the AZT
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking past aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
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Hiking past aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking past aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through ponderosa and aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking past ponderosa & aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Love trees that appear to be in transition themselves along with the season. This one, with its flaming tip down to green base, illustrates that change well.
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
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Backpacking past ponderosa & aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Incredible clouds above aspens along the Arizona Trail
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plaeau)
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through ponderosa forest past aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking through aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Hiking through aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
Backpacking past ponderosa & aspen trees in fall foliage
Arizona Trail Passage 41 (Central Kaibab Plateau)
Kaibab National Forest
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Backpacking the Amazing Arizona Trail – Pine Mountain (Passage 21), FR 422 to Pigeon Spring Trailhead

Backpacking the Arizona Trail’s Saddle Mountain Passage from near Saddle Mountain to Sycamore Creek at the start of the Pine Mountain passage. More magnificent Arizona mountain views of the central Mazatzal peaks and ridgelines, and a gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Logistics, trail journal, and magnificent mountain scenery.

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Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Day 51: Mazatzal Divide (Passage 23), Part II

Disruptive event today, an F-16 that flew over while I was packing. It flew extremely low and around a mountain – possibly North Peak – and made me think very seriously about why that would be allowed over a designated wilderness area. Still, I manage to knock out a few miles to Chilson Spring before dark, with spectacular views of Deadman’s Canyon, the Verde Valley, and the western Mazatzal foothills along the way. The mountains are jagged and rugged and the trail traces steep slopes nearly the whole way across precipitous terrain.

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Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Day 50, Part II: Mazatzal Divide (Passage 23)

It’s here. The Mazatzal Divide represents the heart of the longest stretch of the Arizona Trail within a designated wilderness area. To that end, a reminder on the meaning of wilderness. Under the Wilderness Act of 1964, wilderness is “an area where man is but a visitor and does not remain.” Consequently, motorized access as … Continue reading Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Day 50, Part II: Mazatzal Divide (Passage 23)

Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Day 50: Red Hills, Part II/II

Second day hiking through the Red Hills toward the Mazatzal Mountains. Earning their name through the red rock colors, the Hills also provide hikers with wildflowers and diverse vegetation, in addition to showing the scars of recent wildfires and spectacular views of the range north toward the Mogollon Rim.

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Passage 41 (Kaibab Plateau Central)
Trail SurfaceDirt trail
Length (Mi)17.2
SeasonSpring-fall. No vehicular access to this section December-April. Feet of snow in winter.
Potential Water SourcesWildlife Tank (mi 36.9 SOBO, 751.8 NOBO)
Cement Trough (mi 37.3 SOBO, 751.4 NOBO)
TrailheadsNorth: US-89A
South: Telephone Hill
Trailhead AccessVehicular access
WildernessNo, but it can feel like it. Most hikers in the area stick to the national park. Or are passing through to reach routes in the national park.
Possible resupply pointsJacob Lake
ATA-Rated DifficultyEasy
Potential campsites (mileages S to N)Various points throughout; terrain is not a limitation here
Ecosystems TraversedGreat Basin Subalpine Conifer Forest
Rocky Mountain Montane Conifer Woodland
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Great Basin Subalpine Conifer Forest/Rocky Mountain Montane Conifer Forest
Common Trees/Shrubs* Corkbark fir
* Gambel oak
* Quaking aspen
* White fir
* Blue spruce
* Engelmann spruce
* Buckwheats
* Currants
* Dwarf juniper
* Elderberry
* Fendler’s ceanothus
* Greenleaf Manzanita
* New Mexican locust
* Perry’s rabbitbrush
* Raspberry
* smooth sumac
* Snowberry
Common herbaceous plants* Bracken Fern
* Buckwheats
* Cinquefoils
* Columbines
* Fleabane daisies
* Geraniums
* goldeneye
* Goldenrods
* Groundsels
* Hairy golden aster
* Indian paintbrush
* Lotus
* Lupines
* Meadow-rue
* Parry’s bellflower
* Peavine
* Penstemons
* Puccoon
* Pussytoes
* Thistles
* Western & white prairie asters
* Wild strawberry
* Wormwood
* Yarrow
* Yellow hawkweed
Common succulentsPrickly pear, occasionally
Aquatic* Bulrush
* Buttercups
* Rushes
* Sedges
* Water plantains
Passage 23 & 22 Ecology (source: Arizona Trail Association AZT Guide & NatureServe). Only California and Texas are more diverse ecologically than Arizona.
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