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Friday, September 26, 2008


Pine Mountain Wilderness 
Although the Nelson's don't live there anymore, remnants of their abandoned homestead still can be found in lichen-encrusted stone walls, some rusty metal "parts" of dubious origin and a bed of yellow hybrid tea roses.  An amazing variety of trees, including oak, juniper, maple, mahogany, sycamore and thin leaf alders shade the trail  as it winds through the ruins that lay crumbling along Sycamore Creek drainage.  The canopy harbors myriad wild birds and their disjointed harmonies collide and blend with notes of tea rose and pine on the wind. Along the way, listen for sounds of spring water percolating to the surface in the shallow pools that stand at the base of gigantic sycamores.  There's also a field where vines of wild gourds sprawl willy-nilly and sometimes cross the path.  At about the 2-mile point, the route intersects the signed Willow Springs junction.  From here, it's possible to follow connecting trails to the summit of Pine Mountain, however, due to fire damage and notoriously unreliable signage, it is necessary to do some serious of pre-hike map-plotting in order to stay on course.  Casual hikers should double back at the junction.
LENGTH: 4 miles round trip
RATING:  moderate
From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to the Dugas exit (FR 68, which is located 5 miles north of of the Cordes Junction interchange).  Turn left onto FR 68 and follow the tiny "68" signs east for 
19 miles to the Salt Flat campground, which is little more than a turn out in the road with a dilapidated outhouse.  FR 68 is a deeply-rutted dirt road with one shallow creek crossing.  A high-clearance vehicle is required; 4 x 4 if the road is wet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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