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Ballantine Trail Day Hike
Mazatzal Mountains
December 10, 2016
by Monika Hahues
  GPS Map 
  Elevation 
picture
Tamar, Dana, Marilyn, Dale, Tom, Pete, Gideon, Carl, Debbie, Gabe, Rudy, Nancy A., Cecilia, Martha, Arturo, Monika, April, Dale, Chuck, Natalie

While other parts of the country are drowning in snow, 22 Arizona Trailblazers are looking forward to a really fine hiking day.

group
group
Is everyone here, and ready?
picture
Trailblazers start out on a fine morning.
picture
Boulder Flat is that-a-way.
Ord
Mt. Ord rises majestically in the distance.
winter
Even in winter, the Mazatzals are fine.
trail
The trail becomes entrenched on the way up.
ocotillo
Saguaro and ocotillo light our path.
fence
Follow the fence line.
saguaros
Saguaros mix it up.
rocks
Those rocks are balanced precariously.
king
King of the Mountain.
tree
A splash of autumn color.
break
This looks like a good spot for a break.
break
Here, have some.
Beeline
We’ve come a long way from the Beeline Highway.
rocks rocks
Around the rugged rocks the ragged rascals ran.
sentinel
Stately saguaro stands sentinel by the trail.
late
It’s getting later in the afternoon.
signs
A trail junction not to be missed.

Our goal is the Ballantine Trailhead. Most of the hikers had noticed the trailhead sign driving by on State Route 87 on their way to Payson, but hardly anyone stopped and actually hiked the trail. From the road the area does not look too inviting. But once you climb up the steep first part of the Pine Creek Loop, a wonder world of rocks, deep gorges and battalions of Saguaros open up. A steady gradual climb through a beautiful Sonoran Desert with a lot of lookouts brings us up to Boulder Flat, were we enjoy the great views while fueling up for the hike back. Everyone made it back to the trailhead safe and sound, and 17 of us decide to end this gorgeous day with dinner at El Encanto in Fountain Hills.

feast feast
Trailblazers enjoy the feast at El Encanto.

Thank you all for joining us on this hike!

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated March 11, 2018