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Shark Tooth Day Hike
Mazatzal Mountains
December 31, 2016
by Bill Zimmermann
  GPS Map 
clouds
The Mazatzals are cloud-topped. [photo by David]
group
Steve, Deborah, Anikó, Ann, Funyung, Mohammed, Bill, Michael, David  [photo by David]

Weather can change plans. It did. With the forecast for rain to end some time in the morning, Bill cancelled the swing set hike. He offered a hike closer and shorter for the die-hards. The plan was to chat over coffee at Starbucks until the rain stops. Change. No chat. Starbucks was closed. After hasty introductions we headed out and at 8:45 boots were walking.

dodge
You have to dodge thorny bushes on the way up. [photo by Bill]
good
So far, so good. [photo by Bill]

It was misty. We could not see our destination. Peak 3457 a.k.a. the “Shark Tooth” was wrapped in clouds. The off trail route starts past a few messy shooting venues. Soon we were dodging thorny bushes. There was room to avoid most. The ground was soft as one could feel the earth compress with each step. It was muddy. We had a few ups and downs before we did the big push.

On the way up David spotted some thing orange on the ridge we were about the climb. It was a steel plate target. Heavy. It was not there on Bill’s previous outings. The mist got thicker as we approached the summit. Steve commented, “It was O.K. we are in Arizona and it is a DRY mist.” Ha.

metal
Hmmm, what do we have here? [photo by Ann]
upward
Onward and upward. [photo by Ann]
fog
Foggy bottom. [photo by Bill]
mist
The mist and all. [photo by Bill]
top
Topped out. [photo by Bill]
ouch
Won’t you hug me? [photo by Steve]
fog
This must be the way. [photo by Mohammed]
ouch
In your dreams. [photo by Bill]

We took a food break at the top. At times the wind would clear the mist so we could see the valley below. It was feeling cold. After signing the guest book we headed down. We took a different route. It required picking our way around and over some large boulders.

back
We went back a different way. [photo by Bill]
down
Not bad on the way down, so far. [photo by Steve]
squeeze
Squeeze between boulders. [photo by Mohammed]
catclaw
There’s catclaw on the other side. [photo by Bill]
over
Up and over. [photo by Bill]
boulders
There must be a way through here. [photo by David]
early
Early birds won’t get away from me! [photo by Bill]
moss
Those stones aren’t rolling. They gather moss. [photo by Steve]
point
The mountain is that-a-way. [photo by Bill]
toast
We made it back to the trailhead. [photo by Ann]
toast
A toast to the new year! [photo by David]

Back at the cars we ended the hike and the year with a champagne toast.

6.0 miles +-1600 feet. Thanks to Steve and Mike for driving.

→   More pictures, by Steve
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated January 2, 2017