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Mines of the Mazatzals
off FR201A, FR1701 and FR1648
Mazatzal Mountains
October 8, 2011
by Bill Zimmermann
  GPS Map 
Mines are found in some of the loveliest places.

We met at 6:30 to beat the heat. We did. Becky’s jeep thermometer read 44 degrees as we booted up.

The hike was three separate exploratory adventures. We searched for mine sites based on GPS locations of either a small “pick-shovel” or “Y” like feature that appeared on National Geographic TOPO Software.

Welcome to the Mazatzals! [Ajay’s photo]
What a fine place for a cook-out!
Herm, the great mountaineer.
All we need is some horsepower.
Moved, left no forwarding address.
FR 201A.

We hiked down the road looking for sites 8, 9, and 10. At 8A we found a kiln and big iron looking mailbox. Ajay led the way up uphill on an abandoned road to a very overgrown dead end. We headed back down continuing on FR201A toward site 9.

No mine was in sight when we arrived at GPS location 9. We hiked up a narrow road and bushwhacked some but could not find it. We decided to return and then continue on to site 10. It was a large open pit visible from as far back as FR201 where we had parked the vehicles. No mining junk or shafts to explore.

Returning to the cars, we came across two mine shafts at 8B. We explored the one free of water until we reached the bats. (3.75mi 1100ft).

FR 1701.

The road appeared to be recently graded. At “RX1” we hiked around a locked vehicle gate that the forest service installed since I hiked on June 11th, 2011. We came across a mineshaft at M3. It was shallow. The main road came to an end as we approached a flat area with a fenced off shallow pit. The road edge provided scenic view of the mercury processing plant down in the valley.

Mines of the Mazatzals

We hiked down a side road to the plant. We explored and had lunch. We took a slightly different return route and visited a cement water tank that appeared as an irresistible target for shooting. (2.8mi 700ft)

Hold your fire!
AZHC Mine Inspectors
FR 1648.

This was an easy downhill hike on a drivable road. We could spot the Mercuria chimney and oil tanker from high on the road. At the bottom the road appeared to end. We had to do some bushwhacking thru what may on time be a campsite then before crossing a deep wash. Rudy and Herm took a high line to the mine site.

The group followed, giving them the opportunity to test their balance as they carefully followed a drainage crack to down a steep hill to the site. After exploring some equipment left behind we spotted a full-length snakeskin. Rudy found a shortcut back to the “kitchen area” avoiding a major scramble back up the steep hill.

Mine inspectors Bill and Arturo.
Ajay and Becky found seasonal water.
Rudy and Arturo check for beer in the refrigerator.
A rattler shed his skin at the mine.

The route passed a mineshaft cave that served as a water filled tank. Arturo and Rudy and a few others took a slight detour before returning to check out what was an oversized refrigerator. No cold beer. (2.7mi 500ft)

Thank you to Becky and Michael for driving.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated January 12, 2016