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Mazatzal Wilderness Backpack

In the language of the Aztecs mazatzal means "an area inhabited by deer," but just how the word reached Arizona, or what significance it holds, remains somewhat of a mystery. Established as a Primitive Area in 1938, Mazatzal became pre-Wilderness Act "wilderness" in 1940 and one of the original Wilderness Areas in 1964. Narrow, vertical, difficult-to-access canyons fill the central and eastern portions, while the Verde River rolls through the western portion, surrounded by riparian terrain along both sides. Given how close Mazatzal is to Mesa, a major population center, this is a remarkably remote and beautiful area. Elevations range from 2,100 feet at Sheep Bridge in the southwest to 7,903 feet on Mazatzal Peak. Sonoran Desert shrubland in the west rises to semidesert grasslands, then mountain shrubs such as manzanita and turbinella oak. The higher elevations support scattered pinion-juniper woodlands and a few ponderosa pines and Douglas fir.

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  • Robert K.

    Really great hike. Thanks for leading, Sam.

    October 28, 2013

  • Robert K.

    Got stuck at work so won't be able to leave this (Friday) afternoon. So I'll be leaving from the NW Valley (Peoria) around 4am tomorrow morning! See y'all tomorrow.

    October 25, 2013

    • Carla O.

      Drive safely, Robert! Sam is already en route, so I'll let him know that you're leaving early Saturday...

      October 25, 2013

  • Ingrid

    I have to work until 6 Friday. My Prius probably can't negotiate the road. So, if I can't find someone willing to go Friday night or early Saturday, and drive, then I will have to bail.

    October 21, 2013

    • Carla O.

      Ingrid - it looks like Robert K. will be leaving early Saturday morning (4am). I'd recommend sending him a message to see about carpooling!

      October 25, 2013

  • Nicole M.

    I'm planning to drive up on Friday afternoon. I'll be coming from Surprise (101 to 17). If anyone would like to carpool let me know. I'll be bringing the truck this time. LOL

    October 16, 2013

    • Nicole M.

      Doesn't matter to me who drives. Just know I'll not be taking my car again.. Cost me about $500 to fix it from the rock I hit the last trip. LOL

      October 20, 2013

    • Nicole M.

      Robert if you want to drive, I'll pitch in for gas.. That way I don't have to worry about getting lost, which I always do.. LOL

      October 21, 2013

  • Ingrid

    Anyone want to leave early Sat morning and carpool?

    October 21, 2013

  • Kelly B.

    Hello! I was wondering if anyone would be will to share their phone # with me? I made it to the area of the Apache Creek Backpack but was unable to locate! I don't have a GPS, I still use maps, but have found that to be a challenge in Arizona at times! My number is[masked], I'd feel a little better if I had someone to communicate with in the event I can't locate the next one! Thanks!

    1 · October 3, 2013

    • John W.

      Hey Kelly. Sorry we missed you at Apache Creek. For future reference my cell # is[masked]-4187. Hope to see you on a Wild Stew event soon! John

      October 4, 2013

    • Nicole M.

      I'm headed up there early Friday afternoon. My cell number is[masked]

      October 20, 2013

  • Shaun

    If anyone can pick me up from the ASU area, then I can go as early as Friday 4:00 pm. I've got cash for the driver :) . I'm just now starting to try to do these backpack meetups, but Ive got plenty of experience. X-ing fingers

    October 18, 2013

  • Robert K.

    So anyone interested in a carpool. Either Friday afternoon or early Saturday. Perhaps somewhere in the Carefree area?

    October 15, 2013

  • Maya

    Difficulty and distance? I have backpacked and hiked 22 miles over a weekend last year; but just want to make sure I won't slow people down. Thanks.

    September 29, 2013

    • Carla O.

      Hi Maya! We're still finalizing plans, but if you've backpacked 22 miles over a weekend, you will have no trouble at all! We'll send out an announcement once details are firmed up with the Forest Service. Thanks!

      September 30, 2013

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