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11/28-29/2017 Wickieup to Yucca & Parker Trails Pre-run

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Last week George (Number 7) and I pre-ran a few trails in the Kingman / Parker, AZ area. Tuesday we explored Cedar Mine Road, from Wickieup across the Hualapai Mountains, and out to Yucca, AZ.

 

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Airing down at Cedar Mine Road & Hwy. 93 near Wickieup, AZ

 

The trail starts out as a graded road that gradually climbs the east side of the Hualapais. We took a side trip on a trail in search of what looked like a homestead or cabins on Google Earth, and though we didn't find them, we saw an old truck cab, a shack and a big tank.

 

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Rusty old truck on side-trip on lesser trail

 

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Miners shack near side-trip on lesser trail

 

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We saw several pits alongside miners shack

 

Back on the main trail we soon came to the place on our GPS designated as the town of Cedar, but we were actually able to see ruins spread out over several miles along the road. Not a whole lot remains but we saw a few foundations, some rock walls and a couple structures.

 

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Rock wall located at ghost town of Cedar, AZ

 

George hiked down to the first set of ruins we saw, and he was sorry he did it. The terrain was steep and full of thistle bushes, and he fell part of the way down and tore his shirt. :( But he did get a few nice shots of the site.

 

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Rock wall remains at ghost town of Cedar, AZ

 

Back in the Jeep not even a half mile further along, we found a graded road down to some pretty impressive rock walls and foundations.

 

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Large rock structure found near town site of Cedar, AZ

 

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Cactus growing out of the rock wall

 

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Me & Clifford at mining ruins of Cedar, AZ

 

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Ruins of the mining center of Cedar, AZ

 

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Beautiful stonework remains at mining ruins in Cedar, AZ

 

Further along the trail we saw this small rock house down near a creek. George started to walk down there but only got halfway before he decided against it. The only way down there was similarly steep and thorny!

 

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Rock house spotted in creek alongside Cedar Mine Road

 

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Beautiful tree near the rock house near the creek

 

The road got a little rougher and narrower as we climbed, and the trees and bushes were overtaking it in places. We passed a large mining operation on a trail to our right but it turned out it was on private land; but we got a great view of it as the main road climbed high above. Soon we reached the summit, and could see both valleys below on each side.

 

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Looking east toward Wickieup from the summit in the Hualapai Mountains

 

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Looking west toward Yucca from the summit in the Hualapai Mountains

 

The trail quickly disintegrated as we descended the other side. Even more narrow and scrubby in places, and we often encountered boulders that had fallen onto the trail from above.

 

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The trail became even less-traveled as we descended the other side

 

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Rough and narrow trail descending west side of Hualapai Mountains

 

The landscape was starkly beautiful as the trail slowly descended the other side, and then dropped down into a wash.

 

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The trail drops into a wash for a short distance

 

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The trail goes in a wash for a while as you make your way toward Yucca

 

It was starting to get dark and we were still a long ways from Yucca. The scenery changed several times from rocky outcroppings and Saguaros to boulders and Joshua trees.

 

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Rocky hills dotted with Saguaro cacti as we made our way west to Yucca

 

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Gorgeous landscape of boulders and Joshua Trees along the trail to Yucca

 

About seven miles from I-40 we came to a series of graded dirt roads with quite a few homesteads on either side. We also started seeing a lot more vehicles and people, and were surprised that many people live all the way out there! We made it to the interstate about 5:30, aired up, and headed for Lake Havasu City.

 

We checked in to our hotel, and as we parked we realized the the front passenger door wouldn't lock. Luckily, the hotel parking lot was relatively empty, and I came up with the idea of parking Clifford right next to this light pole, to secure it for the night.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=3294&stc=1&d=1512008034

Clifford holding up a light pole in Lake Havasu City ;)

 

My idea worked fine, and the next morning we headed down to Parker, to run the Vampire Mine Trail, or at least that was the plan...

 

Continued

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On Wednesday morning we drove from Lake Havasu to Parker with the intention of running the Vampire Mine Trail as described in our old Well's book (copyright 2001). The trail starts out alongside the Bill Williams River and is in the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge. We aired down at the beginning of the trail directly across Hwy. 95 from the refuge where we saw several people fishing in the reeds there.

 

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The Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge across Hwy 95 from the trailhead

 

The well maintained trail starts out next to a mobile home park and immediately starts to climb before quickly dropping down into the Bill Williams River valley.

 

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Beginning of the trail next to mobile home park overlooking Bill Williams Refuge

 

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Trail very soon drops into Bill Williams River valley

 

At the 3 mile mark we came to a gate and a 'Road Closed' sign. This is mentioned in the Well's book, but the it says he called the ranger district who told him that the road is open. Well, that was in 2001, but the gate is locked now, and the road beyond it has clearly not been used in a long time. We turned around and started back the way we came, and met with a Ranger who told us the trail had been closed since 2005 when the Bill Williams River flooded it out and destroyed much of it.

 

So we decided to run another trail in the area, one that we had planned on incorporating into a multi-day expedition in 2018, the Buckskin Mountains Trail AKA Backway to the Desert Bar. Just another 7 miles down Hwy. 95, we didn't even air up to get there. The trail starts around the back of an RV Storage facility, in a canyon between craggy, rocky hills.

 

Within the first mile you come to one of the only obstacles, which isn't tough at all. G walked it just to see what is on the other side.

 

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A mild obstacle at beginning of Buckskin Mountains Trail

 

After the little obstacle we came out into a hilly area that looks to be a popular ATV/UTV area; some of the trail was a bit narrow, and the soil was powdery, possibly from heavy traffic. The scenery is gorgeous as the trail weaves around dark volcanic rocky hills.

 

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Buckskin Mountains trail weaves through beautiful volcanic hills

 

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Clifford posing in front of a window rock

 

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Craggy hills make up much of the beautiful scenery along the Buckskin Mountains Trail

 

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Red stone formation in the hills along the Buckskin Mountains Trail near Parker, AZ

 

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Gorgeous scenery along the trail

 

We stopped at several mines that dotted the area as there were plenty to see! Its a fun trail for checking out the remains of mining claims.

 

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Stopping to check out a mining claim

 

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Remains of a mining claim in the Buckskin Mountains near Parker, AZ

 

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George checking out a cave above the mining ruins

 

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A window rock above one of the mines we stopped at

 

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View from one of many mining claims in the area

 

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View of the Gray Eagle Mine from the trail above

 

The trail climbs up to a saddle before descending into another valley, and at the top we found 3 memorial plaques of fellow Jeepers.

 

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Memorial plaques along the Buckskin Mountains Trail near Parker, AZ

 

The Buckskin Mountains Trail ends at Cienega Springs Road, which is the main graded trail that goes to the Nellie E. Saloon, AKA the Desert Bar. Here's Clifford at the intersection, but you can barely see the bar in the background.

 

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Clifford at the intersection of Buckskin Mountains Trail and Cienega Springs Road with Desert Bar in background

 

From there we made our way to Parker by way of Cienega Springs Road, aired up, and headed home. It was a fun and relaxing recon mission with plenty of great information and ideas for future trips!

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Nice report and it sure does look like a cool area to check out!

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Thanks for sharing, Diane great pictures & recon.

Ever since seeing it on my favorite show I've always wanted to visit Desert bar

Can't wait 'til next year!

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Great report Di! I think you should win the annual prize for trip and report!

And I must say that the first day looks alot like the trip we did a few years ago....boulders fallen down onto the shelf road and such...but nice saddle, although brushy getting up to it....it was actually part of that plan F trip I think! It was dark when we came down the other side, as we traveled a bit slower since there were 6 of us I think...so we camped at some dry cow poop corral at the bottom...(This was the trip where I probably most earned the Moses nickname....)

I love this area, and was glad to see someone else enjoying it too! Ready to go back when you are!!

smiles, ladybug

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