[Part of the ongoing behind-the-hike series for the Tonto Guide.]
This hike follows the Ballantine Trail around Boulder Mountain towards Pine Mountain. I hiked it twice, and there’s still ore left that I want to explore.
HIKE 1 = to be quick = On 2 December 2007 Ben and I did the Pine Creek trail to the Ballantine junction and continued about a half mile beyond. The photo in Ben’s Hiking Essentials (one of this blog’s first entries) is from this hike. That makes a super-easy kid’s hike – but not enough of a hike to justify a full entry. So I went back to hike a more substantial portion.
HIKE 2 (The Main Hike)
HIKE DATE: 20 March 2008
ACTUAL MILES: 11.3
START TIME: 10:15 AM END TIME: 4:45PM
The Forest Service description does not mention the cabin. I found the route through other sources. The dirt bike trail that eventually led me back to the Ballantine was a happy if accidental discovery.
I did not mention (or photograph) the more recent remains of dead cattle lying about. Don’t just casually drink any water you find in the stream.
Ballantine goes on from the turn-around I used for the guidebook to go around Pine Moutain and down to Cline TH. Cline TH needs HC/4WD vehicles to reach. If you want to do the entire trail, a fairly heroic quest, start from the Cline side, because that starts with a steep and sporadically marked ascent that you want no part of with fading daylight. The western portions of the Ballantine, though, particularly the Deer Creek spur would not prove too troublesome by flashlight.
My son is still mad that I went back and finished this trail without him.