Directions: North I-17, exit 232, west New River Rd. After you cross under I-17, and drive up the small rise, take the very first right, 43rd Ave., which is dirt. About 100 yards up the road, turn left (west), along the southern edge of the housing area. Another 1/4 mile will bring you to El Paso Gas Pipeline Rd., which is about as far as you should go with low clearance two-wheel drive.
Report: I started at 0502. Doing Table Mesa Rd to Boy Scout Loop (BCT #3) backwards, as a one-way, with shuttle (a very loving wife). From Gas Pipeline Rd., I hiked .4 miles to the Glassy Knoll, where unlike Dealey Plaza there is obviously expended ammo (and many shot up bottles). At the bottom of the knoll is BCT #2. I turned north up the west segment of the Boy Scout Loop. (The only part of the hike where I could not hear semis on I-17.) At 1.4 miles total distance, I arrived at the gateless fence. At 1.8 miles, still on jeep trail, there was a gully that even a high clearance 4WD might have trouble with. Just past that, the trail finally turned to single track, and at 2.1 miles I reached the northern tip of the Boy Scout Loop, which is also the southern terminus of BCT #3. I took a break to apply sun screen, as the sun was finally starting to light up some of the nearby hill tops. The trail was very smooth to this point.
I proceeded along the west side of Hill 2605, where the trail surface had become rocky (but still not bad). The first of two elevation high points on the trail is 2435 feet, in the saddle between Hill 2605 and Hill 2802. The trail smoothed out on the descent. At 2.9 miles, a jeep trail splits to the left; stay right. I crossed a series of three close, very lush washes. No sign of water, but still very healthy vegetation: mesquite, palo verde, and a very thick cluster of saguaro. As I began climbing out of the washes, at 3.4 miles, there was an unsigned split in the trail. Stay right. Proceed northeast from Hill 2519 towards Hill 2508. Immediately west of Hill 2508 is the halfway point, 4.1 miles. Somewhere in there I realized my right knee felt twingey. I did not twist it, roll it, crack it, strain it, blow it out, or anything else. It suddenly felt … not right. I was halfway, and in any case my pickup was ahead of me, so I kept going.
Just past the halfway point, a mountain biker came up behind me and stopped for a short chat. Nice guy. At 4.7 miles, I crossed another jeep trail. I was taking notes, when a pair of mountain bikers, coming south, stopped to see if I was okay. Fine, thanx, just taking notes. I climbed up to the second elevation high point of the hike, 2455 feet, at 5.1 miles, in the saddle northeast of Hill 2647. Could actually see I-17 from the saddle. Could also hear, at 7 a.m., heavy gunfire coming from north, or north northeast, of the saddle. It could have been semiauto, but the interval between shots was too smooth, so I’m guessing it was full auto. Probably AK rounds, as it sounded too heavy for an M-16 type weapon.
I headed down into the valley, where the terrain changed from desert to scrub grass. One thing I’ve noticed about the Black Canyon Trail, is that rather than hey-diddle-diddle straight up the middle, when crossing washes, or going up hills, it tends to wiggle around contours, especially at washes, which really minimizes the climbs. Just before I got to the high tension lines, I took a left onto a jeep trail, then a quick right back onto BCT #3. At that point could still hear heavy gun fire, now to my right (east), so I’m guessing the shooters were somewhere between Hill 2176 and Hill 2290, just north of the mining claim. (You can see a mobile home, at the claim site, from the trail.) I crossed the high tension line at 7.1 miles, or about a mile from the Table Mesa trailhead. A half mile from the trailhead, BCT #3, parallels a small wash that is littered with shot up debris and (mostly) shot gun shells.
I arrived at the trailhead to find no pickup. Luckily there is cell phone reception, so I was able to contact my wife, who was maybe a quarter mile east. I changed shirts, socks and shoes, then started driving east on Table Mesa Rd. About a half mile east of the trailhead, I saw some signs and maps up on a board. We pulled into the area to look at them. I got out of the car and … HOLY FREAKING CRAP! The sand area was riddled with hundreds of screws and nails. I checked our tires. I did not see anything, but I guided the car back onto the road, a foot at a time, picking up screws as my wife eased forward a few inches at a time. Awful. Seriously, if you see those signs, STAY ON THE ROAD!
We finished the morning off with breakfast at the Rock Springs Cafe. When we left the cafe, the tires were thankfully still inflated, but my knee was tightening up. This morning I am barely mobile.
GPS File: Gasline_Rd_BCT_3
Distance: 8.25 mi.
AEG: 881 ft.
Time: 2h 49m