Bob, Nick, Bill, Denise, Linda, and I hiked to the top of Mt Peeley on Friday. The ascent consists of roughly two miles of hiking on the Arizona Trail (which is the Mazatzal Divide Trail through that section) followed by half a mile of less defined trail to the top of Mount Peeley. When we descended the half mile portion, we hiked a bit more of the Mazatzal Divide Trail before turning back. Total distance was 7.9 miles with 1500 feet of total ascent.
Tag: Tonto National Forest (page 4 of 6)
On Friday, March 6, Bob, Allen, Janet, Bill, and I hiked to the summit of Picketpost Mountain.
Allen sent me this plot of the elevation profile from our hike:
Here is a plot of our hike (also from Allen). We took a somewhat different path back in some of the steeper, looser sections. The path that we used to go down was somewhat easier than that which we used for the ascent.
Something isn’t quite right in the first few photos here, but I can’t quite figure out what it is. Many of my photos from early in the day were in the shade of Picketpost Mountain. It could be that I should have used different techniques for color correcting the portions in the shade.
The hike starts on a portion of the Arizona Trail. The arrow made out of stones points to the correct path up to the summit of Picketpost Mountain. We had passed another likely path perhaps a quarter mile prior to encountering this one.
A view of Picketpost Mountain from the lower slopes. The hiking path goes up the “crack” just right of center.
A view looking in the other direction.
We saw many agave stalks on this hike.
I don’t know what these red flowers are…
Bill enjoys the view from midway up:
There were a few spots with some exposure…
This is the view from near the summit. A side path lead to a gap in the boulders.
There is a mailbox at the summit! We each posed on the bench near the mailbox…
Janet and Allen:
This is the story about how the mailbox came to be on the top of Picketpost Mountain:
The hike to the top of Picketpost Mountain is not especially easy, yet a lot of people have been there. The mailbox contains a number of summit register books. (Janet was examining a few that aren’t in the mailbox in this photo.)
Janet, looking at the summit logs:
A view of Weaver’s Needle as we started downward.
Another view from early in our descent:
This is a Mexican Poppy:
This was the last steep section of the descent:
Kevin, Bill, Bob, Allen, and Janet:
Much to our surprise, we saw two equestrians coming up the trail. I don’t think they made it to the top. I’d be surprised if they made it even a quarter of a mile further from this point.
A view of Picketpost Mountain from the parking lot:
Bob, Nick, Allen, Janet, and I hiked from the Spur Cross Trailhead to the top of Black Mesa. It was an arduous hike. We started at 8:00am and hiked all day with few rests, returning to our vehicle after dark. Total distance was 14 miles with over 3100 feet of total ascent. The trails in Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area were in good condition. We had difficulty following the trails once we entered Tonto National Forest. Tall grass has grown up over the rocks blocking our view of many of the cairns. If it were not for the track that I had loaded into my GPS, we probably would not have found our way. Hiking uphill through tall grass over unseen rocks was very tiring. Despite the difficulty, I had fun on the hike anyway.
Below are two views of the fortress. We passed the path up to the top on our way back (adding two miles to our hike), but we were running short on daylight, so we left it for another day.
We took a short break after passing through one of the fences.
A view of Black Mesa. At the start of the day, we thought that we’d be hiking up a different nearby formation.
Bob, after emerging from one section of tall grass.
Allen, Janet, and Nick on an easy section of the hike.
A view from part way up the final ascent of Black Mesa:
It turns out that there’s a very good trail, complete with switchbacks, up to the top of Black Mesa. We couldn’t find it on the way up, however. We did find it on the way down, but it became harder and harder to follow (due to the grass) as we descended.
Another view from part way up:
We were surprised to find a tire, painted yellow, in a tree at the top of the mesa.
A view from the top:
A view of Elephant Mountain at the right and the fortress, below it to the left:
A barrel cactus alongside the trail. The trail is quite good here.
Two more views of the fortress…
We went the wrong way and missed seeing this large saguaro on our way out.
Black Mesa is the formation to the left. We started the day thinking that we’d be hiking the mesa at the right. In the morning light, it looked more like a “black mesa” than the other one.
Another view of the Fortress with the sun getting lower in the sky.
Another view of Black Mesa (left) and Sugarloaf Mountain (right):
Another view of the Fortress:
A view from the pass between Elephant Mountain and the Fortress:
More views from the Elephant Mountain Trail:
I think these last three photos were taken from the Spur Cross Trail:
Bob, Nick, Marilyn, and I hiked five miles out (and five miles back) on the Barnhardt Trail on Sunday. Total ascent was over 2,000 feet.
We heard, and then saw, an Arizona Black Rattlesnake. I had never seen this type of rattlesnake before.
I think this might be fleabane:
A view of the waterfall; only a small trickle of water was flowing through it on our visit.
Just outside of the alcove leading into the waterfall:
A dead tree – one of many – a short ways up the trail from the waterfall:
Bob scouted ahead while I was taking shots of the waterfall with my tripod. He recommended this shot of the pincushion (mammillaria) cacti.
This panorama was constructed from 33 separate exposures. Eleven three shot brackets were processed individually to form eleven exposure merged files. These eleven files were edited in Lightroom and then combined into a panorama in Photoshop.