After Pinnacle Ridge, I had a few days before I had to be back in town. I decided to pick up a few peaks along the way. The AZ brush left me in the mood for some easier trail hikes. I started with Piestwea downtown Phoenix. This little peak near Camelback Mountain is another staple of the local fitness crowd. Itís nearly as popular as Camelback itself. I arrived 30 minutes before dawn and secured one of the last open parking spaces.
On the mountain above, I could see a line of headlamps ascending, but when I started there was just enough predawn light to leave my headlamp in the car. The trail is worn to death and there are a lot concrete and stone improvements, in various states of decay. I was surprised that most of the other hikers stopped at the false summit. The highest point is not really that much harder to get to. I spent some time on the summit talking to a woman who had moved to Phoenix from WA. She told me her daughter back in WA was just starting to get into serious mountaineering and that all her spare time is spent in the mountains. She showed me some photos on her phone.
Vulture Peak - 3660í
As I worked my way back towards home I stopped again, this time for Vulture Peak, which is a striking rocky uprising near the town of Wickenburg. On the west side of the peak a trail passes through nice desert terrain with saguaros and cholla. The official trail ends at a saddle between the main peak to the north and some rock fins to the south.
Above the saddle I scrambled up a gully which turned into an easy chimney. There might be a class 2 route further right, but nothing obvious that I could see. Nice views.
Cherum Peak - 6983í
The directions said Big Wash Road. First I tried to drive up the road of the same name from the town of Chloride. I knew something was wrong however, because it was really rough and eventually impossible for my car. Studying the map I noted that Big Wash Road makes a big loop. I went back to the highway for the other side of the loop and had no further difficultly.
It was cold and windy during the hike, especially on the summit. Pretty straightforward overall. Just pass through 3 or 4 unlocked gates and then class 2+ at the end. No register currently.
Happy Holidays NWHikers!
On the way back down I saw something run across the trail into the bushes right front of me. A deer? Then I heard some weird nasal huffing as several animals were acting a bit panicked and running around. The largest creature was on a slope above me. It stopped and made a strange barking noise. What the hell is that?
I launched a few rocks in itís general direction. I wasnít trying to hit the animal, but just let it know that I am of the dominant species. Furthermore, I donít take kindly to being barked at unexpectedly by weird animals. A few more of these things ran out of the bushes and went charging up the slope to get away from me. From the squat rear end and long coarse hair, I decided they were javelinas. My first encounter in the wild. They were somewhat larger than I would expect, especially the one that barked at me. Deep hoof marks in the dirt confirmed at least the one was a hefty animal.
Yeah, ya don't wanna mess w/javelinas. I think they generally try to flee but can be aggressive if they feel cornered.
They used to only be in the mtns., but in recent yrs. made their way to my mom's neighborhood. I saw 3 of them in the front yard (probably eating prickly pear) when I was visiting in early Nov. A couple wks. later my sister saw 2 of them in the street, eating the neighbor's leftover Halloween pumpkin. Apparently they love pumpkins so the city was urging people not to leave pumpkins out. Too late!
-------------- Home is where the hiking is.
"Peaks that have come and gone four times should halt a man in his steps." -- William O. Douglas
Every time someone complains about a trail like Si being crowded here I think of my hike up Piestawa on a pleasant winter day in January. There were whole football teams going up and down along with seemingly half the residents of Phoenix!
A break in the flow
Obviously I'm exaggerating, but at least they built the trailhead parking facilities to handle the traffic.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum You cannot attach files in this forum You can download files in this forum