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Posts Tagged ‘Santa Ritas’

Starting out at Temporal Gulch TH

India, Silver, Jasmine, Leigh Anne and me starting out at Temporal Gulch TH

On my Arizona Trail Trek, one of the public hikes that I offered was a Women’s Backpacking Trip from Mormon Lake to Flagstaff. It was a lot of fun and I met some new friends and reconnected with old ones. Those of us who live in Tucson got together for another trip on the Arizona Trail, this time in the Santa Ritas.

We watched the weather- 80% chance of rain- hoping the forecast would be wrong. The trip across town to Bonnie’s was in driving rain. Met up with India, Silver, and Leigh Anne and her mini-donkey, Jasmine and loaded up for our shuttle to the Temporal Trailhead. We stopped for delicious breakfast burritos at the Shell station in Sonoita and made our way from Patagonia toward the TH. It was wet and muddy and we couldn’t see any of the surrounding mountains. Thankfully, it was a warm rain and not too windy- great umbrella weather.

Silver got us all festive beanies, even one for Jasmine!

Silver got us all festive beanies, even one for Jasmine!

We said goodbye to Bonnie and headed down the road- we had about 6.5 miles to get to the more remote Walker Basin TH. Jasmine had gotten wet on the ride over and seemed to look at us like, “Really? We’re going out in that?” She is adorable and packs all of Leigh Anne’s gear so that she can walk with a very small pack. The roadwalking made it easy for us to chat and catch up with each other. Normally one of the draws of this passage is the wonderful views of Josephine Peak and Mount Wrightson, not today. It was fun being in the rain and clouds for a change. Water was running all along the road, no need for heavy water carries today!

Roadwalking in the rain

Roadwalking in the rain

Jasmine on the Arizona Trail

Jasmine on the Arizona Trail

As the rain picked up, I decided to try a compactor bag rainskirt because I hate rain pants. It worked amazingly well! I cut open the bottom of the bag, put it on with a belt, and it worked all day long with ventilation so I didn’t get sweaty and wet from the inside like I do with rain pants. The sun was trying to break through the clouds in the afternoon and we were treated to the most wonderful rainbow that developed into a double. It was so interesting because it went from the road into the canyon below, so we were actually looking down on it. So cool!!

Tiny turtle found in the road

Tiny turtle found in the road

First outing trying a trash compactor bag rainskirt- worked great!

First outing trying a trash compactor bag rainskirt- worked great!

Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow

Silver at the end of the rainbow

Silver at the end of the rainbow

Reached the Walker Basin TH around 1 and took a break so Jasmine could feast on some green grass. Nice fancy new sign up there that Shawn and his crew put in since my hike. During the climb to the saddle it was raining the finest mist I’ve ever seen. It was so pretty on the golden grasses. Patches of blue sky and and Patagonia appeared and it seemed the rain was behind us. In fact, it became sunny and clear once we got to the saddle. Clouds only remained on the summits of Josephine and Wrightson.

Last time I was here, I had 734 miles to go!

Last time I was here, I had 734 miles to go!

Clouds covering Josephine and Wrightson

Clouds covering Josephine and Wrightson

Wrightson wearing a cloud

Wrightson wearing a cloud

Such a cute mini-donkey

Such a cute mini-donkey

After descending into Casa Blanca Canyon, we took a break at Bear Spring, which had multiple piles of scat from its namesake. We filtered water for our dry camp and continued on. I wanted to get out of the canyon for a warmer camp, temperatures were dropping fast. Wrightson finally appeared toward sunset and the full moon was glowing over Sonoita and the Mustang Mountains in the grassy valley below. We contoured along the conglomerate slope and came to Hole-in-the-Rock. The mini-donkey fit through with ease.

Bear Spring

Bear Spring

Leigh Anne and Jasmine

Leigh Anne and Jasmine

Wrightson finally appears at the end of the day

Wrightson finally appears at the end of the day

Moonrise and Mustang Mountains

Moonrise and Mustang Mountains

Hole in the Rock

Hole in the Rock

We timed it perfectly to arrive at camp to watch the sunset and get set up before it got dark. There was a perfect Jasmine-sized spot to tie her under a juniper tree. We did a little gift exchange game around the campfire and I finally gave in and set up a tent. Glad I did, because even though it was clear, my tent was soaked in the morning.

Sunset from camp

Sunset from camp

The sunrise was one to remember. The Mustangs and Whetstones were true Sky Islands rising out of the low clouds in the valley. Watching the subtle changes of light I felt so fortunate to get to experience moments like this.

Mustangs in the Morning

Mustangs in the Morning

Actually slept in a tent because it was really dewy out

Actually slept in a tent because it was really dewy out

My Gossamer Gear Mariposa backpack made packing the wet tent a lot easier, there is an external sleeve that the tent fits into that keeps it away from the rest of the pack. After breakfast, we contoured along Ditch Mountain and kept seeing pile after pile of scat, small and full of berries, possibly coati? We refilled water at Tunnel Spring, where the series of interpretive signs about gold mining in the Santa Ritas starts. It was a clear, beautiful morning and Wrightson was the star of the show. The trail reached Gardner Canyon and we walked the road that followed the stream. There is one part in particular that I like that has pretty rockbound pools and we stopped for a snack break, with Jasmine begging for granola and fruit.

Conglomerate of Ditch Mountain

Conglomerate of Ditch Mountain

Grassy trail with Josephine Peak and Wrightson

Grassy trail with Josephine Peak and Wrightson

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Great spot for lunch in Gardner Canyon

Great spot for lunch in Gardner Canyon

We had a short distance after lunch to the end of the passage, where Bonnie was waiting with ice cream for all of us!

What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

What fun! Hope to hike with these ladies and Jasmine again soon.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!

In Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson news, we’ve released many animals back to the wild. It’s such a good feeling to see them return to where they are supposed to be. Thanks for donating to help house and feed these wonderful creatures.
Donate Button with Credit Cards

Barn Owls

Barn Owls

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View toward Patagonia from Josephine Peak

I am now back from working on the river this summer and transitioning to a land-based lifestyle. It may take a while, however- the other night it was storming and I woke up worrying about if everything on the boat was covered. I did six commercial trips this summer with Arizona River Runners and Grand Canyon Whitewater. It was amazing and I learned so much about the Grand Canyon and boating. Then at the end of my season, I was invited last-minute on a private 8-day trip on the lower half of the river just for fun. I’ll write about that in an upcoming entry.

As much as I love the Grand Canyon, I missed Tucson- every time I came back from a trip the mountains were more and more green. I didn’t have the time (or quite frankly the energy) to do any hikes around here this summer, so I was excited to get out in my own neck of the woods for a change. You know the place you live is pretty when you miss it while at the Grand Canyon!

Santa Rita Panorama- click to enlarge

I called Wendy to see if she wanted to go to the Santa Ritas, but it turned out she’d already made plans with Cindy and her friend Bobby to do Josephine Peak, so I got to tag along. This was a great destination that I probably wouldn’t have thought of, as it is off the Super Trail and I always take Baldy up the mountain.

Josephine Canyon

We had perfect weather, big fluffy clouds with a couple of sprinkles just before we had the final push to the peak. The Ritas are super-lush with wildflowers everywhere. We took Baldy to Josephine Saddle, then the Super Trail to Riley Saddle and the turnoff for the Josephine Peak “Trail”. I really enjoyed the open views and easy grade on the Super Trail.

Our objective comes into view

A parade of Chrome Domes

We hit the peak turnoff and then the fun immediately began. Cairn-hunting, log-hopping, side-hilling, and brush fighting. Some of us were more successful than others at the brush fighting and a certain person who I hike with often had an up-close and personal encounter. Friendship is plucking pricklies from a posterior that isn’t yours…

Wendy comes through the downed trees and mini-pines

Just a little brushy…

Rincons in the distance

We went up along the ridge that goes from Riley Saddle for a bit and then had to sidehill toward another ridge that led to the summit. After we reached the summit ridge, the tread became more apparent and switchbacked steeply up toward the summit. The summit had fantastic views of Wrightson to the north and I could see the path of the Arizona Trail below. Cindy had her celebratory beer and I got out Micro Chicken for his summit shot.

Hiking up the final ridge, there were switchbacks among the downed logs

Wrightson, Bobby, Cindy, and me

Video from the summit:

Micro Chicken bags another summit

After the enjoyment at the summit, it was time to fight the brush again back down to the Super Trail.

Cool tree courtesy of the 2005 Florida Fire

Log-hopping and sidehilling through brush (also courtesy of the Florida Fire)

Looking back at the summit ridge of Josephine Peak

Glad to be back in the Ritas!

Aaah, back to the big, fancy trail.

We were elated at the wide tread and log-free Super Trail and Cindy turned into Downhill Turbo Cindy.  At Josephine Saddle we decided to take the Super Trail to the Roger’s Rock/Pipeline route because Wendy hadn’t seen it before. It was gorgeous, with running water and changing sycamore trees. Spent the whole day on the mountain and topped it off with ice cream on the way home. I don’t think days get much better than that.

Through the flowers on the Super Trail with Hopkins on the left

Mountain Spiny Lizard

Beautiful sycamores and running water on the Roger’s Rock Route

I am also back volunteering at Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson, I missed my birds and other critters!
I had a memorable encounter the other day when a Harris Hawk jumped onto my back while I was cleaning its cage. Normally this would not be a good thing, but this particular hawk was raised for a month in someone’s bathtub when it was very little. It has been around people its whole life. After a bit, it made itself comfortable on top of my head! It’s good to be back.

100% of donations go toward housing and feeding the animals at the rehab:

Silly Harris Hawk!

Harris Hawk Head

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Elephant Head

I returned to Elephant Head  after two years with “Santa Rita” Bill Bens and Wendy. It was Wendy’s first time up and though she was a little nervous on the final scramble, she pushed through like a champ to the summit! Click on the picture below to go to the album from that trip. The captions tell the story, but if you want to read more about the hike, click here to go to my writeup from 2 years ago. :

Elephant Head 1-31-12

One of my favorite pictures of the set was when Bill met Micro Chicken, who has been riding along in my pack for several months now.

Bill meets Micro Chicken

My friend Taylor was in Tubac the next week and wanted to meet for a hike, so I suggested we do Little Elephant Head. I hadn’t been up there before, but it looked like a great destination from my hike of Elephant Head the week prior. The hike starts out at the same TH as Elephant Head, then turns left onto a spur trail that follows the undulating ridge out to the Little Elephant. This turn is blocked by a row of rocks at the saddle with the connecting ridge before the trail heads downhill toward the Quantrell Mine Tr. junction.

Floating rainbow over the Santa Ritas

The ridgeline that leads to Little Elephant Head

I know Taylor from a volunteer project that I did in the Grand Canyon in 2010 with the GC Hiker’s and Backpackers Association. He’s a hiking guide in the Canyon and has an infectious exuberance for the outdoors.

Taylor Branch serves up hors d'ouevers in style on the South Kaibab Trail!

It was on that trip that Taylor mentioned that he also did volunteer work on the Colorado River with Game and Fish. He said he’d put in a good word for me and that is how I got to go on my river trip last year. On my 12-day river trip last May, I fell in love with the Grand Canyon all over again. When I got back, I called the boatman in charge of my trip and asked him about the possibility of working for a commercial outfitter as a swamper (a boatman’s assistant and general gofer) next summer. He said that if I wanted to that he would put in a good word for me with his friend at Arizona River Runners. I said absolutely! I spoke to the person in charge of hiring numerous times on the phone last summer, asking all sorts of questions and finding out what the requirements were.

Looking back at Lava

After getting my Wilderness First Responder certification, I called and called again to try and set up a interview. Finally, in January I got one. I sat down with the owners and the first thing they said was, “We’re happy to talk to you, but we want you to know right off the bat that we don’t have any jobs available at this time.” I was a little sad, but went on with the interview. Well, I’m calling it the most epic interview ever because the next day, the owner called and said that he would like to offer me six trips this summer and a full-time position with a track to become a river guide! My first trip launches in May and I could not possibly be more excited. I don’t think I have even grasped how my life has just changed. It will all become very real come mid-May.

I wish it was May already!

So back to the hike, I was excited to see Taylor and give him a big hug for getting me on that river trip last year. He had never been to this part of the Santa Ritas and was really impressed with the views and the giant ocotillo forest. The route was very easy to follow, well beat-in and trimmed back. The ridge weaved this way and that and finally approached the exposed summit ridge. There was no exposed scrambling as on the big Elephant, instead there was a nice path that led to the top. We took a long break, enjoying the views.

Taylor Branch and Elephant Head

Summits of Elephant and Little Elephant

Summit ridge

From the looks of the register, it’s pretty popular with the locals, and I can see why. It’s a gorgeous little hike! Perfect if you don’t have the time or the energy to go “full Elephant”. There’s a couple of features like the Devil’s Cashbox and the Devil’s Throne that look particularly interesting, I’m going to have to take Santa Rita Bill up on his offer to check them out.

Massive ocotillo forest

Arizona Rainbow Cactus

2 summits in 2 weeks

Mount Hopkins

I am also going to have to come back when the ocotillo forests are green and blooming. It must be incredible!

In Wildlife Rehabilitation news, the second annual Birds, Blues, and Bellydance fundraiser to benefit Wildlife Rehabilitation Northwest Tucson will be on Saturday, April 14th from 7-10 pm at Sky Bar- 536 N. 4th Ave. Live blues by The Railbirdz, birds from the wildlife rehab, and bellydance performances throughout the evening. 15% of all sales at both Sky Bar and Brooklyn Pizza will also be donated, so come by and have a beer and a pizza for a great cause. Hope to see you there! Here’s a picture from last year’s event:

Citan the Harris Hawk

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I have summited Mount Wrightson, highest point in the Santa Ritas at 9456 feet, many times. It is one of my favorite hikes in all of Southern Arizona. The 360 degree views from up top are worth every ounce of effort it takes to get to the summit. Every time I hike up there I think about how amazing it would be to camp at Baldy Saddle, which has an incredible view of Wrightson and the surrounding area, and last week, I finally did it. Tucson has been oppressively hot, so 8,750′ Baldy Saddle sounded like the ideal place to hike up and out of the heat.

Yep, I was right- it was an awesome campsite!

I had the best intentions of getting an early start, but didn’t end up setting foot on the Old Baldy trail until almost 9 am. The Old Baldy trail is well shaded and mercifully, it was overcast for parts of the climb that were in an exposed burn area. There were hundreds of butterflies on the lower part of the trail.

Two-Tailed Swallowtail Butterfly on Firecracker Penstemon

I got up to Josephine Saddle at 7100′ without incident and took a short break. My very first solo backpacking trip was an overnighter here with my dog Zeus back in 2005. Unfortunately, I no longer feel comfortable camping there by myself due to the increase in drug smugglers using the area. Thankfully, they seem to stay away from the highcountry. The Old Baldy Trail is the route I usually take to Baldy Saddle, but there are several different trails that intersect there. When it is cooler, I will try out some of the other trails. The temperature was much cooler above Josephine Saddle, and I took my time on the hike up. Normally, I’m rushing up this trail to summit Wrightson, it was nice to not have the time constraints of a dayhike. There were many wildflowers, and blooming bergamot beautifully scented the air.

Fragrant Bergamot lined the trail

Flax

View from Old Baldy Tr. above Josephine Saddle

Paintbrush and Pines

I reached Bellows Spring at 8100′ and took a break to eat a snack and drink and filter a bunch of water. Baldy Spring, which was close by my camp, was reported to be bone dry. So I filled up every container I had, because I needed enough for a dry camp and also for the next day’s explorations. Two gallons weigh about 16 pounds, but it was the price I had to pay for a ridgetop camp with a view. When I put my pack back on to ascend the 32 switchbacks up to Baldy Saddle, it felt like a moose had slipped into my pack. Ugh.

Shady Bellows Spring

Love these metal signs they use in the Santa Ritas

Those last couple of switchbacks are usually tough, but even more so with a pack bulging with water. I reached Baldy Saddle around 2pm and scouted around for a campsite. There was one right at the Crest/Summit trail intersection, but I was looking for something a little more secluded. There is a small peak just above Baldy Saddle with a commanding view of Mt. Wrightson, Baboquivari, and the Whetstone, Mustang, and Huachuca Mountains. Home for the night. I also came up with a plan of where I would move my camp if there was a storm with lightning. (very important, as monsoon season was to start any day now)

I saw some rain in the distance, and set up my tent. I was dismayed to find that I was missing a tent stake. I was able to improvise with a hiking pole, but the pitch was sloppy and the fly made a lot of noise. It started to sprinkle and I went into my tent and took a nap. The rain didn’t last long, and I spent the rest of the day reading, writing in my journal, and admiring the views. I could trace the path of the Arizona Trail below (one of my favorite pastimes from a high vantage point), and even saw the Border Patrol Blimp in the sky. The clouds were in perfect position for an epic sunset and I had a front-row seat at the top of my little peak.

Looking toward the Huachucas

The Border Patrol Blimp above the Huachucas

Rain sweeps in behind Mt. Hopkins

I could try to describe the sunset, but these shots will give you a better idea than I could with mere words:

7:13 pm

Looking north at the Crest- 7:19 pm

Looking down on Madera Canyon- 7:23 pm

Mt. Wrightson- 7:32 pm

My favorite of the evening- 7:34 pm

Alpenglow on Mount Wrightson- 7:36 pm

7:41 pm

The sun finally dips behind the Coyote Mtns. at 7:43 pm

The evening was windy and it rained again for a little while- my tent was blowing around and making a bunch of noise so I was relieved when I woke up around 1 am and the skies had completely cleared. I dragged my pad and sleeping bag out of the tent and slept like a baby under the thick canopy of stars. The next morning,  instead of summiting Mt. Wrightson again, I went on the Crest Trail to explore a bit and summit Mount Ian. It is the highest point on the Santa Rita Crest at 9146 ft. The Crest Trail was incredibly beautiful- even though much of it had been burned int the Florida Fire. Unfortunately no tree cover made for exposed hiking and it was getting warm, so I didn’t go all the way to Florida Saddle. Instead, I turned back toward camp and did a small bushwhack to the summit of Mt. Ian. This little-visited colorful peak has commanding views of Mount Wrightson and the surrounding area. I wrote up a hike description on HikeArizona.com that you can refer to if you’d like to bag this peak. I signed and read the register on the peak that went back over 10 years. I was the first person to sign it since May 22- a month and a half ago.

Unburnt area on the Crest Trail

Looking East toward the Rincons

Final piece before the summit of Mt. Ian

Mount Wrightson from the colorful summit of Mount Ian

After being swarmed by ladybugs, I hiked back to my camp and took a quick nap. I awoke to find clouds mounting and decided it was time to head down the mountain.

Clouds mounting in the afternoon

I made it to Josephine Saddle without it raining and I couldn’t bear the thought of going back down to Tucson, where temps would be over 100 degrees. I decided to stay at Josephine till the rain started in earnest. Finally, around 2pm, I started down the trail, using my umbrella. It worked so much better than a hot, stuffy rain jacket! I took a couple final looks back at the mountain and hoped that I’d be back in the Santa Ritas soon. I had no idea…

Looking back at the Santa Rita Crest- Mt Ian is the second from the left, Baldy Saddle the forested notch on the right

Rain-kissed wild geranium

I ended up having a rare Saturday off and went with the Tucson Hiking Meetup group on a beautiful loop hike to Roger’s Rock. Any day in Madera Canyon is a good one and I jumped at the chance to go back even though I had come back from Baldy Saddle only the day before yesterday. The hike up felt like a sauna, but at least there was plenty of shade and cloud cover. There are some really gorgeous sycamores on the route, but not much flowing water until after we visited Roger’s Rock.

On the Pipeline Route

Roger's Rock

Roger’s Rock is a perfect lunch spot, and if I had been hiking alone, I would have probably thrown in a nap as well. As good as the view was, nothing beat the show that we got from two vibrant-blue male Mountain Spiny Lizards:

They were incredible- pushing each other around, doing push-ups, and menacingly opening their mouths without a care about the fact that there was a group of people taking pictures and talking right above them. The reason that they were especially colorful is it is the season to look nice for the ladies.

What expressions!

Domination

We hiked back to the Super Trail and took that downhill. I haven’t been on this trail in a long time, and I enjoyed the running water in the creek and more giant sycamores. When we got back to the parking lot, we had a potluck picnic and it turned out to be a pretty great spread. One of the guys works as a baker in Tubac, and he brought all sorts of delicious breads and brownies. Just as we packed up after our picnic, it started to rain. A great day spent with a very friendly group.

On the Wildlife Rehab Fundraiser front, it is still the season for babies, and one of the people I volunteer with specializes in rehabbing baby hummingbirds:

Baby Hummingbirds

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This week, I teamed up again with Bill Bens, who runs the Tucson Hikers Yahoo Group, and Mitch Stevens (my companions for my Ragged Top hike) for a hike up Elephant Head in the Western Santa Ritas. I have never been to this part of the Santa Ritas before, but have always been intrigued by this peak:

Elephant Head

Elephant Head and Baboquivari

The description of the hike mentions 2nd and 3rd class scrambling, so I definitely did not want to attempt this peak solo for the first time. Bill had been up here a number of times and was helpful to figure out the route on the last part of the hike.

The parking area for the Agua Caliente route is in grasslands and oak trees at 4200 ft. I just love the vegetation at this elevation. You get these tall yellow grasses, with oak trees and the occasional juniper mixed in for good measure.

Mount Hopkins from the Ocotillo forest

You can see Elephant Head if you are driving on I-19, it’s the closest peak in the Santa Ritas to the freeway.  Although from the freeway it looks precipitous and fully improbable that there is a hiking route, a very well-beat-in path exists to the top. I would rate this hike as advanced, but the trail in and the route up to the top are both pretty well visible and cairned along the way. The first part of the hike takes you along an old roadbed that crosses Agua Caliente Creek, which was running from the recent rains. There were a number of places along this hike that would make beautiful destinations unto themselves.

Bill and Mitch crossing Agua Caliente Creek

The old roadbed climbs to a saddle then contours around to the junction with another route into the canyon, the Elephant Head Bike Trail.  We also passed the turnoff to the Little Elephant Head summit. There were many purple Santa Rita Prickly Pears on this part of the hike, some that were purple on one side and green on the other.

Purple on one side, green on the other

There was also a healthy population of Arizona Rainbow Cactus, like this one growing out of the rock:

Arizona Rainbow Cactus

We met the only other people on this hike at the Quantrell Mine Junction, which was all decked out with a brand new sign.

Quantrell Mine Tr. Jct.

After contouring on the roadbed, it’s time to work for it as you approach the Chino Canyon hiker’s route. As you contour around, you will see a very deep, rugged canyon between you and Elephant head. This is Chino Canyon and the end of the nice, contouring trail. The turnoff was marked by a collapsed cairn which we rebuilt. The turnoff is just as you round the corner and reach a rocky outcropping. Here is the view:

View from the turnoff into Chino Canyon

From the Chino Canyon trail junction, it had been described that the trail was a well beat-in path steeply down Chino Canyon to the creek crossing that had several nice little waterfalls from the recent rains.

Waterfall in Chino Canyon

I was really impressed with the condition of the hiker’s route in Chino Canyon, it was more well-defined than some trails I’ve been on, and it looked like there had been recent maintenance. From the Chino Canyon crossing, it is a steep but well-marked trail up to the ridge that goes up to the summit. This is the most difficult part of the hike in my opinion. We took it slow and made it up to the saddle where the true routefinding and scrambling begins.

Summit Ridge

If you use hiking poles, this is a good place to stash them for the return, from this point to the summit requires the use of your hands to pull yourself up and through the cairned maze of rock. I was happy that I had Bill along, because he had been up here before, and had placed many of the cairns that we were using to find our way.

Chino Canyon and Little Elephant Head behind me

The scrambling part of this hike was a lot easier than the Ragged Top hike we’d done last month. The rock on Elephant Head is grippy, and stable, with big handholds. There are ample cairns to follow on this part of the hike.

There was a couple of tight squeezes past oak trees, and some 3rd class scrambling, but on the whole there was very little exposure.

Tight Squeeze

Mitch is excited to be on the Elephant!

Every time it looked like we could go no further, a route would appear to lead us to the next section, until we reached the actual summit ridge, which was very easy because it was solid rock.

Summit ridge of Elephant Head

We reached the 5641′ summit in about 2 1/2 hours, and the views were spectacular!!

I added my elephant pendant that I made to the other elephants in the summit cairn, and we all enjoyed the view for a bit. We couldn’t linger too long, however, because it was an afternoon hike, and we wanted to get back before we lost daylight. The rock made for solid footing on the way down, and there was only one part that made me a little uncomfortable, but the obstacle was easily solved once I figured out where to put my hands and feet.

Carefully descending

I love this shot that Bill took of me and Mitch, it really gives a neat perspective on the summit ridge:

Summit Ridge

The descent didn’t take very long, and soon we were back at the saddle, ready to cross steep and deep Chino Canyon once again. The bottom of Chino with its waterfalls would be a great place to come back and camp someday. One last 500 foot climb out of the canyon back took us back to the wide old roadbed of the Quantrell Mine Trail. We caught the last vestiges of the sunset and made it back to the truck just as the light was fading.

Last light

The hike took us 5 hours total, and my GPS showed 2700 feet of accumulated elevation gain. Not too shabby for an afternoon’s work! Speaking of my GPS, a 6 year old Garmin Etrex Vista, it looks like it may be on its last legs. It has been turning itself off even with full batteries, and the screen sometimes won’t come on. Not a great thing for someone starting the Grand Enchantment Trail soon. A new one is a bit out of my price range right now. I was wondering if any of my readers might have an old GPS that they would like to sell or donate. I can be contacted at aztrail4fms@live.com.

And now for another picture from the Wildlife Rehab Fundraiser- here’s a beautiful Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

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