Monday, January 13, 2020

Hiking to the top of Picacho Peak,AZ

I'd had my reservations, what with my bum ankle and all, but today decided might as well see how tough it was to hike to the top of nearby Picacho  Peak.  I had sure taken enough pictures of it over the last few days!

Got there around 9:30AM and by 9:43 had stowed away my riding gear and started hiking up  Hunter Trail which leads one to the top of the peak.  The other way is to walk about 4 miles more roundtrip from the Sunset Trail Head further into the park; its supposed to be an easier climb but Hunter was shorter at 1.6 miles one way so that's where I went.

View from near the Hunter Trail Head, first stop was "The Saddle"
pictured in the middle

As with my Urals, no pics on the way up, so starting with me on the top of the peak (which I reached shortly after 11:25 AM:

 View to the southeast, you can see the commercial RV Park
down there

 Looking north to the secondary peaks neat to Picacho Peak

 View of distant hills and peaks from the top of Picacho Peak

 Picacho Peak's Campground

 Picacho Peak from nearby peak which also has a trail leading to it:

Once I was rested and done with pictures, I proceeded on back down the same way I came up.  Here's some of the "gnarlier" portions of the trail which required the use of steel cables to help hikers maintain balance, pull themselves up, support themselves on the way down:

This following portion gave me the most pause, but didn't turn out to be the toughest one to negotiate.

 Looking down

 Looking back up

 Further down the mountain side

 You can see the posts supporting the cables shown in the previous pic

 Yep, the top right is where the previous pic is located.
You get to it via a narrow rocky trail that hugs the above wall

This was a "fun one", steep descent to a blind corner:

Turning the corner, a narrow rocky ledge:

Which led to this rockier passage:

Another steep descent, was making my way down carefully and:

Almost put my hand down on this little guy who refused to move in spite of shooing motions by me as I hung onto the steel cable with my left hand!

Finally was able to slide down a bit more and secure another handhold further down and make my way down past Mr Lizard.

I came to a spot where some nice views of rock wall and valley presented themselves:

Continuing on:

Here's the junction where Hunter Trail and Sunset Trail meet up.  If you'd come up Sunset Trail, you would have been climbing up the switchbacks on this side of the mountain's west side.

Continuing on, more rocky trail hiking along the wall:

The following portion proved the toughest for me, was having trouble finding good foot holds so had to use my arms more to pull myself up the rock face.  Very tiring.

 Looking up

 Looking back down

 More pulling oneself up the steep rock face

Made it back to The Saddle and this time took a picture of the sign.

 The area around The Saddle

The northern side of the saddle

The rest of the hike is rated moderate and was in the shadows of the peak so no pics taken as I saw nothing really gnarly.

By 2:30 PM, I was back in the trail head parking lot with Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol.  No injuries, my ankle was hurting a tiny bit but not bad thanks to having taken Vitamin I beforehand.

Checked in with Martha with the following stats per the iphone's health app:

The Hunter Trail is rated as moderate to difficult in its upper half and it sure was to me!  Quite challenging given my present lack of physical conditioning.  Glad I did it though.  I hope you enjoyed the pictures.


Bluekat said...

Wow Dom, I’m impressed! That is a tough hike/ climb. Wonderful scenery though of the distant mountains and of the gnarly trail. I’d love to hike it.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Bluekat, some parts were definitely challenging!

RichardM said...

Thank you, I enjoyed the pictures. I think that I’d do that hike.

SonjaM said...

Well done, Dom. Not sure I would trust the ropes though...

Artie & Leinen's Grand Adventure said...

Dom, you are now ready for Angel’s Landing! I would so love to do that! I wonder if some parts would be tougher with my short legs. The pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing! Are we going to see you in a few days? We will be in Benson tomorrow night.

redlegsrides said...

You’re welcome RichardM though I’d gotten the impression you’d done me the hike already!

redlegsrides said...

Thanks SonjaM, though they’re not ropes but steel cables....plenty strong....gloves are highly recommended though, sweaty palms and steel cables not a good combination.

redlegsrides said...

I think Angels Landing might be doable. If you’re planning on transiting to Benson via Tucson and I-10 we could possibly meet for say lunch somewhere north of Tucson? Otherwise you’ll be 85 miles plus to my SE and I’m heading towards Phoenix soon