Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Uraling to Picacho Peak and ironwood Forest National Monument

First sunrise from the BLM campsite near Marana, AZ

Soon as temperatures got into the mid 40s, I geared up and rode the 16 miles or so to the Picacho Peak State Park as the morning light was highlighting it nicely:

I should have researched it a bit more because, the park is basically a hiking park in that what roads do exist are to either lead you to trail head parking on the campground.  Note: the campground appeared more than 3/4 full as I rode by.

Picacho Peak, imposing and eye-catching from a distance proved a bit less impressive close up.  I didn't spend a lot of time there as the light from the sun was all wrong for pictures of the mountain from within park boundaries.

The pictures I took from nearby Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch (Yes, Ostrich Ranch where you can also feed Manta Rays) proved "meh".  Nope, didn't go in to check out the Ostriches or the Manta Rays.

Looking to the west, I saw an interesting rock formation in the distance and so I made my way to the bedroom community of Red Rock and took Sacos Road west seeking to close with that rock formation.

Many miles of dirt, rocks, gravel, dips and ruts later, I reached the junction with Silverbell Road.  I took this south for a bit to get me closer to the rock formation and I found myself close soon enough.

Found a trail off Silverbell Road which lead to some really small dispersed camping sites (barely room for a car and a tent) surrounded by many Saguaro Cacti.  Turns out I'd accidentally strayed into the Ironwood Forest National Monument.  A destination I'd planned for this week but not today.  Oh well.

Parked Fiona at one of the small camping spots and took off my riding gear to hike in closer to the rock formation in question:

Less than a mile later:

 The highest peak is Ragged Top and second one is Wolcott Peak
according the the PeakFinder App.

Once I rode out of the dispersed camping spot, I turned south on Silverbell till it with another road, and found a spot for this picture of Ragged Top:

Further progress on this particular road was barred by a gate so I turned back to Silverbell Road and rode it back to civilization.  By this time, I was running low on gas so I rode back towards Red Rock, a brief stint on I-10 (very busy traffic going very fast) and finally got back on the frontage road that leads one to Park Link Road. 

I rode back towards the state park where I'd seen a Shell Gas Station and fueled up.

On the way back to Park Link Road, atmospheric conditions looked good fro the mountains to the west so:

The formation on the right was what attracted me earlier in the morning
as I left Picacho Peak State Park

It was after 2:30 PM by the time I got back to the campsite and had a late lunch.  So no more riding today, two "day events" in one day....a bit tired.

The place is getting crowded, I can almost see my next door neighbor's motorhome through the cacti and bushes!

Here's the second sunset:

This shot of Picacho Peak was from the roof of the URRV, not too shabby
when using Sunset Mode in the camera.


SonjaM said...

Sunsets + cacti are a perfect match. Beautifully set in scene, Dom.

RichardM said...

Were you thinking of climbing Picacho Peak?

redlegsrides said...

Danke Schöne SonjaM!

redlegsrides said...

RichardM, A. I didn’t know you’re allowed to climb it. B. Are you nuts? :)

redlegsrides said...

Just checked the trail info, RichardM, and irs a 1.6 mile trail to the top....rated as Difficult. I may have to check it ankle is already starting to hurt.

redlegsrides said...

Like Angels Landing, there’s chains along the way to help you ascend...gloves are recommended.