Been wanting to see this view atop the Supes for a long time, and glad we finally got around to it. Our group of 5 - myself, Ken, Eric, Brian, and Ben - left Tempe at 5 am (yuck), and made it to Rogers Trough after first light. Soft rays of sun touched Iron Mountain in the cold morning air as we donned jackets and started moving down Rogers Canyon. The creek was iced over solid all the way to the Reavis Trail turn-off. We shed layers here and cruised up to Reavis Saddle in the morning sunlight, taking a break up top. The ponderosa forest that appeared north of the saddle was a delight, and more ice pools/falls and snow patches showed up as we moved towards Reavis Ranch. The huge open meadow made for a good photo op - plus a first view of Mound - and we reached the Fireline Trail by 10 am.
The hike up Fireline offers great views, though it gets a bit steep past Whiskey Spring as you pass through some crumbly volcanic tuff. At the pass, the angle relents, and we found the Circlestone turnoff easily, marked by cairns. There were pinyon pines here with fresh nuts, so we collected a few of these before moving up. Circlestone is surprising in size and complexity...I certainly wasn't expecting it, but what an interesting place. The hilltop views here are amazing, and Mound looks deceiving close. Dropping the 100' or so down the grassy slopes put us at the base of the final climb. Ken and Brian angled towards the ponderosa forest through some thick brush, and we opted for snowy slopes on the main ridgeline. Bad move. The brush got progressively more hideous (which Eric actually enjoys
), so I opted for Ken's route. Much better - soon enough we were at the last rocky ride and the 360 views are as good as advertised. We could see Mt. Wrighton to the south, White Tanks to the west, the Rim to the north, and the White Mountains to the east...and everything in between!
After enjoying our summit brews (Big Sky Moose Drool, no less), we picked our way back down the slopes and slogged up the hill to Circlestone again. Knowing we still had a 9 mile trek back to the cars was less than encouraging but the trails truly are gentle. The cold day was a blessing, and water was everywhere, so running out of water was no concern, either. So we all enjoyed the pleasant walk back to Reavis Saddle, back into the manzanita brush on the descent to Rogers Canyou....and did not enjoy the final grunt back up to the Trough.
5:00 pm saw us back at our cars - a successful day! Great crew, good company, and a sweet hike.