Heading south down Yarnell Hill on highway 89, the silhouette of Vulture Peak came into view in the hazy distance. It would be my first visit to this area in nearly a decade and I knew it was going to be a fun day.
I arrived at the Vulture Peak trailhead late morning, surrounded by beautiful desert hill country, and promptly set off. The countryside was green from recent rains. Numerous cacti made me feel right at home, including one specie I had never before seen in its native habitat.
Sweat laced with sunblock burned my eyes as I began the climb up Vulture Peak's western slope, where I encountered the first group of hikers returning from the summit. The desert floor grew distant, and I soon reached the saddle. The last little climb to the summit was a fun scramble up the rocks. After roaming around on the summit, I sat down to enjoy a sandwich and a view. The crows and I were the only ones on top the entire time.
I made a leisurely return hike, taking in the sights and just enjoying the desert experience. Along the way I replanted a large twin barrel cactus that had uprooted itself after tipping over. Wanting some additional exercise, I hiked up the 4wd road towards the peak then took the trail back.
The day was getting late, so I left the desert playground behind, rehydrated at Circle K in Wickenburg, then made the scenic drive home through Congress, Yarnell, etc. I could not have had a more satisfying day.