I've had this one on my to-do list as long as I've been hiking. I was able to borrow a truck today so it was game time.
By the way, there is room to park a car or two where the road to the trailhead starts (Wish I knew that!). The road in was cake with a little bit of ground clearance. I would have been weary in my low-slung van.
I started up the trail around 10am and topped out about 2h 40m later, which included a brief side-trip. Not long into the hike, I looked a short ways up and saw a cow along the trail. I continued to move thinking it would take off, but it didn't. Turns out it was a bull, and he was grumpy! I stood still for a minute while it snorted and knocked its head around. There was maybe 20ft between us and I didn't back away thinking it would eventually flee if I waved my arms and made some noise. It didn't. For fear of getting charged, I took cover on a short, but large boulder, which is funny because he could have just leaped up there. After some more snorting, head-bobbing, and hoof dragging, it casually turned around and strolled away. Whew!
Pretty cold at the top. The majority of the snow has melted off, but there are a lot of patches left, especially on the north slopes, namely west of where the trail meets the saddle.
The interpretive signs around the observatory were blank.
I really, really enjoyed the scenery on this one, and the views from the top were just as good. I could make out Cunningham Peak and Castle Dome to the west, South Mountain (barely) and the McDowells to the east, and just about everything in between. The climb was a butt kicker, though. Definitely put my future plans in perspective.