Ok, so before I get into the details, let's just start with this: Whoever thinks it's ok to defecate on the trail and not dig a hole or at least cover it up is really inconsiderate. There were THREE (3) separate piles of poop along with disgusting skid-marked toilet paper strewn about that we encountered. Not even attempted to disguise.
I get it. There's no trail. The terrain is treacherous. You probably aren't carrying a shovel. But it's not tough to dislodge a rock, drop a deuce, and put your TP in and put the rock back. Or just cover it with a rock or some dead cactus you can find. It's really not that tough. And who thought it would be a good idea to crap on the saddle under a tree? Even though there's no trail, this is the most obvious place that every hiker passing by will visit. And next time pick up your ziplock tp bag too.
Since it rained on Thursday, and the TP had not been rained on, and we were there on Monday, I can only assume the responsible party is the one that signed the registers on Saturday. Welcome to HAZ! http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=256806
So I had never done the motherlode. I think Janelle has done it something like 6 times this year
, and I kept hearing about how I needed to do it. I was a little bit skeptical about my ability since I'm not too strong when there's a lot of AEG. But in recent weeks, I've gotten myself better conditioned, and decided to blow off another day of work to go hiking. I should probably stop doing that.
Janelle kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to go since it was going to be hot, and I said I was only concerned because she kept asking. 95 in the valley ... would that be too hot above 5500 feet? I didn't think so, but I had never done it. She said the rocks get really hot baking in the sun. So I said we should start as early as possible. Sunrise was at 5:41, so I said we should start at 5. Good plan.
So the real world interfered and we hit the trail at 6:30
. Still not too bad! We motored all the way to the mine site where we carefully stayed outside the boundary and observed some cool amethyst using my binoculars. Apparently it gets boring up there because we saw a half-smoked blunt just sitting out on a pile of amethyst. I bet it looks even cooler with a little enhancement!
So, anyway we forged ahead up the chute between 3 and Amethyst and Janelle's experience in knowing to avoid the first couple of false peaks was really helpful. Somewhere near the top we encountered the morning sun, and while still cool, it definitely made a difference. The peak log on Amethyst is currently on the wrong peak
(according to the topo maps) about 50 yards to northwest of where it should be.
Looking at peak 3 from Amethyst made me wonder exactly how we were going to get up that. I'm not a rock climber, and I didn't see any scree chutes or logical path up. This is where I realized how nice it was to have an experienced partner guiding me. Even with a GPS track, I could see myself making a bunch of wrong turns, and/or convincing myself that "there's no way this is the right way" when in fact it IS the right way!
We made great time from Amethyst to 3, and then began the descent. Somewhere along the way I encountered the first poop. Nice. Thanks for that. When we got to the saddle and decided to take a break and eat, we realized that our perfect lunch spot was apparently also a perfect poop spot. Thanks again. We did our best to cover things up before heading up to peak 2.
Along the way, I stopped to take photos and marvel at the ruggedness of these peaks, and the beauty of the views all around. It was a fairly hazy day so the views weren't as good as I would have liked, but stunning nonetheless. I had occasional moments of discomfort with some of the angles and exposures, but for the most part just kept my eyes looking upward and my hands and feet firmly holding on to something solid. I basically just decided to trust that Janelle knew where she was going because she had done it before. Her previous trips and trial and error really helped make the trip what it was.
Just short of the summit of peak 2, we encountered an Arizona Black Rattlesnake, who rattled when Janelle stepped on the rock it was resting behind. We took a couple of photos
, but his spot in the shade against the bright sun made it tough to get a good shot.
Between 2 and Browns is a really cool traverse across a ridgeline before dropping down to the saddle. Getting up Browns from there was relatively uneventful, with just a little bit of scrambling and some scree. Here's a video of me climbing up one section: http://youtu.be/gVXR_xcYzdI
At the peak, we split a Four Peaks Hop Knot
and headed down toward the chute. Here we encountered our first other person of the day, a guy that had just moved from Colorado two weeks ago, saw the peaks from the valley and just drove toward them and started climbing.
The scree makes downclimbing the chute slowgoing, but it wasn't too bad, and from there we basically cruised back down to the trailhead. Our stops totaled 90 minutes, and we were done in just under 9 hours.
It was an awesome experience, and a great day. I left the mountain feeling a great sense of accomplishment!
(I'm really sorry I couldn't pare it down to less than 60 photos
. As I looked through the 300+ taken, the memories of each and every different part of the trip were more than I was able to eliminate.)
6:30 - 0.0 trailhead
7:15 - 2.1 saddle
8:00 - 3.6 mine (0:15 break)
9:00 - 4.3 amethyst peak (0:15 break)
10:10 - 4.7 peak 3 (0:15 break)
11:10 - ?mi. saddle (0:15 break)
12:30 - 5.5 peak 2 (0:15 break)
1:35 - 5.7 saddle
1:50 - 5.77? browns (0:15 break)
2:45 - 6.3 saddle
3:25 - 8.4 trailhead
3 liters of water (100oz), and 48oz vitamin water (could have survived on 32oz). One 12oz Hop Knot
. Footlong turkey sub and 4oz of beef jerky.