|Hiking||4.15 Miles|| 4 Hrs 30 Mns || ||0.92 mph|
|1,196 ft AEG|| || || |
For several years I have wanted to get close to the Four Peaks. From descriptions read I knew I would not be able to get to the top of Brown's Peak but though I could get at least to the base of the craggy peak. Thanks to Joe I noted the Brown's trail-Amethyst- Four Peaks trail starting at Lone Pine Trailhead. Another attractive thing to me was the distance of just over 4 miles for the loop and, as I continue to recover from some health problems, I felt I could do that and would be able to satisfy my desire of getting close to Brown's Peak.
So, on Monday the 22nd, Andy, Dan and I left early for the trailhead. It took one hour and 35 minutes to get there from my house in Gold Canyon. Up Bush highway to Highway 87 and a few miles to the Four peaks turnoff. The distance from the Four peaks turnoff to the actual Lone Pine Trailhead is 20 miles. Eighteen to the junction with FR648 and then 2 to the parking area. After reading that the Four peaks road was a nightmare I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is simply an country dirt road and very easily negotiable by any car-four wheel drive and high clearance not necessary. Sure it is fairly rough in certain spots but if you go slowly over some of the bumps and rocky surfaces all goes very well. The 20 miles took us one hour so you can see the average. I have been on far more rough roads. If the road in has caused you worry, forget it. You can take any car up there. Obviously if there is rain there are several places where you cross creek beds so bear that in mind. I had arranged to go in Andy's four wheel drive truck but, as it turned out I could have driven my wife's sports car up there easily.
OK, we arrived at the Lone Pine trailhead and the area is beautiful at an altitude of 5700 feet. We started up trail 133- Brown's trail. It is worthy to note that the Brown's saddle where we ended our climb is 6820 feet which means that we had to climb 1120 feet in 2 miles on Brown's trail which is an average of 6%. We did not know this at the time and within about 10 minutes we were huffing and puffing until we realize that we were at a high altitude. Ex-smokers are really affected by this factor. Fortunately Brown's trail has a number of switchbacks and general traverses that make the climb a but easier. BUT, it still is a rather strenuous climb and I had to stop often to "re-breath". The forest is beautiful and the Roosevelt Lake views were astounding. We also began to see Brown's peak looming in front of us after various turns.
After almost 2 miles we came to the junction of the Amethyst trail and we proceeded on about 1/4 mile to the Brown's Saddle. I forgot to mention how windy is was and when we got to Brown's Saddle there were a number of very heavy gusts which cause us to tie our hats down-probably 30 to 40 mph-maybe even a bit more. We wanted to lunch at the saddle but the wind forced us to return down the trail for a bit more shelter.
The experience at the saddle was perfect. As photos will show I was within .37 of a mile (by GPS) of Brown's peak. Of course that .37 of a mile is darn near straight up and nothing that I would ever want to try. I could clearly see the "scree shute" and I want no part of that. My journey to the Four Peaks is completed by reaching that beautiful saddle. No way I would ever try to ascend that crag! I certainly admire those who do go up there. They are in much better shape than I and also much more experienced.
Back at the junction of Brown's and Amethyst, we went right down the Amethyst. WOW! This is a very, very steep trail with lots of scree. You have to take this slow and watch every step. It goes rapidly down until it meets the Four peaks trail that takes you back to the Lone Pine Trailhead. In addition the Amethyst trail has lots of new growth of bushes that cross the trail in many places. One has to be alert as to the trail directions. Once you reach the Four peaks trail the remaining mileage is walking through a beautiful forest until you reach the end of the loop.
It took us 4.5 hours to cover 4.5 miles that included many stops for photos and stops at the saddles and for lunch. This is a delightful hike and is strenuous enough for a good workout and yet has astounding vistas of the lake, mountains, valley and forests. It also puts you right at the base of the highest peak in Maricopa county. One thing that delayed us a bit on the way back was when Danny and Andy stopped for recess to play teeter totter where I have definitely photo proof!!!
|Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.|