During our scenic 4WD trip while we were looking at Black Mesa where Hank and Eric had been the week before; and looking at Rockinstraw where they were headed the following weekend, they intimated I should come along. I wasn't sure that was an invitation or not and I didn't want to be pushy but sure enough, I got an email
after Xmas with the details. Whoo hoo!
We met Eric at the normal meeting spot to start our drive east on the 60 watching the sunrise and into Devil's Canyon and Globe. Of course, I took some video. We headed north out of Globe to just past the Thoroughbred Ranch where we turned, logged in and started driving a fairly freshly graded road to our destination. The drive, in and of itself, is quite interesting. Along the way, Eric saw a road up a hill so off we went. Once at the top you got views of Rockinstraw in front of you, a little crowned mountain and beyond that the Apache Peaks to our southeast. We hung out here for a bit before finishing our drive to the TH.
Right out of the gate you had to go straight up this hill
through the brush and trees. Eric looks down and says, yep that's the worst of the straight up... well not quite. We continued our way up the northeast (?) side of Rockinstraw with the key word here being "UP" or should it be straight up! There were a few wonderfully grand saguaros on this part of our route. Eventually we got to the point where you could start seeing Horseshoe Bend and wouldn't you know it, I actually found a horseshoe that I toted with me. It's good luck, right?! The views of the snow dusted Aztec Peak and Sierra Ancha was pretty cool too
After we had gone up around 800 feet or so, we hit a flatter area to walk through. I always like this type of terrain so that you can catch your breath and walk in a normal hiking position
for awhile. The repreive is short and soon you're hiking UP again. Somewhere along here we hit a little deeper snow so you know what that means... well my attempt at throwing a snowball was off its mark, however Eric hit his target, ahem! Of course, I was throwing up hill and he down.
We eventually arrived to just below the cliffs and headed west. Watching those two try to manuever over a boulder and a barbed wire fence was rather entertaining
(some of it can be seen on the video). Sometimes it's all about the approach as I was lower and simply held the fence down and crossed over. Our next stop would be the "man" cave. It was pretty good sized so we all tried to get some good pics of it and from it. Next up in the scenery department was a great view of the rock side of Black Mesa and then, there, bigger than life was Roosevelt Lake and in the far background, the Four Peaks. Just amazing
Thank goodness no one was in a hurry so we could enjoy the views and take pics to Tibber's heart's content. Onward we would go until we were hiking around the base of the saddle cliff when Eric decided the fastest way up to the saddle was, what else?, "UP", "straight UP" that is. So we scrambled up
the side of the mountain to just below the saddle.
Once up here, Eric says "I want to run over to that point real quick". I'm thinking, of course you do
, and so off he goes. I filmed a bit of it and with the Apache Peaks behind him, once out on the point I yelled, do a "wendy" and "hold it" as I snapped some cool pics. And before you knew it, he had joined me and Hank at the edge of the Saddle where we got to go down
before finishing off the last of the 400 foot vertical "UP" climb
to our destination. And like many of these climbs, you really don't know you're quite on top until you're all of a sudden there. And also like many of these climbs
, you're not quite at the top yet
as there is a gradual incline to the Summit and "wha la", the Summit at last! Lunch at last!
The 360 views were nothing short of stunning
. I mean really, there is so much to see in every direction. Eric says, "see, that's why I like these kind of peak hikes; not to bag them but to enjoy them (or something to that effect)." Eric had gone to the far side of the mountain past the area of the cross to where you can see the hill we had driven to that morning. He found himself a nice bench with straight on view of the Apache Peaks. I went a little to the other side and down onto another rock area but I was still able to lean back using my pack as a back. Yep, this is a great moment in time when you get to sit back, eat your sandwhich and enjoy the sun's warmth and the surrounds
. Oh how I could have used a nap at that point. We did spend about 45 minutes on top between signing the summit log, pics and lunch. Alas, it was time to go down.
So down the summit we went and instead of going back up to the saddle, we skirted gingerly around and along the side of the cliff once again. Walking at an angle for an extended period of time is really no fun
but I have to say, the occasional glances outward to the Sierra Ancha, Roosevelt Lake and the sun-kissed rock side ledges of Black Mesa
made it much more tolerable. Soon we were back to and over the wire fence for our straight down decline. There really is only one flat area for maybe a quarter mile between the cliff face and the bottom. I couldn't wait to get to it that's for sure. It really wasn't too bad though.
I've been trying to find ways to express to Eric how fast he hikes so I had him walk at normal stride in some dirt and then I tried to walk in his footsteps. Well essentially I was lunging and I have long legs. Eric is not that tall but his height is mostly legs and the size 13 feet allow him a long step. Once he saw that demonstration, I think he got it now
. Hank may thank me for that. By this time we had been in the shadow of Rockinstraw for quite awhile. We could finally see the road and where the vehicle was parked. We got in an area with some cool rocks so I did a little shopping
Just before we hit bottom, Hank hit his bottom
getting down the slippery part of the hill that takes you to the road. It was scary for a moment as he said his leg twisted in a wrong direction. However, he said everything twisted back just fine. Whew. And at least he saved that for the bottom and end of the hike. We had hoped to get down in time to drive out to Horseshoe Bend but we took too much time enjoying Rockinstraw so it was back home with a stop at a place in Globe for a New Year's Eve dinner on Hank. Thx Hank!
Video 1 the drive: http://youtu.be/T7Bgi8Hnlr8
Video 2 the start of the hike: http://youtu.be/WnJXGrshPQY
Video 3 to and along the shelf to the cave: http://youtu.be/EdEnJeAF3GM
(this video has the funny moment when Hank was negotiating a large boulder to get over a fence
Video 4 from the Cave to nearly the top: http://youtu.be/cUDtqkYRDiw
Video 5 on the summit and back down: http://youtu.be/Cp4KLcnLi1Q