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John the Baptist Mountains, AZ

Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
  2.5 of 5 
no permit
58 4 0
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.69 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,630 feet
Elevation Gain 535 feet
Accumulated Gain 696 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 6.17
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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9  2019-02-16 chumley
4  2019-02-16 BiFrost
45  2019-02-15
El Camino Del Diablo
Author chumley
author avatar Guides 81
Routes 688
Photos 15,667
Trips 1,597 map ( 11,879 miles )
Age 48 Male Gender
Location Tempe, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb → Any
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:46am - 7:30pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

A spiritual rebirth
by chumley

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Of all the mountain ranges in Arizona, John the Baptist might just be the smallest. But no matter, it still has a high point worth visiting.

John C. Butala lived in a shack at the eastern base of the range, marked on topo maps today as a "site". Only the foundation of a building remains. He was a veteran of both the Spanish-American War and WWI. Wiki says he was eccentric and ran around the desert in nothing but a loincloth made from gunnysacks while befriending the local wildlife. Rumors abound regarding some war-related issues he developed, but apparently his appearance and behavior as a "wild-eyed desert prophet" earned him the nickname of John the Baptist amongst the local Ajoans (Y'Ajoos?). He died in 1961 and is buried in Ajo.

There's no trail. Find your way to the east side of the range and park. There's a wash crossing that is a bit overgrown but doesn't take much effort or get you too scratched up. There might be signs of border-related use in the wash sands. The ascent is somewhat steep but the desert flora is easy to avoid and most foot steps can be made on solid lava rock or bare earth. At the crest of the hill, you find the high-point is set back several hundred yards, but attaining it is easy. The high point was the source of a huge pack-rat nest of cholla needles, but a nearby cairn contained a summit register.

Return the way your came or traverse the ridgeline to the north to get the proper feel for the entirety of the range! We encountered some old trash, water bottles, food packets, and some backpacks and clothing under a tree a half mile north of the high point. While typical for this area, it's always best to be aware of your surroundings.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2019-02-20 chumley
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Ajo take State Route 85 south for 2.5 miles.
    Turn right onto Darby Well Road and drive 7.5 miles on the well-graded dirt road.
    Turn right onto the Road 8114K and travel 1.5 miles to the old "site" and hike from there.
    page created by chumley on Feb 20 2019 8:36 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
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