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We hiked a dark hill on a bright day!
Cerro Prieto (Dark Hill, in English) is a peak in the Samaniego Hills area within Ironwood Forest National Monument. This hill is named probably for the abundance of dark rock scattered all over it, some of which looked like lava rock. This hill is within 2 miles of the Sasco ruins.
From the parking spot outlined in the directions, start heading West. Within a few minutes, you will cross a wash. If you are a good scrambler, just head straight up the slope to the ridge. If you would prefer a more gradual climb, hike to one of the lower saddles to the Southwest. Once on the ridge, you will hike North along the ridgeline, then West to get to the top. The last 50 feet of elevation before the peak involves a fairly steep rocky climb. You could hike around some of these rocks by going further South to avoid the steep climb.
At the top, there's an old cross that needs some repair. You'll see a registry in the pile of rocks under the cross. The registry was a bit hard to find because it was small and buried quite deep. On the peak, near the high point and West of the high point, you'll also notice a lot of man-made circles of rocks that looked like the foundation of a home. Perhaps the Indian tribes used these areas for shelter from wind or sun, or to hide from opposing tribes. From the top, you'll also have nice views of Picacho peak.
Return the same way you came or cut down on the steepness by hiking further to the South before heading down the slope. Either way, you go, you will likely need to hike through some rocky terrain.
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