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Aztec Peak via Center Mountain, AZ
mini location map2010-07-25
21 by photographer avatarcindyl
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Aztec Peak via Center Mountain, AZ 
Aztec Peak via Center Mountain, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 25 2010
Hiking15.00 Miles 3,200 AEG
Hiking15.00 Miles   9 Hrs   30 Mns   1.58 mph
3,200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Where to begin... I guess at the beginning. I have been hounding Randy to take me to see Red for over a year now (and really quite a bit since the beginning of fire season this year); he finally caved. It was raining on Saturday afternoon as we were checking out the possibilities for camping. We considered camping near the Reynolds Creek trailhead, since that was the original plan for the hike on Sunday. Nothing looked that great, but we did run into a couple who told us of an overlook on an adjoining road so we decided to check it out.

When we arrived at the Billy Lawrence overlook, the clouds parted, the sun came out, and a rainbow appeared at our camp spot. Well maybe not exactly, but this spot was really cool. Apparently the survivors of John Dalton thought so too - since they used the place for a final resting spot. We set up our tents and proceeded to explore the area to see what we could see. We walked up to the end of the road, and I wanted to come back via the drainage below. I had a hankering for boulder hopping.

We were walking along, and suddenly, a rock slipped under my foot and I was hurled forward in the creek bed, where my head bounced on the sharp edge of a rock. ](*,) I sat up immediately and put my hand up to my face, where the blood was streaming from my left temple. :scared: Since we had just gone exploring, neither one of us had a pack, so I sent Randy back to camp to grab my first aid kit from my backpack. He came back to the road and we cleaned up the wound. My head hurt at the site of the laceration, but other than that, I felt OK.

We went back to the campsite and I rested for a bit, then started to think about dinner. Randy offered to take me to Globe (to the ER) and call the weekend off, which may have been the best idea, but I had been waiting for this for so long! I decided that we'd see how I felt in the morning.

In the morning, I was feeling OK. The bleeding had pretty much stopped, so we changed the dressing on my head and had a leisurely breakfast, making a fairly late start to the trailhead. I was feeling strong - and we started on the Lucky Strike Trail (an old Jeep road - and I think I've discovered that I am not a fan of hiking on Jeep roads). Thankfully, that part wasn't long, and then we were on the Center Mountain Trail. The first part of this trail was brutally steep, but it evened out to a gradual uphill all the way to the marker at Center Mountain. After this point, the trail grew fainter, but there were cairns and tree markers along the way. After we met and veered onto the Reynolds Trail, we walked through a lush forest that reminded me of back home in Washington state. There were even old-growth Douglas Fir trees - these are few and far between in the Pacific Northwest, where the loggers have made them nearly extinct, but along this trail, they were plentiful. The raspberries were plump and delicious! I was so ready to see Red, though, and was thankful when we saw the road that would lead us up to see him.

Red wasn't all that, though. He didn't even talk with me! He talked a lot at Randy, and Randy managed to get a couple of words in edgewise, but I did not. I was happy to get my picture taken with him though (see Randy's photoset), and then we were on our way. We stopped for a quick bite at the Flintstone's furniture, then made our way back the way we came. The last couple of hours back, I was feeling nauseous, and I found out later that this was due to my mild concussion.

The weather was thankfully overcast and wet - it kept us cool and I loved the droplets on all the flowers and trees.

Note: Yes, I'm OK - I didn't get any stitches since I didn't make it to the doctor within 24 hours after the injury. I do have a mild concussion, the symptoms of which should be gone in the next couple of days. I've already been read the riot act by my nurse friend [-X , so if this should happen again, I would definitely go to the Globe ER. :stretch: This weekend: Camping close to home (Catalinas) with a very short hike. :)
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Aztec Peak Fire Lookout
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There are just two switchbacks left. And another half-mile to the destination...
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