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Bear Head Mountain Loop - Sierra Ancha
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mini location map2011-11-11
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Bear Head Mountain Loop - Sierra AnchaGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 11 2011
Hiking3.40 Miles 1,632 AEG
Hiking3.40 Miles   7 Hrs      0.49 mph
1,632 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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Bear Head mountain has been calling my name for over ten years. On the southeast face, is a mammoth 300 foot +/- slab or solid rock that is visible for miles in the area surrounding Greenback Valley. Hiking Bear Head was a relentless beating and I knew it going in. I talked Hank into joining me with the possibility of unregistered ruins. Bear Head has all the signs that point to ruins and my luck has been good over the last year. He took the bait. Hank is a good friend and I thoroughly enjoy our adventures. We've had some good ones and this day was no exception. I would have done this hike with our without ruins. Finding a small cliff dwelling was the icing on the cake. The exact purpose of the structure was unclear. Finding this little ruin was the teaser that kept pushing us forward looking for more. It was unfortunately all we found on this hike. Small or big doesn't matter to me. Just finding something like that is so special and the setting was simply grand. The views from the base of Bear Head Mountain are incredible and having a special love for the area only added to the experience. Along the base of the cliff is a long hidden self with alcove areas, deep cracks, and lush thick vegetation. I emphasize thick. Mostly shrub oak with some large live oak trees and periodic grape vine. Water actually seeps through the massive rock face in multiple areas. It's actually funny that I first noticed the water from drips that hit my face. I thought is must have been raining. The drips were coming from way up the cliff face. Looking up the cliff face made me dizzy every time I tried. Hank and I were like ants moving across the lower shelf. It's actually intimidating to stand below that huge rock face.

After finally reaching the east edge of the mountain, the discussion quickly switched to something along the lines of... "Do we really have to go back the way we just came". That was one nasty route. The initial cliff face approach and the shelf itself took forever the traverse. The thought of enduring that pain again was more then I wanted to experience. From where we stood, I could actually see the upper end of Malicious Gap and it didn't look all that far away. Balling off into the middle segments of Malicious Gap is not an option due to the steep cliffs, however the upper end is doable. I looked over at hank... So... Are you interested in door number 3? It's one of those "pick your poison" decisions. I knew we could safely navigate the Gap and the alternate wasn't very appealing. We had enough time to pull it off. Why not! He agreed and we were off again. The first hundred yards or so involved pushing our bodies through dense chest-high brush, however the planed route opened up into a manageable chunky rock slide areas that led towards the bottom. We win! The light scrambling in Malicious Gap was a welcome change and the killer red rock scenery eased the pain from earlier. What a great way to end this hike. The loop was a good mutual decision on our part. I actually forgot how much I loved this canyon. About seven hours later and with late evening quickly approaching, we finally reached the truck.

What a great adventure. Completing this hike had special meaning for me. Being able to share it with Hank was really cool. Ha. He was definitely beat up afterwards but I think the high points outweighed the bad. Nasty terrain comes with the territory in off-trail exploration. The rugged Sierra Ancha mountain range never disappoints.

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ISAIAH 6:2-3 / MATTHEW 11:28-30
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