|Hiking||3.50 Miles|| 7 Hrs 16 Mns ||1.13 mph|
|1,465 ft AEG|| 4 Hrs 10 Mns Break||18 LBS Pack|
||no linked trail guides|
|There are several "Granite Mountains" in Arizona, either locally called that or actually named on TOPO maps. This Granite Mountain is on a TOPO map and is really a mountain range, with many peaks. Granite Mountain Triangulation Station was monumented on its highest peak in 1935.
For those familiar with Battle Axe Rd (south of Superior), which is used to access and hike the Spine, Battle Axe Butte, and other areas all west of Battle Axe Rd, you should be familiar with Granite Mountain, as it's the whole range to the east (left), as you travel south, down Battle Axe Rd.
Granite Mountain is rather mundane in looks - nothing remarkable to catch your eye, even though at over 4,000 ft in elevation, it's about 1,000 Ft higher than the Spine.
You may enjoy my photos to the southwest, that look down at the Spine, Battle Axe Butte, Copper Butte, etc from atop Granite Mountain.
My photos toward the other side of Granite Mountain, (to the east), display a totally different sight - the Ray open-pit copper mine complex. Established in the 1800s, it is now absolutely huge in length, width, and depth.
In fact, in 1958 the mine owners built the city of Kearny, Az 5 miles south of Ray Mine, and re-located its workers there. The mine owners then expanded the Ray Mine, right over the original city of Ray and two other cities. Ray Mine is quite a sprawling sight from high above.
The 1935 surveyors hiked up toward the south-southeast, along the full length of the ridgeline to the top. That's alot of "ups-and-downs" between peaks. I started my hike in the valley, directly in front of the highest peak and chose to go straight up one of the west ridges, directly to the high point. It was a shorter track, but it got quite steep at the end.
The highest peak is quite small - About the size of an overgrown basketball court.
My GPS took me directly to where the triangulation disk should be, but there was no disk in sight. There were wood pieces, wire, nails and spikes laying around, plus a very long metal pipe, probably once used as a makeshift flag pole.
All this stuff but no disk !!!
I got out my shovel and started to dig and scrape 3 or 4 areas and still no sign of even a rock outcrop to hold the disk. I then proceeded to move 5 or 6 "toaster-oven-size" boulders that presumably were used to support the flagpole, and started to scrape and dig again.
Just as I was getting discouraged with all this, thinking the disk was vandalized and taken .................... SUCCESS !!!!
There it was, under those now moved boulders and under 2 inches of dirt.
GRANITE MOUNTAIN Triangulation Station was alive and well, and in great shape.
Ironically, the triangulation disk was installed in the only strong rock outcrop atop the mountain. All the other rocks were like thin flaky shale pieces.
After a 1 hour search, I declared Reference Mark #1 gone. It's location would be in the middle of that type of flaky rock and I'm sure it was easily yanked out by vandals. I did find Reference Mark #2 disk, in an area where hikers probably wouldn't see it. It is not cemented into the flaky rock, but appears to be pounded into the ground between flaky rocks, plus it's raised off the surface about 1/2 inch and is loose too. Good thing it's off the beaten track of the mountain top, or it too would possibly be vandalized.
You'll notice in photos that Reference Mark #2 is actually stamped "Reference Mark #1". It's a miss-stamping, as it's location is exactly where RM #2 is described on the datasheet. I'll chalk it up to "surveyor's error" in disk stamping and or disk selection.
With all my rummaging around looking for disks, I did find a summit log. It confirms this peak is not visited much, with very few logins over the past couple decades.
After wandering over to another close peak on this range, to get better photos of Ray Mine, I commenced my descent down, using a different steep ridgeline to the desert floor.
Once back to the car/trailhead, I drove to the Azimuth Mark location, and only found the rock outcrop (broken in two), a drill hole, plus alot of cement once used to hold the Azimuth Mark in place. The actual disk is gone. Vandals must be very proud of themselves.
Over all, I had a great time on a beautiful day, and had success in finding the main things I set out to find. Those little disks got me up to a seldom climbed mountain top that has excellent and varying views of the surrounding landscape, including the largest open-pit mine I've ever seen from a mountain top.
|Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost|