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Saddle Mountain - Tonopah
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mini location map2013-03-24
55 by photographer avatarFLYING_FLIVER
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Saddle Mountain - TonopahSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 24 2013
FLYING_FLIVER
Hiking6.05 Miles 2,542 AEG
Hiking6.05 Miles   7 Hrs   44 Mns   2.03 mph
2,542 ft AEG   4 Hrs   45 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Best laid plans are sometimes modified. All I set out to do was find the Saddle Mountain Triangulation Station disk, at the top of Saddle Mountain, south of Tonopah. Well I did do that, but not the way I planned.

I didn't park at my #1 choice on the north side (target practice going on close by), nor my 2nd choice (bad road). I parked at choice #3, on the east side, and this changed my plan for this hike. Instead of going up and down via a known trail on the north side, which would make this a 3.5 mile hike, I opted to do some wandering close to the east side face of the mountain and proceed a bit south, then up via the HAZ-listed track. This track is up a drainage, off-trail, steep, and full of scree. All this because of parking issues. :) :)

This off-trail drainage ends at a tiny saddle, intersecting the known trail. From there the known, but faint trail up (564 Ft more vertical from the saddle), includes two steep chutes, plus just enough scree on the steep inclines to keep you busy each step. Supposedly at one time, there were red steamer-flags in this upper section to guide your way. The red flags are gone

Just prior to the top, the trail parallels an absolute vertical drop of over 500 Ft.
YIKES !
It's a breath-taking, eye opening visual, especially after your last hour of just diligently watching your every "scree" step.

The actual top of Saddle Mountain is the size of a tennis court, giving little room for the 1947 surveyors to place Saddle Mountain Triangulation Station and its two Reference Mark disks. All three disks are quite near that 500 Ft shear drop off.
The top is very craggy and full of football sized rocks. I know all mountains are decaying, but this one seems to be on a fast track. That absolute vertical drop on the west side was probably caused by the mountain slicing away a zillion years ago, giving testament to its instability and disintegration. I need to talk to a geologist.

It would be difficult to miss the summit-log, as it was literally on top of the Triangulation Station, with a rock holding it in place. It had all kinds of geocache stuff inside.

After starting down from the top I took a stroll down a grassy area, looked around, and then went back up to the trail and proceeded all the way down to the desert floor on that known trail. It's a nice enough trail, once past the intersection with the off-trail drainage I used to get atop the mountain. Since the trail hits the desert on the north side, I then had to hoof it back to the east from whence I started.
By the way, I highly recommend taking the trail (from the north) up this mountain. It's the easiest and safest way up and down, and my GPS track will assist in using this trail. Just disregard all my wanderings. :)

So, my plan of a 3.5 mile "trail-hike" expanded to a 6.1 mile, all day stroll. Taking over 200 photos and 10 videos, etc slows a hiker down.
It was a fun hike though, and I had the mountain all to myself.

Plus I found the three survey disks that were installed up there, 66 years ago. My hat is off to those surveyors who had to lug alot of gear up that mountain to do their surveying work.
Good job, surveyors!!
Named place
Named place
Saddle Mountain
_____________________
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost
J.R.R.TOLKIEN
HAZ Member
FLYING_FLIVER's
233 Photosets

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