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mini location map2013-06-12
16 by photographer avatarMountain_Rat
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Pusch PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 12 2013
Mountain_Rat
Hiking4.90 Miles 3,281 AEG
Hiking4.90 Miles   5 Hrs   1 Min   1.33 mph
3,281 ft AEG   1 Hour   20 Mns Break13 LBS Pack
 
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While Pusch Peak was definitely on the menu today, I had other goals in mind as well. On previous trips, as I was heading home, I could see bits and pieces of trails on the west canyon slopes and ridgelines. I wanted to check some of them out today. Additionally, on my last trip, under the right light, I could have sworn that could see two very large carins on one of the upper ridges. I didn't know what I was going to do about them yet, but I was scheming. Anywho, with a lot on my plate I loaded up with a gallon of water, my camera, my phone and I got in the truck.

I was on the trail at 04:50 still formulating the plan. I had to move ahead though not yet sure of my primary objective. It was gonna get hot, so I needed to prioritize. I was 1.3 miles in when I had to make a decision. Go left to Pusch or go right to a new adventure? Okay, stay left. This would buy me about 2 tenths of a mile before the turn off to the carins. Those 2 tenths went by fast. I'm now at the point where the trail crosses to the east side of the canyon. The carins that I sought were at the top of the ridge, due west. Once again, do I go left to Pusch or right to the carins? Again, left won out.

As I continued up the trail, I stopped frequently, looking back to gain perspective and orient myself with the distant landscape. I started to feel like I had made the right move, and it would pay off later.

At about 1/4 mile short of the peak, I was passed by another hiker (I won't mention the fact that it was a tiny woman in her mid to late 70's... Doh!!!). We exchanged a brief 'good morning' as she left me in the dust. I caught up with her a short time later at the peak where she became a fountain of information. Turns out she had been on trails all over the canyon, many of which no longer exist. She told me the story of the carins, or as I now know them to be 'memorial monuments'. Seems a German family had mining claims along the canyon and just loved the place. When one of the brothers died, his ashes were spread and a 5' tall quartz monument erected at the site. She told me that when she last visited the spot that there was only one monument, but a second had appeared some years back. The woman had amazing stories of her adventures as a child in Alaska through her many decades of hiking the ranges around Tucson. Already, this hike had turned into an adventure. We said 'good day' as she once again kicked up a cloud of dust headed down the trail.

Now, I'm no longer on a hike. Armed with solid information, and inspired by the accomplishments of a stranger, I'm now on a bender! I excitedly hit the trail, down to the crossover and with out a second thought, bushwacked to the top of the ridge to behold my grail. Two elegantly constructed, quartz pyramids with views that clearly explain why these people wanted to spend eternity at this spot. In one of the monuments, sealed in a bag, was a poem (see the photo set). After soaking up the spot for a while I headed out again. My guide told me to head northwest along the ridges, watching for what used to be a trail (This was by far more of a bushwack). Though there were only 3 or 4 carins along the next 1/4 mile, hints of a trail would occasionally show them themselves, reassuring me that humans had been this way. Then out of the blue, I'm standing in a small clearing with trails going 3 different directions. I took the short trail to the peak, finding a register of sorts. It was a coconut, hollowed out, with a monkey's face carved on it. There were no log entries in it, but instead just coins and a few small rocks. I had no change with me, so I tossed one of my spare keys in. From here the trail became incredibly steep for a bit, but was quite visible. By the time this loop met back up with the main trail, 2/3 of a mile and and 2/3 of an hour had gone by.

My 3 quart Camel run dry not 50 yards from the truck. This was a good day! :y:
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