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McDowell and Drinkwater Peaks, AZ
mini location map2013-12-02
41 by photographer avatartibber
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McDowell and Drinkwater Peaks, AZ 
McDowell and Drinkwater Peaks, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 02 2013
tibber
Hiking7.50 Miles 2,500 AEG
Hiking7.50 Miles
2,500 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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trekkin_gecko
guess who bagged these Peaks, guess?! Yep, as Nick said so eloquently:
way to tibbernate the mcdowells : app : :gun: :y:
Why is it a big deal? Cuz I look at those every day I drive to work; those and Thompson Peak. They're all done now :) .

Kelly knew I wanted to get these so I begged her, though it took very little whining, to get me up them. I had extra time off to burn this year so I picked some Mondays which work best for her. We met at the Gateway TH and started out on a brisk morning up toward Bell Pass. She was walking a pretty fast pace on this, at least for me, but I did my best to keep up. But then we reach the area where you gotta start hiking UPward and she put me in the lead :o . So I got my poles out and did my best to keep moving UPward as quick as I could.

We got to the Pass in an hour 30. I'm sure that broke my limited records on this, ha! We took a 10 min fuel break and looked around. The inversion layer was pretty thick both toward the Supes and Estrellas. Five 1/2 mins later and before heading toward the UP portion of McDowell Peak, we snapped some pictures. Ten minutes later we made it to the top of the first ridge area and took some more photos toward the Supes as the Fountain was also going off. The inversion layer was very white as it dissected the Supes including Weavers and the Flatiron.

Yep, and then it was up : rambo : again as we had to get over 3 humps before reaching the Summit. We maneuvered around cactus and rock outcroppings for 45 minutes during which time we saw that white pole so the task seemed a little closer to being accomplished. Kelly deftly guided us up. At times I would look to see if there were a better way but usually ended up following in her footsteps. It was good to finally get there :DANCE: , McDowell Peak. The views were outstanding.

For some reason, I didn't think the traverse over to Drinkwater was supposed to be difficult... until I saw it (where is the passing out emoticon?). Kelly said it was only .4 but it looked much further and much rockier, BIG rockier. Five minutes later off we went, down to the ridge and then up, down around bouldery sections, way too many it seemed. Fortunately there were a couple sections where the rocks were incredibly beautiful. In fact, they would make the perfect countertop for my kitchen ;) .

You really didn't have much choice on a lot of this as you had to go up and over. There were patches of dirt here and there but limited. And sometimes the rocks were wobbly but the hike must go on and on for another 45 minutes to reach Drinkwater's Summit. At last :y: and what a relief. We had perfect weather for this whole hike including on the Summits. Once again, the view was stupendous. Pinnacle Peak seemed so small and dainty.

I didn't realize we spent nearly 35 minutes enjoying the views and lunch.
ADDITION: Forgot to mention that we could see clear to the Verde Rim as well as the Sonoran Preserve's Brown, Cholla and Granite Mountains.
I called my boss since I work at 104th St and Bell. You can see these Peaks from our office. We definitely earned the long break and it's a good thing it was lengthy since we decided to head straight over the southwestern side of the Peak rather than go back the way we came.

Before heading down the route we had been analyzing while on top, we took a detour as I had spotted some wire and wanted to check it out. We found a bunch more and a downed tall fence post. After that, we veered west for a bit before heading down a drainage to get to a drainage. Pretty soon we both started discovered odd things and soon realized we had stumbled on to a crash site. I had remembered a plane crash but I thot it was Thompson Peak. Nonetheless, we were pretty impressed by our find. There were so many little parts here and there and even some bigger parts. Here is info about the 2003 Piper Aerostar crash (sorry to say 2 people perished): http://planecrashmap.com/plane/az/N3636Q/

Getting down this drainage required some maneuvering once again but Kelly has a knack for it and other than being chollaed a couple times and having to get over some big rocks, we continued down and down until we finally hit the west drainage. And the fun wasn't over yet :sweat: as we still had a bit to go before we could get out of this area. However, it was more kind to us than the south drainage. It had some interesting areas as we encountered some Ironwood trees, little caves and some cool cut outs along the mountain side.

Our goal of course was the Gateway Trail. As we got closer to the drainage widening out and the area where we could get out, I realized if you follow the drainage it would take you right to the trail. However, Kelly and I decided to pop out as we were quite tired of drainages at this point. When Kelly got to the top of the side, she saw the Saddle area :) so off we went, veering slightly north to intersect with the trail. We were happy, happy to finally get to a nice smooth trail. So from the Summit to climbing out of the last drainage it took us slightly more than an hour and 1/2.

Still hard to believe but the task is finally complete! Thank you Kelly, I couldn't imagine accomplishing this without your guidance, perseverance and support. I am so happy :y: . And believe it or not, NO video. Don't everyone pass out now. The conditions were just too difficult for filming.
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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