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Quartz Peak Trail - Sierra Estrella
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mini location map2014-04-19
15 by photographer avatarThe_Eagle
photographer avatar
 
Quartz Peak Trail - Sierra EstrellaPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 19 2014
The_Eagle
Hiking6.59 Miles 2,600 AEG
Hiking6.59 Miles   4 Hrs   43 Mns   1.81 mph
2,600 ft AEG   1 Hour   4 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
joebartels
Had to be home by 5ish, so Joey threw up some options.

I'd never done Quartz Peak before and it's another that's been on the list forever, so it was in the mix. Depending on how we felt and what kind of time we had left, there was a second hike in the mix.

I didn't take the time to read the directions to the Trailhead, Joe had been there a few times, So I google the route and loaded it on my GPS. Wrong move. After a few wrong starts, we got back to the dirt part of Riggs Rd and found our way to the TH. What this meant though, we would not have time for our second hike. So we took our time on this one and soaked it in.

I'm always pleasantly surprised at the conditions of the BLM Trail heads and trails.

A little warm at the start, but it cooled off nicely at the top. That's a huge hunk of Quartz up there... Great 360 views.

Video from the top :next: http://youtu.be/SJ0JBeW-sA4

We decided to check out the "Crusher Mica Quarry" to the NE of the TH on the way back. It had a couple of interesting mining remnants left over.

It's now 12:30 and time to head for home. After turning north off the Trailhead road onto the powerline road, at the .8 mile mark we/I decided to take Empire Blvd on the way back. Even though the maps show it as Empire Blvd, there are no signs. We were on it for exactly 3 miles. Straight as an arrow and smooth to begin, 2 miles in we hit some sand that slowed us to a crawl, but we made it through and High Fived our luck.

At the 2.5 mile mark the road got sandy again, so I sped up as we jogged around a corner and went under/through the first of a few Catclaw Acacia to lay pinstripping on both the hood, sides and roof.

Next was an 1/8 mile chute 3' tall on both sides that appears way to narrow to to fit the Pathfinder. Not slowing down, we made it through... Front wheels off the ground only once. Just short of the unmarked turn to the northwest we lost all momentum and the rear end sunk into the sand.

Crap.

The road had basically ended with a tree too large to go through in the middle of the wash, so we had to get out of it.

We dug and pushed, but made little progress trying to get out of the wash. We tried and burned through my carpeted floor mats. Tried small branches... Nope. Finally we set off in the desert to look for something larger. Great Success... Joe finds an old 4 x 4, me a 2 x 4.

A little more digging to get them under the tires and after 45 minutes we walked it out of the wash.

We were hoping on being able to backtrack next to "Empire Blvd" and get back in at a safe spot, but that never happened. 3 miles of flora encounters, gopher holes, and speedy wash crossings added to the new decorations on my truck.

Finally a road, and we were free from an expensive tow from the middle of nowhere.

A full body of scratches, a loose rear view mirror from Joe's head or shoulder slamming into it, and a new tire from a sidewall puncture were the only casualties. It's finally broken in after 180,000 miles.

Do not take this Empire Blvd Route
http://hikearizona.com/map.php?MY=6815&M=3
Flora
Flora
Mojave Sage
Geology
Geology
Muscovite Quartz
Culture
Culture
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_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
HAZ Member
The_Eagle's
671 Photosets

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