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Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine TH
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mini location map2014-07-12
17 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 12 2014
ddgrunning
Hiking10.40 Miles 2,351 AEG
Hiking10.40 Miles   4 Hrs   49 Mns   2.75 mph
2,351 ft AEG   1 Hour   2 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Final tune up for Mt. Whitney in a week and a half with my son. We wanted to do a loop on Kendrick for the mileage and altitude, but after spending hours in the car on vacation (we returned on Wednesday), I couldn't stomach another 5+ hours of driving to Flagstaff and back. So ... we opted for a hot/nearby hike, over cool/far away one.

First time up Thompson Peak. We got a relatively early start, and were on the trail shortly after 6 a.m. Having to "hike" the first 1/2 mile through the gated community was a rather inauspicious start to the hike [there are signs everywhere telling you to stay on the sidewalk and follow the "feathers" imprinted in the concrete to the trailhead]. On the plus side, the parking area is nice, with one of the most fancy trailhead bathrooms I've ever seen.

Anyway ... at the actual trailhead, we paid our $2/each, with a $1 tip (I only had a $5 bill) and marched onto the desert. The first couple of miles consist of a fair amount of moderate ups and downs as we traversed the washes. The destination (Thompson Peak) is in sight almost the whole way.

We were thankful for some wispy clouds that provided fairly constant, if not complete, protection from the sun, which made hiking conditions tolerable.

We startled a deer in one of the washes, and were startled ourselves by a large wasp-looking thing (a tarantula wasp?).

After making the left-hand turn on to Thompson Peak Road and going up some moderate inclines, we finally hit the butt-kicking part of this hike: a 1,400 ft. climb in less than 1.5 miles to the top. As advertised, it is steep, but the steepest sections are paved with concrete, so at least you aren't slipping and sliding as you climb. Not sure I would like to have the job of driving up and down that road to service the towers on top of the peak. :scared: (Not sure how they got the concrete to stay in place long enough to set, without just running down the hill....)

At the top, we were surprised to see 8 or so other folks who were equally crazy in deciding to do this hike in the middle of July. One fellow proclaimed himself a volunteer with the preserve and was eager to share his knowledge of the area, pointing out each of the peaks, etc.

On the way back down, we jumped off the road and followed the Prospector Trail for a little bit, and then went beyond the turn off to check out the Dixie mine, the tailing pile of which is evident. I wondered where the mine entrance was, as I couldn't see any obvious openings form the road. I found out why, when we climbed the tailings pile: the mine is a vertical one, going straight down 25-30 feet from the surface. It is covered with a large grate, and the bottom was filled with water. Kind of cool.

After that, we marched back across the desert, arriving back at our car around 11:15.

Although not quite the elevation gain or altitude of Kendrick, hopefully the steep climb in hot conditions helped bolster some endurance in preparation for Whitney.
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