|Peak 3097 - Goldfield Quad, AZ|
|Peak 3097 - Goldfield Quad, AZ|| |
Peak 3097 - Goldfield Quad, AZ
|Hiking||7.40 Miles|| 5 Hrs 33 Mns ||1.54 mph|
|1,949 ft AEG|| 45 Mns Break||20 LBS Pack|
||no linked trail guides|
|Only three days since my last hike and my joints are feeling the inactivity, or rather they are protesting with some vigor.
Ok, Ok, let's go...
Last night I had planned on hitting up Geronimo Head. Then this morning I woke up with a change in plan to a peak along FR172 between Roblas Butte and Byous Butte. But while loading up I changed my mind again!
I had planned on doing this hike over the weekend, but realizing how much hiking and equestrian traffic there may along the Dutchman Trail I decided to do it today. Of course that meant I had to spend a bit of time with Route Manager to map out three different approach options, two of which would veer off of the Second Water Trail and the third breaking away from the Dutchman Trail. Of course this meant I'd have to make the first decision at the Dutchman/Second Water junction.
Only four vehicles at the TH so I didn't expect to see anyone. I hoped to knock this one out in 3 hours so I hit the trail at a pretty good pace. Ok, I'm at the Dutchman/Second Water sign, will it be left or right?
Hmmm... how about #3, the shorter route? Sounds good to me, so the Dutchman it is. It wasn't very long before I realized why hiking on well-used trails is not fun anymore... the stench of horse urine was so pungent that I couldn't wait to get off the trail.
And that was even with no trace of horseshoe prints and no horse trailers at the horse staging lot. So just before Parker Pass I left the trail to go cross-country relatively close to route #3.
Wow, I"m on a tear today... changing my mind at the wisp of the wind. Instead of continuing along mapped route #3 on my GPS it wasn't long before I was swayed by the possibility of locating a crevice in the cliff face near the southwest 'corner' of Peak 3097. If so, I'd shave off a mile or more of thrashing through the brush.
What!? So you think hoping will make it so? Fat chance!
I reached the corner only to find the one crevice I held hope for turned out to be nothing-doing here! Ok, so I'll go around the corner and take another look. Even higher cliffs here, but... what is that I see? About 300 yards along the base of the cliffs appears to be some heavy rockfall which just could mean a way up.
To be sure, I scaled a smaller peak to the south for a better look at the rockfall area. Although still hidden by a 'fold' in the cliff, with a few Saguaros sticking up near the rockfall it sure looked doable. Either that or more distance around the other direction.
But to get to that area I traversed across a steep and loose slope for most of the distance before ascending through a rockfall of black boulders. Once I was above the cliffs it was just a matter of a long walk up a gentle incline to the summit. But with fields of prickly-pear, buckhorn, pincushion, and other assorted thorny dangers, it wasn't quite as easy as a walk-in-the-park.
Wow, the views at the summit were awesome! The air was so clear that only thing that could have made them better was if there were fewer Saguaros to block the view.
Now, the decision... do I go back the way I came or take route #3 on the return trip? Always interested in covering new terrain I decided to take route #3. As I was following the edge of the cliffs to the north I spotted some movement a hundred yards ahead. Looking closer I saw it was another hiker. Wow! I certainly did not expect out of 4 vehicles at the TH that I'd see another soul all day.
Since he was along my intended route I figured I might as well say hi. Kind of funny, because as intensely as he appeared to be scanning all around, he didn't notice me until I was less than 100 feet away... and I was NOT being stealthy, for fear of startling him.
Continuing along things that seemed funny, the first thing out of his mouth was how old are you? When I told him he mentioned he was 10 years younger and quipped I hope I'm in as good a shape as you when I'm that old.
Ha! I didn't tell him about how out-of-shape I felt, with the protesting joints and all.
I didn't realize it until looking at the GPS track later that we chatted some 45 minutes. But then the conversation was quite interesting, especially sharing our mountain lion experiences. He topped mine with a find of a mountain lion skull by Yellow Peak, of which we had a great view of. (He showed me a photo so it wasn't just talk.)
Enough sitting time... I've got to get moving, after all I only planned on a 3 hour hike and here it was well over 4 hours already. No big deal time-wise, it's just that got side-tracked when filling my CamelBak bladder that it was only half full. Fine for 3 hours, but not for much longer now that it was warming up.
After asking Ken (the hiker) where he came up I realized it would be longer than I wanted so I decided to retrace my route back to the southeast end of Peak 3097, drop down where I ascended then make a bee-line for the Dutchman Trail.
Easy enough, don't you think? Yes and no. And I'm still feeling the 'no' part today.
Here I was, cruising along, winding back and forth to avoid the myriads of vegetation dangers, minding my own business and WHAM!
A bee and a hornet managed to have a tiff and flew smack dab into my face, a half inch to the right of my right eye. Somehow they managed to miss the brim of my hat and my glasses. I wasn't sure if one or both stung me, but I believe I killed them both with a quick swipe of my hand.
Now I was worried about the possibility of being attacked by other bees (the must have been millions in all the flowers I'd seen on the summit) I took off running... well, as fast as one could while avoiding the prickly-pear field I managed to run into. Just when I'm feeling somewhat safe, I realized that somewhere along the line I dropped my right hiking pole.
I had just replaced the tip on it so I was NOT about to leave it, but where was it? Just follow your GPS track you say? Well since I have it set to record every 10 seconds I could zig or zag some distance off the saved track line.
So I attempted to retrace my route, but just how far back do I go? I went back and forth four times before I realized part of my problem was the eyesight from my right eye was now blurry. So I stopped for a moment to concentrate and what do you know, I see a glint from the sun reflecting off the pole and there it is.
Now, time to get moving... I haven't had any allergic reactions to bee stings so I had no Epi-pen or Benadryl along, but again, being possible I was stung by both insects, not only was the whole side of my face in pain, I just wasn't feeling good. I did have enough presence of mind to realize hurrying with blurred vision was not on the agenda, what with the terrain I had to cross before returning to the Dutchman Trail.
That should have been enough to head straight for the TH, wouldn't you think?
Well I must not have been thinking straight. And by now I was out of fluids. (Eventually I'll have gone 2 hours without any... and yup, I weighed 8 pounds less after the hike)
I had a waypoint for a spot that someone on the Lost Dutchman Mine thread on DesertUSA had used some very convoluted calculations based the Peralta Stone Maps (The 'N' on the horse was backwards so you must look at that part of the map backwards... and other wacky stuff like that) and had posted a Google Earth image of the exact spot.
Of course the guy is not local so he couldn't check it out himself, he just stated with some authority that this IS where the mine is.
Anyway, somehow I felt this was the day to debunk that 'fact' so being only .25 mile off the Dutchman Trail. Only trouble was it was not over easy terrain... but I persevered and found the spot, or rather found nothing. No cave, no rocks to hide anything, just brush. I wandered around in a corkscrew circle for some time before taking a number of photos (to post in rebuttal to the claim) and finally heading for the TH.
By time I dragged myself back to the TH, I was absolutely parched, in pain not only on the face, but my feet as well... I had forgotten to throw my boots in the Jeep before leaving home so I had been hiking with very soft bottom trail-runners. Definitely not the thing for the terrain I had to deal with.
But all that counts is I made it back to tell the tale... or novel as it now appears to be.
Ah, but now for the sequel... Tracey is bragging to the neighbors how she 'showed me' not to give her any guff.... "I gave him a shiner like you wouldn't believe!" Even after taking Benadryl as often as directed, some 18 hours later my lower eyelid is so puffed up it partially blocks my vision. Oh yeah, and it still hurts like crazy, which is why I believe I was stung by both the bee and the hornet. (For me, hornet stings hurt for the longest time but with little swelling whereas it's the opposite when it comes to bee stings.
When I think back to my conversation with Ken (the hiker I met on Peak 3097), he was so worried about rattlesnakes, which to me are hardly even on my radar when hiking. But this makes four bee attacks for me this year, although I could hardly class this one as an attack, they just managed to fly into me while in the midst of their own tiff.
Well, that about covers another fun Adventure in the Supes.
Too many photos so I'll just post 50 here on HAZ.
(The full set of 65 is on my site as usual)
Peak 3097 summit video (including a bonus Tarantula clip) is here: