The objective was to hit some peaks I've pondered through the years. To make it worthy I added in the creek that parallels First Water as no HAZ member has posted it as traveled.
We parked at First Water TH and headed up to the Horse Lot TH. Forget old FR 1455, instead jump the rail out of the lot in the upper right corner and follow the creek. The narrow and windy creek is a treat. In 2008 I'd been to Hackberry Spring from the east and it just didn't resonate ever needing my return. This approach was a winner in my book.
The hike down FWC to access some unposted terrain was more pleasant than anticipated too. 4 miles in the fun began with a right turn up a tributary. Mild brushy, most would prefer pants. Atop this ravine are two distinct 2700 range peaks most have seen. I purposely tried to keep the mileage down on the loop to increase our exploring time. We hit the eastern peak and believe it's the best choice if you only ascend one. 360 degree candy store views, enough said.
Heading down was steep on unstable rock slides. Midway down our consistently windy morning finally eased up as did the grade of the descent. The next destination was Cholla Tank via an unposted creek approach. Cholla Tank was surprisingly a quarter full.
Going up Hackberry Mesa is tedious dodging brush the entire way. Just off the edge of the high point is a sweet perch for a lunch break so we took advantage of the situation at hand! We snacked and watched a football game unfold down in Garden Valley. I think the Cholla Sabercats won!
Getting down to the heavily used use-trail that loops Hackberry Butte? was cake and over in a flash. We then ascended Hackberry Butte 2430 from the east and boy howdy do you get a smorgasbord of lichen views! Bruce had an impromptu thought to descend on the south, which worked out well with minor zigzagging.
The creek that parallels under a quarter mile east of FW was the final hurrah. Didn't expect anything mind blowing and that's more or less how it panned out. Nice in areas.