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Peak 4618 - Fraser Benchmark
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mini location map2016-01-24
71 by photographer avatartibber
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Peak 4618 - Fraser BenchmarkGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 24 2016
Hiking6.28 Miles 2,109 AEG
Hiking6.28 Miles   6 Hrs   37 Mns   1.86 mph
2,109 ft AEG   3 Hrs   14 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I know this is a long triplog. I think sometimes I should wait a week or two and I'll remember much less details but nonetheless, just because I wrote it doesn't mean you have to read it. I just want to be able to look back and remember the hike fondly...or not. Grasshopper added me as an addition to some preliminary Rx emails thinking I might like to tag along. I've always liked this area based on pics I've seen posted so I decided to do the best I could... and I almost stopped about 1/2 way up but powered thru somehow after a little whining to Larry as we were soon left WAY behind; but that was okay with us so we could enjoy the trip and "tibbermode" to our hearts content.

Larry put together the final touches for the trip and offered to get us out there on this terribly rough road. Lee and his crew will attest to how pretty bad it was getting there after driving on the 1900; not a road to be taken lightly. After the meet and greet with people and dogs, we geared up. It was a little chilly as we walked the road to our waypoint area to head straight up and then over to the Overlook. There's lots of running water and green grass alongside the road walk. Once we came out into the sunlight, the temp was just right.

Oh that's a long way up with no trail and so much brush and cactus and other prickly things that make you say to yourself, "ouch". Our first destination was the rock wall fence where we could see the barbed wire fence had also once attached to it.... probably covering the area from the other side of the road that was not walled. It really is an impressive structure and has held up quite well after all these years.

We continued up trying to find the path of least resistance as there was so much ground cover. There were only short moments of a clear route to traverse. Obviously there wasn't going to be much moviemaking heading up this monster. We trudged and trudged our way : rambo : stopping occasionally to check out the incredible view. We came to this section of several rock outcroppings that you stay fairly close to as there is a cliff area above a deep wash that prevents you from going any other way. It's amazing how many of those rock outcroppings there were as you'd get around one and there was another. But at least it wasn't as steep and the footing was a little better.

The last we saw of Kelly, Jackie, Lee and Blanco was above a cliff face. We would not go up quite that way as we found a ledge to sneak around on before we found our up and out of this lower section area to at least now be up on the next tier. So it took us an 1:45 from the start of the bushwhack and 1200 feet to this level based on trying to interpret my route. I was thinking at this point that I bit off more than I could chew and maybe I should throw in the towel :-({|= . I think I mentioned it to Larry and he gave me a one or two line pep talk and up, around, through and over and down and up again we continued to go. Once we got up on this tier, the hike got a whole lot nicer. As we started up this ramp-like area, when we looked back we started to see Weavers Needle and then Miners Needle and more of the Superstitions.

We still couldn't see where we would top out at but we could see a bit of a saddle that looked like it might be the viewpoint. But before that, we saw an Arch and as you go past it and look back, it has a rather nice opening. We didn't explore it however like the first group; glad they did and got some great pics! We could now see the Peak clearly and saw that Kelly was on top. We yelled up but with the wind, they didn't hear us plus it was pretty far away. So we continued on. Surveying the area I was more inclined to head to a ridge saddle to the right for what I thot was going to be the best view of the Arch but Larry headed us upward and as we passed between some boulders and suddenly THERE it was. We made it :y: .

We could hear the other group's voices so I would yell up to let them know we were down here. I sent a text to Kelly to tell her we were at the Arch. When I got home I saw she sent a text at 10:45, "Where are you? Are you at the overlook yet?" We were at the overlook around 11, so "close". Larry sent a text and spot to Grasshopper letting him know we made it. Hank was our cheerleader. He had texted the nite before offering support. I had texted back, "I know it won't be easy but it will be pretty". Hank texted back, "The adrenaline rush alone will get you there ;) ". I thot about that adrenaline several times up to this point :lol: .

The rest of the group finally found us and while I wanted to have my snack break looking at the Arch, Lee decided we should come up to their viewpoint so we did. The break wasn't too long as we decided we might as well hit the Peak and Kelly was willing to take us up even though she had just been there. We were worried that we wouldn't have enough time so that she could make it back in time for kick-off but she thot we would be okay. We said our "adieus" to the dogs, Jackie and Lee and they went down the way they came up. I think that was a smart move and certainly would advise that as the better return route rather than the way we went.

But now let's get to the Peak so up and up we went to reach a bit of a saddle. Kelly says it's not too long to get up to the Peak so up again we went and up some more. And now this non-peak bagger has another peak under her belt. By the way, it's a beautiful peak that has some geological folding on its side. And of course the views from on top are pretty fabulous to say the least :DANCE: . Such a shame about the haze though but you just gotta look past it to see all of the landmarks including the snowy Pinals, FR172, Teapot Mtn, Byous & Roblas Butte, Picketpost and almost the entirety of the western Superstitions and the Four Peaks. We took a group photo, checked out the Benchmarks and signed the summit register.

From here we headed down the way a group of HAZers including Larry had come up to the Summit almost exactly two years back. So we contoured across heading NW before heading straight down 400 feet in 1/4 mile dodging cactus and looking for good footing. We hear Kelly say Rams, so we look up and there they are, coming our direction. I've got the camera out and start shooting but I need to use my electronic viewfinder and even this little delay caused me to miss a couple good shots but I did manage some. I thot there were 1/2 dozen. Needless to say they were quite the site :D and that's when I told Larry I had given some thot to maybe seeing the sheep today.

But now back to figuring out how we get down; we still have quite a way to go. We continue our traverse over and by some rock outcroppings before Larry decided we needed to be a little lower which meant into the brush. This one area was full of sotol that it almost masked Larry ahead of me. We finally maneuvered our way over to a saddle where Kelly was waiting.

Larry consulted the gps; we now went over this downed barbed-wire fence and would veer right around the deep drainage below us. This, my friends, was not fun at all and it went on quite a ways :yuck: as we contoured the mountainside holding on tight with my feet before we could start to drop down. We see the drainage rock bed below and I think Larry said we could go down there. On this trip, like up, it was STRAIGHT down. We get to the bedrock, enjoy the water and the view only to be told we have to go UP again to get around the spring area that was smothered with brush. OMG! And of course what goes up in this case must come down AGAIN (not that I'm whining :whistle: ).

So after hugging the side of the mountain again, we finally get the word we can head down, STRAIGHT down as the brush was less obnoxious now. And low and behold, we strike cairns that lead you to the really old part of the road. Yep, this was a good thing. We were down now. No more STRAIGHT up or STRAIGHT down, just hit the road Jack. Check out the lyrics for that song and just change "woman" to trail :-({|= . Finally we get to the point where we had started our bushwhack up. It's easy to see because of the rock walls.

It was nice to hike this road walk again because now it was lighter and you could see the scenery better and it wasn't quite so cold. We all enjoyed this part of the stroll back to the vehicle admiring the saguaros, the green grass, the running water and of course the mountains around you. In spite of our longer route back, we made it back to Larry's truck at 3; just as scheduled. We had our beer and some snacks before mounting up for the ride on 1900. GOOD job Larry, that was not an easy road by any means, whew!

It was a spectacular day :D shared with fellow HAZers. 1-27-2016 I'll have the movies up by the weekend. I'm still working on my stuff from Yellowstone which I interrupt to work on the hiking treks.
Road walk, bushwhack to rock fence ... 3e6U
Bushwhack hike continues to little Fraser-Arch ... aDE0
to Overlook, peak, heading down, pictures of RAMS ... TbGk
continuing down to saddle, contouring mtn, to drainage ... F0_k
old road to better road walk hike ... L8K8

drive, it's a fun one ... eVk8
Chevron Folds
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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