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Bald Mountain 7298 - Prescott NF
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mini location map2016-02-13
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Bald Mountain 7298 - Prescott NFPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 13 2016
Hiking11.00 Miles
Hiking11.00 Miles   6 Hrs   17 Mns   2.08 mph
   1 Hour    Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After being such a good sport last weekend when I took on the challenge and bagged both Union and Davis in thigh-deep snow, Peter let me off the hook this weekend when I asked for more recommendations. Instead of insisting that I bag Tritle, [which would’ve involved trudging through deeper snow than what I faced en route to Mt. Union], he gave me a very sweet route up Spruce, [which is detailed in our hike Description].

Just like Union and Davis, the summit views atop Spruce were exceptional. I was unable to find a register on Spruce but I did find something rather interesting: a plastic bag containing a small stuff-animal, a small vial of what I think was honey, some hard candy or cough drops, and a few bite-sized peanut butter Snickers. Written on the bag in permanent marker was: “Lois – miss you so much. Love you.”

As much fun as I had en route to Spruce Mountain, it took only 2 hours give or take to make the one-way trek of just over 4 miles to the summit… [not too terrible given that the snow was ankle deep most of the way and calf-deep in some places]. With nearly 6 hours until pitch darkness, I decided it would be fun to pull off my own little twist on ‘sprucing up’ the trek to Spruce Mountain… or in this case, the return trip.

The previous evening I had glanced at the trusty Route Scout topo to see what else might be nearby and set my sights on Bald Mountain, a 7,298’ peak situated to the Northeast of Spruce. Eyeballing the topo, Bald Mountain looked to be about 1 to 1.25 miles from Spruce; and from the summit of Spruce, Route Scout revealed the distance to be just .99 miles as-the-crow-flies… totally doable.

My initial plan was to come off Spruce via a very short segment of dirt road and then approach Bald Mountain by riding ridgelines as shown in red here: [ photo ] . However, some private properties with barbed wire fence and numerous “Keep Out” / “Do Note Enter” signs crashed my initial plan… I continued down the dirt road, hoping there would be a break in the section of private properties.

As luck would have it, that break came when I was almost due West of Bald Mountain; [actually, the barbed wire fence appeared to have continued but at the point where I crossed, it was pushed all the way into the ground and there appeared to be a full out route leading from the dirt road and into the forest. There were no houses in sight and no “Keep Out” / “Do Note Enter” signs, so I figured I was good to go.

Very shortly after heading into the woods, I came across a fire ring/camp spot, and shortly after that, I crossed over a dirt road [not shown on the Route Scout topo, which I way-pointed on my track]. Heading south, [toward the red line I drew on the image with my tracks], would’ve been a slightly longer but way less exhausting approach. However, thanks to more private property [and not being one to mind getting my tail kicked by steep uphills], I headed down a steep slope, crossed a drainage at the bottom, and then began my final ascent up the other side and then some, the top of which terminates at the Western-most prominent point of Bald Mountain. It’s hard to say what the going would be like at other times of year, but with ankle-deep snow, the bushwhacking was quite pleasant and fun; the snow was just deep enough to cover the brush and rocks but not so deep to be a real hindrance.

Like Union, Davis, and Spruce, the views from Bald Mountain were awesome! The summit proved to be a mini-ridgeline, running NW to SE. There were at least three prominent points that I could remember, all of which had cairns but no registers [at least none that I could find]. There was even a mine, [which I way-pointed], right along the ridgeline that forms the Bald Mountain summit. If I recall, the middle prominent point was the tallest; yet the Route Scout summit symbol was located by the shorter prominent point on the Southeastern side.

There were numerous routes leading off Bald Mountain to the South and SE, so I arbitrarily choose one when I was ready to head down. I hadn’t bothered to plan exactly how to finish off the adventure… the topo looked very favorable in the directions heading back toward my starting point; so it was going to be a ‘wing-it’ kind of deal back. The Victor Mine looked to be right on the way, and I’m glad I had the energy left to bushwhack out of the nice drainage I had found and up the small, steep hillside to check out the mine. It was all filled in but the “pile” of tailings was rather large and fun to check out.

Shortly after the mine, I had to go slightly out of the way once again to avoid another section of private property; and shortly after that, I popped out on Walker Road [a main dirt road in area]. Speaking of dirt roads, I crossed over at least three of them after descending the summit of Bald Mountain. I think I remembered to way-point most if not all of them; [but forgot to way-point where I came out on Walker, which was about a quarter mile or less from the locally famous Pink Car & Pink Car Road].

Oddly enough, right in the area where I stopped to check out the Pink Car was when both of my GPS apps when kind of crazy. At first I thought I accidentally hit a button while viewing MapMyHike, [causing my mileage to jump from around 7-8 to nearly 50…], but when I checked Route Scout and saw that the mileage was suddenly well into double digits as well, I knew something else was up.

Messed up mileage alone wouldn’t have crashed my plans to incorporate more off-trail, but the funkiness went beyond simply incorrect mileage stats: the center feature on both GPS apps was also whacked out; showing my location as somewhere around Prescott Valley / Camp Verde [vs. at the junction of Walker and Pink Car Rds in Prescott]. Thus, [while I had some other ideas that would’ve made for a more interesting finish compared to my 3-4 mile “hike” up Walker Road], I wasn’t about to take another step off-trail with both GPS apps completely whacked out. At one point I even tried stopping and re-starting Route Scout, but it failed to restart; [and instead gave me some sort of message about needing a clearer view of the sky]. The strangest part was, [in addition to never having experienced anything like this in areas with even greater tree cover], I had GPS’ed the segment of Walker Road – where both of my GPS apps failed – 2-3 other times without issue. Despite the 3-4 mile end on dirt road, the adventure still rocked.
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