|Saddle Mountain - Mazatzals, AZ|
|Saddle Mountain - Mazatzals, AZ|| |
Saddle Mountain - Mazatzals, AZ
|Hiking||6.69 Miles|| 7 Hrs 42 Mns ||1.77 mph|
|2,034 ft AEG|| 3 Hrs 55 Mns Break|
|This hike was more of a test of fortitude than a hike. Half way through the hike, I started laughing out loud.
(Good thing I was alone).
1 - I easily located a benchmark on the summit of Saddle Mountain.
2 - I also located two reference marks that I didn’t know existed.
3 - The hike is over.
Oh yes - another positive - I discovered that the normal clothes-washer cycle, takes soot out of hiking clothes.
1 - The off trail climb and descent was nasty, craggy, hiker-unfriendly, and absolutely full of thick vegetation on all steep sides, AND on the summit.
2 - Mixed in with all the tall, thick brush was charred brush remnants, from the Sunflower Fire of 2012 and earlier burns. (excellent to blacken all parts of your hiking costume).
Most mountains lose their “look”, the closer you get to them and Saddle Mountain is no different. Saddle Mountain is very distinctive from afar - It’s taller than the mountains around it, so it stands out in a very majestic way, what with its unique shape.
Up close - It’s not so majestic.
The trail (#91) portion of the hike was excellent. Trail #91 started life as a road and is now a very nice, wide trail.
The off trail climb, up and down, was very steep, with a bit of scree, and boulder hopping, but I assumed it would be. No surprises there.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the constant brush. I’d say the thick brush was over 95% of the off trail portion, with the actual top of the mountain totally covered with thick, 6 ft high vegetation. When I finally got up there, I actually did laugh out loud.
I felt like the mountain top was saying “Gotcha”, especially since the mountain looks so docile, and friendly from below.
As mentioned, I located the USGS benchmark “SADDLE” (1963). I located both reference marks first, then followed their arrows to the ‘brush hiding’ BM. All three disks are in excellent shape.
I unsuccessfully looked for a summit log on the ‘horn’ of the saddle and on the actual high point. I don’t think this summit gets alot of action, and I believe only a few HAZ members have made the fun journey to the top.
I stayed on top for quite a long time, after I took photos of the benchmark etc. I found a large boulder near the saddle, and had lunch.
I eventually stopped laughing at the mountain, and I finally got rid of my ‘mountain-malice’.
My choice of routes up and down were a ‘coin toss’. Looking back now, I don’t believe there’s a clear way up to the top that would be better. Give it a try and let me know.
Dress accordingly - Try to fully encapsulate your body.
Or get a helicopter and get ‘lowered down’ to the summit. I’ll guarantee you the chopper pilot will not land on the top.
I log this as a very successful hike, but in many ways, the mountain won.
I guess I’ll call it a draw.
|Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost|