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Heliograph Peak LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 17 2016
Hiking5.30 Miles 1,136 AEG
Hiking5.30 Miles   2 Hrs   47 Mns   2.32 mph
1,136 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Day 3 (Hike 5) –
A short ways down Rt. 366 from Grant Hill was the Shannon Campground, the takeoff point for the next two peaks on my list: Eagle Rock and Heliograph Peak. The plan was to hit the peaks up as I made a clockwise loop. The trail is in excellent condition for the first mile to the saddle and this first mile is completely shaded while still offering excellent views.

The summit of Eagle Rock is located less than 1/10th of a mile off the trail, just before reaching the saddle. There is a noticeable route to the left, which leads from the main trail toward the large boulder pile that forms the summit of Eagle Rock. Under normal circumstances, I would’ve been leaping like a gazelle from boulder to boulder; but given that the equilibrium issue has impaired my bouldering ability considerably more than other activities, I was feeling a bit apprehensive as I cautiously stepped off the trail and made my way toward the boulders. Luckily, [with nothing coming close to a Class 3 climb], slowing my pace to what felt painfully slow and exercising extreme caution allowed me to safely reach the summit of Eagle Rock and even spend some time exploring the exceptional views from some of the other tall boulders on the Eagle Rock summit. The views were sensational and definitely earned a spot on my Pinaleno Fab Five list for best summit views of the 11 peaks I bagged that weekend. I spent some time searching for a summit register but was unable to find one in any of the places that seemed most obvious… however, with the tons of boulders and possible “hiding places”, it wouldn’t surprise me if I overlooked it.

Next up was Heliograph Peak/L.O. The trail conditions for most of the remaining way from the saddle to the peak were quite opposite from the first mile: there were tons of rocks and enough trees for most of the way to block the views but not the sun. While not an exhausting climb in and of itself, the energy expenditure of having summited 6 peaks [by the time I made it to the top of Heliograph] suddenly caught up to me, and I was feeling pretty beat when I first arrived on the summit. However, the sensational views and other interesting things [cabins, radio towers, the lookout, etc.] gave me newfound energy… [nonetheless, you know I’m beat when I’m very much looking forward to a dirt road finish!]. Before heading down, I spent some time exploring the summit and soaking in the exceptional views from various vantage points. The incredible views from Heliograph definitely lived up to reputation and easily made my Pinaleno Fab Five list… but like a storybook ending, the best was destined to be last…
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