|AZ Trust - Bighorn Sheep Loop, AZ|
|AZ Trust - Bighorn Sheep Loop, AZ|| |
AZ Trust - Bighorn Sheep Loop, AZ
|Hiking||4.80 Miles|| 3 Hrs 45 Mns ||1.31 mph|
|1,581 ft AEG|| 5 Mns Break||20 LBS Pack|
||no linked trail guides|
|I talked Tracey into a close-to-home low-elevation (as in warmer) hike only with the promise of an encounter with a bunch of white-tailed deer I saw out this way last week.
Ok... so just where is out this way you ask? Well, just drive out Peralta Road about 5 miles, turn east onto one or another rough Jeep/ATV trails and keep going until you find a suitable spot. Just make sure you have an Arizona State Trust Land permit.
We began shortly after sunrise, which today could be considered a mistake due to the extremely high humidity... barely over 70 degrees and we were sweating profusely minutes after leaving the Jeep. (And it would get worse!)
Anyway, since I had scared off the deer last time while driving, we started off on foot a half-mile from where I expected to see the deer. Nothing doing... no deer today, so we began a wide lazy clockwise loop taking in every small peak along the way.
Just after we came across a well-used small den we looked up and less than a hundred yards away are 6 bighorn sheep looking over at us. Cool!
I didn't really expect to see bighorn this far out in the scrub flat area. Hoping to get a closer look without spooking them we took a wide easterly arc and climb farther up the hill so as to come in from behind them. And that we did... the bighorn were still in the same spot.
But after time for just a few photos two dropped down and headed farther west to the next hill, two others went the other direction and another single went south below us and the last went north up toward Peak 2546. (We'd go looking for him later)
After the herd had dispersed, Tracey continued along the craggy ridge to the north end and just as she looked over the edge, a fox which had been resting on a shelf below jumped up and took off. Tracey was able to see it travel back to the den which we passed by earlier. That was just another treat of the day for her.
As we continued south we got another photo op on one of the larger bighorns. Then as it dropped down to high-tail it (although tail-less, of course) away, we spot two white-tailed deer heading east across his path. Wow, action all around!
Eventually we looped back south and east to climb the next peak where three bighorn had gone. Again we took a route attempting to keep from being upwind but to no avail, although there was fresh scat, they were all gone.
Ok, the temp isn't bad but the humidity is still oppressive and I am soaked completely (there were low clouds hanging over the area all morning) are we going to head back to the Jeep or make it a figure-8 loop and see if we can catch up the the bighorn that went north?
Tracey wasn't enthused about a steep climb through cholla fields but was willing to go for it. We saw plenty of bighorn scat but no bighorn, but since Tracey had never been to the summit of 2546 (I'd been there 2x) she said why not? And so we did. We avoided the bee hive within 50 feet of the 'stairs' we had to climb so all went well. Great views at the summit but having been there for the third time, I simply didn't even think to take any photos.
Now it's just a matter of dropping back down and circling back to the Jeep. By now my cloths, pack, gps case and even my camera case was thoroughly soaked with sweat and it felt like my clothes were dragging. So when we got back to the Jeep I changed into a spare set of clothes I keep in the Jeep for just such an occasion. Oh boy, did that feel good!
Just a little hike trivia:
Even after the hour drive home, when I carried my sweat-filled clothes into the house I couldn't believe how heavy they were... so I weighed just the long pants and outer shirt and they weighed 2 pounds more than when dry, which means they were holding almost a full quart of sweat!
And that is why I can hike all day in 100+ heat with 10-15% humidity but detest 80 degrees and 80%+ humidity.
But... with the great scenery and the abundant wildlife, we will return when the humidity is more reasonable.