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Garfias-Hellgate Mountain Combo, AZ
mini location map2016-12-04
6 by photographer avatarMountainMatt
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Garfias-Hellgate Mountain Combo, AZ 
Garfias-Hellgate Mountain Combo, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 04 2016
Hiking5.75 Miles 1,776 AEG
Hiking5.75 Miles   4 Hrs   32 Mns   1.77 mph
1,776 ft AEG   1 Hour   17 Mns Break25 LBS Pack
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I was not able to make the big hike and camping trip I had planned this weekend so I had to fill the void with some kind of wilderness action.
I've flirted around the outskirts of the Hell Canyon Wilderness but this was my first true visit, being a 40 min drive from my house it sure is awesome to get to an area like this so quickly!
Not to mention Castle Hot Springs Rd was just recently grated to suburb conditions, you could easily drive any car to the Cedar Basin turnoff which also had some nice road maintenance done but is still best suited for high clearance/4WD.

My original plan was to hit up Garfias Mountain first and then work my way to Hellgate Mountain but I got anxious and needed to get some dirt under my feet.
From the bottom Hellgate doesn't look at all that appealing since it may rather small but the summit boasts some mighty fine views of the surrounding wilderness, it was awesome and humbling to see Packard's name on the summit register since this is the first time I saw him list his age...
77 years old he made it up there :o I hope I can still tie my own shoes when I'm that age let alone climb an off trail mountain in a wilderness area, Bob Packard is truly the bionic man! :app:

From there I dipped down into Garfias Wash for a moment before finding an incredibly nice game trail that led to a nice saddle. At this point I was so confused because all the literature I read said Garfias Mountain was the highest point in the Hells Canyon Wilderness which it certainly is not!
The name deserving nearby peak 3,651 is the HC Wilderness HP that completely dominates the surrounding area, Barrett wrote a description for it and seems to be the only Hazzer to make it up there.
I found another interesting find in the Garfias register it was the documentation of yet another bionic man, the name of the 75 year old man Ted Brasket was written, once again truly impressive stuff!

I was tempted to hit up peak 3,651 to officially check off the HC wilderness HP but I only brought 2 summit beers and I for once had some very important things to take care of later that day so I decided to head home.
On the way down I spooked the the largest herd of javelina I've seen so far, I counted a total of 14.
I stood there smiling and laughing for about 5 minutes watching them scamper up the mountainside all because I couldn't help but think of my dog Payton who if you've ever met her has a lot of similarities with pigs. :sweat:
Dare I say cute but I don't care the javelina baby piglets running were downright adorable!

From there it was just a pleasant walk back through "Garfield Wash" and with no clouds and temps in the low 70's I enjoyed every last bit of what felt like summer in December.
Great day out in the HC Wilderness and I'll certainly be back for more exploring, car camping and a possible quick overnighter.
Cag Shot
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Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Inside Garfias Wash some of the trees had some nice color going on.
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