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Jones Hill, AZ
mini location map2016-12-26
46 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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Jones Hill, AZ 
Jones Hill, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 26 2016
Hiking8.19 Miles 2,437 AEG
Hiking8.19 Miles   5 Hrs   52 Mns   1.45 mph
2,437 ft AEG      12 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Day 4 – Hike 2
During my first hike of the day I’d spotted a sweet looking ridgeline that began almost due West of Youngblood Hill. For Hike #2, I decided to head NW from my vehicle in an attempt to access it… without crossing onto private property. I can’t say for certain whether or not I was successful in that regard; however, I was successful in accessing it without crossing onto any areas that had “private property”, “do not enter”, etc. types of signs. :)

At the West end of Upper Opera Dr., there is a more major-looking staircase, which I headed up; and toward the top was a route taking off to the SW. Post-hike, I overlaid my GPS route with satellite imagery and could not see the route, but in person, it is very noticeable. This route contours over to the NW – SE running ridge of the ridgeline I wanted to access. Once at the SE end of the ridgeline, a major route, [that more or less looks/feels like a full out trail and is very noticeable from satellite imagery], takes off upward toward the ridgeline. For the next 1.67+ miles, this main route follows the ridgeline. Less beaten but still very noticeable routes branch off to each of the prominent points / UN summits on the ridgeline.

The ridgeline intersects with a trail junction just to the SW of UN 6374. The easy way back to town would be to take the trail to the SE. I opted for a more scenic way back, heading up to UN 6374 and then heading SE along a NW – SE running ridgeline, which curves to the NE at the prominent point after UN 6174. This ridgeline is a blast, but the combination of only faint routes along with horrendous footing, [extremely rocky with extremely poor visibility], makes for a very slow go [approx. 1 mph or less]. And the TONS of catclaw didn’t help matters… this area has the Tumacacoris beat by a long shot in terms of the concentration of catclaw! Luckily it was probably at its peak in terms of dullness.

After UN 6436, I was hoping to hit up Mural Hill, which looked really badass from a distance; however, a somewhat late start, in combination with a much slower than anticipated pace along the section of ridgeline to the East of UN 6374, meant not enough time before dark. Thus, after UN 6436, I decided to head back toward town by picking up an overgrown trail/jeep road that heads SW towards Jones Hill.

As I approached Jones Hill, there was an excellent dirt road leading up toward the summit, so I couldn’t resist hitting up this summit on the way back. The road does not go all the way to the summit, but some very brief/basic bushwhacking did the trick. The summit has some fantastic views of the mines in the area.

The short, 0.25 mile bushwhack off the summit of Jones Hill to where I picked up the dirt road proved to be one of the worst descents I can remember. Looking at a topo or satellite imagery does not reveal anything overly difficult; however, [relative to the lack of ‘breaking points’], this was some of loosest / most slippery footing I’ve ever had to negotiate. While it wasn’t a vertical cliff, one little slip could have easily meant a several hundred-foot ass slide. Fortunately, [after a few very dicey moments], I managed to make it back onto a dirt road which led me safely off the mountain.

However, [as if the adventure didn’t have enough drama], the finish wasn’t entirely smooth sailing: exhausted, with heart still racing from the precarious descent off Jones Hill, [and now almost pitch dark], I started to relax, thinking that I’d have an easy finish down the trail[s] I had started on at the beginning of the day en route to Youngblood & Chihuahua Hills. However, with several similar shaped hills in the area, [and almost no daylight left], I inadvertently descended down the wrong trail/jeep road, which ended up dumping me in the same spot as I ended up at the end of Hike #1. Now pitch dark, I just hoped that the ‘trick’ I’d used during Hike #1 would once again work; otherwise, it would mean over a mile of backtrack + several hundred extra feet of AEG, [certainly not the end of the world, but definitely not something to look forward to when you’re beat to shit]. Luckily, the little shortcut back to town panned out once again.
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