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Guajolote Peak & Red Hill, AZ
mini location map2017-01-08
41 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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Guajolote Peak & Red Hill, AZ 
Guajolote Peak & Red Hill, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 08 2017
Hiking8.06 Miles 1,639 AEG
Hiking8.06 Miles   4 Hrs   4 Mns   2.12 mph
1,639 ft AEG      16 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Luckily my legs had recovered enough from the previous day’s 11 hr / 16.5+ mi / 5,000’ AEG adventure to be able to get in a few hours of hiking today. Quite a few times I’ve been off-trail in the Patagonias and encountered surprisingly good footing, [almost as good as some of the pine-covered hills in Prescott / Flagstaff at higher elevations]; so, I decided to try my luck at couple of peaks I’d routed up where both the topos and satellite imagery looked favorable. On more than one occasion following a hardcore adventure, my attempt at taking an ‘easy day’ often turned in to a rough bushwhack. Fortunately, today’s adventure proved to be the perfect easy day I was looking for.

I planned to park at the start of [or along] FR 4695. The road looked like it might get shitty quickly, but luckily, [at least for the first few miles…], it’s very doable in a high clearance vehicle. I could’ve driven much further but decided to park about a mile or so down because I needed to log extra mileage but didn’t have quite enough energy to pull of a double-digit mileage super loop, [in which case I would’ve driven as close to the base of my first peak as possible].

The temps had reached almost 80 degrees, and I was a little concerned about snakes and bees. Luckily I did not have any snake encounters, but I saw some bees while driving in, and after I parked my vehicle, about 6-8 bees came over to ‘welcome’ me before I even set foot out of my vehicle. Rather than take any chances, I drove about 1/4 mile back down the road to another pull out; and luckily that was the extent of my bee encounter.

First up was Guajolote Peak. After an easy, 1+ mile ‘warm-up’ down FR 4695, I departed from the jeep road to begin my bushwhack. When I first caught sight of this peak, I really couldn’t believe my eyes at just how fun and EASY it looked. I can’t remember the last time the grade/terrain proved to be considerably easier than what I was expecting based on the topos. As tired as I was, this was a very pleasant break from the hardcore off-trail I’ve been up to lately. The footing was super soft dirt, and the flank of the mountain was filled with tons of solid, excellent gripping boulders [but nothing craggy or technical]. The boulders could easily be skirted, but they were very fun; it was the kind of uber-easy bouldering that can be done while flat out exhausted and still be enjoyable… without feeling like you’re going to mis-step or mis-leap.

The views en route to Guajolote were amazing, and the views from the summit were just extraordinary. The Patagonias are among my favorite ranges in AZ, and the views on the this hike, [and from both summits], definitely WOW’ed me just like my other Patagonia hikes. I found both a survey marker as well as a register on the summit by the highpoint. However, unlike most summit registers in the Patagonias, [which go back 1-2+ decades], the register on Guajolote was new, having been placed in Feb 2016. Three large groups of 7-10 people [GVRHC/GVHC & SAHC] had signed, all in the beginning of 2016.

Coming off Guajolote, I angled my path toward my next destination, Red Hill, and had a very enjoyable bushwhack descent of a little over a mile back to FR 4695. Once I reached FR 4695, I stayed on the jeep road for just under 1/2 mile before leaving the road to make the super short ascent of under 1/10th mile to the summit of Red Hill. Although just a ‘molehill’ by comparison, this little hill is not to be taken for granted [or it will send you straight to your ass like it almost did to me]. There are several routes to the summit but the footing is quite loose, [much looser than it looks], and the many Manzanita & other small shrubs / trees make it a bit brushy… to the point where, [after having slipped and jammed my pinky on the ascent because I opted to traverse a section of loose footing over blasting through brush in shorts & short-sleeves], I decided it was well worth spending a few minutes to fetch my bushwhacking pants, jacket, etc. and ‘suit-up’ for the short descent. The awesome views AND really neat colored / types of rocks on this little hill definitely make it worth the trip though. With beautiful red rock, it’s not hard to see how this hill got its name. The rock is also covered in different shades of greenish moss/bacterium/whatever its called in many places, making the views even neater. Like many Patagonia summits that I’ve bagged, Red Hill also has a summit register that goes back 10+ years. The Hill Register was started on Nov. 29, 1992.

After finishing with Red Hill, it was a very pleasant return on FR 4695 back to my vehicle. I even turned down a side jeep road [not shown on the topos], just before reaching my vehicle in order to log some extra mileage. Patagonia is so beautiful that I can actually ‘hike’ on jeep roads and not get bored… although as tired as I was, the idea of tearing it up off-trail was still very tempting.
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