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2017-03-22  
El Plomo and Salero Mountain, AZ
mini location map2017-03-22
35 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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El Plomo and Salero Mountain, AZ 
El Plomo and Salero Mountain, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2017
AZHiker456
Hiking7.05 Miles 2,123 AEG
Hiking7.05 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   2.08 mph
2,123 ft AEG      7 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The combination of being much busier than usual, some crap hitting the fan in my personal life [although luckily nothing nearly as bad as 2016], and the crazy bees going off the wall lately with this warm spell, have resulted in two consecutive weekends slipping by without a single hike or single peak bagged, [something that typically doesn’t happen unless I’m injured, extremely ill, or traveling on biz]. Needless to say, it was a real treat to be able to get out amidst all the chaos, and especially mid-week.

Today’s adventure was not particularly long, but with exceptionally beautiful scenery, almost no drama, and an unplanned peak bagged (thank you Route Scout! 8) ), it proved to be just as refreshing if not more so than some of my longer, cliff-hanging, ‘WTF did I get myself into’-type of adventures. The original plan was just Salero Mountain. I wasn’t overly concerned about access since the parking area and nearby 4x4 roads that I utilized during my recent adventure to the very nearby Squaw Peak would’ve gotten the job done for accessing Salero Mountain as well; however, I was hoping for a different approach / different scenery. Thus, I continued along the main road [FR 143], passing by where I’d parked a month or so earlier for my hike to Squaw Peak.

Having examined tons of promising jeep roads in the area on satellite imagery, I had a bunch of potential starting points mapped out; however, nearly all of the roads had a very a pricey looking, automatic type of metal gate at the entrance, along with very explicit signs indicating that it was part of the Salero Ranch and not to enter / trespass / hunt, etc. Finally, just passed the ghost town of Alto, the main road crosses a cattle guard and enters the Coronado National Forest. A few feet after this on the left is a very nice pullout type of area that *appears as though it might have been a more official trailhead at one time [*presence of these empty, rusted metal ‘frames’ that look to be about the same size/shape of those you often see at trailheads, which contain information about the area / nearby trails].

Having planned to approach the Salero Mountain from the South, I hadn’t routed up many of the trails / jeep roads to the North, and when I looked at Route Scout topo to figure out how I would now approach, I noticed another neat-looking peak that I had somehow overlooked while planning this adventure: El Plomo. It was a very pleasant surprise to say the least; and to top things off: it was ‘on the way’ to Salero Mountain [relative to where I launched from], and there was a trail / jeep-road leading nearly all the way to the top, [a very nice treat given that it’s now plenty warm for the snakes to start coming out].

Although not very tall or very prominent, the views from El Plomo were just awesome! The combination of having a small vantage point and many unnamed peaks below, along with tons of named/unnamed peaks towering above, made for some excellent views; as did the many ridges / canyons in seemingly all directions. The immediate landscape also made for some beautiful views; part of the small summit was grassy/meadow-like, and the other part consisted of giant rock slab. I was unable to locate any survey markers or registers on El Plomo; but with many potential places on this summit, I could have easily missed it.

Before continuing on to Salero Mountain, I decided to check out another peak/prominent point to the SW of El Plomo. The views were also very nice but my summit visit was very short lived. An ANGRY bee buzzed me the moment I reached the small summit… and based on the fact that, [in addition to the ANGRY buzzing], it made a beeline for my head, there is a very good chance I would have been stung, had it not been for my bee spray. Public shout out and HUGE, HUGE thanks to BeeAlert beealert.com/pages/ ... .asp and the BeeAlert Team… let’s just say that since my spray cans arrived 1.5-2 weeks ago, this was not the first [nor the second… nor the third…] time your product has literally saved me!

Oddly enough, [right in the midst of defending myself from the PISSED OFF bee], I was reminded of the music vid for one of my favorite pre-workout songs – [ youtube video ] . My head, face, pack, etc. got drenched but just like in the music vid, it was all good in the end. :) Best of all, I did not get stung AND the bees left me alone after that… even the bee I saw and passed within a foot of on top of the summit of my next objective, Salero Mountain.

I opted for a relatively straight path from the area of El Plomo / the Alto Group Mines over to Salero Mountain, using a combination of off-trail and jeep roads. Aside from one short downslope where visibility was less than ideal due to the tall grass, the off-trail terrain was extremely generous, ranging from good to excellent in terms of both visibility and maneuverability.

The views from the summit of Salero Mountain were stunning as well; and the area has tons of fun looking ridges, canyons, and unnamed peaks. The myriad of intersecting pack trails / jeep roads – along with very decent off-trail terrain, make for some fun & fast bush-whacking. Near the highpoint nestled under a small rock pile, I found a very small, glass-jar summit register on Salero. Oddly enough, whoever placed the register in 2009 forgot to sign it! The only other name in the log prior to mine is “John K.” [from Nov. 28th 2010]. My best guess would be John Klein, one of peak-bagging’s most accomplished.

My return trip involved a lot more trail / jeep road and a lot less up & down, making for some very fast mile splits and allowing me to return to town just in time to grab some nourishment from Red Mountain Foods in Patagonia. Not only does it feel awesome to hit the trails again, it is amazing to finally be free of the constant worry that used to plague me, thanks to the bees.
_____________________
LET’S GO BRANDON! :y:
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