|Silver Bell Mountains, AZ|
|Silver Bell Mountains, AZ|| |
Silver Bell Mountains, AZ
|Hiking||6.31 Miles|| 7 Hrs 6 Mns ||2.02 mph|
|2,291 ft AEG|| 3 Hrs 59 Mns Break|
|I took a drive to the Silver Bell Mountains, and hiked up the second highest peak in the range (Pk 4195). The peak I climbed is just 66 feet less than the range’s high point.|
The Silver Bell Mountains are located in Ironwood Forest National Monument, and are nestled between the Silver Bell Mine complex on the south and west, and Ragged Top and Wolcott Pk to the north.
My route started out by crossing alot of drainages in a very nice valley. Since it had rained quite a bit in this area a few days prior, the valley soil was very moist, and I could feel the high humidity. Once I started up a ridgeline, I could see ‘fog’ just above the valley floor. Moisture was probably leaching out of the soil.
I think there was a bit of a ‘thermal inversion’ going on for awhile.
Once out of the valley, my chosen route had me go up a ridgeline to the top of a lower peak (Pk 3810). It wasn’t until I topped out on Pk 3810 that I had my first glimpse of my destination peak. From the top of Pk 3810, I had quite a bit of a ‘drop down’ to a saddle before I had the pleasure of going up again, to Pk 4195.
In 1919, surveyors set Silver Bell Triangulation Station on Peak 4195. In 1935, surveyors went up there again and checked on the benchmark disk, then set two reference mark disks. All the disks are named after the mine, ‘Silver Bell’.
I try, if I can, to use the surveyors’ ‘To Reach’ information on the BM’s datasheet, when climbing up a mountain. In this case, I couldn’t trace their steps, as they hiked up from the Silver Bell Mine side of the mountain, both in 1919 and again in 1935. The area they used to hike up is now all used up by ‘open pit mining’. In fact, they set the Silver Bell Azimuth Mark (1935), in a location that now is part of the open pit area. The ‘open pit’ theme of mining started in earnest at the mine in the 1960s and 1970s, so the azimuth mark was probably processed with the rest of the rocks.
I located a summit log on Pk 4195, with loads of Tucson hikers logged in. The majority of them hiked up in the 1990s. Look over the log-in names from the 1990s, as I’m sure some of you know some of those Tucson hikers. Yes, the usual 3 or 4 ‘usual suspects’ are also in the 1990 logs.
I signed a new log sheet, started by someone just last month. He said he found some sheep horns atop the mountain.
For variety, I used a different ridgeline down. The ridgeline down dropped me on the valley floor in a spot that had me crossing even more drainages on the way back to my car. The sun had dried out the valley floor quite a bit since I started out my early morning trek.
This was a nice off trail hike, with views of a huge mine complex to the south and west, and great views of ‘Ragged Top‘ and ‘Wolcott Pk’, from their opposite sides of what most hikers view.
All in all - A great day, and a great location to hike.
|Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost|