|Hiking||7.54 Miles|| 7 Hrs 23 Mns ||2.21 mph|
|1,527 ft AEG|| 3 Hrs 58 Mns Break|
||no linked trail guides|
|Face Mountain is 30 miles northwest of Gila Bend. I assume the mountain got its name from the mountain just across the valley to the north, which has a huge rock formation named Montezuma’s Head.|
There’s more than one mountain (or portion of a mountain), called Montezuma’s Head in Arizona. This hike took place a stone’s throw from a mountain that literally looks like a reclining head. It has a brow, an eye, a nose, and a chin. The reclining head is about a quarter mile long.
Depending on your source, the mountain that ‘this’ Montezuma’s Head is on, is (or is not) part of the Face Mountain range. Most maps indicate the ‘Montezuma’s Head’ mountain is a ‘stand alone' Mtn, while some sources say it’s part of Face Mtn. range. The summit log even has the ‘usual suspects’ disagreeing, with Bob Packard doing some scolding.
I say - - - MEH !!!
I parked just off Agua Caliente Rd, in Hyder Valley.
My biggest decision planning the hike was deciding how to get up the mountain, and then what route to take down. I had four or five ‘up tracks’ on my GPS and the same number to get off Face Mtn. I wouldn’t decide my route up until I started the hike from the flat desert. I needed an actual visual of the mountain before I made up my mind.
My route up was dependent on footing, possible scree, and dodging my good friend, Cholla.
I finally chose to go straight up the steepest side to a narrow ridgeline, as the footing was very solid. The bedrock is basalt and very fixed. I actually got rid of alot of the hikes’s elevation gain on that initial climb, which turned out to be about 1,100 feet ‘up’ in a half a mile. I huffed and puffed my way up, especially at the end when it really got steep.
Again, the footing was excellent (no scree), and the mountainside cholla were avoidable.
As it turned out, 90% of the whole hike was a constant boulder hop. The flat desert portion was full of rocks, as was the climb up , the travel along the ridge, and the wash I took back to the desert floor. My ‘foot muscles’ need a day of rest.
Also constant was the Jumping Cholla. It was all over the place.
I’m proud to announce I did NOT turn into an Uber Driver for a single cholla. My Cholla Cha Cha is working well.
There are two separate benchmarks atop Face Mountain, both on this long mountain ridge, over a mile apart.
One is named ‘Montezuma’, set in 1925 and the other is ‘Monte’ (1934).
Montezuma BM has two reference marks that are not disks. They are both, (from the datasheet) “A cross, cut in solid rock”. Both crosses are easily 8 or 9 inches long. The ‘crosses cut in rock’ really stand out on their boulders.
Monte BM has two normal reference mark disks. Monte BM also has enough wood strewn around to make an addition to your house. They must have had a survey platform up there.
After visiting the disks, I decided to take a huge wash down to the canyon floor. This drainage is about 3/4s of a mile long and drops about 700 feet. It actually was fun picking the correct boulders to use while descending. I did avoid an occasional 20 foot drop by leaving the drainage at times, but no big deal.
Once in the valley, which is nothing more than a huge, wide drainage itself, I boulder hopped back to the flat desert, and boulder hopped to the trailhead.
It was a 155 mile, one-way drive, to Face Mountain, but well worth it, for the fun and experience.
You can’t beat - Two separate benchmarks, reference marks carved in boulders, and a mountain that looks like a ‘Head’ taking a nap.
If you’re ever in the Face Mountain neighborhood, hike up there and enjoy the views, and say ‘Hello’ to Montezuma’s Head for me.
|Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost|