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Off-Trail Twisted Sister, AZ
mini location map2020-05-07
22 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Off-Trail Twisted Sister, AZ 
Off-Trail Twisted Sister, AZ
Hiking avatar May 07 2020
Hiking4.70 Miles 1,087 AEG
Hiking4.70 Miles   2 Hrs   44 Mns   1.72 mph
1,087 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I've done numerous hikes this year on Peak 2541 & Peak 2303 but I had never been in the area of the northern slope of the ridge between the two so it seemed time to put down a route up-slope of the Twisted Sister trail just east of 'Big Rock'.

While my hike yesterday afternoon was in conditions I enjoy (100°+, low humidity & a breeze) I had things to do this afternoon so I figured, it's only 75° and even with the humidity at 26% it was forecast to drop fast into the teens why not get it in before noon.
Big mistake! Or not? We shall soon see.

I began from the pull-out a few hundred yards north of the hike/bike parking pull-out for the Wild Horse Trail so as to avoid the folks parking there. From there I headed more-or-less directly toward the Wild Horse/Twisted Sister junction, dropped down to cross the wash on Twisted Sister but once up the other side I left the trail and from that point until reaching Big Rock I roughly paralleled the trail on one side or the other with frequent crossings.

Just before I reached Big Rock I saw two mid-20's(?) mountain bikers, the only others I would see today. One appeared to know the trail well and the other either wasn't familiar with it or simply wasn't an experienced and/or very fit rider, struggling on a few easy inclines. (Easy for me the last time I rode it ~3 years ago when I was 67)

Since much of the area I had traversed so far had little elevation gain things were going reasonably well... until I got into some serious steep and bouldery terrain. And now I would realize just how BIG a mistake it was!

The temp had ramped up fast to 97° but it did not come with a corresponding drop in relative humidity so by time I reached 3/4 the way up the slope I was already thoroughly soaked and with practically no evaporation happening I knew I had to cut the hike short RiGHT NOW! Although I had packed over twice the water as the last few hikes, I was already halfway through it and sweat was dripping onto my glasses faster than I could wipe it off.
Good thing I started heading back right away because from where I was there was no easy route back down. Crossing the slope earlier the up and down roughly across the contour wasn't exactly effortless, but it didn't pose any real problem for route-finding. Not willing to take the same long way back (requiring a few ascents along the way) I settled for get down as fast as possible.

It would not be fast at all. It's always easier to find a way up terrain like this and heading down the boulders were so large it was hard to tell if I dropped between boulders whether I could continue or not be able to get back out. I tried to follow a number of Javelina trails but of course wherever they ducked under and passed through thick/thorny brush I would have to locate a detour. More than a few times the detour meant climbing higher before trying another route. The last time I passed through terrain like this was hiking in The Boulders with Tracey... the least happy I'd ever seen her on a hike, and she said Never again!

By time I worked my way through the boulders, down a few pour-offs and nearing flatter terrain my water was long gone. I headed for the only sandy wash I knew would lead me all the way back to the beginning ofTwisted Sister. Although it winds a bit it is still shorter than following the trail back and even with a bit of extra effort in the sand it was all downhill. After climbing out of the wash I followed as direct a route as possible back to the car.

As parched as I was I easily downed a full 64 ounces of Mango/Orange/electrolyte mix (same mix I use hiking) before heading home. After doffing all my gear and hitting the shower I weighed myself and found I had lost a full 7 lbs... oh but wait, that's even after drinking 4 lbs of fluid, so it's more like 11 lbs. :o
Even after drinking almost continuously yesterday afternoon and evening I still had a few pounds to recover, just reaching that point a few hours ago.

And now that it's 97° and 10% RH, I'm about ready to head out for a much more enjoyable hike. Yup, hot, dry and a breeze... when all my wicking 'EnduraCool' gear can work its wonders. Although I'll skip the rough terrain for a day or two... I can sure do without the severe leg cramps I experienced last night.
Red-tailed Hawk
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