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Hutton Peak, AZ
mini location map2020-10-06
25 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Hutton Peak, AZ 
Hutton Peak, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 06 2020
Hiking3.52 Miles 1,324 AEG
Hiking3.52 Miles   4 Hrs   5 Mns   1.07 mph
1,324 ft AEG      47 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I have enjoyed the Oak Flat/Devils Canyon/Rawhide Canyon area immensely for 9+ years so it's a natural fall-back, especially when the weather is cool enough not to scare off hiking partners.

After a short and rough drive from the US 60 (significantly worse the last quarter-mile) we stepped out to a nice cool 59°... :y:

Being quite some time since my one-and-only ascent of Hutton Peak in July 2013 there was much I didn't remember, but as we progressed up the slope the more things came back to me. I guess the most telling memory was how hot I recalled it was years ago, even when the round-trip was barely 2.5 miles because with the Cherokee I had driven farther on nastiest part of the road.

Of course this trip was much more enjoyable, thanks to cool weather and Ray as a ready-and-willing companion.

The ascent was pretty much follow the cowpaths until/unless being swallowed thickets of holly, manzanita and/or cat's-claw. But no matter, there was always another way.

Ray spotted the white-tail first but as he mentioned, it was gone before a photo could be taken... actually, I had my camera out and on in time, but there were two bits of vegetation between us, one near me and one directly in front of the deer. So, do I wait until it moves? Or do I move slightly to get the shot? Of course we both moved at the same time in opposite directions, and thus, no photo. Oh well, moving on.

I had forgotten the communication site was on a false summit rather than the true summit so it was a good thing Ray spotted the antenna above the boulders or we would likely have passed by. The climb to the site was easy enough with a few cairns along the way.

Peeking through a crack in the metal box below the solar panels I was able to make out large 6-volt batteries connected in series to provide power when the panels can't. The site is provided for emergency use by the DPS.

Finally, on to the summit... we started on the same route until we split at a large boulder, Ray chose left, I chose right, in both cases... to-the-right and correctly. I lost sight of Ray but it appears he got wrapped up in a nightmare of boulder-hopping on his descent to the saddle. I was lucky enough to drop down onto a nice well-traveled path (cows/deer/humans?) along the contour all the way to the saddle.

From the saddle we were presented with nothing but boulders and thick vegetation, but in reality it turned out to be about a 30-foot rock-climb followed by another well-traveled path for the hundred feet over to the summit boulder, where we took a well-earned rest.

The summit boulder provides for an awesome 360° view... Top-of-the-World, Pinto Mine, Pinal Mountains, Dripping Spring Mountains (having scaled them in 2013, Scott Mountain, Hot Tamale and Hagen Benchmark were most recognizable for me), Teapot Mountain, Sleeping Beauty (actually both of them, one south and one north), the Ray Mine, Ajax Benchmark, Apache Leap, Picketpost, a glimpse of the Superstition Ridgeline, Kings Crown Peak and of course Peak 5630, which Ray and I visited last week.

Break over, it's time for the descent, which began much easier due to some very obvious cowpaths. Although bit and pieces of the paths would appear/disappear it wasn't but a dozen feet and we'd find another route.

Rather than returning on the same route we took a semi-circle over to what I believe is Headquarters Tank... I say "believe" because the label is a full quarter-mile away, in an area where there IS NO tank. As we approach the tank the most skeptical of the cattle moved off to the left (ultimately the same direction we would go back to the car) while another larger group just stood and stared at us.

As Ray mentioned, we heard voices in a thicket adjacent to the north edge of the tank. Although Ray did not see them, for a moment I saw two heads just above the vegetation and waved, garnering no verbal acknowledgement, just a wave quick in return.

From there it was as short walk to the car and the bumpy ride back out.

Post-hike note: When were were up top I noticed traffic was stopped at Oak Flat on the US 60 and wondered if there was an accident. If it was, we figured it would be cleared by time we were headed home. It turned out to be more road construction and the highway was one-lane traffic between Superior and Oak Flat.
We were VERY lucky that with just a few vehicles ahead as we approached the stoppage at Oak Flat the traffic started moving, following the Pilot Car. While the traffic did move a bit slower, we weren't sitting still for 15+ minutes like all the eastbound traffic we saw lined up in Superior.

After completion of the repaving and striping over the previous few months, just what was the construction for today? Paving a 6-foot square OFF TO THE SIDE of the 60 just east of the Queen Creek Tunnel.
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Five Point Mountain
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