for free!
show related photosets
Wasson Peak, AZ
mini location map2021-11-27
49 by photographer avatarBubbaJuice
photographer avatar
page 1   2   3   4
Wasson Peak, AZ 
Wasson Peak, AZ
Hiking8.38 Miles 2,082 AEG
Hiking8.38 Miles   3 Hrs   45 Mns   2.54 mph
2,082 ft AEG      27 Mns Break5 LBS Pack
Today's goal was to find the Wasson Reference Mark 2 and the Wasson Azimuth Mark that I previously was unaware of when I last hiked Wasson Peak via the Sweetwater Trail on December 13, 2020 and to start getting outside now that it is finally getting cooler.

My plan was to hike up the King Canyon Trail up to the summit of Wasson Peak. Then I would head back down the Hugh Norris Trail to the Sendero Esperanza Trail. I would take the Sendero Esperanza Trail down to the King Canyon Wash Trail and take that down to the trailhead.

I wanted to start at about 8:30 am but I actually started at 9:12 am. I signed the register at the trail head and continued onward on the trail. The trail started out as a gravely sort of surface with rocks almost like shale, just smaller. There was a gradual elevation gain until I dropped back down into the wash. At the junction with the King Canyon Trail and the King Canyon Wash Trail, the trail became narrower as the service track that goes up the saddle turns away from the trail. The trail became a much better surface of compacted dirt after I exited the wash. The trail was about two times as steep as the beginning part of the trail. Quickly, I moved along the trail and made it to the saddle. It was so amazing to see the amazing views that Wasson Peak offered from here, with the Santa Catalina Mountains peaking out northeastward, and the mountain ranges west of the Tucson Mountains visible from the southwest. From here, I followed the trail up the switchbacks that lead up to the peak. With every switchback, the views just got better and better. It was really amazing. I saw some Nama hispidum flowers sparsely along the switchbacks. I saw the vandalized trail sign at the junction of the Hugh Norris Trail and the King Canyon Trail that I remembered from last year and continued on to the Wasson azimuth mark. According to the United States Costal and Geodetic Survey in 1935, the azimuth mark was on a small ridge on the southeast side of the trail, 250 yards 237.49524° from the benchmark that was on the summit. I had already figured out an approximate location of the mark based on these values using Google Earth. Approaching the approximate location of the mark, I recognized the ridge of where the mark was supposed to be from Google Street View I had looked at the day before. I set down my pack and hiking poles and started looking. After only a minute of searching, I was happy to the dark yet still metallic disk on the ridge, behind a shrub. The disk was in amazing condition for being 86 years old. Typically, you would see a couple scratches going across the disk but this was basically brand new it seemed like. You can see that there is ware on the disk but no noticeable scratches. I'm assuming this is because 59 years ago was the last recorded attempt I could find of someone finding the azimuth. The approximate location that I determined after finding the mark is at 32.272106, -111.149222
. I continued on from here to the summit. I signed the summit register at 10:36 am. There were two parties on the summit of the peak. I was hoping for an empty summit but I would have needed to be earlier I suppose. I located reference mark 2 northwest of the summit. It is the oldest benchmark I have ever found, being monumented in 1919 making it 102 years old. It had plenty of scratches on it as expected. Looking around at the panoramic views the peak offered, I recalled upon many different hikes that I have done in the surrounding mountains. I especially recognized my Safford Peak hike. I should have stayed on the peak but I wasn't super comfortable with all of the people on the peak. I headed down to the Hugh Norris Trail junction again and I turned down onto it. The trail opened up to have a view of the west. From here I went down the switchbacks of the trail which had a sort of compacted surface. This trail was definitely a less popular trail than the King Canyon Trail or the Sweetwater Trail. After the trail leveled out, the surface became a sort of soft dirt/sand/gravel layer. This was the perfect hiking surface of a trail. After not a while though, the trail started to have granite slab steps. The surface of the trail quickly turned into a ton of these granite slab steps with a layer of super compacted dirt on top of them making for the worst trail surface to walk on. It felt like I had fallen a short distance with every step in stead of walking. This continued until the junction with the Sendero Esperanza Trail. I turned onto the trail and appreciated the new surface of the trail, compacted dirt. I headed down the trail and noticed a debris heap down in the canyon. USGS Topo maps showed a building where it was but I couldn't see. Soon enough, I came across the Gould Mine entrance. It was pretty cool. There was a metal grate over the vertical hole in the ground with a barbed wire fence around that. Just beyond the mine there was a building placed where rock was blasted away, as the back wall was a flat wall of rock. I knew the end of my hike was near, just over the ridge that lay ahead of me. I got to the Mam-A-Gah Picnic Area. I sat down at one of the picnic tables and ate the peanut butter and jelly I had packed. With the trailhead in sight, I went down to the King Canyon Wash Trail. After only about 100 feet, I arrived to water in the wash coming right out of the ground. This might have been the second best part of the hike, asides from the views and benchmarks. I can't image why it is here. It might have sprinkled a tiny bit on Wednesday (11/24/2021) but that's all I can think of. There were also petroglyphs on both sides of the canyon from where the water popped up. Continuing down the canyon you walk on the wash with a surface of gravel with small rock dropoffs every so often with water popping out of the ground underneath them. This was so cool and having to maneuver down the small dropoffs is fun. I also found a stagnant pool of water with tadpoles in it. It was a little oasis for some of the small animals and insects of the desert. One thing to note along the trail: There is a section where there is a 6 foot+ dropoff. There is a trail that goes around this on the east side of the wash. After a hike through the gravely surface of the wash a trail to the left emerged and the trailhead showed itself.

Today's hike was a lot of fun and seeing water was also a bonus. :D :D :D
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Some yellow leaves were observed in the canyon, not on plants.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
On the switchbacks Allionia incarnata was observed sparsely. No other flowers were observed.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max King Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Water was observed coming out of the ground/rocks at 32.255748, -111.159428. The canyon is dry upstream and downstream of these coordinates.
Check out my benchmarks website :D : WIP!
  2 archives

end of page marker