|West Silver Bell - Casa Grande, AZ|
|West Silver Bell - Casa Grande, AZ|| |
West Silver Bell - Casa Grande, AZ
|2,555 ft AEG|
|I decided that this was a good day to hike to a couple of Arizona range highpoints:|
1) West Silver Bell Mountains HP
2) Casa Grande Mountains HP
West Silver Bell
This turned out to be a fun hike that I really enjoyed. It reminded me of hiking up to Sacaton in that you go up a NW drainage and then go up the north slopes to the summit.
Instead of driving all the way in to the Ironwood National Monument boundary, I parked about 1.35 miles from the boundary and walked on the road a bit to add some extra distance to the hike and to better observe the area.
From the Ironwood NM boundary, I headed on an easy open country excursion to a drainage on the NW side of the highpoint. Then I started along the drainage -- sometimes in the bottom of it and sometimes on the south side of it. I actually left the drainage too soon and headed toward what turned out to be a false summit -- I hate it when that happens! Then I had to traverse a bit to get back to where I wanted to be -- this made the ascent more difficult than it would have otherwise been. I had a much better route coming back down, and if I do the hike again I will go up the same way that I came down this time.
I enjoyed the views at the summit and hung out there for a bit, even though it was a cloudy and cool day.
I saw a couple of signs of illegal smuggling activity on the hike -- a carpet shoe and a black, one gallon water jug.
My original intention was to go hike to the Sawtooth Mountains highpoint after this hike, but as von Moltke, the brilliant German military strategist of the 19th century once said, "plans do not survive first contact with the enemy".
Google maps took me to a road that doesn't exist, and the road that I was on turned into a small lake, and since it was already about 1:30 I decided not to spend any more time trying to figure out how to get to the TH. So I headed off to hike to the Casa Grande Mountains HP.
I did this one as a loop hike by going up on the Bolt Trail and coming back down on the Radio Tower Trail.
The Bolt Trail was steeper and tougher than the road, but I am glad that I went up that way.
There is apparently a shooting range nearby, and I heard a lot of gunshots off in the distance. There was a good bit of trash and graffiti along the way, and if I hadn't known better I would have thought that I was hiking in Phoenix or Vegas!
It was a cloudy cool afternoon and there was hardly anyone on the trails. There is lots of sun exposure on this hike, and I would not want to do this hike in warm/hot weather.
I enjoyed the West Silver Bell much better than the Casa Grande hike. There are some other shorter peaks in the West Silver Bells that look fun to climb, so I might go back out in that area sometime.
Distance and elevation gain for the 2 hikes are below. Stats above are the sum of the 2.
West Silver Bell: 5.69 miles with 1,371 feet of AEG
Casa Grande: 3.65 miles with 1,184 feet of AEG
|May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey|