|Hiking||8.73 Miles|| 3 Hrs 36 Mns ||2.63 mph|
|1,201 ft AEG|| 17 Mns Break|
||no linked trail guides|
|Like most Arizona hikers, I have dreamed that someday I could hike to the Natanes Mountains Highpoint. Today that dream became a reality for me!|
The Natanes Mountains are deep within the San Carlos Apache Reservation. I drove 75-80 miles off of US 70 to get to the trailhead. On the way in I met one car on the road, and on the way out I met 2 cars. That is about par for the course in this area. In fact, I have now hiked 5 different times in the San Carlos reservation, and I have yet to see another human while hiking.
The unnamed, unmarked highpoint of the Natanes Mountains range has an elevation of 7,520 feet and a prominence of 1,490 feet. That latter figure easily exceeds the magical 1,000 foot prominence threshold that draws interest from some people. But wait, there's more: the Natanes HP was once home to the "Old Summit" fire lookout tower. The tower was constructed in 1969, had a 7X7 cab, and was 54 feet tall. Sadly, the tower is no longer with us.
I drove in and parked not too far away from Old Summit Spring. On the drive in I saw 2 flocks of turkeys and a coyote.
On the advice of a San Carlos ranger, I drove in the long way through Point of Pines. The road wasn't the greatest, but it wasn't terrible either.
The entirety of the hike was on an old pack road, which was actually driveable. However, I believe that only tribal members are allowed to drive on this type of road, so I hiked up to the highpoint. It was actually an enjoyable walk -- the tread was good and the grade was modest. I saw 2 flocks of turkeys in the first mile on the hike. I'm thinking that I might go do this hike again right before Thanksgiving!...lol
There was a bit of snow on the upper parts of the road, but nothing that would require traction devices.
The summit area was fairly flat with a good many pine trees around, so views were limited. There was a communication tower at the top along with a building. Perhaps this is where the lookout tower once was, but I am not sure.
A little west of the tower I saw a concrete piling or footing, which might be where a fire lookout once stood, but I certainly don't know.
This hike won't make my top ten list, but it is a stress-free hike in a pretty area, so I enjoyed the hike. I imagine that you'd see a lot of wildlife in this area early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
When I stopped off at the Circle K on the east side of Globe to get my permit, they told me that I got the last permit that they had. They said that they have been trying to get San Carlos to bring them some more permits, but to no avail. I think that I will call the Circle K next time to make sure that they have some permits. You can get them from the San Carlos Wildlike Office, but they are only open during normal business hours.
|May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey|