I still got it. Had planned to just do my workout loop clockwise but as I topped the second hill that comes from the TH I looked up at an alternate trail.... yep, today is a good day with this nice weather (well Kelly, I guess we should have done our hike
). And so up I went. I forgot how straight up and long this hill was. Some quail distracted me for a few moments so I tried to get a couple pictures; but wish I had my regular camera that was sitting on my desk at home. The quail were very active throughout my climbing and hike today. I just kept trudging upward and upward taking some use trails next to the scree-filled area that is now somewhat rutted. I was glad to get to the top and took a quick look around. I did eye the next level that you can take straight up the side to the Lookout Summit. I think I tried that once and decided it was too tricky.
So I took the high trail around the summit to the east. There is that one step down that requires a slight rumpage and then you're back on normal trail tread. My far views were not as clear as they could be. I actually ran into a female hiker up on this high trail too but the only hiker I would run into until I got up toward the summit. I wrapped my way around until the next up section that takes you above what I call the implanted boulders.
Half way up I got a phone call and I'm glad I picked it up as it was BCBS about my OTC debit card. I told the agent I was climbing a mountain, she seemed taken aback, but I told her I was glad she called to tell me they had mailed out the new card (the last one didn't have any numbers on it). And then I finished the climb pausing at this boulder section to look westward before heading up again. The first part of this next part of the climb was not bad and the last steep part to the side of the summit was steep but short and it's on a rocked trail.
I got to the west side of the summit climb where I said hello to a couple hikers sitting and then up I went east to finish off the last of this climb. It doesn't seem so steep from here for some reason and just involves careful foot placement. I don't mind the up so much but I'm not overly fond of the return trip. As I made my way over to the summit I looked north and saw New River Mountains still covered in snow rising above the mesa. It's really quite the sight and once again, I wish I'd had my real camera. But the funniest thing is someone asked me if I had climbed it and I said no, but she thought it was Humphreys
. I said that wasn't Humphreys and yes I had climbed Humphreys years ago, ha! I got up to the summit and said, "yep, I still got it." I saw a jug of water with three roses next to the summit pole and as I looked over the top I smelled... you know, the thing. She was coughing so I hope she got over it.
I left the summit. I really don't like the steep part as you're almost climbing down. I tried to be careful. I crossed over to what I call the back side (south) and once I got to the saddle, I decided to try the loop west around the south side. Part of it is almost straight down and I was glad I had sticky shoes. I think that section continues to deteriorate rapidly but once again, it's short. As I was heading west on normal tread again I noticed that the Brittlebush is really starting to bloom on this side. I tried to get a couple pictures but I don't know how well they will reflect the scene. I also was reminded, no poppies. And then there's that last step down back to the regular trail.
Now I continued clockwise around the western humps but once I got to the first saddle I decided I would do the summits of the next two as I haven't done those in so long I don't remember the last time. The middle hump has two approaches, one on the west side and one on the east. The east wasn't super evident but I opted for that. It had an interesting exit and the summit was flatter and longer than I thought it would be. I went down and then up and over to the next hump. I was thinking Kelly would really like this cuz Lookout's Circumference would be pretty boring but she'd like these summits.
I've been up on this north summit before but it's been awhile. There are two exit points and I started on the one but then went to the other as I was intrigued where it went. As I got to the other side of the rock outcropping it has a bit of an alcove so that was kind of cool. The trail then swept east but I hesitated to watch some quail and a rabbit but couldn't get a picture. Before you know it, you're back on the regular trail. I then decided to go south on the high trail rather than going to the bottom. It is just so green I ended up taking some more pictures; I can't seem to stop
. I came down what is considered the actual Circumference Trail and then hooked up with the bottom part of my northwest loop back to Tonto. I was proud that I could still do that scrambling. I've always really liked it; except for the down part. The quail were quite active on this part of the hike and I saw another rabbit, the second of the day.
I did document the route I took with the summits. I'll have to do those summits more often, even though it's not really a workout type hike that I normally like to do. I also added some pictures that I took of the north and western mountains the day after the snow fell.
WATCH 2:12-3:59PM, 2.9 miles, 1497-2084 elevation. 138 avg bpm/172 max. 46% Zone 5 Max, 38% Zone 4 anaerobic, 16% Zone 3 aerobic burning 673 calories. Temp 57.1 Fair and Sunny, 41% humidity.