|Old Mine Road - Peak 4912, AZ|| |
Old Mine Road - Peak 4912, AZ
|Hiking||5.00 Miles|| 2 Hrs 41 Mns ||1.99 mph|
|1,331 ft AEG|| 10 Mns Break||18 LBS Pack|
||no linked trail guides|
|Tracey's goals for today:|
1. Avoid crowds
2. Hike somewhere a bit cooler
3. But don't drive too far
Oh wait, there's just one more...
4. find a replacement for the lightweight backpacking knife TSA confiscated on her trip to NY last year.
1-3 were easy enough as I had a plan in mind for literally a decade that would fit those demands.
But #4? Ok, I'll do my best...
Although we were up and on the road early enough to hit the trail shortly before 6 am, since my plan was almost ten years old we were immediately presented with an ugly fence and fox-tails (insert a Tracey scowl here) so it was time for a quick change in plan. Ok, so, we take off the packs, drive to a more suitable location and once more hit the trail, or in this case it was now FR 25, which we followed down to and crossed the now-dry Sycamore Creek before following the old mining road up the steep slope.
When I first mapped this 'old mining road' it appeared no vehicular traffic had been on it in many years, plus where I thought it was accessed was through posted private property, so I had simply filed away. Once I realized no crossing of private property would be involved it rose on the possibility list.
Fast forward to today and lo and behold, as we begin the ascent we quickly realize the ATV/ATC crowds have deemed it rideable route (although NOT legal) and have proceeded to make full use of it. While no bushwhacking was required (like if it was a many-decades unused road), the loose, sharp rock surface made for a challenge in both directions.
But the positive take-away is that with all my attention on the ground for each-and-every step meant I noticed bits and pieces of ATV's (I scored a shiny-new D-ring), as well as... well whad'dya know, what's this? It's #4 on Tracey's demand-list, a nice lightweight folding knife to replace the TSA-confiscated one. Cool!
(Ok, so when she checked online to see how good a knife it was... well at $8 it probably ain't the best but it'll do.)
As we rounded the upper western slope of Peak 4912 and got a look at where we had yet to go to reach what may-or-many-not be the location of the old mine (newer maps don't show the prospects) neither of us was too enthused about descending 500' only to have to climb back up followed by the 1100' descent back to Sycamore Creek. And besides, we found a myriad of off-shoots along the saddle behind Peak 4912 so we did some wandering. And hoping one would be another, not-so-steep route down the backside of 4912. We had no such luck so we just headed for the summit of Peak 4912 where we found a nice shady spot with a panoramic view. The visible peaks included Saddle Mountain, Sheep Mountain, Mount Peeley, Peaks 7549/7579 (which block the view to Mazatzal Peak), Iron Dike, Mount Ord, Boulder Mountain, Crabtree Butte and Diamond Mountain.
While we had a straight-on view of Mount Ord, a recent wind change had moved a smoky haze in between so we could not determine just how much of the western slope of Ord was burned. When I had glanced at it before the hike I saw plenty of green pines above FR 1688 so I figured it may have been used as a fire-break to keep the fire from burning between FR 1688 and FR 626 on the ridge above. I do know Little Ord was completely charred.
The hike back down was uneventful, which meant the eventful part was still to come.
The drive back home via Bush Highway brought a portent of things to come... two weeks and we'll have another spike of Covid infections just like the one 2 weeks after Memorial Day weekend.
Around 11 am the Water Users parking area was already full and the Forest Service LEO's & Maricopa County Deputies were almost overwhelmed by people parking wherever they pleased causing a number of near fender-benders. Good thing I watch my rearview mirror as much as I do or we would have been hit from behind by a guy gawking at the crowds... luckily the shoulder provided just enough room to step-aside momentarily. It appears to have given the driver a filled-pants moment as he sat there for a until we were a hundred yards ahead before he started moving again.
As we drove over the Salt River at Blue Point it looked like Woodstock (No, not Snoopy's pal) had set up on both sides of the river... and of course no masks were to be seen.
Whew! Is there anything else before we reach home? for sure...
Over the hill approaching the 3-way intersection of Bush and Coon Bluff Road everything is stopped and there are 3-4 Maricopa Deputy vehicles plus an ambulance for what appeared to be a lone motorcycle accident due to no other vehicles.
It may have happened barely 5-10 minutes earlier as we reached the scene within a minute of the ambulance... it had pulled out in front of us as it turned onto Bush from the Maricopa Sheriff's Station where one is staged on heavy traffic weekends. From where the Sheriff's Deputy stopped us I could see the motorcyclist laying on the pavement and based on the lack of urgency of the paramedics most likely it was a fatality. It appears possibly the first Deputy to arrive had done CPR and he and/or someone else may have used a defibrillator as they were in the process of putting it away.
Good to be back home safe-and-sound... at least for now.