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Little Keyhole Saddle - 2 members in 4 triplogs have rated this an average 3 ( 1 to 5 best )
4 triplogs
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Mar 12 2022

 Guides 1
 Routes 23
 Photos 2,451
 Triplogs 143

38 male
 Joined Mar 01 2018
 Chandler, AZ
Peak 2881 - Horns - Keyhole - Massif - Willow, AZ 
Peak 2881 - Horns - Keyhole - Massif - Willow, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 12 2022
John10sTriplogs 143
Hiking11.56 Miles 2,479 AEG
Hiking11.56 Miles   9 Hrs   39 Mns   1.51 mph
2,479 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break
1st trip
We headed to the northeast Goldfields to check out some new areas, and I cobbled together a few different points of interest from various routes and trip logs, mostly centered around the 2881 Consensus Loop, knowing we wouldn't have time to see them all today. We parked at the small pullout along SR 88 where the Consensus Loop starts and followed the route clockwise toward 2881 on a windy morning. The route leading toward the peak was extremely well-cairned...I recognized @Yoder's handiwork from hiking Sunset Arch a few months ago, and some of the cairns along the route today were as much artwork as they were trail markers :).

We circled around to the east side and then up to the peak, and the wind was almost unbearable on top, with gusts that must have been up to 40-50 mph. The views were great, but we didn't spend much time up there before heading down the more gradual slope on the north side.

[ youtube video ]

The traverse to Horns was a very scenic area, with a small arch along the route and a good size cave up in the formations behind us. I'd added the Little Keyhole Saddle route among the other points of interest, and after hiking down from Horns, @TBoneKathy waited while I took a quick detour to see if I could find the keyhole. I didn't have a specific location and didn't know what it looked like, but when I reached the spot where I thought it might be located, I did see a tiny, keyhole-shaped arch on top of a rock formation. The description said it was small, but this was only a few inches tall...someone who's been there will have to confirm if what I saw was actually Little Keyhole. If so, that's the smallest named rock formation I've encountered...if not, I guess I found Really Little Keyhole.

We detoured off the main loop again and explored north toward Peaks 2178 and 2135 and saw a few arches, but I didn't have time to go up to the peaks. Next up was Canyon Lake Massif 2276. Hiking along SR 88 with all the road noise wasn't exactly a highlight today, but the views from the massif made it a worthwhile stop, and the wind had calmed down some by afternoon.

[ youtube video ]

We hiked back to the loop and headed south following Willow Creek. It was a lot more rugged than a lot of the other Goldfield creek beds, and we had to bypass multiple deep pools on the hike out. The official route has two of the pools marked, but we there were 4-5 that we ended up navigating around--all of them surprisingly deep given the dry conditions, though it looked like at least one was fed from a spring upstream. The final large pool had a lot of debris nearby...old irrigation tubing, buckets, rusty pipe, and other random stuff. That final section of the loop ended up being a lot and interesting than anticipated...there's a lot more going on down along the spring than you'd ever see just driving by on 88.

As expected, we didn't get to everything I'd mapped out, but it was a good day with a lot of variety in the terrain and scenery. In typical Goldfield fashion, we saw ~3x the number of arches as we saw other hikers today :). And I found a Leatherman multi-tool in the dirt on the way to Horns of Dilemma, which was a nice bonus.
Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Natural Arch
Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Boat / Ship Cairn
1 archive
Jan 20 2018

 Routes 165
 Photos 2,907
 Triplogs 514

63 male
 Joined Aug 16 2009
NE Goldfields, AZ 
NE Goldfields, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 20 2018
hikerdwTriplogs 514
Hiking5.25 Miles 1,365 AEG
Hiking5.25 Miles   4 Hrs      1.50 mph
1,365 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
First time starting a trip from the Mailbox TH. We have been in the area twice but both of those trips started from the Apache Gap TH. Campers were in their tents just off the road so we deferred around them in the drop into Willow Creek. Followed the trail out to the Horns of Dilemma and then broke off to start exploring the area to check out an arch reported by CannondaleKid, a benchmark, views of the lakes, Keyhole Saddle and arch, and whatever else piqued our interest. Will definitely be back for a continued look around.
Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Benchmark
Expect to self rescue
Dec 06 2016

 Guides 43
 Routes 149
 Photos 22,447
 Triplogs 2,282

72 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Peak 2178 & Salt River Views, AZ 
Peak 2178 & Salt River Views, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 06 2016
CannondaleKidTriplogs 2,282
Hiking4.60 Miles 1,716 AEG
Hiking4.60 Miles   3 Hrs   37 Mns   1.32 mph
1,716 ft AEG      8 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners partners
Tracey had the day off but only about a 5-hour window for a hike so we wanted something close to home, reasonably short yet somewhere she had never been. That could have been a chore in itself but surprisingly this one came to mind almost immediately.

While I had been out here twice before, I knew she would enjoy it... the scenic views are such that this hike never gets old, yes, even when adding more climbing than necessary.

We barely had a quarter-mile of easy hiking from the trailhead just off Apache Trail before we began the first steep climb. Up to a saddle, another ascent, up to the top, then down to a saddle, back up, down and back up... and that was just to the sister peak of 2178. But the views were worth it.
(Since I had posted 75 on HAZ back on this hike back in March and the skies were drab today, I took very few photos)

From the 'sister-peak' of 2135' we began the long descent to the Salt River. With less time than before, we skipped my wide counter-clockwise loop along the Salt River and headed straight for our lunch spot on the river across from the mouth of Cottonwood Creek.

We took a short lunch, soaked up a little sun, (emphasis on little) and began the long ascent then down to the cave and arch Tracey had never seen. A few photos there and we continued the return trip, eventually following part of the Horns of Dilemma trail.

Although the colors were due to the overcast sky, it was a nice hike. When we have more time, we will be back to add a bunch of wandering along the Salt River.
Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Benchmark
Dec 30 2011

 Guides 177
 Routes 247
 Photos 8,722
 Triplogs 2,006

71 male
 Joined Feb 12 2002
 Gold Canyon, AZ
Little Keyhole SaddlePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 30 2011
AZLOT69Triplogs 2,006
Hiking3.25 Miles 802 AEG
Hiking3.25 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   2.17 mph
802 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Great off trail area for exploration while the snakes rest.
It's best for a man to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open his mouth and remove all doubt.
--Mark Twain
average hiking speed 1.62 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.


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