username
X
password
register help
GuidesRoutes
 
Photosets
 
 Comments
triplogs   photosets   labels comments more
Mustang Mountains High Point 6469 - 1 member in 2 triplogs has rated this an average 4 ( 1 to 5 best )
2 triplogs
  All Months
2 Triplogs
Jan
0
Feb
0
Mar
0
Apr
0
May
0
Jun
0
Jul
0
Aug
0
Sep
0
Oct
0
Nov
1
Dec
1
 
Dec 05 2020
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 110

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Mustang Mountains High Point 6469Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 05 2020
KingLeonidas
Hiking5.51 Miles 1,792 AEG
Hiking5.51 Miles   4 Hrs   11 Mns   1.52 mph
1,792 ft AEG      33 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
This one was a whopper! Victoria and I did Mustang Mountains High Point 6469 as a bit of morning entertainment prior to our day of wine tastings in Sonoita. It was supposed to be a quick hike before lunch but ended up taking far longer and being far more difficult than we expected.

We were able to find the spot pretty easily. We parked at the 3rd gate and walked from there even though we could have easily driven another ~1-1/4 miles. It was a beautiful morning and we didn't want to make the hike too short (I know, more the fool us). The dirt road was passable for our small 2wd pickup although we did go slow and have to maneuver carefully around some larger rocks. After walking to the end of the dirt road we came across a camper that was the temporary hunting lodge for a group of quail hunters as well a a pickup and side-by-side that was transportation for a group of deer hunters and their guide.

Shortly after beginning the trail in earnest (marked by a sign indicating that no motor vehicles were permitted past this point) we came across the deer hunters. They had several sets of binoculars on tripods set up on a small rise and were glassing the area for deer. They had seen some and the guide and one of the hunters had gone down into the valley to attempt to get an angle on them. The hunters were not pleased to hear that we were intending to go hiking through their prospective firing range and we hung about for a few minutes waiting for the guide and hunter to return so that everyone could get on the same page. The guide was less concerned, they had scared up the deer which had left the immediate area we were going to be hiking and he was planning on relocating the party anyway. We were also wearing bright colors (white and blue) so there was little chance of being mistaken for a deer. After discussing and showing the guide our planned route we parted ways and had no further issues with the hunting parties. Their preferred scouting position is noted on the route.

Continuing on, we decided to explore the old dam before starting the ascent. We quickly found that the trail was more of a vague suggestion than a route. There were numerous very faint an non-continuous paths that were likely either game trails or social paths carved up by hunting parties but no actual trail was apparent to either the dam or the summit. It was almost entirely bushwhacking (off trail hiking) but there was relatively little in the way of foxtails or other prickly vegetation (by Arizona standards) so this aspect wasn't terribly unpleasant (at least initially).

Navigation was fairly easy but somewhat misleading. We found the dam without issue using the posted GPS route but during the ascent it was less useful. Attempting to follow the exact path was not practical or particularly efficient as it meanders around thickets and other obstacles. It is much easier to simply target the peak and pick whatever path of least resistance presents itself. We attempted the "nose in the GPS" method for the first part of the ascent in the hope that some semblance of a trail would present itself, to no avail. When we abandoned attempting to follow the precise GPS route things went a bit faster.

The initial ascent out of the valley was straightforward and, despite the lack of a clear trail, not to difficult. That changed about halfway up. The angle of the slope increased significantly and at the same time the terrain became much more difficult. What was previously well secured dirt became a combination of very loose dust and scree on a 30+ degree angle. Each step was likely to dislodged rocks and dust and send a hiker sliding sliding anywhere from a few inches to a few feet back down. Testing each foot placement was necessary and even then was not a guarantee of success (some rocks would hold your full weight only to give way as you were testing the foothold). We basically had to step-kick our way up the peak and later semi-glissade our way down. Both of us took minor spills, acquiring scratches and bruises, on multiple occasions on both the ascent and descent of this section.

There was also a high concentration of dry shrubs and trees near the summit that added to the misery. The branches were generally too large to simply push through but at the same time too small and dry (liable to snap) to be useful as handholds. Each thicket had to be either navigated around (where possible) or carefully climbed through (adding stepping over and under branches to the unstable ground challenges).

The only thing that went relatively well on this portion was that the terrain was so uneven that whatever large rocks you did manage to dislodge did not go far and present a hazard the the person following. We were able to avoid rockfall issues by maintaining a spacing of ~10-15'.

It took us so long to ascend that we did not stay long at the summit to enjoy the view of Sonoita (the view was quite nice). The aerostat that is stationed over the border in this area was also clearly visible from the summit as well as the whole of Sonoita Valley and the surrounding areas.

We made a beeline down the peak to start our wine tasting tour (quite belatedly). On the way out we passed by the quail hunter's camper where they asked if we had seen any quail on our hike. This was a bit surprising considering the number of shotgun blasts we heard on the ascent, we figured they had been pretty successful. We hadn't seen any quail (that I could tell) but had scared up numerous other birds. A bit later, while walking on the road portion back to the truck, we heard 3 rifle shots in quick succession (the first we heard that entire day). So the deer hunters we inadvertently displaced might have been compensated later on as well.

I don't think we would do this hike again, mostly because Victoria doesn't like off trail hiking. It would definitely be a good idea to check to see if there is a hunting season in effect when you want to hike this peak so that you can avoid possible issues of that sort. As far as off-trail hiking goes this was probably a good introductory route. If you drive all the way to the end of the dirt road the actual route is quite short. Even though the terrain is steep and challenging it isn't ridiculous or terribly dangerous. The nuisance factor of foxtails or prickly vegetation is also minimal so it's not a bad place to get your feet wet. The dams (both the old one we went too and the two newer ones we skipped) make potential points of interest or places to explore along the way. So this is a solid off trail hike option for those looking for that sort of adventure.
_____________________
Nov 24 2016
AZHiker456
avatar

 Guides 28
 Routes 197
 Photos 7,418
 Triplogs 184

40 female
 Joined Nov 07 2015
 
Mustang Mountains High Point 6469Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 24 2016
AZHiker456
Hiking5.55 Miles 1,558 AEG
Hiking5.55 Miles   4 Hrs   7 Mns   1.39 mph
1,558 ft AEG      7 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Mustang Mountains Highpoint has been tempting me since I moved in to my new home in Elgin just under a month ago. It is the first thing I see when I look out the window where my desk is, [and even when not looking out the window, it’s very noticeable out of my peripheral vision, being under 4 air miles from my front door]. Needless to say, it was the unquestionable summit of choice for my first hike in the Mustang Mountains.

Before hitting up the peak however, I made a slight detour to check out something I spotted from satellite imagery while planning my route, which looked rather bizarre to me. My best guesses were: a very large piece of airplane, vehicle, or other type of metal wreckage, some sort of water tank [or the remains of one], a dam, or the foundation of an old building/other structure. It proved to be a dam, and a rather neat one [built back in 1955], as I noted in the Description.

Although the ground visibility was much better on this adventure than my previous one, there were still a few stretches, [the final part of the ascent / beginning part of the descent from the peak] were the footing was *horrendous, [*at least in terms of high potential to twist / break an ankle]. Go figure, my first two hikes back to action would be ones with this kind of footing. Nonetheless, I made it back once again in one piece, without taking a single misstep, and I had a wicked good time.

I was tempted to do an ‘up and over’ type of route [i.e. up the peak’s Northern ridgeline and down via the badass, craggy-looking S/SE ridgeline; but the bee that “greeted” me, [and then “escorted” me the final 100 feet to the summit], did not exactly give me a warm welcome. And given the fact that I was alone, still in the recovery process from multiple injuries, and not even 100% certain if the fun-looking rock crags would suddenly turn to shear cliff, I decided to play it safe and opted for an out-and-back.

I’d noticed the second dam sometime during my ascent/descent, and it was practically right on the way I needed to go to get back to my vehicle. Unlike the first one, [which had no water on either side], this one had a large pool of water on one side. It made for some really awesome distance photos and was fun the check out. I’d actually noticed this dam as well on satellite imagery but hadn’t way-pointed it since it didn’t look as interesting [kind of looked like a black hole, which I guessed was either water or a mine].
Culture
Culture
Summit Register Log
_____________________
average hiking speed 1.45 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.

help comment issue

end of page marker