|Peak 2545 - Salt River Corridor, AZ|| |
Peak 2545 - Salt River Corridor, AZ
|Hiking||3.70 Miles|| 3 Hrs 31 Mns ||1.16 mph|
|1,158 ft AEG|| 20 Mns Break||25 LBS Pack|
|After two days of sitting around I was getting restless again so high humidity or not, it was time to hike the trail. No wasted time to decide where to hike this time, I had unfinished business in the Canyon Lake area near Tortilla Flat... namely hiking to a large cave we had seen from a distance last week.
The only problem was, I wasn't sure in which drainage the cave was located and the satellite view didn't help due to the deep shadows. So based on the direction I was facing when I took the cave photos last week, I drew a line and chose the two most likely location and planned on beginning with the easiest to reach (not that either would be a walk-in-the-park).
Being so likely to change my plan before reaching the trailhead I had mapped out a few optional routes, one of which would bring me up the western slope of Peak 2545 on the off-chance I'd try to reach both possible cave sites and loop back across Peak 2545. The optional route would come in very handy during the hike.
Ok, time to beat feet. This time I drove all the way to the top of the hill at the west end of the Mesquite Y, only having to engage the diff lockers for one high step near the top. (I will kick myself later for driving all the way up... it just made for a longer climb at the end)
Not wanting to deal with the worst of the humidity I took my time getting out of the house and it was after 10 am before I began the hike. I could still feel the humidity but it was nothing like the last two hikes. Thankfully the first mile of the hike was downhill and I had a good breeze so it felt reasonably comfortable.
Because the drainage was thick or rugged, (or both at the same time) I followed game trails just above it whenever they were available. Later I will see and get a photo of a deer that was on the trail ahead of me.
At what should have been one of the easier/short bypasses, I managed to step on what appeared to be solid ground among some boulders (it looked like thick grass on dirt) but as I was standing still and scanning for the best route, my right foot dropped through. Thinking it was just a matter of pulling my foot back up and that would be it, I tried to do just that. But the green grass was not grass but a thick vine, which hooked my right ankle, and here goes...
Still ailing with a huge knot on my left knee-cap from my ill-fated El Recortado hike, as I was falling the first thing in mind was NOT to hit it on the boulder in front of me... So here goes, twist a little to the right, lean forward and BAM! The left side of my knee glanced off the boulder while I hit solid on my left wrist and hand (still holding the hiking pole), which I had across my chest just above my Canon camera and GPS, and by the sound of it I thought I smashed the camera if not the GPS as well.
Thankfully (oh yeah?) the sound was my glasses hitting the boulder hard enough that my eyelids left imprints on the lenses! The only reason I didn't smash my nose was a void in the boulder just below where my glasses hit.
But... my foot is still caught in the vine so I kept falling to the side and ended up almost completely upside-down. The only way I was able to get out of my predicament was to take my brush clippers out of my pocket (good thing it wasn't inside my pack!) and cut the vine.
It took a few minutes before I was able to take stock of everything and realize how lucky I was not to have come off any worse... no broken bones or broken equipment. But the result of it all meant I would move extra carefully over the obstacles from here on.
Thinking all I had to do was move slower and be absolutely sure of each step and I would be fine, I began to gain my confidence again. But oh no... what else could happen? A bee attack?
Thankfully no bees were about today, however while I was stopped at another point to scan ahead, all of a sudden I felt an intense pain on top of my left hand and without taking a moment to wonder what it was I slapped it with my right hand only to have the same pain on my left ear, which I immediately slapped as well. And when I brought my right hand back I see there is a yellow hornet walking across my glove. I don't know why I didn't immediately smash it with my left hand, but I noticed it didn't seem to be acting aggressive (anymore!) so I just looked at it, looked around to see if there were any others about, then just shook my hand and it flew away.
Whew! Although a hornet can sting multiple times, it doesn't have a stinger that detaches and can stay in while pulsing more venom in like a bee. Small things to be thankful for? Still, my hand and left ear are hot and throbbing so I stopped long enough to put some hydro-cortisone cream on both (I had no Epi-pen or Benadryl) and hit the trail again. I would not see another hornet the rest of the day. I guess I was just lucky, huh?
Anyway, due to the deterioration of the terrain, the farther I went the tougher things got and I began to doubt I would reach my first possible cave location, let alone Canyon Lake, which would have been a bonus.
Yep, sure enough... after three climbing detours to bypass huge boulders and/or steep drops I reached series of slick-rock slots offering no detour so it was time to turn around.
Heading back I thought about all the bypasses I had taken and decided the slope up the 'back-side' of Peak 2545 looked more appealing. After checking my GPS I was within a few hundred feet of one of my optional routes so I decided to climb up to connect with it, even though I had no idea if the route would bring me to the top safely.
But after an ascent of about a hundred feet I hit a nice flat, open area, which would be the easiest part of the hike. And once up here I realized the cave I sought had to be in the next drainage, which at the moment didn't seem to deep. Ha! Sure fooled me... when I got to a point I could finally see the cave I was almost 500' above the canyon floor and the cave was probably 200' up the other side. It didn't take a moment and I realized it would be a no-go today and I began the ascent of the western slope of Peak 2545.
Not too big a deal to climb to the summit, but I did take time to rest in the shade a few times. Thankfully by this time the humidity had come down quite a bit and with another breeze it actually felt good. Once at the top I took a bunch of photos, a long video where I walked around due to the many Palo Verde trees that wouldn't allow standing still for the full panorama.
Ok, I'm just over a half-mile from the trailhead but there is no straight route. Either find a route down the southeastern slope of Peak 2545 and climb a LONG way back up to the trailhead, or take the long arc to the north and hit FR1827 on the way back. I chose the arc, only I took every possible shortcut until reconnecting with FR1827 near the end.
And now I'm kicking myself for parking at the top of the hill!
I really could have done without this last climb, but at least I didn't have to fight any brush. When I finally reached the trailhead I found the 'half-mile' to the TH took 1.5 miles of hiking. But, I made it back safely (well, reasonably so, just wait a day or two) I didn't run short of fluids (no weight loss anyway) and I wasn't wiped out.
Taking a full assessment a day later...
- I never hit the knee-cap but the left knee has a new bruise on the outside
- The left wrist lost some skin but no pain or bruising
- Significant pain and bruising of the left hand (some from the hornet sting?)
- Hornet stings are more painful and the ear is redder and hotter today than last night
- Slight pain but no bruising on the upper chest
- A few new scratches on the lenses of my glasses but not a single tweak in the frame
- Camera & GPS ok... I'm surprised the interleaved lens 'cover' didn't break
Next hike? Tracey has decided she needs to come along and keep me out of trouble... fat chance of that!
With so many landmarks to see, it's no wonder I had photo-fever on this hike. Even after thinning out a bunch posted 107 photos on my website, which meant even more time to whittle down to the 50 I posted here on HAZ.
A 3-minute Peak 2500 summit panorama video is here: