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Dec 26 2016

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 Routes 199
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40 female
 Joined Nov 07 2015
Jones Hill, AZ 
Jones Hill, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 26 2016
Hiking8.19 Miles 2,437 AEG
Hiking8.19 Miles   5 Hrs   52 Mns   1.45 mph
2,437 ft AEG      12 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Day 4 – Hike 2
During my first hike of the day I’d spotted a sweet looking ridgeline that began almost due West of Youngblood Hill. For Hike #2, I decided to head NW from my vehicle in an attempt to access it… without crossing onto private property. I can’t say for certain whether or not I was successful in that regard; however, I was successful in accessing it without crossing onto any areas that had “private property”, “do not enter”, etc. types of signs. :)

At the West end of Upper Opera Dr., there is a more major-looking staircase, which I headed up; and toward the top was a route taking off to the SW. Post-hike, I overlaid my GPS route with satellite imagery and could not see the route, but in person, it is very noticeable. This route contours over to the NW – SE running ridge of the ridgeline I wanted to access. Once at the SE end of the ridgeline, a major route, [that more or less looks/feels like a full out trail and is very noticeable from satellite imagery], takes off upward toward the ridgeline. For the next 1.67+ miles, this main route follows the ridgeline. Less beaten but still very noticeable routes branch off to each of the prominent points / UN summits on the ridgeline.

The ridgeline intersects with a trail junction just to the SW of UN 6374. The easy way back to town would be to take the trail to the SE. I opted for a more scenic way back, heading up to UN 6374 and then heading SE along a NW – SE running ridgeline, which curves to the NE at the prominent point after UN 6174. This ridgeline is a blast, but the combination of only faint routes along with horrendous footing, [extremely rocky with extremely poor visibility], makes for a very slow go [approx. 1 mph or less]. And the TONS of catclaw didn’t help matters… this area has the Tumacacoris beat by a long shot in terms of the concentration of catclaw! Luckily it was probably at its peak in terms of dullness.

After UN 6436, I was hoping to hit up Mural Hill, which looked really badass from a distance; however, a somewhat late start, in combination with a much slower than anticipated pace along the section of ridgeline to the East of UN 6374, meant not enough time before dark. Thus, after UN 6436, I decided to head back toward town by picking up an overgrown trail/jeep road that heads SW towards Jones Hill.

As I approached Jones Hill, there was an excellent dirt road leading up toward the summit, so I couldn’t resist hitting up this summit on the way back. The road does not go all the way to the summit, but some very brief/basic bushwhacking did the trick. The summit has some fantastic views of the mines in the area.

The short, 0.25 mile bushwhack off the summit of Jones Hill to where I picked up the dirt road proved to be one of the worst descents I can remember. Looking at a topo or satellite imagery does not reveal anything overly difficult; however, [relative to the lack of ‘breaking points’], this was some of loosest / most slippery footing I’ve ever had to negotiate. While it wasn’t a vertical cliff, one little slip could have easily meant a several hundred-foot ass slide. Fortunately, [after a few very dicey moments], I managed to make it back onto a dirt road which led me safely off the mountain.

However, [as if the adventure didn’t have enough drama], the finish wasn’t entirely smooth sailing: exhausted, with heart still racing from the precarious descent off Jones Hill, [and now almost pitch dark], I started to relax, thinking that I’d have an easy finish down the trail[s] I had started on at the beginning of the day en route to Youngblood & Chihuahua Hills. However, with several similar shaped hills in the area, [and almost no daylight left], I inadvertently descended down the wrong trail/jeep road, which ended up dumping me in the same spot as I ended up at the end of Hike #1. Now pitch dark, I just hoped that the ‘trick’ I’d used during Hike #1 would once again work; otherwise, it would mean over a mile of backtrack + several hundred extra feet of AEG, [certainly not the end of the world, but definitely not something to look forward to when you’re beat to shit]. Luckily, the little shortcut back to town panned out once again.
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.


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