Patagonia Mountains, Arizona, April 2018

Last Wednesday, April 11, I led a hike of Veterans Peak and Mount Washington in the Patagonia Mountains for the Southern Arizona Hiking Club. The Patagonia Mountains lie just north of Mexico east of Nogales. Mount Washington is the highpoint of the Patagonia Mountains with 7221 feet of elevation. It is also the 104th most prominent peak in Arizona with 1709 feet of topographic prominence.

Veterans Peak appears high on the left from Forest Road 61

Veterans Peak appears high on the left from Forest Road 61

Tucson was predicted to be at record temperatures Wednesday. I met June, Bill, Jane, John, and Roxanna early in the morning. We drove south through Sonoita to the town of Patagonia. From there we followed forest roads south into the Patagonia Mountains. We parked at about 6000 feet elevation and climbed a steep unmaintained but obvious trail south towards Veterans Peak.

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Huachuca Mountains, Arizona, March 2018

On Saturday, March 31, I led a hike of three peaks in the Huachuca Mountains for the Southern Arizona Hiking Club. The Huachuca Mountains are prominent range lying immediately west of Sierra Vista, Arizona. Our goals were to summit Huachuca, Lyle, and Peterson Peaks.

The southern Huachuca Mountains from Huachuca Peak summit

The southern Huachuca Mountains from Huachuca Peak summit

June Meyer, Bill and Jane Hiscox, and Jeff Brucker rendezvoused with me early in the morning and loaded into my Jeep. We drove south through Sonoita and past Parker Canyon Lake to follow forest roads to the trailhead. On the drive towards Parker Canyon Lake we spotted pronghorn, deer, and turkeys. With that start to the day I wondered if we might encounter a jaguar later on the hike.

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Mustang Mountains, Arizona, March 2018

On Wednesday, March 28, I joined the Southern Arizona Hiking Club on climbs of two peaks in the Mustang Mountains of Arizona. The Mustang Mountains are a small range lying east of Sonoita and between the Whetstone Mountains to the north and the Huachuca Mountains to the south. These peaks have only moderate prominence with short climbs but their slopes are steep. Their location provides views of many surrounding ranges.

Hiking through open country low on the north slopes of Peak 6469

Hiking through open country low on the north slopes of Peak 6469

John Ohm led the trip and drove us into the range just a few miles off highway 82. Our party included Bill Hiscox, June Meyer, and John Perillo, with whom I have shared many other trips this winter season. Our parking spot provided a base from which we climbed each peak in succession.

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Whetstone Mountains, Arizona, March 2018

On Wednesday, March 7, I joined the Southern Arizona Hiking Club on a climb of Apache Peak and French Joe Peak in the Whetstone Mountains southeast of Tucson. Apache Peak is the 29th most prominent peak in Arizona with 2886 feet of topographic prominence and 7711 feet of elevation. French Joe Peak lies nearby to the south of Apache Peak.

Apache Peak from West Slopes (Dec 2016)

Apache Peak from West Slopes (Dec 2016)

I last attempted Apache Peak in December 2016. Then I drove in by myself until the road erosion and steep grade convinced me to park several miles short of the end of the road. I hiked from there to near the end of the road and climbed up the WSW ridge through knee-high grass to a rocky point to consider my situation. By then it was late afternoon, I was running low on energy, and I thought that the risks were too high to continue. After returning to my Jeep I drove out in the dark. I noted on the road hike how the brush closed in on the road and one quite steep drop into and out of a wash promised some excitement when I returned someday.

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