South College Peak, Arizona, April 2020

On Wednesday, April 15, Linda and I camped at the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area north of Douglas, Arizona. We had the camping area to ourselves. It was not the season for Sandhill Cranes, but we enjoyed walking between ponds listening to the Yellow-headed Blackbirds, seeing Snowy Egrets, and watching the frogs watching us from the edge of the ponds.

North (L) and South (R) College Peaks from Arizona Highway 80
North (L) and South (R) College Peaks from Arizona Highway 80

My goal the next day was to climb South College Peak, the highpoint of the Perilla Mountains of SE Arizona. That morning I drove east from the town of Douglas on Arizona Highway 80 and found an access road that led to the north side of College Peaks. I parked on a primitive road leading towards the peaks.

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West Cedar Mountain, Arizona, April 2020

On Saturday, April 4, I left Tucson for a few days to visit three Arizona prominence peaks. After climbing Buckskin Benchmark on Sunday and the Date Creek Mountains highpoint on Monday, I drove onto the Agua Fria National Monument Monday afternoon and found a secluded camping spot a quarter mile from the dusty and busy Bloody Basin Road. I spend another pleasant evening and night there.

East Cedar Mountain (L) and West Cedar Mountain (R) from Bloody Basin Road
East Cedar Mountain (L) and West Cedar Mountain (R) from Bloody Basin Road

The next morning, Tuesday, I continued driving east on the dirt Bloody Basin Road towards my next and last destination for this trip, West Cedar Mountain. West Cedar Mountain has 1769 feet of topographic prominence and 5489 feet of elevation. It lies to the west of the Mazatzal Mountains across the Wild and Scenic Verde River, and has been on my “Wish List” for several years. I expected the hike, itself, to be fairly short, but two friends had previously hiked the peak and they reported a lot of thorny brush. I dressed defensively.

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Date Creek Mountains Highpoint, Arizona, April 2020

On Saturday, April 4, I left Tucson for a few days to visit three Arizona prominence peaks. After climbing Buckskin Benchmark on Sunday I drove Sunday afternoon north towards the town of Congress. My goal for Monday was to climb the highpoint of the Date Creek Mountains. This highpoint has 1560 feet of topographic prominence and 4920 feet of elevation. Richard Hensley, one of my Arizona peakbagger friends, climbed this peak in November 2018 and provided good road access and route information.

The Date Creek Mountains Highpoint from the SE Canyon road
The Date Creek Mountains Highpoint from the SE Canyon road

Richard’s report included some emphatic cautions about his experience driving his Jeep on the access road all the way to his climbing route and suggested others consider a parking spot before the worse of it. I was ready to watch for road trouble as I drove in Sunday afternoon to find my evening campsite and tomorrow’s starting point.

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Buckskin Benchmark, Buckskin Mountains, Arizona, April 2020

About two weeks ago, Saturday April 4, I left Tucson for a few days to visit three Arizona prominence peaks. Two of the peaks had been on my “Wish List” for a few years and I hoped to finally visit their summits. My first goal was to climb Buckskin Benchmark, the highpoint of the Buckskin Mountains just south of Arizona’s Alamo Lake State Park.

Buckskin Benchmark and the Buckskin Mountains in early morning light from my campsite
Buckskin Benchmark and the Buckskin Mountains in early morning light from my campsite

Buckskin Benchmark is the 86th most prominent peak in Arizona with 1887 feet of topographic prominence and 3927 feet of elevation. Three friends of mine, Matthias Stender, Michael Berry, and Scott Peavy climbed it on December 17,2017. With their trip report and given my pace I expected a long day, but not any route difficulties.

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