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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Superstition Ridge, Arizona, February 2018

During the last week of February Linda and I camped at Lost Dutchman State Park, on the east side of the Phoenix metropolitan area northeast of Apache Junction. We spent three nights camped there. On our second day, Tuesday February 27, I hiked Superstition Benchmark (Peak 5057), the highpoint of Superstition Ridge. Superstition Benchmark is the 90th most prominent peak in Arizona with 1817 feet of topographic prominence and 5057 feet of elevation.

Evening view of Superstition Mountain from Lost Dutchman State Park

Evening view of Superstition Mountain from Lost Dutchman State Park

Superstition Benchmark was accessible from the State Park. But by driving to the Carney Springs Trailhead on the south side the route was shorter and more likely I would reach the summit my first time in the area.

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Southwestern Arizona Peaks, February 2018

On February 17-19 I hiked three Southwestern Arizona peaks with old and new peakbagging friends. These peaks are located south of I-8 east of Yuma in the Barry M. Goldwater Range (BMGR) West, a military bombing range, and the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (CPNWR). This was my first time in this region of Arizona and I enjoyed exploring these steep and rugged peaks.

Sheep Mountain from the BMGR entrance

Sheep Mountain from the BMGR entrance

Friday evening, February 16, I camped just north of the BMGR south of Wellton, Arizona. I enjoyed the clear, dark, and starry sky above my solitary campsite. Over that night Eric Kassan arrived from Las Vegas, Adam Humphreys arrived from Phoenix, and Keith Christensen, Greg Gerlach, and Laura Newman arrived from Los Angeles. We had all obtained permits to travel through the BMGR and the CPNWR to climb three prominence peaks over the next three days. I had climbed with Eric and Adam in the past but this was the first time I was to meet Keith, Greg, and Laura. They had just climbed a peak on Friday and I was to learn that they are very active peakbaggers and enjoyable companions in the mountains.

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