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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Turtle Mountain, Arizona, February 2018

On February 7 I joined the Southern Arizona Hiking Club on a climb of Turtle Mountain Highpoint northeast of Safford. Turtle Mountain is the 73rd most prominent peak in Arizona with 2004 feet of topographic prominence and 7004 feet of elevation. There were a total of 8 hikers on this outing and it was my second co-lead for the Southern Arizona Hiking Club.

Turtle Mountain from our parking spot below the west side

Turtle Mountain from our parking spot below the west side

The Drive In

The drive into the Turtle Springs trailhead was long and challenging, requiring a capable vehicle with high clearance, 4WD, and lockers. I led the way in my Jeep Rubicon with the outing leader, Gary Fabiano, riding in John Ohm’s 4-Runner. They were to flash their lights if I did not correctly make the turns at junctions.

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Sawtooth Mountains, Arizona, February 2018

Last Saturday, February 3, I joined the Southern Arizona Hiking Club in the Sawtooth Mountains southwest of Arizona City. This is a small range of steep peaks, visible to the west from I-10 between Picacho and Casa Grande north of Tucson.

Peak 2614 from our parking spot. The route followed the cliffs around the right side.

Peak 2614 from our parking spot. The route followed the cliffs around the right side.

Our goal was to climb two peaks, Peak 2614 and Peak 2630, both within the Ironwood Forest National Monument. Peak 2630 is the highpoint of the Sawtooth Mountains with 1020 feet of topographic prominence. We drove in on a dusty road and parked at an elevation of only 1740 feet, nearly 1200 feet lower than Linda’s and my home in Tucson.

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