Mesquite Mountains (Pinal), Arizona, March 2019

On Saturday, March 2, I joined Matthias Stender, Scott Peavy, and Michael Vincent on a climb of Mesquite Benchmark, the highpoint of the Mesquite Mountains of Pinal County southwest of Sells, Arizona. Mesquite Benchmark has 3789 feet of elevation and 1769 feet of topographic prominence, tying it as the 98th most prominent peak in Arizona.

Saguaro cactus are joined by organ pipe cactus as we enter the canyon below Mesquite Benchmark.
Saguaro cactus are joined by organ pipe cactus as we enter the canyon below Mesquite Benchmark.

I met the others where Indian Road 21 heads south off AZ 86 Saturday morning. From there we drove south through the village of Pisinimo and by a few isolated residences. We encountered very little traffic south of Pisinimo except for several Border Patrol vehicles heading in both directions. The paved road deteriorated quickly.

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Cimarron Peak, Arizona, February 2019

On Sunday, February 17, I joined Eric Kassan, Stacey Samuels, and Adam Humphreys on a hike of Cimarron Peak in Southern Arizona. Cimarron Peak lies west of the village of Kaka and north of the village of Hickiwan, Arizona. The peak has been of interest to me for several seasons in Arizona. It has only 4124 feet of elevation, but 1984 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 74th most prominent peak in Arizona.

Cimarron Peak from Rabia Benchmark
Cimarron Peak is the broad peak in the center horizon in this view from Rabia Benchmark (Sierra Blanca highpoint)

Cimarron Peak also has 26 miles of isolation, meaning the nearest peak higher than it is 26 miles away. This makes it the 36th most isolated peak in Arizona. It certainly feels isolated, as it is miles from paved roads and the road providing best access to it has some nasty erosion in spots. Cimarron Peak has few visitors and visiting it seems an adventure in exploration.

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South Mountain (Pinal), Arizona, February 2019

On Saturday, February 16, Eric Kassan, Stacey Samuels, Adam Humphreys, and I hiked up South Mountain of Pinal County west of Sells, Arizona. South Mountain has about 4160 feet of elevation and 2020 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 70th most prominent peak in Arizona. This was my second visit to South Mountain.

South Mountain from Arizona Highway 86 northeast of Sells
South Mountain from Arizona Highway 86 northeast of Sells

We met on Arizona Highway 86 and I led our drive in on primitive roads through a lush and green desert. On the way I spooked four jackrabbits at different points. I had last visited South Mountain in November 2017 and had driving notes from that drive. But I was surprised how a recently graded road then had become eroded in only two years.

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Harcuvar Peak, Arizona, February 2019

In early February Linda and I and our dogs camped in the open desert near Vicksburg, Arizona, east of Quartzsite. We were boondocking, which meant we had no hookups but did have a lot of room for ourselves and dark nights. We spent three nights there. Linda spent February 6 and 7 hiking and mountain biking from our campsite. On the morning of February 7 I left camp to climb Harcuvar Peak.

Harcuvar Peak from the road hike
Harcuvar Peak from the road hike. My climbing route ascended the steep rib just left of where the road curves out of view.

From camp I drove to Salome on US 60. Here I left US 60 and followed roads northwest to near the base of Harcuvar Peak. Harcuvar Peak lies in the Harcuvar Mountains, but is not the highpoint of the range. The highpoint of the Harcuvar Mountains is Smith Peak further north, which I hiked last November. Harcuvar Peak does, however, have 2048 feet of prominence making it the 66th most prominent peak in Arizona.

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