On Tuesday, April 13, I climbed Maricopa Peak, the summit of Javelina Mountain and the highpoint of the Sand Tank Mountains. Maricopa Peak is visible to the south from Interstate 8 about 20 miles east of Gila Bend, Arizona. It has 1484 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 155th most prominent peak in Arizona. It is located in Area A of the Sonoran Desert National Monument.
Last December Linda and I explored the access road to Maricopa Peak. I found the road passable with high clearance to a parking spot close to the peak. We considered returning sometime to camp there to make the trip a family outing. But the opportunity to return did not arise before the desert became too hot for a pleasant camping trip. I was running out of opportunities to return this season so I decided to give the peak a try in spite of the warm temperatures.
On Sunday, March 14, Matthias Stender, Scott Peavy, and I climbed Wood Mountain in the Northern Chiricahua Mountains. Wood Mountain has 1446 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 162nd most prominent peak in Arizona. But we climbed 3000 feet from Wood Canyon to reach the twin summits and return. It was a more challenging and interesting climb than we had expected, and it was satisfying to summit this rarely climbed mountain.
Wood Canyon lies south of the town of San Simon, Arizona. I scouted access to Wood Mountain two weeks earlier. On my drive I met Eva Morin who with her husband Howard owns the Morin Ranch close by up canyon. She wondered if I was off route to Portal. I explained that my friends and I hoped to visit Wood Mountain in the near future as part of our “peakbagging” activity. I verified with her that we could use a nearby primitive campsite and cross the land from there to the peak.
On Saturday, March 13, Matthias Stender, Scott Peavy, and I climbed Whitlock Peak northeast of the town of Bowie, Arizona. Whitlock Peak lies in the Northern Peloncillo Mountains, separate from the Whitlock Mountains to the west. It has 1691 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 107th most prominent peak in Arizona, and is remote from paved roads – I was glad to have company.
Matthias, Scott, and I met in Bowie and drove in 28 miles to our parking spot in Poppy Canyon. This was a long drive on gravel, dirt, and rocky roads. I had driving waypoints from the Southern Arizona Hiking Club and scouted the driving route two weeks earlier to be sure of the route and to verify it was still open to the public.
On Tuesday, December 22, I joined Matthias Stender on a climb of Growler Peak, within the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. Growler Peak has 1541 feet of topographic prominence and 12.1 miles of isolation. It lies west of the city of Ajo near the northern end of the Growler Mountains and overlooks the Growler Valley and the Granite Mountains to the west.
Matthias and I met in the town of Ajo and convoyed west on the Charlie Bell Road into the Cabeza Prieta NWR. We stopped short of Charlie Bell Pass where the road became rockier, narrower, and would be slower driving. This was close enough to Growler Peak for us to hike the rest of the way.