On Thursday, April 18, Linda and I and our dogs parked our trailer beside the Barnhardt Trailhead road and camped below the crest of the Mazatzal Mountains south of Payson, Arizona. We were boondocking, which meant we had no hookups but did have a lot of room for ourselves, dark nights, and little vehicle noise from AZ Highway 87 about a mile away. Our nearest neighbors were about half a mile away. We spent two nights camped there. Linda spent Friday morning mountain biking from our campsite up to the Barnhardt Trailhead. I spent Friday climbing nearby Mazatzal Peak.
From our campsite Mazatzal Peak rose directly to the west. Its summit was visible high on the left side of the peak. Suicide Ridge gently descended from it to the right then dropped steeply down towards the Barnhardt Trailhead further right.
On Saturday, March 30, I joined the Southern Arizona Hiking Club for a climb of Forest Hill, the highpoint of the Little Rincon Mountains east of Tucson. Forest Hill has 6114 feet of elevation and 1554 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 135th most prominent peak in Arizona. In spite of its low prominence the peak was fun and scenic.
Will Whitaker, the Chief Guide for SAHC, led the outing. Five others joined us, including June Meyer and Tom Tutein. We left Tucson and drove east on I-10, then turned north into Happy Valley, just east of the Rincon Mountains. This was my first drive into Happy Valley since the spring of 2015 when I hiked Rincon Peak and Mica Mountain.
On Wednesday, March 27, I joined the Southern Arizona Hiking Club for a climb of Mundo Perdido, a peak in the Baboquivari Mountains north of Sasabe, Arizona. Mundo Perdido (“Lost World”) lies along the spine of the Baboquivari Mountains about a mile NNE of Baboquivari Peak. It has 7111 feet of elevation but only 631 feet of topographic prominence. Nevertheless, it is a strenuous and memorable climb.
Mundo Perdido is one of the Southern Arizona Hiking Club 45 “Emblem” peaks, so I was pleased to join John Ohm, who led the outing, June Meyer, and Tom Tutein who completed the team on the peak. June had hiked the peak several years before, but this was the first time for the rest of us. Most of the route was on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and John had obtained a permit from the Refuge in advance. We had the peak to ourselves.
On Wednesday, March 6, I joined the Southern Arizona Hiking Club (SAHC) for a climb of Picketpost Mountain, a peak rising to the west above Superior, Arizona. Picketpost Mountain has only 4375 feet of elevation but 1455 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 160th most prominent peak in Arizona.
Picketpost Mountain is one of the 415 Southern Arizona Hiking Club Peaks and one of the 45 SAHC “Emblem Peaks”. From US Highway 60 the mountain appears surrounded by high cliffs and steep, narrow gullies. I have wanted to visit it since Linda and I visited the nearby Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park a few years ago.