Monday, February 18, 2013

Picacho Peak State Park: Hunter Trail

After my hike up Piestewa Peak last night, I got out of Phoenix and headed south towards Tucson. I made it as far as Eloy, AZ and even got some dinner at Culver's. This morning I awoke early and made the short drive down to Picacho Peak State Park. I arrived just after the park opened and headed over to the trailhead for the Hunter Trail.
Trailhead View photo firstview_zps2c1146ae.jpg
After arranging my pack I hit the trail. The walk was pleasant with lots of great views. The trail seemed tame enough as I slowly ascended the distinctive Picacho Peak amongst plentiful saguaro cacti.
Trail photo StartofTrail_zpsb43fe35e.jpg

Tall Saguaro photo tallsaguaro_zps1f819861.jpg
Distant Peak and Interstate photo distantpeak_zps7b785cac.jpg
Lone Cactus photo solosaguaro_zps240175c0.jpg

 The hike remained pretty tame until I reached a saddle between the main Picacho Peak and a small sub-peak. From the saddle there was an extremely steep descent along the west side of the mountain. It was so steep in fact, that there was a cable handrail to hold onto as I made my way down. This would be a sign of things to come.

After descending down to an elevation roughly that of the trailhead, the trail began to ascend again. There were some extremely steep sections and lots of cables to hold onto. In fact, I would call this ascent less a hike and more of a scramble. The cables added to the fun of the hike and after a short time I ascended through a forest of saguaro,
Saguaros and Rock photo peakandcacti_zps9c058666.jpg
up a last cable section
Cables photo cables_zps472edf18.jpg
and onto the summit.
Eric on Summit photo onsummit_zpsbd5f1c8b.jpg
There were great views of the surrounding desert and the interstate connecting Phoenix with Tucson. A little ground squirrel friend joined me up there.
Summit Friend photo summitfriend_zpsa59a83ee.jpg
Perhaps he or she was used to getting scraps of food from hikers.

After a short time on the summit I began my descent.
On the Way Down photo headingdown_zps56211059.jpg
While I pretty much had the place to myself on the ascent, there were lots of others now making their ways up the mountain. I figured things could get interesting at the cables on a busy day like today (it is President's day after all) and I was glad to be getting down when I was. After the saddle, the hiking got fast and easy and I was back to my car in no time at all ready to head to Tucson and Saguaro National Park.             

1 comment:

Sara B said...

My sister and I did a 10-week road trip after I graduated college. Our starting point was Phoenix and our first camp over was Picacho Peak State Park. HAHA. It has always been a park I've wanted to return to, but have never gotten around to it. One day.

Good luck in...I think you had said Tennessee.