King's Crown Peak and Silverado Ridge from peak 5083.
The view from the top.
When we got there we learned that Anatoli wasn’t dressed warmly
enough. He had to get going to keep warm. Peter would go with him.
I wanted to stay in contact, so I had them take a radio.
Then we discovered that the batteries in the radios were dead.
So we borrowed batteries out of flashlights, cameras, and GPS receivers
to get the radios working again.
I pointed out the way, then Anatoli and Peter left.
We were watching them climb the ridge northeast of King’s Crown
Peak as Tom, Chuck and I got under way. This wasn’t our planned
return route, but I knew that the mine road was way down below on the
other side of the ridge. To get to the ridge from where we were, we had
to climb above a big thicket of manzanita.
Finally we made it up to the ridge, just north of peak 5121.
Then we got the full blast of the wind! It almost blew us down.
The day had warmed up to the high 40s, but nothing could have prepared
us for the wind coming over that ridge.
We also had a big manzanita thicket below us, and no way go get around it.
So we bushwhacked. The good part is that you can slip without falling.
If the wind doesn’t keep you from falling, the branches will catch
you. The bad part is that the branches are an enormous drag on your feet.
It is really tiring to have to fight your way through them.
The going got easier when we were through the thicket.
But it didn’t last. We soon came to the canyon that flows
east between peaks 5083 and 5121. It’s full of brush.
We tried to get above the brush by climbing up on one side of the
canyon or the other, but to no avail. So we bushwhacked right down
the middle, with Ted in the lead serving as bulldozer.
Finally we came to a tiny waterfall, which we had to go around.
The ground was clear of brush on the north side!
We stayed the course, and soon found ourselves on the mine road.
Then an angel appeared. Actually it was Anatoli, who had
brought Peter with him and driven down the mine road to look for us
after they walked back to Oak Flat. The road was smooth, the wind
had calmed somewhat, and the afternoon warmed up to 50°,
but it didn’t take us a millisecond to decide to ride with
Anatoli and Peter back to the trailhead.
Finally, let me accentuate the positives about our hike to
King’s Crown Peak:
• 3 of the 7 hikers – Anatoli, Tom, and Peter
– enjoyed the lovely view from the top.
• The air was clean.
• No one had heat exhaustion.
This hike is described in
Footloose from Phoenix, by Ted Tenny, pages 200-204.