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Vista Point Trail, Mingus Mountain
July 24, 1999
by Kim Hackbarth

In spite of the threat of thunderstorms for the Phoenix valley on Saturday, we headed north toward Jerome to see what weather we would find. Terryl Chavez, Mark Richman (two of my friends and co-workers from the law department) and I headed out in my Ford F-150 pick up trunk toward Jerome. We discovered, upon reaching the town of Jerome, that not too much is going on at 9 in the morning on a Saturday. One “biker dude” was hanging outside the steps waiting for the famous Spirit Room to open. If you have never seen the Spirit Room in full swing during the day, you’re missing out (obviously, this “biker dude” knows what I’m talking about).

We got up to the meeting place, the parking lot at the top of Mingus Mountain, at approximately 9:30 AM. Ted Tenny and his wife, Jacque, were waiting for us. Shortly afterward, Joel Spealman (another law department co-worker of mine), Dave Abdoo, and Darleen Lindquist and Doris Madueno all arrived in their respective cars. We waited for about 20 minutes and proceeded down the dirt road another couple of miles to the Mingus Mountain campground site. There at the trailhead we found Brenda Garman and her husband, Vic, waiting for us. Assuming that was everyone that was planning to join us that day, we started down the steep 106 trail. Approximately 20 minutes into the hike, we received a call from Joyce Parrish on her TalkAbout radio that she was looking for us. So, she started down the hill and a few us waited for her while the others walked ahead. Joyce caught up and we proceeded down the 106 trail.

The 106 trail contains more desert vegetation. The trail isn’t real pretty, but the view is magnificent. As you look across, you can see the beautiful pines on the other hills. Occasionally, you’ll step into some bear droppings if you aren’t watching where you are walking. We decided to hike down this side of “the hill” first because it gets more direct sunlight and tends to be a bit more difficult climbing up in the heat, then coming down in the cool morning air. Eventually, the trail kind of levels a little bit and you start to get into some “tree coverage”. Our group all took a little break at this point and got some water and ate a few munchies. We then proceeded around the mountain to the other side, where you find access to trail 105, and then we started back up the hill. This is the fun part of the trail ... the climb up. This side is much more green and filled with plenty of pretty green vegetation. It was at this point of our hike that we started to get a little wet. Light mist came down as we proceeded up the trail. At this point, our group started to get separated. Dave, Mark, Terryl, Doris and I continued up the hill, proceeded by Brenda and her husband, then Joyce, Darleen and Joel and the Tennys (thanks to Joel for staying with Tennys in the hike back up). About ¾ of the way up, Joyce discovered a HUGE rattlesnake that was laying by the side of the trail. Not known to us, Dave, Mark, Terryl, Doris and I had all passed it without even realizing it. Joyce got the snake to move away from the trail, but she said it was really something. It appeared to be sleepy and sluggish. Good thing for us!

We got to the top just as the thunderclouds started. We waited up at the top for the others to come to join us. Terryl, Dave, Doris and I waited for the rest while Brenda, Vic, Dave and Joyce went to find their cars down the road so they could change their clothes and take off for home. I eventually went to get my truck so that I could drive the rest of the crew (still coming up the hill) back to their vehicles. We all finished about 1 PM or so. No injuries, some of us a little tired, but most of us in pretty good shape.

Mark, Terryl and I left for home in my truck. Approximately 37 miles from Phoenix, my rear tire blew out. Thank God we didn’t flip. We got off the freeway and changed the tired in less than 20 minutes and continued on our way. However, I must say we all three were thanking our lucky stars over the weekend. I started to realize just how traumatic that could have been. Passing semi-trucks at 75 miles an hour, off that big hill just outside of New River is not a great place to have a blowout. The craziest thing. I had just had my tires rotated on Friday, the day before the trip. The tire that blew had been on my front, right wheel. Had it still been on the front when it blew, we certainly would have flipped the vehicle. My nine lives must be getting close to running out. Thanks to Terryl and Mark for helping me fix the tire and thanks to God for letting me return from the hike so that I could tell you about it.

See ya on the trails!

Supplemental Report
by Ted Tenny

Jacque went hiking with me today, for the first time in years. It was the Motorola Hiking Club, with Kim Hackbarth leading a 4-mile loop hike on the Vista Point Trail and Mingus Trail on the north side of Mingus Mountain, southeast of Jerome.

We started from a campground near the top of the mountain, then hiked 1000' down its north side and got a grand overview of the Verde Valley and the Black Hills of the Prescott National Forest.

Because it’s a Motorola hike, Kim handed out Motorola Talkabout 2-way radios (walkie-talkies) to herself and two of us who served as unofficial co-leaders. Strangely, the hikers proceeded to split up into three groups, with the last group consisting of me, Jacque, and two others. At one point Kim called to tell us about a rattlesnake by the trail up ahead, but it was gone before we got there.

With rain the day before, there was no dust and the air was cool and scented. When we heard thunder as we started back up the mountain, Kim called me on the radio and said we should hurry up and beat the storm. But our top speed was pretty slow. There were a few raindrops. By the time we had climbed 1000' back up to the top of the mountain, the sun was starting to come out and the cool breeze was delightful.

Jacque and I stopped for lunch in Prescott on the way home, then drove through light showers that gave way to a partly cloudy afternoon.


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updated July 23, 2018