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Hunter Trail, Picacho Peak
Picacho Peak State Park
March 17, 2018
by Debbie Rowray
Our gang conquered the summit!
Front:  John, Li, Krista, Debbie, Michelle, Rudy
Back: Dan, Michael, Tom, Carl, Terry

On a beautiful Saturday morning, eleven eager hikers met up to adventure the wondrous obstacle course of Picacho Peak.

Co-led by Michael Humphrey, staring down the steep cliffs ahead of them, everyone took off at their own pace to summit the mountain.

The trail started off steep almost from the very beginning, and we were all brimming with sweat and gasping for air before we knew it. The mountain is filled with many little holes and crevices that birds and bats must love, and it was evident early on that we would encounter many areas where the installed steel cables would aid us in the ascent.

The Mighty Picacho. [photo by Carl]
Sunlit serenity. [photo by John S]
Step by steep step. [photo by Tom]
Summit smiles. [photo by Tom]The Mighty Queen

At the saddle we all commenced for a breather, and looked around at the scenic landscape. Once leaving the saddle, we headed on a swift descent around the south side of the mountain to begin, again, climbing toward our goal. The mountain was like one huge precipice, slowly reaching the sky. The steel cables really were an amazing aid, and gloves were very handy to grip and stay safe. There were areas that steel netting separated us and the steep crevasses below.

Once to the summit, the 360 degree views were astonishing, and we all enjoyed a snack while meeting other friendly hikers. It was quite unique to be in alignment elevation-wise with a Cessna flying nearby!

Sea of saguaros. [photo by Michael]
Blue skies abound. [photo by L]
This takes some work! [photo by L]
They almost match. [photo by Tom]

The descent was invigorating, and as we turned south to go down Sunset Vista Trail, we encountered another set of cables that made you feel like you were rapelling. I think we were all very thankful to have these cables to assist in conquering a very strenuous, yet novel hike.

After the hike, a few ventured to see the Battle of Picacho memorial, while others waited at Dairy Queen for a second meet-up to enjoy tasty, refreshing treats.

Rudy then lead us on a rendezvous to delight in the sighting of a Queen Saguaro. It was a small challenge to squeeze through the barbed wire, then make our way through washes and brambles to reach our destination. The Queen Saguaro was indeed unprecedented, and the extra effort to see it, most definitely worthwhile.

The Mighty Queen. [photo by Tom]
Go Rudy! [photo by Tom]
Just pondering ...

Last but not least, some of us headed back to the valley, while the remainder enjoyed a nice dinner at Boston’s in Casa Grande.

Thank you so much to Tom, John, and Michelle D for carpooling us all to the site!

Hike Stats: 6.6miles total with the queen saguaro adventure. AEG of 2487 feet.

All in all, what a wonderful way to spend St. Patty’s Day: a great group of hiking buddies, lovely desert landscape, a sculpturesque mountain to endure, and a Queen Saguaro to boot!

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated March 26, 2018