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Peak 3004 Loop Day Hike
Goldfield Mountains
March 10, 2012
by Ted Tenny
  GPS Map 
group
Randy, Gary, Becky, Monika, Don, Ted
rocky
It’s a rocky road up to Bulldog Saddle.
saguaros
Trailblazers and saguaros on the Bulldog Saddle Trail.
Six sapient Trailblazers set out from Meridian Trailhead on a cool, sunny, breezy March morning. We were walking north on the Bulldog Saddle Trail.

Soon we passed the first junction, an unnamed trail branching off to the east. “It runs for a mile and a half through the foothills,” Ted explained, “then you come to the end of the trail, and there’s nothing there.”

Onward and upward. The Bulldog Saddle Trail bends west to join a road on the side of Sand Canyon. The road soon degenerates into a trail covered with loose cobblestones. We are climbing up a bajada, formed by alluvial fans washing down from the Goldfield Mountains and coalescing on the slopes. Bajadas look deceptively smooth from a distance, but they aren’t, as we soon see as the trail approaches an arroyo.

We meet one hiker on the way up to Bulldog Saddle and three more at the top. They live near Meridian Trailhead, and can just walk out their doors and go hiking!

North of Bulldog Saddle the trail is obviously less traveled but still distinct. It has now been extended and marked with cairns all the way across the slope north of Peak 3004, and almost to hill 2290. It’s a pretty good route. “When I first hiked here, there was nothing,” Ted observes.

IMG_3842_509
Bright lichens cheer us.
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We saw a few Mexican gold poppies.
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Heliomeris longifolia - Longleaf False Goldeneye
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Velvet ant joins us on the trail.

Hill 2290 is covered with rotten granite which has decomposed into loose gravel in many places. But the view from the top is gorgeous!

Granite has no preferred direction of breaking, so it weathers the same in all directions. Mountains made of granite are therefore smoother and more rounded than those made of rhyolite or other minerals that prefer to break in certain directions. The bedrock of the Goldfields is Precambrian granite, but later deposits are of Miocene rhyolite and tuff.

Our climb up to the Pass is off trail but easy. Cairns mark the way. There are two washes to cross on the way up. We see a few hikers above us on the Pass Mountain Trail, but as expected, none on Peak 3004.

hill 2290
Looking back on hill 2290.
trail
Side trail leads to the cave below Peak 3004.

The Pass is a good place to stop for a snack and to catch our breath. Ground squirrels scurry before us. From here on down we meet plenty of hikers and two equestrians.

In 1998 the Pass Mountain Trail was re-routed south of the pass to avoid a very steep, gravely section. We enjoy the improved trail, with many fine views of Pass Mountain Peaks 3127, 3205, and 3312, Peak 3004, the Superstition Mountains, with Picketpost Mountain and Dromedary Peak in the distance.

Ted takes us on a side trail with an easier crossing of the Sand Canyon arroyo, and soon we arrive back at the cars.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated February 20, 2018