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Peak 3004 Day Hike
Goldfield Mountains
December 31, 2009
by Ted Tenny
  GPS Map 
Trailblazers muster at the Pass. [Bill Zimmerman photo]

The air is sparkling as we meet at Meridian Trailhead on a brisk, sunny morning. We exchange introductions, then Ted learns that two hikers will be late arriving. “Meet us at Usery Pass Trailhead,” he advises them by cell phone, and the eight of us drive there.

We see the car, but no hikers. So eight Trailblazers set out from Usery Pass Trailhead, hoping to find the departed pair and eventually catching up with them on the north side of Pass Mountain. Now there are ten, as we enjoy a scenic walk up to the Pass.

Peak 3004 from Meridian Trailhead, in the morning’s golden light.

At the Pass every hiker has to choose: continue to Meridian Trailhead on the easy Pass Mountain Trail, or climb peak 3004 and walk down on the Bulldog Saddle Trail.

“It’s going to get rough,” Ted advises.

Four sensible hikers – Jennifer, Connie, Sandy, and Cyd, get the message and proceed down the Pass Mountain Trail, with Cyd leading.

The Pass Mountain Trail takes us east, then south.
Looking down from high above the Pass Mountain Trail.

There’s a cave just east of the Pass. The trail over to the cave is easy enough, and delightfully, it continues eastward beyond the cave.

Then it ends abruptly.

At some point we’re going to have to start a steep, rocky climb. The end of the trail looks reasonable enough, although no climbing route is evident. Ted is careful to get us beyond the four rocky buttes just east of the pass before we start our climb.

You mean we’ll have to climb down from here?

Man, it’s steep! Rhyolite boulders of irregular shape have tumbled on top of each other. Some of them are loose. Others have cactus and catclaw growing in between them.

Rudy climbs up above us to scout the route. It’s a boulder scramble all the way. We take detours down and around particularly perilous pitches. Finally we top out on the rock-crowned 2796' butte southwest of peak 3004.

Temptation Peak, 3004, and Bulldog Ridge.

The view is breathtaking! We have a grand panorama of the Superstitions, Bulldog Ridge, nearby Peak 3004, the majestic Mazatzals, the MacDowells, Pass Mountain, the Santans, and the mighty Sierra Estrella.

Photographers snap away, while all of us catch our breath and drink in this glorious vista in the sky.

There is no apparent way to get down.

Gingerly we thread and butt-slide our way over to the next saddle. Here Ted makes a judgement call that all hike leaders must be prepared for: “We’re bailing out.” It isn’t evident that we can. But it turns out Ted has done it once before – when he was ten years younger, admittedly.

Patrick, Adam, and Rudy climb one more rocky summit as Chip, Bill, and Ted begin easing their way down the treacherous slope.

A steep slope eases up as we approach the arroyo.
A saguaro skeleton formed this graceful arch. [photo by Bill]

Rocks on the slope are interesting. Quartz, chalcedony, and sugar-frosted rhyolite brighten our passage. Bill finds a saguaro skeleton bent in the shape of an arch.

Finally we cross an arroyo and walk over to the Bulldog Saddle Trail.

The gals are gone when we get back to Meridian Trailhead, but we celebrate an amazing adventure with best wishes for the new year.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated November 6, 2019