THE TRAIL TO VULTURE PEAK
Where once mornings began warming up about 10 a.m. after a chilly night, we’ve noticed it’s getting pretty warm out here by 9 now. And the nights are warmer too. And, we no longer have to put a warm jacket on at 4 in the afternoon.
I THINK DESERT POPPIES ARE BEGINNING TO BLOOM
The night sky was beautiful Thursday night with a crescent Moon low in the west & Planets Venus & Jupiter just above. In the next few nights the Moon will move through Jupiter & Venus making for a rare & beautiful sight just after sunset.
THE COWS BIG IRON WATER TANK NEAR US
We were happy to see a return of horses this morning & counted 8 of them moving through the Mesquite & Desert Brooms near our rig.
We were on the road heading for Vulture Peak about 9:30. Had we known the 200 mile RAGNAR RELAY RACE was being run from Wickenburg to Phoenix today we might have held off on our Vulture Peak drive until Monday. Vulture Mine Road was loaded with runners & countless support vehicles all the way up & beyond Vulture Peak. The driving was slow with so many young marathoners running. Drove out as far as the Vulture Peak Mine site before turning around & heading back to a very crowded parking lot at the Vulture Peak Trailhead. Fortunately the road heading from that parking lot further in to the Vulture Peak Trailhead was free & clear.
What a beautiful area this is & we saw people boon docking with lots of room between them. Because of the higher altitude the vegetation is totally different than the valley floor below. This is the land of giant Saguaros, Ocotillos, Prickly Pear Cactus & Agave plants. It is the true Sonoran Desert at it’s greenest. With Vulture Peak & it’s jagged ridge lines in the background I felt this was some of the finest scenery we have seen in our travels.
We right away thought of bringing the rig up there but then noticed something that quickly changed our minds. There is another beautiful cactus that lives at the altitude, but this one can hurt you & especially hurt your pet. Teddy Bear Cholla!! We were virtually in a Teddy Bear Cholla garden. Beautiful as all get out but we know first hand how terribly painful these Cholla barbs are. We knew this would not be a safe place for Pheebs & Motor. Once those Cholla barbs imbed themselves in a dog’s paw it is a major problem. Dogs will immediately try to pull them out with their teeth & that makes things worse because the barbs then become imbedded in the dog’s mouth. Pliers are about the only tool to get them out. And, you had better be wearing thick gloves. As often as not pets have to be taken to a Vet & sedated before the hooked barbs can be removed.
THESE ARE TEDDY BEAR CHOLLA
We parked at the Vulture Peak Trailhead. Clean pit toilets here by the way. At the trailhead, one has a choice. Either hike the moderate, but very scenic 1.4 mile uphill trail or take the Jeep Road. Kelly had read some literature which described this Jeep road as being exceptionally rough. With that in mind we decided to hike the trail. Besides, we needed the exercise far more than our Jeep did anyway.
KELLY SIGNS THE TRAIL LOG & HEADS ON UP TOWARDS VULTURE PEAK
It’s a beautiful trail which winds you along a sandy & sometimes rocky path through towering Saguaros. The views all around are second to none. Many species of cactus everywhere & it is a truly fine desert landscape. The grades are manageable with a little huffing & puffing here & there. Good hiking boots are a must for some of the rock scrambles & loose gravely stones underfoot. Take your time, take water, & stop to enjoy the views around you. From the lower trailhead to the upper trailhead took us 40 minutes.
CHATTING WITH SOME FELLOW HIKERS
THE PATH SOMETIMES PARALLELS THE JEEP ROAD
The upper trailhead is where the Jeep road ends as well. From this point on the trail takes on a whole different personality & if your not in good shape, we hear it’s not wise to proceed up beyond this point. Standing at the trailhead with Vulture Peak towering over us we could see the difficulties ahead & knew this is as far as we would go…….today. Maybe a few years ago before I began having leg problems I might have thought, “ya, let’s do it.” But, after hiking uphill for 40 minutes, my legs were bothering me & I knew it wasn’t wise to go any further.
WE WENT AS FAR AS THE UPPER TRAIL HEAD…NEXT TIME WE WILL CLIMB TO THAT ‘V’ IN THE MOUNTAIN TOP RIGHT
KELLY STANDS IN THE UPPER TRAIL HEAD JEEP PARKING LOT
Decided next time we return to this area we will Jeep up to this point & then do the next leg of the hike up to what is called, the Saddle. I’m sure I would enjoy that climb. But, what about this bad Jeep road Kelly read about. Well, only one way to find out so we decided to walk the entire road all the way back down the mountainside to the lower trailhead.
WE START BACK DOWN THE ROUGH & TUMBLE JEEP ROAD
MOST OF THE ROAD TURNS OUT TO BE JUST FINE
Aside from a few moderate rock climbs near the upper trailhead & some short steep up & down gully whomps close to the lower trailhead this road is a piece of cake for any high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle. The Jeep road is also an easier walk for folks either up or down than the trail but not nearly as scenic. I would suggest walking up the Jeep road & hiking back down along the scenic trail. Again, what a beautiful area this is & it is a ‘must see’ if you are in the area.
ONE GULLY WHUMP AREA AT THE BEGINNING OF THE JEEP ROAD
On the way back down Vulture Mine Road to Wickenburg we Jeeped off some side roads to check out some future boon docking sites. And, once you get below a certain altitude there are no longer Teddy Bear Chollas present. Here’s a boon docking area I would suggest…… Coming up Vulture Hill road from Wickenburg, watch for a road off to your left called Vulture Peak Road. This is a wide hard packed dirt road & fine for Motor Homes & Trailers. We drove in a mile before turning around & in that mile we saw about a dozen large & easily accessible fairly flat boon docking sites. And, Vulture Peak itself is easily seen from most of these sites. This would be a great scenic spot to set up camp & explore the surrounding Wickenburg area. We did check out another spot further up the mountain on the right with about 6 rigs in it. This would probably be suitable for most folks but we didn’t care for it. It’s basically just a large dirt parking lot & certainly does not have the ‘WOW’ factor going for it. ‘WOW’ factor is always important for us:))
CAN I GO OVER & PLAY WITH MY PALS, DAD
We were back in the scenic little town of Wickenburg by 12:45 which was just in time to get ourselves into the very popular lunch line at a burger place called, ‘Screamers’. And, what did I have at Screamers…..why a Screamerburger of course. Kelly had one as well with a chocolate milkshake. Good burgs for sure even if we did end up waiting half an hour for them.
PHEEBS & HER PALS WERE AT IT AGAIN TODAY
From there it was back to the rig for a relaxing afternoon of relaxation & resting my legs. I’m afraid my legs are becoming my Achilles Heel:((
GROANER’S CORNER:(( An old television star who's show has been on for years and was recently cancelled runs into a news reporter on the street. "Do you personally answer the hundreds of letters of adoration that have been pouring into the studio everyday demanding that your show be renewed?" asks the reporter. "Goodness No!" replied the actor, "I hardly have time to write them."
-Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))
BAYFIELD BUNCH PHOTO ALBUMS https://picasaweb.google.com/117858411710794543295
The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of