Between the Santa Catalina and Santa Maria ranges is Aqua Caliente hill. The Ocotillo are impressive with green leaves from each stem, topped by reddish blooms. A 9 mile round trip hike with some up and downs before a very steep final 1/2 mile climb to the summit. Calling this a hill is accurate only when compared to the peaks around it.
I climb up to a saddle, drop into a canyon, climb out to another saddle, below you can make out the trail.
As others have noted in various hiking guides, this trail has the best example of a fake summit there is. Walking up a fairly steep slope (that would be it on the left), headed toward that top and just before reaching it the trail suddenly heads away from the peak, dropping down slightly and then....
......oh man, was that final 1/2 mile steep. Reached it in exactly 2 hours.
Very windy at the summit so I stopped long enough to sign in, take about.....
....one image and headed down.
There were some great and broad views to the southwest. A King snake raced across the trail while I was jogging so I slowed and took more care. A woman was bitten a couple of weeks ago and the snake did not release its bite until emergency personnel showed up. I can't imagine what that would be like, standing or sitting, waiting for help while a live rattlesnake clung to your leg. While that image is enough to keep me careful, I also am told the treatment is $200,000. Note to self, check insurance coverage. Oh and that snake? It was released after removal.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.