Back to Ragged Top Peak
Upon leaving the "paved" portion of Silverbell Road, we drive about 4 miles on good dirt before making a left turn onto a very narrow road. I should have designated how far onto the road we were to park and meet because when we arrived, our group's cars were lined up, stuck. It wasn't long before we got it sorted, cars pulled to the side and were good to go.
The first mile is a mild bushwhack across the slopes of the Silverbell Mountains on our way to Ragged Top peak. There is no trail through here, just spot the north gully, which provides access to the base of the peak and wind our way through the obstacles. Then.....
....it becomes steep, really steep in places. A hiking pole is both a help and a hinderance. We are following a social trail which means it's not maintained, just enough people have hiked through to establish a faint, foot worn path. Well, where foot traffic could create a path.
We slog our way upwards and everyone seemed to enjoy surmounting the many challenges. At last, our destination comes into view. Was it worth it?.....
.....yes! Jaws drop, cameras are pulled and we all take images of what we see.
Beautiful but our work is not yet done. We make a left and climb steeply until.....
....we reach the peak. Catherine balances herself over the final pitch with Silverbell Mine in the distance. Previously, I stated the mine was no longer a working mine but it was restarted a few years ago. In addition to copper, the yields of gold, silver, zinc, lead and molybdenum, over time, is impressive.
We arrive at the barren peak, drop our packs and celebrate our accomplishment as.....
....Nancy and Peter, two new members to our hikes, arrive.
We sign the peak register, eat snacks, hydrate and....
....enjoy the magnificent views. The comfort of the break must eventually end so....
......Amy demonstrates the down climb technique, referred to as "5 Point Hiking".
There is a large population of bighorn sheep in these mountains and I frequently scanned the adjoining peaks and crags but no luck spotting any.
I was leading the way down, heard a yelp or two and watched as everyone gathers around Amy to watch or assist in the removal of cactus needles from her leg. The jumping cholla had snagged yet another victim. After a brief pause, we got going again and renew our descent, which is necessarily slow. We reach the bottom of the gully with relief and....
....march across the slopes where we find a good example of a rare, crested saguaro. Our hike ends with around 2000' of climbing and 4 miles.
Leave a Reply.