Hike to Panther Peak
I planned to hike to the top of Bighorn Mountain this morning but the trailhead was closed. A man apparently stole a car, perhaps dragged the body of the driver, 1 mile up Pima Canyon trail, left the body where 3 mountain lions began feasting. The discovery of the body closed the trail until the lions were tracked and killed. So, I drove to the parking lot at......
….Sanctuary Cove. A large group was headed to the top of Sombrero Peak so I hiked to the saddle shown to the right of Sombrero on the first image and then left the trai; and dropped......
….into a ravine and hiked toward Panther Peak shown above.
While doing so, I passed Sombrero and the adjoining small peaks.
Having done this a couple of years ago, I knew if I kept to the bushwhacking and heading toward White Stallion Ranch which I could see in the distance, I'd encounter a fence and a trail that parallels it.
There is the ranch in the distance. I was curious about it so did a search and discovered it is a highly rated dude ranch: https://www.whitestallion.com/
At some point while hiking parallel with the ridgeline to my left, I knew I had to head toward a ravine to the left of Panther. I cut cross country and eventually began seeing cairns and knew I was now on the route. This used to be a rarely visited peak but learned that it is part of the ranch's activity options so what used to be a faint route is now easily followed.
The climb up the ravine is steep. Probably an average of 25-30% with lots of pauses to figure out where next to go. A lot of boulder hopping too so be careful.
Bad idea. Cairns are useful but to place one on top of a cactus is not good. I swept it away.
After reaching the saddle, it's then a modest .4 miles to Panther Peak. Once there you get a good view of Sombrero.
How about that? A copper mine. I sign in the summit register and see the peak is receiving a visit on average about every other day.
I enjoy the views and then head back down the slope to the saddle and then down the steep ravine. Along the way I.....
….spot this funky looking saguaro. So odd to see an arm grow from so close to the base of the cactus.
In the distance, my next destination, the saddle I crossed while coming out of Sanctuary Cove.
The trail that parallels the fence is easy to follow until it crosses the fence, heading to the ranch. Then it is bushwhacking up the slope to the saddle and then down to my car. Finished with 5.6 miles and 1900' of climbing on this beautiful, warm and sunny day.
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