Had an exciting off trail hike scheduled for Saturday but at the last minute, the hike leader cancelled. Hmmmm, found another off trail hike departing from a park I had only recently discovered just west of Tucson called Ironwood National Monument. I signed up and headed out, eager to climb what the locals call the "Ragtop", above through the saguaros. I arrived at the trail head and was asked if I was ready for an adventure. Perfect. By the way, the title of the location is for the abundance of ironwood trees found in the area. The wood is so dense, it will not float in water.
Our group had 12 people and we headed toward the distant saddle with the few saguaro's marking the way. All off trail so it is kind of slow going.
At the saddle, I looked west and someone identified another mountain range called the "Watermens". Great, yet another mountain to explore.
We climbed up a rock outcropping, took a few photos and trudged off but not up the mountain, instead headed down toward a ravine.
Neat view to the southeast prior to heading down.
We plunged in to a wash that had fairly steep sides and began entering a stretch that had numerous caves. We checked out a couple and saw numerous paw prints. A couple of the locals said they could be occupied by anything from a lion to a fox to a javalina, none of which I would welcome trotting out of one right now. Heading away from the mountain, I asked when we were going up and was told we weren't, just hiking around it. It never occurred to me that an off trail hike in proximity to a mountain would not include climbing to the summit. Very disappointing.
We stopped for lunch on a slope with fantastic views to the south and east. I find myself searching for the word that best describes and all I can think of is "mystical". Maybe that misses the mark so I'll keep trying. Ended with 6 miles.