I park at the Sabino Canyon over flow lot. Some where in the distance is Rattlesnake Peak but not sure which one. This is an exploratory hike although I held out some hope I'd make it to the peak but typically, for hikes like this, it takes me 1 or 2 efforts to figure out the way.
I take the trail out of the parking area, reach Sabino Canyon Road, follow it briefly and then make a left onto Esperero Trail. Later I figured out there is a back trail that saves half a mile. Then I go off trail and wind my way through somewhat dense brush. Although I have a gps track to follow, I stay too low and miss.....
....being on top of the above. Again, later, I return and stay up there and that too was easier. I was wasting a lot of time, checking the track, winding through the thicket but that is part of the learning process. Won't make the same bonehead mistakes next time...just a time killer those.
But hey! The views were great.
I work around the obstacle, climb up to where I should have been and gain the top of the ridge, much later than when I should have been up there.
In the distance, a number of peaks and still unsure which is the destination.
Hey, how bout that, a nice cairn. I am aware there is another route coming from the right but it is longer than the route I have chosen. Here though, they meet and I now had cairns to follow, at times.
I enter a burn area that is quite extensive. Hiking is much easier now although some of the climbing is quite steep as I gain one prominence after another.
In the distance, still some snow on the Rincons.
Someone had made a nice cairn using a fallen saguaro as a platform. The slope above it is way steep.
Finally, I realize which of the peaks is Rattlesnake, the one to the left. Left of it is....
....Cathedral Rock. Beyond Rattlesnake, there is a way down to Hutch's Pools and a return on West Fork trail to the top of Sabino Canyon Road.
I climbed too far up a prominence and had to retrace my route a little. Seeing what was ahead of me, I figured time was going to be a problem but the way forward seemed obvious. Thinking I'd run out of time, I decided to turn around and grab the peak another day, rather than fall just short farther up. I wasted at least an hour wandering around down range.
On the slopes, I noticed a lot of deer scat. Amongst it was the above and I could not identify it. There was no hair in it so likely not from a carnivore. Upon reaching Esperero Trail, I crossed directly over it, gaining a new trail that is a back way to the parking lot. This would save over a mile on a return to the Peak.
The over flow lot was quite full and slightly above it to the right, the regular Sabino Canyon parking lot was too. Finished with 5.5 miles and 2200' of climbing.