Growler Peak

Yesterday, F and I headed out on the Cabeza Prieta to hike Growler Peak. We’d already obtained our permits for both the Cabeza and the Barry Goldwater so we headed out to Charlie Bell Pass. We’d been out that way last year with Sylvia to check out the petroglyphs just beyond the end of the road but this time, our sights were set about 1,500′ higher: on the summit of Growler Peak.

The ride through the western part of the Cabeza is always really pretty but this year it is so green!

I couldn’t find many reports of people hiking up Growler Peak but the consensus seemed to be hiking up the ridge that starts near the parking area at the end of the road. We were a little curious how it would go because it looked like there were some pretty significant interruptions to the ridge but decided we’d have to figure it out as we went along.

As it turned out, the lower slopes had some fun scrambling. The rock was a little crumbly but not too bad. As we got up higher, we traversed around a cliff face to the east and then regained the ridge with some pretty easy scrambling.

Several times we thought we were approaching the summit but Growler Peak has a large broad summit ridge. It was a really pleasant walk along the ridge, however. We were treated to a birds eye view of A10s out on the Barry Goldwater and huge vistas of the surrounding desert.

When we finally reached the summit, we relaxed, ate, and enjoyed the view. A car battery atop the remote mountain was also a unique, if puzzling, find…

From the peak, we were able to pick out Signal Peak in the distance:

The Growler Mountains stretched south of us:

On the way down, we decided to investigate the ridge to the northeast of our ascent path. It was cool to get this view of our route to the summit:

Our downward route was a pretty narrow ridge with several sections of really loose rock. There was one section that required some sketchy down-climbing but it “went” and we were able to turn our summit bid into a pleasant loop hike.

The cholla were intense throughout the hike but our last stretch back to the quad was particularly impressive:

Charlie Bell Pass Petroglyphs

Sunday, Forrest, Sprocket and I headed out to Charlie Bell Pass to meet up with Sylvia (who was mountain biking out to the trail head). We were curious to see the petroglyphs and she’d kindly agreed to show us where they were.

On the way home Sylvia and her bike joined us in the jeep. Sprocket was happy to have company:

El Camino Del Diablo

Last week we had a really nice rain in the desert so Forrest and I decided that it was a perfect time to go out and drive El Camino Del Diablo since the dust wouldn’t be an issue. I’m so so glad we did: it definitely wasn’t dusty and we even saw a ton of wildflowers out on a hike.

El Camino Del Diablo traverses the desert between Ajo and Wellton (Yuma) passing through Organ Pipe National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and the Barry Goldwater Bombing Range. To drive the Camino, you need to obtain a free permit (available at several locations) but fortunately the agencies work together so you only need one.

We left before the sun was up and were treated to some beautiful silhouette skylines and awesome views of the Bates Mountains as the sun rose.

As we were driving along through the Pinal Sands, F asked me how close we were to Mexico. I took a guess based on the map and said “Four.” As it turned out, he was able to see the border fence. After the morning in the car we were all ready for a hike so off we went. The hike was awesome! The border was only about a mile away and the flowers were beautiful.

As we left the Refuge and entered the Goldwater Range, we stopped to do some exploring at the Tinjas Altas. There’s some beautiful rock with pools in it there. Definitely worth the detour off the main Camino.

Childs Mountain

A couple weekends ago, we joined in on a sunset tour of Childs Mountain. The road to the top is usually gated but Cabeza Prieta opens the gate once a month for the public. The views were incredible and made us want to get out and explore, explore, explore!