Out in the boonies
Jeep trails (not too impressive from this view, but you should see the downhill)
Natalie and I went on a little adventure yesterday. We gassed up our SUV and headed out to the Lake Pleasant area to find a hike. Thanks to a late breakfast and mid-morning road construction on the Carefree highway, we didn't get up to Lake Pleasant until almost 11:30.
I looked up online where we were supposed to go, but things rarely work out that easily, and our adventure wouldn't have been very adventurous if we found our hike first try. We wound up taking a series of wrong turns and missed exits, and we never did find our hike. What we did find was actually a lot cooler.
If you head up Castle Hot Springs road to Cow Creek road (who names this stuff?) you will eventually find what looks like an abandoned cult compound. There were several dilapidated old buildings, some washed away down to the foundations and a rusted out VW bus. Combine that with dozens of "No Trespassing" signs and you come to the logical conclusion that the only people crazy enough to move out to the middle of nowhere en masse are legitimately crazy.
We turned around shortly after passing the last of the empty foundations whe. The road turned into a sandy wash, and seeing as how we sold our only vehicle with 4 wheel drive, we decided not to risk it. We headed back and saw signs for Humbug wash (again with the weird names!) three miles ahead. Turns out those three miles were down a Jeep trail, where even people driving Jeeps have to scout the road to make sure they're not going to get stuck or flip over (remember: we're driving our 2 wheel drive Lexus SUV, and yes, we got gawked at for being in a Lexus on a dirt road, especially a dirt road like that one).
Again, the road finally deteriorated to the point of no return, so we turned around before anything catastrophic happened. We still haven't gone on our hike, so I looked up another one on the internet... because that worked out so well for us last time...
We headed over to Cave Creek to find "Black Mountain" and one of these days I'm going to learn to read the fine print. It was only a 2.5 mile hike, which sounded fine, but the total elevation gain over those 2.5 miles was close to 1300 feet (that's an average 10% grade for those of you paying close attention). I'm pretty sure Peter Jackson used this hill as inspiration for Mt. Doom in Lord of the Rings. There were these giant, jagged black rocks all the way up and especially at the top. The view from the top was pretty amazing though.
We got back at about 6:30, 7 and a half hours and almost 150 miles all told.