Wasson Peak (Saguaro National Park) 25-Mar-2018

Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona

As we say in Oregon: When the going gets wet, the dry go to Arizona. And so it was that we found ourselves in Phoenix and Tucson for a week, visiting some old friends and doing six local hikes. The weather pretty much cooperated the whole time, with sunshine, mild air temperatures (mid 70ºFs to low 80ºFs), and only artistic clouds. There was a potent, cholla-hurling windstorm with clouds one afternoon but that was it for weather drama. We chose hikes that covered habitats fron saguaros to oaks to pines, at altitudes between 1,500 and 8,000 feet. Cacti spines were dodged, no snakes were startled (or startled us), and a good time was had by all. Now that there are direct flights between home and Phoenix, we may have to do some more hiking down there…

The LovedOne’s knee was a no-go after our fifth hike, so she decided spend the day in Tucson looking at art instead of going on yet another hike. Fortunately, Wasson Peak, a local favorite in the western section of Saguaro National Park, was close-by and she was able to drop me off at its El Camino del Cerro Trailhead in the morning well before the art museums opened. From there, I went up the Sweetwater Trail to where it ends at the King Canyon Trail on a saddle at about 3,800 feet.  From there, I continued up the King Canyon Trail for 0.9 miles to a junction with the Hugh Norris Trail, then followed that for 0.3 miles to the summit of Wasson Peak. I was up and back in time for The LovedOne to meet me for lunch. Along the trail I passed some old mines high on the ridge (the sheer effort those old miners put out usually for no payoff always amazes me!) and several wildflowers in bloom. A sixth hike done solo (sigh) but still a good one (8.9 miles round-trip; 2,200 feet of elevation gain). Despite its local popularity, I only passed about a dozen folks during this weekend hike.

Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Wasson Peak from the trailhead
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Climbing out of the canyon on the Sweetwater Trail
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Clouds streaming over the Sweetwater Trail
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
View west from the saddle at 3,800 feet
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Looking down the King Canyon Trail
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Looking up toward Wasson Peak
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Along the ridge toward the summit of Wasson Peak
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Summit witness mark (some douchebag stole the benchmark)
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Looking west from the summit, with Baboquivari (climbed in 1987) on the horizon
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Looking northeast from the summit, Marana in the foreground
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Looking south from the summit, Mount Wrightson on the horizon
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Looking east from the summit toward Mount Lemmon (Santa Catalina Mountains)
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
On the Sweetwater Trail back to the trailhead
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla) with bee
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Common Beehive Cactus (?) flower
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Trailing Four O’clock (Allionia incarnata)
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
Paleface Rock Hibiscus (Hibiscus denudatus)
Wasson Peak Saguaro National Park Arizona
My track to and from Wasson Peak

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