Monday, February 14, 2011

Harquahala Peak 02/13/11

Harquahala Peak Hike
La Paz County, Arizona
Mileage 10.2
Time - 3:36
AEG - 3686ft

As a side project, Matt and I have an ongoing goal to summit all of the most prominent peaks in Arizona, and number 17 was checked off the list on Sunday. At 5,681 feet, Harquahala Mountain (native word for water high up), is Southwestern Arizona's tallest peak and the Northern route provided a formidable challenge.

The summit offered a bit of history, as an abandoned Smithsonian Observatory remains in tact, which was used to study the solar effects on earth's climate from 1921-25. Mining camps were also scattered along part of the trail from a turn of the century gold rush. Weather conditions were ideal for today's trek (high of 80 degrees), as this is a must do winter hike. Late spring or summer temperatures could overwhelm even the most seasoned desert hiker. Matt and I were treated to a bizarre phenomenon on the drive West about an hour out of Phoenix. The horizon began to take on several strange shapes and coloration's, and to our amazement, it was a mirage! No wonder so many people get lost, disoriented, or witness things that aren't really there. The desert can really play tricks on the eyes, especially when the temps soar.

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