Mileage - 12.25
Time - 6 Hours
AEG - 4,074ft
After returning home from a place like Lake Tahoe, I knew I would find myself "chasing the dragon" to discover something new and match the sheer beauty only the Sierras have to offer. To my surprise, the Hualapai Mountains were waiting just 3 hours from Phoenix. Matt put together a group of 6 hikers to venture up North to the Hualapai Mountain range outside of Kingman, Arizona. To be honest, my expectations were pretty low going into the day thinking this was going to be another hot trek in the high desert. I couldn't have been more wrong!
Matt and I debated where to spend our Saturday and went with this mountain for one reason; it's the 9th most prominent peak in Arizona and the highest point in Mojave County. Driving 3 hours through the desert along route 93 was scenic enough to hold us over until our final destination, although it wasn't until we arrived in Kingman that my expectations about this trek completely changed. Here lies an 8400+ft jagged granite peak covered in pines and aspens. The excitement began to build as we neared the Ranger's station to obtain a map and a little guidance before starting the hike. At 9:00am we were off and looking to summit the high point before any afternoon thunderstorms rolled in. Luckily they held off and we were able to reach all three accessible peaks in this range (Hualupai 8417ft, Hayden 8250ft, and Aspen 8196ft).
Everyone was in good spirits, even on the hot, steep climbs to each summit. I would chalk that up to the incredibly scenic landscape, sweeping high desert views, and the occasional wildlife encounter. This mountain range truly is a great refuge for a variety of animals, especially migratory birds and big game animals. We had an up-close view of a golden eagle and Ben made friends with a couple turkey vultures as they circled and waited for him to fall off the east face of Hualapai Peak (pictured above-right climbing near the summit). Six hours and 12 tough miles later we were back at the trailhead and ready to call it a day.
Aspen Peak Summit (pictured right)