Sunday, November 18, 2012

Table Top - Arizona

Table Top Mountain Hike
Table Top Wilderness Area
Sonoran Desert National Monument
Maricopa, Arizona
Mileage - 9.25
Time - 2:42
AEG - 2356ft

Cooler temperatures have finally made their way into the valley, and that means more opportunity to hike in the surrounding desert.  Table Top is considered a seasonal hike as the trail ventures up the Southern slope of the mountain rendering it unbearable in the summer with absolutely no relief from the sun.  Just to prove my point; we arrived at 9:30am and it was 58 degrees, when our hike was finished at 12:30pm, the outside temps rose almost 30 degrees!  I couldn't imagine what a scorching inferno this area would be in June or July.

Getting there involved a 15-mile stretch of unpaved road off of Interstate 8, which was mostly sand and rock.  Several signs were posted about land preservation and precautions regarding smuggling through the monument.  We were certainly on high alert as this area can be quite unpredictable.  Today was completely silent.  In fact, we didn't encounter another person or vehicle until Border Patrol stopped us less than a mile from the Interstate on our way out.

This hike is well worth the effort, especially when you're able to summit a peak (49th most prominent) within a wilderness area.  There are 486,000 acres of protected land surrounding Table Top, and the healthy desert life is evident of that.  Talk about pristine!  The first 2.5 miles of the trail starts out fairly gradual, and then it climbs 1,300ft in the final mile through a lava field to reach the end of what is listed as the Table Top trail.  A nice place for a break and photo opportunity, though our work was not done just yet.  The true summit lied ahead another 0.8 miles on the most Northern section of the mountain.  The three of us stopped briefly here to enjoy the view and soak up a little sun, then we were on our way.  An hour later we reached the car and congratulated each other on a successful completion of yet another prominent peak in Arizona!

Sonoran Desert National Monument

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