Sunday, December 15, 2013

Black Mountain - Oak Wells

Black Mountain Hike
Pinal County, Arizona
Mileage 5.43
Time - 3:38
AEG - 2,100ft

Last weekend I took the "back roads" to Tucson from Chandler for the marathon.  I did this for two reasons: It was faster, and I wanted to get a closer look at Black Mountain (and the roads accessing the area).  The only reason this one is on the radar is because of the prominence list.  Otherwise, I may have never hiked it.

Searching online for information about this hike yielded no results.  The only information I found came from a vague recreation map and topo maps from  From my understanding, no trails or routes to the peak exist.  We made our own.  The mileage doesn't seem like much, nor does the elevation gain.  The greatest obstacle was vegetation.  Getting to the summit became an off-trail nightmare filled with small forests of jagged catclaw, Spanish dagger, cholla and sharp grasses.  When the steep hillsides became less choked out, the more exposed areas were covered in a mine field of prickly and loose rock.  Two hours later we reached the peak.  If the winds weren't wipping at 40 mph, we may have taken some time to check out the 360 degree view, which may arguably be the best in Southern Arizona.  We didn't seem to care.  Instead, I took shelter and picked cactus needles out of my hands, shins and feet.  A couple minutes later Matt and I examined the mountainside to the East in search of the easiest path for our return. 

When we finally escaped the brush and found the car I asked Matt, "On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate this hike?"  His response was "Is one the lowest, or can I give it a zero?"  We both laughed pretty hard at that!  When I said I may have never hiked Black Mountain other than being the 85th most prominent peak in Arizona, it was now for completely different reasons. 

Black Mountain Summit - 5,580ft

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