I was camped in the Williams area just north of Interstate 40 in Arizona.
I still had a lot of driving to get to Colorado where I was due to meet
up with Eric on Monday. I did a trio of easy summits in the early morning
while things were still cool, before getting more hours of driving in. All
of these summit are found in the Kaibab National Forest. The area I was in
is mostly low, volcanic bumps, forested and heavily grazed with cattle,
too. The network of roads is extensive, not all of them shown on the maps.
Most of the ones I drove today were fairly rough, requiring high-clearance.
I used 4WD only occasionally, not sure if it was necessary. At the end of the
day I found myself on Navajo lands in Eastern Arizona, near the New Mexico
Border, where I finished up with a few additional summits, including a P2K.
Hearst Mountain North
I'd camped at the end of Forest road 922 on the southeast side of this
summit. The cross-country route took me through
with lots of mountain mahogany in .
Not a brushy climb, but I
took my time to keep from whacking my head on overhead branches - seemed
the order of the day. It took me 20min to cover the half mile distance to
. A register of
was in a glass jar in a modest
cairn. I had expected one of Barbara's (she'd climbed all three of these
summits), but it was much newer, from 2019, left by a local. Most visitors
to this and the other summits are hunters, no real surprise.
Hearst Mountain South
After returning to the Jeep, I drove a mile and change on various roads to
get me on
of Hearst South, with less than 1/3mi to .
This one is lower and easier than Hearst North, also with mostly
easy cross-country. It took about 15min to get to the summit where a
is located and a Barbara Lilley register
(this was after Gordon had stopped climbing with her for
stretch out in most directions. To ,
the P2K Bill Williams Mtn dominates the scene.
The roughest roads I drove were getting between Hearst South and Signal Hill.
There are easier ways, but it was a fun little Jeep adventure. I found
to Forest Road 630 which traverses around the west and south
sides of Signal Hill. A rough, steep then ascends the
southeast side, most of the way to the summit. Another vehicle was parked at
when I arrived. I did the last 400ft on a
, less than five minutes to the rocky summit with views
looking and west. There is a crude planted
there, no register than I could find. was a few yards away
looking through his binnoculars mounted on a tri-pod - scouting for deer and
the upcoming deer season. I was back to the Jeep before 9a and ready to get
some more serious driving miles in...
Close to six hours would elapse before I got to Roof Butte near the AZ/NM
border. Not all of that time was spent driving, as my cell service data
limit was reached on the last day of the month (rendering Google Maps
unusable, among other apps). So I stopped in Flagstaff to get something
for dinner and grab some free wifi, and I ended up spending a few hours
on various, completely unnecessary chores. In all, I drove about 260mi,
most of that on backroads through the heart of the Navajo Nation. It was
quite the scenic route that I enjoyed very much.
Enroute, I picked up an elderly hitchhiker and drove him about 35mi. It
seemed the least I could do for the free entry onto the reservation lands.
Sadly, he wasn't very coherent, nor very intelligible and I lost about
90% of the words that came out. I would nod and say, "Oh!", "Uh-huh", and other
hesitation words to keep up the lie that we were having a conversation. I
at the junction of SR264 and US199 and continued on my way.
Canyon de Chelly was along
my route, so it seemed I should see something of it. I stopped
at a few of the touristy along the North Rim Drive. I was
most interested in something called Massacre Cave, but there no plaques
at the overlook or anything to suggest where one should look or what this
is about, very un-NPS like. Oh well, I took a few pics of the
A quick online search later showed that the Spanish were equals to the
Americans in their treatment of Native Americans:
In 1805, Antonio de Narbona led a Spanish military expedition into Canyon de
Chelly hoping to put an end to disputes over Spanish settlements expanding into
Navajo country. Narbona reported that his forces killed as many as 115 Navajo
people taking refuge in the canyon and 33 were taken captive.
It was 4:15p by the time I reached for Roof Butte, then
another 20min of driving on decent dirt roads that go right to the top. Though
it looks pretty good , it has little going for it at
. Lots of up here, hence the road.
I did have a hazy view to into New Mexico, and got a crappy
zoom of . I thought about visiting it the next morning for
sunrise, but decided against in the end.
I spied this one on the drive up to Roof Butte. It looks impressive,
dare I say "difficult" near its summit. It has over 600ft of prominence,
making for a pretty steep ascent over the 0.4mi distance from the road/saddle
to the top. I think I wanted it to be difficult so I had a good excuse to
turn around, my heart not really in it. I'm glad I went up, though the only
difficulties were moderate brush and . The
all proved class 2. I spent 30min making my way to the top, with
in all directions as the forest ends just below the top.
Lots of neat views, though hazy today with the high winds that have buffetted
the state all day. I found an Andy Martin register , no other
entries. Most folks simply drive up to Roof Butte and drive back down.
There are at least a half dozen other summits one could do in the area,
but I decided to take a shower when I to the Jeep, then drive
back down to the pavement. I was a little too tired to do much driving
this evening, so I drove only few miles back down the west side of the
range before looking for a campsite at altitude (next to a summit, of
course). Peak 9,269ft, about 1.5mi off the north side of the pavement fit
the bill nicely. My campsite had cell coverage and was only about 1/3mi
from the summit. Time for dinner...