Mt. Taylor P2K
Sitgreaves Mountain P1K

Tue, Aug 4, 2020
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2

Continued...

Mt. Taylor

Mt. Taylor is a New Mexico P2K and the highpoint of Cibola County. The Gooseberry Trail goes to the summit in three miles with 2,000ft of gain, a pretty tame and straightforward outing. Its a bit of a drive north from I40 on my way across the state, but seemed a nice way to break up the long drive back to CA. It was already dark when I left Albuquerque the previous night, so I was trying to navigate the forest roads off SR547 by headlight. I had done no real research, so I was blindly following Google Maps to the start of the GPX track I had downloaded. Where the app told me to turn off SR547 I found a locked gate and private property signs. I futzed with the Jeep's onboard maps since I had no cell service anymore and ended up on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Forest Rd 193 makes a loop with two junctions with SR547. The higher one is a gravel road and makes for the standard access to the TH that any vehicle can navigate. The southern junction, where I ended up at, is a meandering series of dirt roads that were a complete mess from rains earlier in the afternoon. Even with 4WD engaged, I found myself slipping all over the road with mud caked inches thick on the tires. Several times I worried I might get bogged down and stuck for the evening, but the jeep powered through. After an hour of harrowing driving, I finally got to the TH and noted the better access. I could see why they covered the better road in gravel - it would make the rain a non-issue. I slept the night at the TH, relieved to have gotten done with the crux.

Because of the late arrival, I didn't get started on the trail until after 6:30a. The trail had mostly dried overnight and I had no issues with mud on my boots like the jeep had experienced only 8hrs earlier. The area is heavily grazed and it shows, not one of the better wilderness experiences on offer in the state The route is easy to follow, decently signed, and I was on the summit before 8a. Most of the hike is through forest, but the upper portion of the mountain offers nice vistas as the trees give way to open grass slopes. There is a NF sign at the summit giving the elevation as 11,301ft. A cartoonish porcupine-like creature with a head that looks like a circular sawblade has been added to the top. With some extra downhill momentum, I was back to the TH an hour later and soon resuming my drive.

Sitgreaves Mtn.

I found my way back to Interstate 40 and continued my drive west, almost 300mi to get myself to the middle of Arizona. During those hours of highway cruising, I was of course looking for other summit possibilities to help break up the drive. Sitgreaves is a near-P2K found west of Flagstaff and north of I-40. I once again grabbed a GPX track off PB and used Google Maps to navigate to the start, and once again Google Maps came up short. At least this time it didn't cost me more than a few minutes' time as I quickly figured out where I needed to be and found the unsigned road to get me to the start. The hike up the north side of the mountain is less than a mile and a half with 1,600ft of gain. I didn't get to the informal TH until 6p, leaving me with less than an hour and a half until sunset and feeling a bit rushed. I was happy to find that the track simply follows up the rounded North Ridge through forest, pretty easy to follow with pink ribbons to boot (these are more helpful on the way down than the way up). It took me 50min to reach the summit with a benchmark and so-so views. I was back down the mountain in about half the time, treated to a very nice sunset just as I reached the jeep. I wasted little time in taking a shower and driving myself back out of the forest before it got too dark.

More driving. West of Flagstaff, Interstate 40 begins to make a steady descent, eventually dropping to near sea-level when it reaches the Colorado River at the CA border. I needed to find a place to sleep the night where it wouldn't be too warm, and was worried that I might have made a mistake by not sleeping at the base of Sitgreaves where it was 7,600ft. I eventually discovered near Kingman I could drive up into the Hualapai Mtns without a long detour, and slept quite comfortably at 6,900ft. And there were even some nearby summits I could climb in the morning...

Continued...


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For more information see these SummitPost pages: Mt. Taylor - Sitgreaves Mountain

This page last updated: Sat Sep 12 08:11:22 2020
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