Cow Hill • White Mountains
• Springerville Volcanic Field
• Southern Apache County


Peak 9913
 

Lower road through the forest
 

Road starts to break into the open and get steeper
 

The steepest part where the road leaves the trees and enters onto the upper ridge
 

And the summit isn't that far away
 

Stick Scott at the top
 

Looking south toward Mount Baldy
 

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Date: August 16, 2014 • Elevation: 9,913 feet • Prominence: 443 feet • Distance: 3 miles • Time: 1 hour • Gain: 620 feet • Conditions: Sunny, humid

I was visiting a few bumps atop the Springerville Volcanic Field, having hiked Peak 9947 moments ago. Next on the agenda was Peak 9913, also called Cow Hill for some reason (presence of cows?). It was not a long drive to get here.

I exited from FR-117 to highway AZ-260, then west a mile or two to FR-117G. This road is paved for a short segment as it leads to a maintenance storage yard hidden in the trees. Afterwards, it is dirt, and a little bumpier and rougher than the other roads I had been on. I followed the main road north, then hard-left west, then a 90-degree right turn going north again, a total of about a mile and a half from the highway.

After this second turn, the road had some bad erosion with exposed underlying rocks, no doubt "enhanced" by the recent rains. I was able to inch north about a quarter-mile, but decided to park in the first pullout I came to. My parking spot was in a tree-hidden camping area, bit no one was around today, presumably because of the nasty roads. I had the area to myself.

The map shows that Road 117G goes north, then "ending" on Peak 9913's northeast slopes. I planned to walk north, then leave the road and go cross-country through the trees and the open slopes, figuring there would be no problems given how open these hills generally are.

I walked north, bypassing large puddles and big mud slicks along the way. I came to a gate and passed through it, and in a matter of minutes, had arrived to where I had figured I would abandon the road for the slopes. However, the forest here was very thick, so I decided to keep to the road and see where it took me.

The road was easy to navigate, despite there being a number of small dead-ends jutting off of it. At a Y-junction, a right led down into a meadow, so I stayed left. Here, the road steepened and started to bend more west than the map indicated. I sensed quickly that the map was inaccurate from this point onward.

The "good news" was that the road kept a fairly consistent and slightly-steep uphill grade, so I knew I was going up, if not knowing exactly where to. The trees stayed thick the whole way. Finally, the road zigged left into a small open meadow, and I could see the bare ridgeline above me, which was a welcome sight. Then the road zagged right, made a couple more sharp turns, then finally emerged from the forest completely and up an open slope, the road being extremely steep for this short segment.

I had not expected the road to go to the top, so this was a welcome surprise. I huffed and puffed up that steep section, then when the road moderated, I could see the top not too far away, the last couple hundred feet of hiking very easy and tame by comparison. I arrived to the top after about 30 minutes from leaving my truck, took a few images, inspected some small concrete and corrugated metal water tanks, then started back down.

I took some time on the hike down to shoot more photos, with excellent views of the myriad of small knolls below me and giant Mount Baldy to the south. The skies were mostly clear, buit a few high clouds and some puffier coulds were building, but nothing was organizing into thunderstorms for the time being.

I was back to my truck, a round trip time of about an hour. From here, I drove back to the paved roads and south toward Boardshack Knoll.

(c) 2014 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.