Guadalupe Mountain & Path BM • Plomosa Mountains
• La Paz County


Guadalupe Mountain sits in the middle directly ahead. Black Mesa is to the left, Bear Ridge is to the right
 

The peak now seen along Interstate-10 at Plomosa Pass
 

As seen from Gold Nugget Road. Black Mesa is in the far background
 

The summit towers
 

The actual highpoint is ahead
 

Black Mesa to the left, Dripping Springs Peak to the right
 

Looking back at the towers
 

View down to the Gold Nugget Mine
 

View across the interstate at Peak 2800
 

Montage: another highway image, towers, a view down the access road with some traffic on the highway, and Path benchmark
 

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Date: December 18, 2016 • Elevation: 2,520 feet • Prominence: 800 feet • Distance: 2 miles • Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes • Gain: 840 feet • Conditions: Clear and chilly, highs in the low 50s

Last week, Matthias and I were here, hiking to Black Mesa. Guadalupe Mountain lies on the way and I had suggested we hike it if we had time and the energy after our Black Mesa hike. But we didn't hike this peak. I still wanted to hike it, so I came back a week later.

I left home a little before 9 a.m., and a little over two hours later, exited Interstate-10 at Gold Nugget Road, following the road a couple miles east to where the service road leaves for the top. The drive covered 140 miles. We had a storm a couple days ago, and today was clear but cold, with highs in the low 50s and a persistent breeze.

I packed light and was walking up the service road at 11 sharp. I simply followed the steep road to the top, a one-mile walk with 840 feet of elevation gain. The road is graded dirt and steep, but with a smooth tread. Higher up, it is paved over in rough concrete. Although not the steepest mountain road I have walked, some of the grades seemed to be about 25%, perhaps 30%.

On top are towers. You can see this mountain and its towers from Interstate-10, and I have driven by this peak many times over the years. Looking down, I could watch the cars and trucks whiz by on the interstate. Looking south, I could make out Black Mesa, last week's objective, plus most of our walking route. I could also see Gold Nugget Mine, which didn't look like much from up here. To the north was the rest of the Plomosa Mountains, with Peak 2800 across the highway.

The breeze was chilling, so I didn't stay long on top. I hiked slowly down the steep road, mindful of slipping on the gravel, which I did a couple times anyway. One slip caused me to tweak my back ever so slightly. About 300 feet down, I took a side trip to visit and tag "Path" benchmark, set in the basalt rocks about 50 feet off the road. This nubbin has minimal prominence, 10 feet at most.

Lower down, still a few switchbacks above my car, I saw a Jeep coming up the road, so I stood aside as it passed. It was a family, I am assuming. I assumed it would be tower workers, but evidently it was a family out for a Sunday drive. The Jeep seemed to have no trouble with the road. Within minutes, I was back to my car, a 65-minute round trip hike.

I took time to change into "driving" clothes and to inspect the area. Part of my excuse for driving 140 miles to hike two miles was to scout other peaks out this way for future hikes. Peak 2800 across the highway looks interesting and I wanted to study its lines and ways to get to it. Soon, I had exited and was back on the interstate.

I headed west a few more miles into Quartzsite, looking over Granite Mountain, the rocky peak that lies within the town limits, just south of the Super-8 Motel off the freeway. I didn't hike it, but saw some promising routes and sensed the surrounding area was publically accessible.

Now I was heading east again, back for home. Instead of taking Interstate-10 all the way in, I followed US-60 through the oddball towns of Brenda, Harcuvar, Salome and Wenden. I was looking at other hills to hike later on, but also enjoying the drive, the scenery and lack of traffic and big trucks.

I stayed on US-60 through Aguila and Wickenburg. My back was really uncomfortable from that minor tweak I gave it on the hike, so I stopped for awhile in Wickenburg just to stand around and walk, which helped. I also took some Advil, which also helped.

Normally, I would get onto state route AZ-74 which cuts across Lake Pleasant to Interstate-17, but it was a Sunday and there'd be a lot of people pulling boats. So I stayed on US-60 all the way into the western suburbs, dealing with moderate traffic as I passed through Surprise, El Mirage and my next "highpoint" of the afternoon...


US-60 & 111th Ave.
• Highpoint: City of Youngtown

Elevation: 1,150 feet • Distance: none • Time: 30 minutes • Gain: none • Food: Two tacos and fries from the value menu, plus a coke

I was aware that the highest point in the city of Youngtown is at the corner of US-60 (called Grand Avenue here) and 111th Avenue. However, I had absolutely zero motivation to drive all this way just to visit it. On the other hand, If I was in the area, then yes, I would pull aside to "claim" it for my records.

My achy back was just the excuse I needed to stop for awhile, and as luck would have it, a Jack in the Box sits at this very corner. So I pulled in, and noticed that a couple large rocks near the sidewalk were highest, so feeling like a complete idiot, I walked to these rocks and tagged them.

To celebrate, I went into the restaurant, which wasn't busy at all, and had a couple items off its value menu. The cost came to exactly $5. I like it when that happens. I stayed here about 30 minutes, which did help my back a lot.

Youngtown should not exist at all. It's just a square mile in area, straddling the Agua Fria River. The city is "age restricted", so young-uns like me can't live there. The wisdom of incorporating just a single square mile is beyond me. I am not sure where its tax base lies. This Jack in the Box may be it. There are a couple motels along the road here too. The city's website even discusses the option of giving up its city status, disincorporating down the line.

From here, I followed AZ-101 home to Scottsdale, arriving home a little before 4 p.m.. It had been a fruitful afternoon.

(c) 2016 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.