Sunday, June 13, 2010

A little deeper into the Goldfield Mountains

I pushed a little deeper into the Goldfield Mountains yesterday. I walked down the wash I had been in a couple of weeks ago and then a little further. I thought the first part of the hike would be quicker this time, since I had already taken pictures there. I should know by now that that doesn't help much. There's always something different or something that I didn't see before that I have to get pictures of.

There were puffy little clouds today. I think that makes for more interesting pictures.

Here's something I hadn't seen here before. It looks like a metate.

As I walked through sandy parts of the wash, I saw what seemed to be too many footprints to be mine from my last hike there. There were new tire tracks from a 4wd vehicle, and it looked like maybe 2 people had continued on foot from where the vehicle had to stop. The footprints didn't go any further than I had last time I was out there, though. That was nice.

Since I wanted to go further than I did last time, I had to resist the siren call of the hills and mountains around me. If I started climbing things, I'd be too tired to go on. Walking in the wash was tiring enough. The solid rock stretches are very uneven, the bouldery stretches are rough on the ankles, and the sandy stretches drain your energy. I got out of the wash whenever the terrain allowed it.

Even "smooth" parts of the wash are tiring.

I hurried past the rock wall so I wouldn't succumb to its temptation. After all, there are places up there I haven't explored yet.

This chipmunk chirped and flicked his tail at me for a while.

It was a strange feeling when I got beyond where I had been before. As I looked around, I couldn't see anything that looked familiar. Also, the only sign of people was a can and a piece of plastic that had been brought down the wash by flowing water. No cigarette butts. No shotgun shells. No discarded underwear. Not even a golf ball. It seemed that the birds sounded different, and I imagined that they were looking at me and saying, "What the heck is that?" It was a wonderful feeling.

Mountains I've never seen before.

The mountains were pretty, with lots of jagged rock. The lighting wasn't very good for pictures, though. A large cloud was blocking the sun. It was only in the upper 80's (which is why I went way out there) and there was a good breeze, and it felt really great to have a cloud between me and the sun. I hadn't had to hide behind a saguaro to escape the sun for at least a mile.

With all this new scenery around me, a little voice in my head was saying that I shouldn't go further, lest I get lost. I decided it was a wise little voice and that I would climb something to look around, then head back. On the way up I had the feeling that I should see Four Peaks to my right and when I got high enough, I did. At least I wasn't turned around, though knowing which way is which out here won't necessarily help you get where you want to be.

While looking at a map earlier in the day, I thought I might go all the way out to that light colored rock. It turned out to be a little further than I wanted to go, though.

It was so pretty and so isolated out there, I hated to leave. I hung around so long I knew it would be dark before I got back to the truck. Well, I had a feeling it might be dark before I got back to the truck before I even left the house.

Looking back at where I'd been.

I'll be back out there when it's cool enough to walk that far. I already have an idea of the new areas I'm going to explore. I've got to see if I can figure out a way to avoid walking in washes, though. I only walked 4.5 miles, but my knees and ankles ache from the boulders and rough rock and my thighs are worn out. I might need to take a tent and spend a few days out there. Click below to see all of the pictures.


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