Sunday, October 14, 2012

Slapping Hand on Forehead

Short and sweet, my @$$!  Everything I've read about hiking Silly Mountain suggested that it was a quick and easy hike up to enjoy the view, and a quick and easy hike back down to the parking lot.  I've been waiting for my husband to get a few hours off from being the main person on call at his office so that we could go hiking.

Last night I researched the Internet to find out if there were any letterboxes or geocaches on Silly Mountain. There was one letterbox, but based on comments, the description of the location had changed quite a bit. A cactus that had been used as a marker had fallen and died and the old trial system had been shut down while a new plethora of trails had been created. I decided not to bother trying to find it. It seemed too complicated and I would have woken my husband if I printed out the lengthy list of clues. There were plenty of geocaches, so I wrote down all the names, coordinates and hints.

We started our hike and came to a fork in the road, trying to figure out which path to take in order to reach the first set of coordinates. A woman coming down laughed at us for having a GPS and said, "You know, you can just get a trail map in one of those tubes."

I can't stand it when people make assumptions and smugly judge other people as being ignorant. We weren't using the GPS so we could find our way back, but so we could find hidden treasures. But I can't tell other people on the trail that, because then they might start looking for such treasures and steal or destroy them. Geocachers call them "muggles", because they are passers by who don't know anything about geocaching, but if they see you digging up something interesting, they might sneak back to the spot after you leave and steal or stomp on the box of treats, ruining the fun for everyone.  The proper definition of a "muggle" is a common person who is ignorant and has no skills, so I think it is humorous that a muggle laughed at us for ignorantly using a GPS device when we could simply use a trail map.

We found the first two geocaches fairly easily, but once we started getting into the steeper parts of the mountain, there were switchbacks which threw off our ability to really know if we were going in the right direction. Plus there were so many different trails. I had checked the tube for a trail map, but it was empty, so we were never really sure where each trail would end up. Here's an Internet map of Silly Mountain, which I should have printed out before we left.

We went up the Palo Verde Trail to the Superstition View Trail to the Huff & Puff Trail.  Let's just say that you need to be a mountain goat to get up the Huff & Puff Trail without having your heart beating out of its chest. Then we took the Crest Trail to Sunset Saddle to High Point Trail to Silly Mountain Saddle.  When we reached the saddle of the mountain I took some pictures with my mobile phone. Here's the view looking at the Superstition Mountains...

Looking southeast...

The High Point Trail ahead that leads to the top of Silly Mountain...

My husband in an orange shirt at the High Point...

Then we took the Old Mine Trail to the Brittle Bush Trail back to the parking lot.  We forgot to look for the old mine.  I suspect it was fenced off for regeneration.  Going downhill on the Old Mine Trail was murder on my broken toe.  I had to step sideways so that my toe wouldn't jam into the toe of my shoe.  The trails were a lot rockier than I expected.  Way too much loose rock to try to ride a horse there, at least on the route we took.  I did see one pile of manure, though.

We stopped trying to find geocache coordinates after not being able to find the third stash.  Geocaches are most often hidden in a pile of rocks alongside hiking trails, but there were so many natural piles of rocks that we would have been there all day hunting for the thing.  Ironically, we came upon the spot that I recognized as being the location of the letterbox, but because I didn't print out the hints, I couldn't find it, which was okay since I didn't bring my letterboxing supplies with me anyway.

I grew up hiking in the Angeles Crest Mountains, and spent the past 25 years hiking the Eastern Sierra, so I'm used to dirt trails with gradual inclines that weave among pine trees in the shade.  I hiked them keeping my eyes peeled for mountain lions and bears.  I was always seeking out sunny meadows to warm up in.  It's very different here in Arizona.  Shade is hard to find and so is rock-free dirt.  Considering that rattlesnakes hide in rocks, it wasn't very comforting having to climb over so many of them.  Instead up looking up hillsides and in trees, I kept my eyes on the ground every step of the way.  Next time I'll try harder to sit down and enjoy the view.

12 comments:

Reddunappy said...

glad you got to get out and spend the day together.

That is rocky country!

Paint Girl said...

Yeah I would be a little worried about the rattlesnake part!! But sounds like you had a good time anyways!

Cindy D said...

Would it be wrong of me to ask you to explain what letterboxing is? My interest is peaked to say the least. (hopefully that does not classify me as a muggle)
I agree about not riding a horse up Silly Mountain. I don't think I would attempt it. We drove to the top once in a big bad 4WD and ended up busting off the front axle at the top. I would be leary about putting my horse through that.
Beautiful pictures!!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cindy D - No, it's not wrong. I've just been blogging about letterboxing for so long that I don't explain it anymore, unless someone asks. It's like geocaching, but instead of exchanging trinkets and signing a log in a hidden container found by GPS coordinates, it involves following written clues to a hidden container with a logbook and letterbox stamp. You should have your own logbook and letterbox stamp that is like your signature. Your stamp goes into the letterbox logbook and their stamp goes into your logbook. Many of these stamps are hand-carved. The website to find the locations of letterboxes and claim your finds is http://www.atlasquest.com/. More posts on my site about letterboxing are at http://nuzzlingmuzzles.blogspot.com/search/label/letterboxing.

Emmi said...

Hi there, I just found your blog. Can't wait to read more!

Cut-N-Jump said...

My brother freaked out the one guy at a local dealership. Took a truck out there and was going to test out its 4X4 capabilities. Needless to say him and the truck went up alone and the salesman waited below. Obviously this was before the fenced it off.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I also forgot to mention there is a nice trail that goes along in front of silly mountain heading south east towards Mountainbrook & Gold Canyon. I rode it many times with a good friend of mine.

Strawberry Lane said...

OMG ... I'm exhausted. With your great photos and description ... I feel like I've just taken that hike with you. Amazing, you are.

lilyrose said...

So glad you got to hike Silly Mountain. It's a nice spot...when the rattlers aren't out. :) My hubby rides down to Silly Mountain several timea a week and does ride one trail up it for conditioning his endurance horses. I'll have to ask which trail he uses...I think it's on the east side. He also sometimes rides down to Basha's in Gold Canyon.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

lilyrose - Holy cow! Your hubby is so cool! Does he park his horse at Basha's and bring some groceries home?

lilyrose said...

Lol He never brings home groceries. He and his horse would probably get run over trying to cross the street to get into the parking lot at that shopping center! Besides there isn't a tie-rail there. He just rides down to the road by the store and comes home. But there are places you can go with your horse! Filly's restaurant has tie-rails, also the Dash Inn off hwy 88. If you ride over to the Goldfield Ghost town- they have tie rails there by the Mammouth Saloon and other spots in town. If you need to go to the government building they have a place to park your horse too. :)

achieve1dream said...

They have tie rails in town for your horse?? So cool!!!

Looks like you guys took quite a hike! You'll be back in shape in no time. :D