Pinal County High Point Trip Report

Date: November 13, 2000
Author: David Olson

We drove up through the construction on the Mt Lemmon Hwy. and parked at the Control Road turn-off. The first bit of Trail #1, the Oracle Ridge trail, on the road, was hard-packed and slick snow. Vehicles had driven it but under those conditions I would recommend 4WD and chains. The next 1 mile of trail had seen some traffic. The remainder of the foot trail had seen little traffic. Those parts of the trail that were also Jeep/ORV trail had seen some traffic.

One ought to be conscious of one's physical conditioning and limits. Just past Dan Saddle I concluded that I wasn't up for the whole trip. We stopped and discussed options, 1. turning back, or 2. going on and I would continue down the trail to Peppersauce CG while Bob went back to retrieve the camper and then drive the long way around to retrieve me. We decided on option 2.

Once we got to the north side of Rice Peak we floundered over to the vicinity of the HP, then floundered some more. We went fairly high, until we could see that we were much higher than the rock-knob that is the other HP area. Then we went down looking for the liner HP area. I was following close behind Bob and at one point, after I asked what we were looking for and he, stepping over some downed trees, answered, "A cairn, hidden in the trees", I commented "Like this one?". I moved some rocks and concluded "It's a cairn, but it doesn't look like our cairn". We hiked out to the rock knob, conglomerate, nice big rocks. We hiked back and resumed looking for the liner. We found another spot, a little glade, where we could see the rock knob, just a little below us. Bob climbed 10 ft up a nearby dead snag to try and orient himself. Finally in desperation he climbed higher up the slope to the "Like this one" cairn, moved just about all the rocks and yelled "Yahoo!". There was the register, dating all the way back to Doug Kasian. 40 minutes spent cairn hunting.

This cairn is on the west side of a 30 foot wide band of trees. There is an 8 foot wide open area west of it and a 30 foot wide by 150 foot long up-down open area east of it. At the spot are two downed trees, fallen with their tops pointing east, stripped clean of bark. We built up the cairn so that it is more than knee- high. The register is in the very bottom of it. Bob Packard recommends going to the rock knob first.

Back at the road Bob and I parted, 2:10 pm. Even up there the road had seen recent traffic. I saw a vehicle at 5600'. I saw a tree fallen across the road and an oil-pan-ripping spot of rocks on the road in the bottom of Peppersauce Canyon. I got down to Peppersauce CG at 4:35 pm, just minutes before sunset. Bob, on his hike, met a group of mountain bikers going to Oracle. He asked them to tell me his estimated time of arrival at Peppersauce. I never saw them. He got back to his camper at about 4:35 pm.