PLEASE READ ENTIRE WRITE UP BEFORE RSVP'ing, very important information lies ahead.
New Year's Eve is on a Tuesday this year. Some folks may have to work, some may not. Hopefully you can join us on a really cool Summit Hike.
Let's send off 2013 with conquering the 3rd highest mountain range that surrounds Phoenix. A West Valley Hike.
We are going to Summit the highest Point in the Western Valley of Phoenix. Sitting at 4,083 ft in elevation, this Strenuous rated hike will give you a climb of 2,587 ft and prove to be about a 15 - 16 mile Super Loop Hike. This Peak is officially the highest point in the White Tank Mountain Range. This is one of the 23 Summits on my self described Phoenix Summiteer list.
This Hike will start and end at the same parking area. The Wildlife Way Parking Lot, which sits at the corner of White Tank Mountain Rd and Wildlife Way. It is a main staging area for several trails, including the one we start our journey on, Mesquite Canyon Trail. I have the hiking coordinates above set for the public library just outside the gate because the actual trail head cannot be found on Google Map. There is a fee to enter the Park. $5.00 or $7.00 or something like that. You can meet someone in the library parking pot and carpool into Trailhead parking lot to save a few bucks if you would like.
So we will hike in via Mesquite Canyon Trail and use the newly added Mesquite Canyon Trail Section that was just added in 2008. We will take this to Goat Camp (4 miles), hang a left on Goat Camp and follow for about 1.5 miles where we will leave main trail and do some boulder hopping and bushwhacking for about a 1/2 mile before we meet up with the Tower Rd, where we make a right and we start our final approach to the Summit over the next 1.3 miles. This section is what the locals refer to as the Death March. The "Death March" is a popular name for many hard hikes, such as The Ridgeline in the Supes. I heard this hike is similar to Thompson Peak in this regard as for the Approach to the Summit.
Once we Summit Barry Goldwater Peak at 4,083 ft, there is a registry for our names to go into. We will then leave the Peak the same way we came up, only for a little bit. We are going to take a different Trail back. You will have Summited the highest Peak in all of West Phoenix. The Estrella Mountains to the South only rise a few hundred feet higher, and the Supes are at 5,057. All inner city hikes are lower than this including Elephant Mountain. Only the Supes and the Estrellas are higher. So this is the 3rd highest range surrounding Phoenix and certainly worthy of making the Phoenix Summiteer List.
The return route will be to bring Ford Canyon back in. Ford Canyon, by far, is the best trail in the park and one of the best trails you can hike on in the Phoenix area. Locals, to the West Valley, call favorite to this trail. It is a beautiful experience. Seriously, if you live here in Phoenix, and have never done Ford Canyon, then you are certainly missing out.
This hike will incorporate over 4,000 ft in accumulated gain, 14 miles, small portion of off-trail boulder hopping, hard push to the Summit with about 1,100 ft in 1.25 miles, incredible views from the Summit, and a return loop hike through the Awesome Ford Canyon visiting the abandoned Dam. FYI, the last time we were here, there was a little snow on the ground.
I understand people will have plans for New Years Even dinners or night out type of thing. I plan on being done with this hike early. 12:30pm - 1:00pm I think is a realistic time for finishing. If you really take your time, you should still be done by 2:30pm.
Not planning on food as of now because it will be a late lunch at best case scenario, so just being realistic, plan on eating lunch on the trail. Pack hearty. I will not be stopping for food on the way back, but would like to eat hearty on the trail.
Strenuous hike so pack at least 4 liters of water. Bring food. Plan on lunch on the Trail.
I do not cancel a hike for inclement weather, nor because of a forecast for potential inclement weather, nor for windy weather, nor because it's too cold, nor because it looks like a storm is coming in, nor because it looks messy.