Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Conquering Picacho Peak!

Well, she did it again! You think she would know better, you think we would learn! But no, we are both boneheads when it comes to the TV remote.
For the second time we were rewarded by leaving Dakota unattended with a chewed up TV remote! This time I was just outside working on the Jeep while Barb ran to the store, I mean it was just a matter of minutes!
Remote #3 in the past few months
There is a bright side.... at least this time we did not have to run to Best Buy and spend $50. This time since we are stationary we found some on eBay for $8....actually two for $8 which means now that we will have an extra, we will never need it!
In our last blog I talked about how we had only gotten out on one mini hike here in Tucson. Well I am happy to report that we got out not only once, not only twice but three times! One of which was one of the toughest hikes we have ever been on!
Our first hike was the somewhat relaxed 3 mile Camero trail loop. This dog friendly hike winds through the Robles Trail System.

The terrain was mostly flat and open....

....with some of the cactus coming into bloom....

....with rabbits running through the brush....

....and an occasional bird on the Saguaro.

Some of the Saguaro were huge!
There are a couple of other trails in this park that we want to tackle in the coming weeks as well.

But our major feat for the week was conquering the infamous Picacho Peak! This trail has been on our bucket list for a couple of years when we first heard about it in John and Pam's blog. We are attracted to challenging hikes and this one certainly fit the bill!

Yup, that is our goal the very tip top of that peak!
With a total elevation gain of 1,880 feet  it is touted as one of the most challenging hikes in the area. It is not for the faint of heart, or for anyone with preexisting ankle or knee issues. I say preexisting because by the time you are done you will probably have one or both of those ailments by the time you get back to your car.

There are two trails to the peak, the Hunter Trail and the Sunset Trail. We chose the Hunter Trail. Although it is only 2 miles each way it is 2 miles of intense climbing. From the parking lot you hike a series of switch backs gaining just under 1,000 feet in elevation to the saddle.

The first of many cable guides

Just getting started with out goal in the background!
Once you get to the saddle you are greeted with three things; an incredible view, a bench for a rest and a descent of almost 300' feet. Wait, we climbed all the way up here just to descend then go up again?

View from the saddle on one side.......

.....and the other

Then we head back down!

only to go back up again

Working our way up the other side you start to encounter some steep cable climbs

Barb scaling one of the steeper sections
My turn!

There was a narrow section

Another steep section

and more narrow sections

After an hour and a half we found ourselves at the top! The views were incredible. You know you are high when you are looking down on the vultures and falcons soaring the cliffs below you.

Our truck is in the loop in the bottom center of the picture

This guy was living the high life
After a short break we headed back down.

Barb backing down one of the steeper sections
That is until you get to that 300' section we descended on our way in. Now we had to head up that stretch! For us this was the hardest section of the entire hike. You are hot, tired and this section is very steep almost straight up in a couple of spots.

Ugh, this section was killer!

Rest stop

An hour and 15 minutes later we found ourselves back at the truck sore and exhausted. All in all it was a great hike!

A couple of words of advice.... wear comfortable and good hiking boots. You will need the grip as there are many spots with loose gravel or slick rocks. Bring plenty of water, it was in the low 60's when we hiked, I would not want to do it much hotter. Gloves and hiking sticks are a definite bonus. Although we saw hikers without both of these items the gloves helped on the cables as well as gripping rocks climbing and the hiking sticks were beneficial when hiking the non-cable areas.

Our most entertaining moment of the week came in the form of “Retro Game Show” night at the Hotel Congress. This was Greg’s third time to this show and he invited us along with Guy and Susan and his friend George. The show was hosted by Tempest a giant transvestite and three “celebrities”; Dame Judith Stank, The Masked Menace and Ms. Eva Singleton. They then selected contestants from the audience for a 3 round game of Match Game or as they called it Mismatch Game. During the game Tempest absolutely ridiculed the contestants based on their gender, nationality, home state, you name it. It was probably the most politically incorrect show we have ever been to and laughed throughout the entire store. At one point, Tempest looked out in the audience and keyed two “gorgeous” men in the 4th row. It soon became evident that she was talking to Greg and I who were sitting next to each other! She asked if we were together and as thoroughly disappointed when she found that we were not together but were indeed married!
Tempest is one big "woman"!

Judith Stench, The Masked Menace and Eva Singleton

Our most disgusting moments of the week occurred when we toured the Children's Museum in Tucson. Being somewhat of a germaphobe I could not help but think about all the bacteria floating around this place as we walked from room to room. Certainly some of the exhibits did not help the grossness factor!

Really? Are these graphic exhibits really necessary?

The ear cam with hair and all

The many faces of Lily!
One of the exhibits was a slowmotion camera set up where you jumped as high as you can while the camera captured you. Lily and I challenged Forrest to a jump off....... Forrest claims his boots were weighing him down.

Lily out jumped him!

And so did the old man!
In other news we managed to use 1/3rd  of our total gig allowance in one day! How is it possible to use 6 gigs in one day? As far as we know we were not even doing anything significant when a text comes across our phone stating that we only have 10% of our data left in our billing cycle. Less than 2 gigs and over 10 days left? Yikes! Luckily Forrest and Somer have an unlimited plan and allowed us to steal their wifi to get us through.


  1. Good info on Picacho....Been thinking about tackling it, but might wait another year. Bummed to have missed the Retro Game show....and have to concur with you about the Children's museum!!

    1. Make sure you watch the weather and pick a cooler day. It was 66 when we did it and would not wanted it any hotter!

  2. That hike sounds pretty good. We did a difficult hike in Grand Junction Colorado. Mount Garfield. Your taste in entertainment is changing, Big Boy.

    1. We may be heading up Grand Junction way next month and will have to check out Mt. Garfield.

  3. Great post, both funny and exciting! Think Mom would freak out on this hike!

    1. That hike is certainly not for everyone but we did not think it was as scary at Angel's Landing in Zion.

  4. Oh, boy, did this post bring back memories! Congrats on accomplishing this unusual hiking adventure. We totally agree that climbing that incredibly steep 300 ft section before heading down the Hunter Trail was the worst. You got to miss the two straight up the side cables that we tackled first coming from the back.

    1. I only made it 1/2 way up the first cable on the backside as I was still sick and solo. Do you recommend up the front and return via the backside? We still hope for a redo next month if we can get to AZ before it's too hot.

    2. I cannot comments as we only did the one side. John and Pam did both sides, check out their blog post it has some great information as well.

    3. We talked about going up on side and down the other but not knowing what shape we would be in when we were done we did not want to walk the extra mile back to the truck.

  5. Wow....the photos of the trail themselves make my knees and ankles hurt. Good job !

    1. Two days later Barb is still feeling it in her legs. Glad we did it!

  6. That hike sure has some incredible views but what a workout! That Retro Game Show looks like fun too.

  7. Very cool Hike and pix!

  8. Congrats on the hike! It's on my bucket list to finish it, I was sick last time. We also missed the game show! I can see how Tempest was disappointed, you two do make a cute couple! HA!

    1. You can definitely do it, even solo. There looks like there is usually plenty of other around if you need any help.

      It looks like they do that game show at that venue once a month so if you time it right you can go see it!

  9. Congratulations, you did it!
    This hike has remained our most challenging of all hikes we did in five years. We started at the Sunset Trail and end up at the Hunter Trail. It became a ten mile hike because we have to hike back to our car at the Sunset Trailhead. Whew!

    1. It certainly was a challenging hike, it was in the upper 60's and would not want to do it when it is any warmer!

  10. The hike to the top of Picacho Peak looked fun. The view from up there is amazing. So many things left to do out here and that is surely one of them. Thanks for taking so many wonderful pictures of your hike. Now I know what I'm in for.

    1. This was our #1 thing to do while we were in the area and glad we got out to do it. If you go, try to do it on a weekday as I am guessing the weekends could get a little crazy. There were a few cable climbs that we had to wait for others to climb up and down before our turn.

  11. Congrats on the peak climbing. After looking at the pics uh nope. Greg keeps going back and seeing that show...hmm maybe he likes all the attention 😜 That must have cracked Barb up when you got singled out lol. Wish I could have seen the look on your face.

    1. It is a great show that we would go to again if it is playing when we are in the area. They switch up the games so it is fresh each time you go.