Day Trip: Hiking The Mesa

I always forget how much I love day-long adventures until I have one. So far in 2013, I’ve had TWO: fishing on New Years Day and hiking this past Saturday. Saturday was one of those “adventures” that is only loosely planned.

Ben had noticed a seep marked on the wicked-cool Arizona Recreation Atlas I had given him for Christmas. It’s not that far from his house so we decided to hike up to it and have a poke around. We also grabbed the metal detectors to see if we could find anything fun.

There are some enormous mesas just north of Chino Valley. Since OCTOBER we’d been trying to successfully get to the top of one. Trust me, none of the photos do the size and steepness justice!

I knew that the day was going to be fantastic when it started out by coming around a bend in the road and finding an entire herd of antelope!

From there, we parked and began climbing the hill. I was testing out a couple of new products: Merino wool base layer (thermal underwear), an amazing new hiking stick, and a new mini-backpack from REI. I’ll get the reviews up in the coming weeks.

I don’t have a lot of pictures of the day simply because MOST of our adventure was spent hiking to the top of the mesa. And while my camera takes AMAZING photos, it’s not pocket sized!

The seep was really neat. I’ve never seen cattails growing basically out of the side of a mountain. There was about 8 inches of water in the bottom of the tunnel so there was no exploring; the high was maybe about fifty degrees!

You can see the cattails growing in the seep’s water. Ben is standing at the mouth of the mine, in a hole. See the huge prickly pear cactus growing behind the seep?

We then scaled the entire mesa to the very top. Along the way, I saw a 6-foot long snake skin, prickly pear cacti with pads at least twelve inches across, a galvanized steel pipe sticking straight up out of a rock outcropping, climbed some nasty cliffs, found pottery shards from the 1970’s, and enjoyed the most amazing views of the valley spread out below us.

Amazing views spread out below. This is only about 1/3 of the way to the top!

I’d love to go back and do some more exploring; maybe with a pocket-friendly camera! But, based on the size of that snake skin, I’ll ONLY be doing it during the cold months!

Oh, and the metal detecting? I found a 30-30 rifle cartridge, a bit of wire, and an old Coke can. Hauled it all off the mountain too!

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One Response to “Day Trip: Hiking The Mesa”

  • Heidi M. Thomas
    Twitter: Heidiwriter
    :

    Hi Kim,
    I just recently moved to Chino Valley and I enjoyed this post about the hike. I’ve been discovering various places to walk and hike and am LOVING this area! I am also an author and saw your book at Kathi’s Books. I’m doing a signing/reading during her Tuesday Tea on June 11.

    I’d love to get together and talk writing sometime. I’m also looking to start a critique group here.

    Thanks!

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