We were thinking this would be a kind of remote, lonely little hike, but we failed to consider several things. We see the first as we approach: this peak looks really dramatic, with cliffs on three sides, some overhanging. Second, it’s right by Interstate 10. And last, Picacho State Park is scheduled to be closed on June 3, so people are getting this classic hike in while they can. After spending the night in the park, it seems exceptionally well cared for. It will be sad if the fine facilities fall to ruin, in addition to the great loss of access to public lands.
So in the morning we join the throngs headed for the challenging Hunter Trail to the summit. This trail features steep climbs and descents on rock protected by cable hand lines. We’re impressed with how well people handle the exposure, though there are still long waits at bottlenecks. At one point a people hurry past a giant swarm of bees buzzing near a Palos Verde.
We have a snack in the crowd on the summit, then break off as soon as possible on the longer and less traveled Sunset Vista trail to return. Here we can enjoy the desert quiet once more, as well a vivid blooming Hedgehog cactus.
In the evening we drive to a truly remote spot near Vekol Wash along I-8 for a peaceful night of boondocking.