Harcuvar Mountains Wilderness Backpack, Arizona - March 2009
Day 1

Added 7 May 2010

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Saturday, February 13, 2010, Harcuvar Mountains Wilderness, Arizona

A little background . . . I wanted to go backpacking, but couldn't decide where, so I threw the proverbial dart at a map and it landed on the Harcuvar Mountains. (I actually clicked my mouse in GoogleEarth with my eyes closed.) There are a couple of old roads in the Harcuvar range, but no trails to speak of, and we didn't even really find any game trails. They're that remote! Remote and rugged, as we soon found out.

Jerry picked me up at 6:30 this morning for our backpacking trip in the Harcuvar Mountain Wilderness.  It was noon by the time we started hiking, which was quite a bit behind schedule.  As a result, we ended up ascending to our planned camp along the ridgeline before the drainage I had planned on ascending.  This shortened the trip by a mile or more.  It also likely made the ascent much more enjoyable.  As we looked down into the drainage that I had planned on hiking up, it looked highly boulder and brush choked.  It would likely have been a long slog going up the drainage.  Jerry is a big ridge walker and peak bagger, while I prefer canyons and drainages, but this time, I had to give the points to Jerry.  Of course, his route would have been tougher than it was had it not rained quite a bit before our arrival.  The soft ground gave us traction on terrain that otherwise would have been like walking on a ramp coated with marbles.

An old water tank where Jerry and I started our backpacking trip.. Jerry gearing up for our backpacking trip in the Harcuvar Mountains Wilderness Area. Hiking along the base of the Harcuvar Mountains..

Jerry hiking along the base of the Harcuvar Mountains.. A crazy old ocotillo in the Harcuvar Mountains. Looking up into the Harcuvar Mountains.

Jerry at our snack break location in the Harcuvar Mountains. Jerry starting the steep climb up into the Harcuvar Mountains. The beginning of some expansive views from the Harcuvar Mountains.

A cool hedgehog type cactus. Our goal for the day was somewhere up that mountain. Looking up into the Harcuvar Mountains.

A deer shed near a dead agave.. Jerry Curless:  Man of Steel . . .  and Many Things Attached to Backpack. The ridgeline we hiked up to get to our camp..

Jerry taking a break from the climb. Looking back on the ridgeline we'd ascended. Jerry traversing a peak..

A nice little agave clings to the Harcuvar Mountains.. A cool metamorphic rock.. Jerry steadily climbing.

Looking out across the Harcuvar Mountains. We both noted at the end of the day that we didn’t see any mammals all day, just birds and lizards, and every single one of them was extremely skittish.  We only got fleeting glimpses of the lizards as they scurried under rocks, and the birds wouldn’t get within 200 feet of us.  Looking northwest from the ridge that we hiked up.It was somewhat odd.  Since there’s no way they see enough people to associate humans as being a threat, we could only figure that they were wary because they didn’t know what to make of humans at all and so erred on the side of caution.

We found a great little saddle to camp in, and we picked spots on the southeast side of it to provide shelter from the wind coming out of the north.  We had only hiked about 3.4 miles, but we climbed over 1500 feet.  The temperature dropped pretty quickly once the sun went down, but it never got really cold.  After dinner, Jerry laid down and I stood around while we talked and watched the night sky.  Jerry making sure his sleeping bag doesn't wander off.. We saw 12 satellites cruise overhead, more than I’ve ever seen in one night.  I was unusually talkative for some reason, but it was still fairly early in the evening when I shut up and let Jerry go to sleep.  I laid down and searched for constellations with my star chart and generally just enjoyed a sky full of stars.  I then wrote a little bit before deciding to get some sleep.

A Valentine's Day prickly pear cactus.  This made me think of Shan, so I had to take a picture of it.. Just one of the neat scenes we encountered on the way up. Even though the top 12 feet or so of this saguaro got sheered off, it has the 'can do' attitude that is de rigeur in the Harcuvars.  It's alive and kicking, and even sending out an arm!.

I tried to get to that ledge out there, but there was too much exposure for comfort. The view northwest from the saddle that we camped at.  Jerry's truck can be seen at the end of the road near the center of the photo.. We could see Jerry's truck from our camp at the saddle.

Jerry at our camp the first evening.. A view from near our camp. A view from near our camp.

A view from near our camp. The

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