Blackjack, and 21 types of wildflowers (almost)

Okaaaaaay….I guess this blog has been neglected long enough. I hope to eventually post some of the hikes I’ve been doing this year, but at least this one will be current.

The Cave Creek Road heads up north out of the Phoenix metro into an otherwise remote area of peaks in the Tonto National Forest.  The highpoint of the road is just over into Yavapai County near Blackjack Point, which is just over a mile high.  I hiked up Blackjack Point and a minor peak on the east side of the road just after sunrise.  Blackjack comes to a nice…point, but the route follows a gentle 4WD road that goes beyond the right-hand ridgeline to easier slopes:Blackjack Point

Looking west through south (right to left); the New River Mountains, Red Mountain, and New River Mesa:Red Mountain

The third peak was Cramm Mountain, just under 4000 feet elevation, and back a little ways towards Phoenix in Maricopa County.  I wasn’t sure whether the roads would be good enough for me to drive very close, but it turned out to be gated a mile by air from the summit, just visible right of center:Cramm Mountain TH

The summit views were nice, including down into the oasis of Cave Creek (flowing toward you and then off-frame to the right in this picture):Cave Creek

However, the main attraction was the remarkable variety of desert wildflowers, of which this is only a sampling:White wildflower

Orange wildflowers

Yellow wildflowers

Purple wildflower

Yellow prickly pear bloom

Prickly pear catcus in bloom

Total hiking stats (April 28th, 2014): 3 peaks, 7.3 miles, 1610 vertical feet


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