Drove into Prescott, with sun, despite predicted 75% chance of thunderstorms, to pick up the stylin’ one. We headed down Walker Rd. and Big Bug Mesa to Five Corners, whence we started. It was the warmest 73° I can recall ever experiencing. Seriously unpleasant. My wife, Bernie, defended the fort against marauding cattle and squirrels while we climbed 900 ft. up FR 261, aka the Mount Union summit road, to Yankee Doodle Trail #284.
Clouds were already rolling in, thankfully moderating the apparent temp. Trail #284 was pleasantly shaded. After a couple hundred yards, we headed up a draw, towards a saddle, then traversed the highline to Moscow Peak itself — today’s main objective. Negotiating the highline was a stab-free breeze. The summit itself had fantastic views of Mount Tritle, Mount Davis & Mount Union, Big Bug Mesa and points south & west with which I am unfamiliar. Rain, thunder and lightning abounded in those surrounding areas, but we remained unmolested. Indeed, all we felt all day were a few sprinkles here and there. (Our garbage bag rain coats remained undeployed.)
We headed down the steeper and rockier, but still not bad, south slope of Moscow Peak to reconnect with Trail #284, which by that point is not so shadey anymore. There was more evidence of motorized traffic — including a KTM fairing — than foot traffic. We both slipped several times in the slippery, steep, deep v-shaped ruts.
Orofino Mine, just off the Senator Highway, was anti-climactic. (I checked that usage on the Grammarist. ). Just a few scraps of wood and metal: No shafts or adits, not even of the sealed-off variety. We headed north on FR 83, walking right past the Mastodon Mine. If there is anything there, it was not obvious enough to make us notice & stop.
When we reached the southern intersection of FR 83 and FR 9404, I was unsure which way to go. We ended up going left, towards the claim. Prescottstyle spotted a black bear baby calf cub up a tree. Sweet. Then he spotted mama. We basically diverted around the claim, which had several cabins. One had an open door, prompting me to make a Goldilocks joke. We soon rejoined FR 9404. Two OHVs passed us en route. (Bernie told us later Five Corners had seen quite a bit of motorized traffic.)
Dandrea Ranch was a pleasant area, but disappointing. We passed more baby calves — there’s always plenty of cattle in the area — before arriving back at Five Corners. I was bushed. (I had barely slept the previous two nights.) Beer consumption ensued. On the way back up Big Bug Mesa Rd., we accidentally cornered two baby calf fawns next to a bluff, which mom was on top of, but the baby calf fawns could not climb. After some photos, I eased my way past.
Back in Walker, we encountered a lost transvestite. (No, I am serious.) The guy driving looked a bit like Riff Raff. They were looking for Lynx Lake, and had gone left, skipping right past it. So, we had them follow us back up the road. Me & Janet … I mean Bernie … did not get home until after 8 p.m., by which time I was out on my feet. And you know what? I again barely slept a wink.
GPS File: Moscow_Peak_Loop
Distance: 11.00 mi.
AEG: 2,148 ft.
Time: 5h 46m