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Mt. Ord Day Hike
Mazatzal Mountains
May 11, 2019
by Tom Simonick
Trailblazers ready to start climbing. [photo by Tom]
Carolyn, Li, Vicki, Ellen, Heather

A hike up and down Mt. Ord tests a hiker’s conditioning, provides good training for a Grand Canyon hike, and has some really nice views. Five members and one guest started hiking around 0630 on a cool day with the possibility of a thunder shower in the late morning. We followed a jeep “road” that is more like a wide trail for the first five miles.

Ellen climbs relentlessly. [photo by Li]
Are you sure this is on the up and up? [photo by Li]

As you climb, the noise from Highway 87 slowly recedes and we see flowering bushes, especially pretty are the manzanitas.

Manzanita. [photo by Vicki]
Flowers cheer us. [photo by Vicki]

We are climbing at our own pace and spread out at different times during the 3800-foot climb. There is no way to get lost, because your only option is to hike up or down. We pass another small group of hikers that started at the top and are hiking down, and then will turn around and hike up. They are also training for a Grand Canyon hike.

Around 5.2 miles and over two hours into the hike we reach the junction of with FR 626, which is a graded road in good condition that leads near the summit. That is how the other group was able to drive to the top and then start hiking down. At the junction we take a short break and regroup. One of us is having a knee problem and starts heading back down. The rest of us continue up the road, which is now much less steep, until we pass a heavy gate that prohibits any vehicular traffic. We continue climbing for another half mile until we stand on the large summit that is covered with antennas.

Mt. Ord is topped with communication towers. [photo by Vicki]
Roosevelt Lake from the mountain top. [photo by Li]
Clouds blow in. [photo by Vicki]

We get some photos and have lunch, but we don’t stay long as a moderately dark cloud has formed above the summit. At least we are not being blown off the mountain like we were last year.

Carolyn, Ellen, Li, Vicki. [photo by Tom]
Tom, Carolyn, Li, Vicki. [photo by Ellen]

The hike down can be hard on the knees, but the views are a good distraction, as is the company. The cumulus clouds cast shadows across the surrounding mountains and hills, and the cloud over the mountain has only produced a few drops. The afternoon is warming up.

It’s all downhill from here. [photo by Li]
Li is walking in the clouds. [photo by Tom]

The other group passes us going up and I’m happy that we did the hard work when the temperature was cooler. We catch up with our friend and talk our way down the mountain until we are back at the cars.

We finally caught up with Heather. [photo by Li]
Wildflowers cheer us along the way. [photo by Li]

According to my GPS we hiked 15.9 miles in 6 hours 24 minutes, with an elevation gain of 4000 feet.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated May 18, 2019