Saturday, February 15, 2014

Juniper Peak (6 of Diamonds) - February 15, 2014

Yeah!  Here's to staying less than one month behind!!  It is really hard to stay up to date on these hiking summaries when I'm hiking both weekend days and working all week days.  But, I really wouldn't have it any other way.

Anyway, way back on February 15, 2014, a merry band of hikers (a large band that is...more like a symphony orchestra) set out for Juniper Peak to celebrate one of our own reaching each of the 52 peaks in the 52 peak club.  I'd hiked with this gal several times and she is also the aunt of one of my co-workers, so I was not going to miss out on this!  (Plus, I hadn't yet been to Juniper Peak)
Juniper is a fun peak that I would recommend even to people that haven't done a ton of hiking, but are in decent physical shape.  The hike is 6 miles round trip and involves a little over 2100 feet of elevation increase.  The hike begins at either Pine Creek Trailhead or Oak Creek Trailhead and heads back into a canyon that is just to the right/north of rainbow mountain.  As you head back into this canyon, Juniper Peak is the peak that forms the north wall of this canyon.  After hiking along a trail and a wash, you eventually arrive at a creamy, sandstone slab.  It is steep, and it is quite long.
You gain quite a bit of elevation here and you gain it quickly.  Once up the slab, we had some fun scrambling and then started heading up the red sandstone ramp to the peak.
The only part of this hike that I didn't really care for was the final ascent portion up this loose gully.  I hate the feeling that each rock on which you put your weight might move under you and slide down the hill, taking you down and, possibly, anyone behind you. 
in reality, I mostly didn't care for descending the loose gully
Because this was Cory's 52nd peak, this was a BIG group of hikers (actually, it was about four, medium-sized groups of hikers) and a BIG celebration.  
via Gonsalves Photography
This is probably one of my favorite group pictures from all of the hikes I'd done up to this point.  I love the variety of colors and the excitement of everyone on the summit.  

Adam and I were very excited to get back to the trailhead and get home because we needed to pack for a pretty exciting trip to Flagstaff, AZ and the Grand Canyon!! (more on that soon =))

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