Mustang Mountains Highpoint

It wasn’t long after moving to Arizona that the Mustang Mountains drew me in. Someday, I knew, my feet would wander their curves and folds and stand upon their high perspective, looking out over a new view of the Chihuahuan Desert. And it finally did. Since I love highpointing so much we decided to climb the unnnamed highpoint of the Mustang Mountains (6,469 feet). But someday we’ll be back for Mt Bruce and Mustang Peak too. 

DIRECTIONS: We headed south down highway 83, turning left (east) onto highway 82 at Sonoita. After 8.5 miles we turned right (south) onto Upper Elgin Rd. After ~2.6 miles we turned left, through a gate, and onto an unnamed dirt ranch road. We took this road, passing through a couple more gates, to its end. From the parking area, Mustang Peak sat to the north, and the unnamed highpoint (6,469 feet) of the Mustang Mountains sat to the east and a little south. 

HIKE: We headed east from the parking area, following what looked like an old road for a short while, and then picked a line up the slopes to the summit. The hike is all cross-country, with grass and short catclaws (not as bad as it sounds). The final push to the summit ridge is a steep and rugged, slightly loose, 3rd class rocky scramble. From there it’s an easy walk along the ridge, through the trees, to the highpoint. The summit offers 360 views. You can see the Huachuca mountains, the Santa Ritas, Whetstones, and many others I haven’t yet learned the names of. 

The quest to climb little bumps and giants in the sky always feels like a journey home, perhaps because it is often a journey inward, one of letting go, and embracing my connection to the land, the sky, and all that surrounds a place: the mountain, like a castle in the sky.

Almost to the parking area. Mustang Peak on the left. The unnamed highpoint is the rounded peak on the right.

Mustang Mountains Highpoint, 6,469 feet.

There’s no trail, but the vegetation isn’t too thick.

Itty bitty cactus.

Neon heading up the slopes, about a mile after the parking area.

Looking southeast from the summit.

Neon descending the 3rd class scramble from the summit ridge.

Descending the rocky 3rd class scramble from the summit ridge.

Review of my Luna Leadville Trail Sandals:
This hike, rugged as it was, was also my first backcountry, off trail, hike in Luna Sandals. I was a little worried if their minimalist design could hold up to the Arizona backcountry where there wasn’t even a trail. But I quickly gained confidence in my new footwear as I hiked cross-country through the grass and over catclaw bushes in this rocky landscape. I felt surefooted and close to the earth, but also protected from the rough terrain. Their next test was the 3rd class scramble to the summit ridge. It was steep and rocky with a lot of loose soil. I did have to stop and tighten the heel straps to keep my feet from sliding too far back in the sandal, but after that I had no problems. I was impressed with how agile my feet were on the loose rocks. The last test was the descent, wondering if my foot would slide forward and pull the strap too hard between my toes. But it didn’t. The ankle straps kept my feet from sliding too far forward. At one point, I stopped to watch how my toes spread out for greater control as I descended down the rocks. This made remember why I hated shoes as a child, because everything is just better barefoot, or as close to barefoot as possible. And these sandals definitely offer the foot a barefoot freedom with just enough protection from the terrain to keep it enjoyable.

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