Hiking Across the Desert to Cunningham Mountain in Arizona
Cunningham Mountain in southwest Arizona
Since arriving at the camp in Ehrenberg, Arizona last week, I have been looking at Cunningham Mountain in the distance. It has been calling to me and inviting me to visit. Today I took advantage of the cooling weather (high of only 71) to make the pilgrimage.
Cunningham Mountain is about 3-4 miles east of the camp, through empty desert. The hike to the base of the mountain took me through sand, rocks, and several large washes, with the landscape and vegetation changing as I approached the mountain.
At 3,316 feet, Cunningham Mountain is the largest of the Dome Rock Mountains. In case that does not sound high enough to justify calling it a mountain, it is worth noting that my base camp is at 660 feet above sea level.
As it turns out, most people climb Cunningham Mountain from the east side. There is a reason for this strategy, though I was not privy to it in advance. Approaching from the east provides an easy gravel road to walk to the top of the mountain. Approaching from the west, as I attempted, involved climbing a steep knife-edge ridge as the sides of the mountain are mostly loose rock.
I made it most of the way up the ridge before being turned back when I encountered a large drop-off that would have required a lot of backtracking to hike around. Apparently I should have approached from the east. Still, it was a great hike on a beautiful day.
Perhaps the most memorable part of this hike was the feeling that I had near the base of the mountain. There was one area that had an electric-like feel in the air. I’m not prone to “feelings” like this, but I could literally feel my skin tingling for the entire time I was in the area.
Since I have been working in videography recently, I decided to record some of my hike and make a short video of the experience. That video is now available on YouTube.