Golden Gate Mountain

Reaching the top of Gates Pass, I descend the curving road, distracted by the views to the west, then turn into a small parking lot.  Surprised mine is the only car there.  My hike today is short at only 2.5 miles round trip but has a good, off trail climb to the top of Golden Gate Mountain.

My hike begins at David Yetman trail. I ascend to a saddle and am greeted….

….with this early morning view.  Little Cat and behind it, Big Cat Mountains, in the distance.  I begin a descent while watching for a…..

….cairn that marks where to begin the ascent of the mountain.

The peak is not visible until you reach the low point in the above ridge.  

As always, the higher I go, the better the views.  I reach the aforementioned ridge, go counterclockwise around it and reach….

….a saddle and at last can see…..

….the peak.  Throughout the off trail portion of this hike, cairns are plentiful and enough people have followed them that a well worn trail is visible in most places.  Be careful when ascending the above.  It is very rocky and balance is required as you hop across boulders.  The visual reward….

…..is…..

….well worth the effort.  Peering over the side opposite of the side you arrive….

….there is a shooting range below.  No action today but I have been up here once before when it was very active.  Ha, ha, we all stayed away from that side for concern over ricochets.  

Bobcat Ridge in the distance with Little Cat and Big Cat mountains.  The sprawling Tucson Estates on the right.

I begin my descent and can see the Yetman trail winding its way through the valley.  While only a 2.5 mile hike, I gained a good 1500′.

Jumping Cholla.  I keep a healthy distance from these plants.  However, while helping a friend look for a lost golf ball, I emerged from the thicket, felt something on my back, reached back (big mistake) and brought my hand back with a clump of Cholla attached to it.  Fortunately, someone had tweezers and I removed 5 spines from a finger.  

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Credits : Mark Cycling Blog

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