Pointless Waymarks

Ramblings, Questionable Geographics, Photographic Half-truths

Ragged Top - 2/9/2020

Created by Charles Miles on 2/20/2020. Updated on 2/21/2020.

A landscape of Saguaro flats and small hills stretches towards a light colored and a dark colored peak in the distance - Newman and Pichacho.
A Saguaro filled landscape below with Newman Peak (light) and Picacho Peak (dark) in the distance. Charles Miles. 2/9/2020.

As the population of Southern Arizona grows the established, official, recreation opportunities in Ironwood Forest National Monument are bound to grow - but for now the map is wonderfully empty - a few major roads and a sparse spiderweb of smaller, sometimes questionable, dirt tracks. I love the destinations I have been to in IFNM - but even more I love the emptiness, looking at photos I long for the feeling of being nowhere in middle of unbroken desert.

20+ columns of spined cactus emerge from the rock - a Golden Hedgehog on the slopes of Ragged Top.
A golden Hedgehog on the slopes below Ragged Top in Ironwood Forest National Monument. Charles Miles. 2/9/2020.
A cluster of small white flowers with yellow in the center against a blurred background.
Wedgeleaf Draba on the desert floor below Ragged Top. Charles Miles. 2/9/2020.
Beautiful yellow poppies - five yellow petals with an orange center, thin green leaves in the background.
Poppies below Ragged Top in the Ironwood Forest National Monument. Charles Miles. 2/9/2020.

It is a beautiful day to be in the desert - mellow temperatures, light clouds, a nice breeze; cactus, early spring flowers; good company and a fun hike to the summit of Ragged Top. Ragged Top is probably the most recognizable landmark in Ironwood Forest National Monument - the distance to the top is short, but between the beautiful terrain, interesting views, elevation gain and loose steep not-always-even-a-faint-trail it is likely to take longer than you would expect to gain the summit.

Jagged rough rocky broken cliffs surround a slightly rounded summit.
Rocky cliffs of Ragged Top. Charles Miles. 2/9/2020.
Dark black mountains rise in the front right and fade into layers of distant blue to the left.
Silverbell Peak and Waterman Peak on the right, Samaniego Peak and Keystone Peak in the far left - from the summit of Ragged Top. Charles Miles. 2/9/2020.

Without an official trail network, and only a handful of well known sites, you won't find extensive hiking information about Ironwood Forest National Monument - but the beautiful desert landscape invites exploration and several roads thru the Monument provide copious starting spots if you are adventurous. Some links:

Intricate white patterns - curves, swirls, cirlces, lines - adorn the dark underside of a piece of a Desert Tortoise Shell.
Desert Tortoise shell piece. Charles Miles. 2/9/2020.

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