The second hike of the day, Silly Mountain took my 10 year old daughter Kenadi and I up 200 feet in elevation around numerous trails, and ended up in a botanical walk that is just a few months old. And yes, it is really called Silly Mountain.
Apparently, a Pinal County public works employee named Harry Calwalader (which is pronounced… Uhhh, I’ll get back to you on that) suggested to his supervisor that the road leading up to the mountain (which he lived on) be called Silly Mountain Road, a suggestion that was met with no objections. The “mountain” was then christened Silly Mountain.
Silly Mountain is a popular hiking destination in my family owing to the fact that it’s a little over a mile from our home. Although it is in a compact area, numerous trails let you choose from a short walk to a multi-mile hike. The elevation of only 200 feet is deceiving because you climb it in a hurry. It is quite steep in places.
My daughter and I started up the mountain at 4:00, after she got home from school. Kenadi has a habit, exhibited in the previous three hikes, of claiming the climb is too steep for her to continue. This can be quite amusing when toddlers, seniors, and morbidly obese people are strolling by her as she makes this argument. So today I told her that if she made it to the top without stopping, I’d buy her new hiking boots.
Needless to say, she flew up the mountain, proudly claiming her prize upon completion of the 2.5 mile trek. Her legs may be strong, but her love of footwear is even stronger. We reached the top in 17 minutes, which is only 2 minutes slower than my best time hiking alone. Starting off, we walked the Brittlebrush trail, a relatively flat but rocky trail lasting a couple of tenths of a mile.
Brittlebush leads to Old Mine Trail, where almost all of the 200 feet in elevation will occur in just 0.7 miles. If you’re training to do some serious climbing (as I am with the Siphon Draw hike mentioned in this post), it is great practice. If you’re angling for new hiking boots, however, it is merely a nuisance to be overcome.
By the time we had reached what is known as the saddle (a ridge very close to the top), our legs were ready for some downhill trail, but first we had to clamber over rocks for the last 30 or 40 feet of elevation where a rest was had while I took some more pictures.
From there, it was all downhill, but much more enjoyable. We took the Crest Trail for a third of a mile to the Old Baldy Trail, named after the Old Baldy peak, which in turn is named because of the lack of vegetation on top and not, one would assume, for Telly Sevalas.
A long roundabout hike on Superstition View Trail took us back to Superstition View Point (home of the one bench on Silly Mountain), and put us on the home stretch of Palo Verde Trail.
At the end of Palo Verde Trail, we took the time to walk the Silly Mountain Botanical Walk, a new addition to Silly Mountain Park as of late 2010. The botanical walk is a lazy figure eight paved with pea gravel so tightly packed you can push a stroller on it with ease. This is a perfect walk for children too young to withstand the rigors of the other trails (although my 4 year old son Wrigley has hiked quite a bit of Silly Mountain). Almost 100 signs are posted to point out the various vegetation, and although the plants are still very young, you can tell that given a bit of time the walk will be very beautiful.
Som statistics for the hike:
Distance: 2.51 miles
Elevation: 200 feet
Time: 1 hour, 1 minute (including photo ops)