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The Lookout, Lightning and O’Leary

Peak Summited2021 O'Leary Peak
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadO'Leary Lookout Trail ( Forest Service 545A )
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition
Additional Informationhttps://youtu.be/cyp3go44GuU

O’Leary Peak

Saturday, August 28 2021

There was no mobile service when I reached the trailhead parking lot – The parking lot is small with only eight parking spaces – I was fortunate the last one was still open – The entire trail to the O’Leary Peak Lookout is a Forest Service Road ( FSR )   – The beauty to me is that it is a gradual ascent making it easy to use trekking poles out and back, no gloves are required – Many black lava rock formations are frequently seen to the right of the road that were apparently part of the Sunset Crater lava flow roughly 1,000 years ago – Black lava gravel covers the road and blends in perfectly with the crater rock formations on the right – Ominous rain clouds were all around and drifting closer and closer as I approached the summit – I could clearly see rain failing at Sunset crater when I reached the lookout and heard thunder – The very friendly lookout on duty, Mallory, was already keeping close track of the nearby storms and was on the lookout deck to welcome and warn me of the possibility of lightning – She suggested that I not spend too much time up there –  Despite the potential danger surrounding us, we had a long pleasant conversation about the area and the important job she performs to protect our natural resources – She invited me up to the second landing to see the incredible view – Unfortunately, COVID-19 precautions prohibit visitors at the top – There were a few peaks in the Arizona Summer Six Pack of Peaks with active lookout towers ( Elden, Kendrick and O’Leary ), however this was the only one where the lookout came out to greet me 🙂  No exaggeration, Mallory REALLY MADE MY DAY!!!

 

I was extremely fortunate to feel only one drop of rain during my descent back to the trailhead

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