Wednesday Walk Searching for Warren

in wednesdaywalk •  3 months ago

Little Cross Mountain is the Place

If you aren't confused at that title, please let me know in the comments what it means. Sam and Erv and I postponed this walk twice due to rain, but finally got out early in the morning to look for Warren. The only Elephant tree known on Little Cross Mountain (It doesn't have a real name, that is what it's called around here)

This is in response to a Challenge by @tattoodjay to take photographs of things on a walk. Things you don’t normally see. I really like the challenge and the challenger so here I am again.

Little Cross Mtn-1.JPG

This is where we are headed. As you can see, it's good and light but no where near sun up. Little Cross Mountain is one of a chain of igneous upthrust mountains north and east of Yuma. This is actually one of the more accessible peaks and the whole area is full of trails.

Twila Peak-1.JPG

This is one of at least 4 memorials on LCM. I figure the reason is because it is so much more vehicle accessible than any of the others. This monument to Twila is cast concrete and near the best, but it still took some serious effort to haul that stone and base here. We are using that trail you can see there.

Sam with Heath-1.JPG

This memorial was to Heath. It's on one of the shoulders of one of the high spots on the way to the top. It features a plaque, and a set stone from someplace else along with flags and plastic flowers and solar powered garden lights. Sam is paying his respects and the 'Foothills Area' that I live in is in the background.

Angel Memorial.JPG

This memorial is much closer to a peak. That reclining Angel is epoxied to the stone and somebody has carried some non native white quartz there. My guess would be that every time they visit they bring a piece of quartz with them. There are also a couple of solar lights here.

Near Little Cross-1.JPG

We are approaching the cross. It's not that the cross is little, it is the mountain that is the little part of Little Cross Mountain. It is on the lowest of three peaks here, and took significant effort to haul into position. The cross is made of steel and is set in concrete so not only the cross had to be hauled, the ready mix and water had to be hauled as well.

Little Cross-1.JPG

Obviously, we have gone by the cross. It's about 8 feet tall and put there to stay. It looks out over the freeway and the area I live in. This is typical southern Arizona, the houses are all built in one place because the desert doesn't give itself up easily and it is continuously trying to reclaim the areas of human habitation.

Up the Spine-1.JPG

This is headed up the spine of LCM from the second highest peak to the highest. The trail is clear, but not improved. If you look just to the left of Erv you can see Sam making his own way. He can provide comedic relief on some hikes.

High Point-1.JPG

This is the highest point on LCM. From there on it is mostly down. Where we will commence our search for Warren, the only Elephant Tree known to be on LCM. Named by a mutual friend of ours it leaves room for finding another specimen. If there is a second one it will be named Zevon.

Where the Elephant Trees Are-1.JPG

This is taken from the highest point on LCM. That is where we really want to be, those folded canyons off to the North is where there is a concentration of Elephant trees. Not that there are many, you understand, but you don't have to hike all morning to see one.

Ragged Country-1.JPG

We searched for Warren on the way down the east side of LCM, and in fact never found him. He's in a side canyon, and we obviously walked by it with out seeing him. Sam and I will probably go back and attack the east slope with out going over the spine. When I find him I'll not only photograph but will GPS mark him so we can find him coming down from the top.

Saguaro -1.JPG

As we were walking out around the south flank of LCM I spotted this lone Saguaro Cactus. It's got well established arms so is probably over 50 years old and is really alone on LCM. We actually saw a family hiking on this relatively flat part of our hike. Grandpa, Mom, Dad and a three year old girl that was hiking along just fine. Really did my heart good to see them and their involvement with the area.

And this concludes the walk. I will do further posts on the Elephant Trees themselves and the rugged conditions they live in, but this was all about the walk. The #Wednesdaywalk. Thanks for coming along.

All words and photos in this post are mine. For better or worse.

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The rugged scenery there is so interesting
That’s pretty impressive to think all the materials for the memorials and cross are hand carried in

Looking forward to learning more about elephant trees

Thanks for joining Wednesday Walk tip!


I'll tell you what. Those memorials are just seriously impressive to me. It took serious work to get the stuff to the place. Amazing.

Elephant trees are coming, I promise.


I trust you on the elephant trees

Ohh yes I was impressed by those memorials the work that people put in to make them, would be so less likely these days

Not a leisurely walk at all, love the rugged landscape and the memorials @bigtom13!
I need to go somewhere remote like this, life's been crazy of late!
Thank you for sharing your walk, hope you find Warren next time ;)


It's a part of my love for this area. Within a half hour driving I can get to places where I'm just not liable to see another person. Remote is closer to me than most.

I'm sure we'll find Warren. Matt, the mutual friend that named him, is due for a visit and a hike. If need be we'll get him involved. He's up in the Reno area at a new job (it's sorta where he grew up) and has stuff here that needs to be there. We'll help him load and pack, but it'll cost him a hike :)

Awesome post! Did you take the pictures with your camera/phone or where you using a drone? Just curious. Thanks for sharing this!


I haven't gotten around to getting a drone. All taken with my Nikon.

That is quite a hike you went on. You could say that you had an exercise-like experience hihi. You and your four-legged little companion sure do make a good team 💚


I actually monitor my steps when I walk, and this was the shortest walk of the week. My thighs thought otherwise :) Sam is such a clown and a good boy. He is great to have along.

Wow.. Very beuatiful picture and great story sir @bigtom13. You and your friend is so brave to cross the mountain and bring us some useful information about that mountain and what in it. Thanks sir. God bless you

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Thank you. This was a nice morning's trek. The weather has cooled enough here that being out at 1000 hours isn't necessarily lethal. So we will be going more and more as winter comes.

Now I’m more curious about the elephant trees.
Very interesting post as I love reading unfamiliar and unusual places.

Thank you for sharing @bigtom13


I'll probably be doing Elephant Tree posts all winter. We haven't been able to get back to the canyons where we know there are around 300 because of the recent rains. We will. We also saw a couple of places to check out when we went to Phoenix 'the back way'. I promise a full blown Elephant Tree post within a week. Erv is giving a presentation to the Native Plant Society on Thursday and I'll get a ton of information there.

Fab photos, I've never heard of elephant trees :)


They only exist in the Northern Sonora Desert. That would be SE California, Southern Arizona, USA and Baja Nortre and Baja Sur, Rio Colorado and Sonora in Mexico. Maybe 10,000 in all. My friend Erv has Yuma Elephant Tree Project. He and others like him are studying them pretty carefully. He's got two of his college students out scouting them out, too. I'll have full, detailed posts on them to come.


Will be great to read more about them :)

I'm sure it's a lovely warm place to live in Summer, but I don't think that environment and me would get along, nary a tree in sight and almost no green!

I have a friend that moved to New England in her 20's and came from AZ, she always went on and on about how green and lush and all the hedgerows and trees we have around here, I think I can see why :)

Also seriously impressive memorials.


This is the hot hard desert. It sustains a surprising amount of life given the conditions.

Don't judge all of Arizona by this. We've had three really good rains this fall and the desert is greening up. But that's not all. Arizona has the largest stand of ponderosa pine in North America. The extreme eastern edge of the state has a wonderful mixed species forest. It really is beautiful. And green.

I love my home area, but once in a while I need to find some green. Fortunately I can do that in SoCal. Easy (and fun) day ride to have a piece of apple pie at Julian. In the trees!

Incredible post! These sceneries/landscapes are just so unfamiliar to me, which is why the #wednesdaywalk series is so awesome, I can literally see things I would/will/might never see otherwise.

Fascinating also the cross itself and the white quartz... There's a story there too.


Yes. I'm sure there is a real story there. The nearest deposit of rich white quartz has got to be at least 20 miles away. There is some small quartz veins in some of the canyons, but nothing of that quality.

I love the 'walk challenge' too. I get to see cool stuff, and for me, it's a great way to show my home area. I think next Wednesday will be at the river. Unless something better comes up :)

It looks so barren! I know, desert and all, but... I'd feel exposed out there without the forest to keep me company. Glad you have Sam. :)


I know that feeling, but I've gotten really used to it. I'm glad I have Sam, too. He's a really good trooper on a hike.

Nice hike! Arizona is so awesome. I like the desert. Often on hikes I'm the comedic relief like Sam. I'm like "this way looks shorter"... it ends up being 5x harder! lol.


Yeah. I am known for my 'shortcuts' too. Once in a while they work...

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