Leaders: Joe Young, Julie Rush
Although we had received numerous phone calls from would-be participants for this event, rain the previous day scared all but one, Don Borad, away. However, March 27 proved to be cool with scattered clouds until evening. Then it rained again. But our hike went as scheduled. The three of us were accompanied by Julie's dog, Ruskie.
Our plan was to hike Heald by route 2, and to consider adding Nicolls if time allowed.
We found route 2 to be the better way to hike Heald. Part of the route consists of a well maintained trail (34E31, not 34E15 as is stated in the climbing guide). The remainder takes one through generally open brush.
However, the driving directions for route 2 can be simplified. Begin at Highway 178 and Vista Grande Drive, just west of Weldon. Note odometer. Go south on Vista Grande Dr. In 0.6 mile pavement ends. Continue on Vista Grande Dr. At 0.8 mile intersect Hillview Acres Rd. Go right. At 1.6 mile intersect Brooks Rd. Turn left. At 2.6 miles intersect a maze of roads. Proceed straight as if following an extension of Brooks Rd, passing a house on your right with a 'W' hanging over its driveway. At this point you are leaving the development. Continue south. At 3.1 miles road forks at some trees but merges again shortly. At 3.2 miles road forks again at some trees. Go right. At 3.4 miles encounter several forks, one of which goes down into a prominent wash and disappears, reappearing on the other side of the wash. Park here (3412', ample parking).
Our hike began here, and we hiked Heald via route 2. We then followed the rough, overgrown and, in places, hard to follow primary route northward, then hiked the ridge to the saddle south of Nicolls. While we had enough daylight to climb Nicolls, we were concerned that we might have trouble finding our vehicle in the dark, so we decided against doing Nicolls. The weather had become cold, windy and cloudy by late afternoon. We descended westward from the saddle, eventually catching a road heading northwest which brought us a short distance north of the vehicle. Time from the saddle to the vehicle was 1 hour and five minutes. The terrain west of the saddle is mostly soft scree.
This is a good loop trip. No shuttle is required, and is probably not advisable if saving time is the primary consideration.