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Friday Fitness Hike

Mitra joined Nora and me for the first part of our ten mile hike. We hiked the Tom’s Thumb trail and then took a climber’s access trail up to and then past Tom’s Thumb, rejoining the Tom’s Thumb Trail at around the two mile point.  Mitra headed back down Tom’s Thumb Trail while Nora and I went in the other direction on Tom’s Thumb Trail. We hiked down the Scottsdale side of the mountain and then hiked up the Windgate Pass Trail to return to the eastern side of the (McDowell) mountain range. We returned by hiking up the East End Trail and then down Tom’s Thumb Trail.

A view from early on along the climber’s access trail:

We saw some deer early on too…

Gardener’s Wall and Tom’s Thumb:

More views from the climber’s access trail…

Pinnacle Peak and Troon Mountain:

Views of the East End, Glass Dome, Weaver’s Needle, Tom’s Thumb, and the Rist (no “w”):

Tom’s Thumb:

Nora and Mitra, nearing the end of the climber’s access trail:

I don’t often see Tom’s Thumb from this angle; I took this one as we were heading west prior to crossing over to the Scottsdale side on Tom’s Thumb Trail:

As we headed west on the Tom’s Thumb Trail, Nora noticed, at first, that there weren’t any saguaros.  But that soon changed as we continued westward:

Another great view from the Scottsdale side of the mountain:

Here, we’ve started up the Windgate Pass Trail; this is a view of the pass:

A view of Weaver’s Needle through a pair of saguaro arms:

Looking towards Red Mountain and Fountain Hills from the East End Trail:

Glass Dome and Tom’s Thumb:

When we nearly done, we saw a pair of climbers hiking up the trail.  Oh, yeah, there was this guy in a Santa suit with and green alien hanging off his back too…

Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started from the Wagner Trailhead. We did a “lollipop” hike starting on Wagner, right on Granite, right on Delsie, across Pemberton to the connector to Gooseneck, left on Gooseneck, left on Rock Knob, left on Pemberton, right on Bluff, left on Granite, and returning on Wagner.  Total hike distance was about 11.5 miles.

The skeleton now has sunglasses and a hat! (He’s had the can of beer for a while now.)

Some boulders on the Gooseneck Trail:

Looking towards the McDowells from the Goosneck Trail:

We had fourteen hikers (counting myself) on Friday’s hike!

Chain fruit cholla on the Rock Knob Trail:

Looking back toward the McDowells on the Rock Knob Trail:

Looking toward Four Peaks on the Bluff Trail:

A small tarantula on the Bluff Trail:

Sunday Hike – Cottonwood Spring Loop

Nick, Bob, Mike, and I did a lollipop-loop hike starting from the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. The interesting part of the loop was on Trail 247A in the Tonto National Forest. On the way back, we came across a recently built trail that led from 247 back to 247A.

This is a view of Skull Mesa from 247A:

Another view of Skull Mesa:

Looking back toward Sugarloaf Mountain:

Nick found a dead Gila Monster to munch on as an appetizer before lunch…

This is a view of the spring area. We saw some water here, enough to filter if we would’ve had to.

Nick, Bob, and Mike on 247 after leaving the spring.

This is the view along the section of 247 between 247A and the intersection with the Skull Mesa Trail.

This petroglyph is on the Skull Mesa Trail. Bob and I hiked a ways up this trail why Nick and Mike ate lunch.

Another awesome view on the hike back…

Walk Off the Turkey Fitness Hike

On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, 18 of us hiked from the Trailhead Staging Area to the parking lot for the Dixie Mine Trail. The Sonoran Conservancy of Fountain Hills organized and provided volunteers for this hike. (They even had all of the participants sign waivers!) It was supposedly a 9.3 mile hike, but my GPS watch showed that we had hiked 11.1 miles at the end.  Total ascent was over 1100 feet.

We hiked Pemberton, Tonto Tank, Pemberton, Coachwhip, and Dixie Mine. A few of us took a slight (0.2 mile) diversion near the end to visit the mine and the petroglyphs.

Hiking up the Tonto Tank Trail…

This is the short section of the Pemberton between the top of Tonto Tank and the bottom of Coachwhip:

Starting on the Coachwhip Trail…

Taking a break on the Coachwhip Trail:

A view of Weaver’s Needle and the Flatiron from the Coachwhip Trail:

A view of Four Peaks from the Coachwhip Trail:

A view of Thompson Peak from the Dixie Mine Trail, just before passing the side trail to Dixie Mine and the petroglyphs:

This is the main petroglyph panel:

Rappel Practice

Friday Fitness Hike

Linda, Linda, Susan, and Ben joined me for a 10.75 mile hike (with nearly 2200 feet of total ascent) starting from Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. We hiked up Tom’s Thumb, down East End, turned left on Windmill, left on Coachwhip, left on Pemberton, left on Boulder, and then right on Marcus Landslide. When we got to the intersection with Feldspar, Linda K joined me for a short scouting trip for my rappelling session on Saturday. The rest returned to the trailhead via Marcus Landslide.

(Our scouting trip revealed no bees for the scramble up to the top of the boulder pile from which we would rappel on Saturday. When Marilyn and I had climbed there in the past, bees were sometimes a minor problem.)

A view of Pinnacle Peak and Troon Mountain from the Tom’s Thumb Trail:

Looking toward Four Peaks…

A break in the clouds lit up part of Troon Mountain as we continued our hike up Tom’s Thumb Trail.

A view of Gardener’s Wall and Tom’s Thumb:

Glass Dome on the left; Tom’s Thumb partly hidden at the right.

Looking towards Red Mountain from near the top of the East End Trail:

This is a view from near the bottom of the East End Trail:

We saw this raven on a saguaro as we neared the intersection of Coachwhip & Pemberton:

Kevin, Linda, Linda, Susan, and Ben on the Pemberton Trail:

One of the mushroom boulders on the Marcus Landslide Trail:

This is the broken mushroom boulder that can be seen on a short spur trail off of the Marcus Landslide Trail:

Friday Fitness Hike

Susan, Ben, Sara, Nora, Bob, Mike, Marilyn, Joanne, Nick, and Marilyn joined me for a 12.1 mile hike that started in the Competitive Track area, made it’s way over to the Dixie Mine Trail, and then used the South Wash to return to the Competitive Track Area.

We’ve reached the top of the major hill on the Technical Loop and are waiting for three bikes to finish coming up the hill.  (Shooting into the sun made for an interesting photographic challenge.)

Views of the South Wash…

Ben, Nora, Marilyn, Joanne, Mike, Sara, Nick, and Susan. (Bob and the other Marilyn can’t be seen in this photo.)

This is a view from the Long Loop.

Sunday Bike Ride – Granite / Cholla Mountain Area

Marilyn, Joe, and I rode at Granite Mountain on Sunday.

Saturday Hike – North Trail

On Saturday morning, I hiked the North Trail with Bob and his dogs. (I hiked part way with Sandra and her friends too.)

One of the ladies spotted this tarantula early in the hike:

The twisty-armed saguaro caught my attention:

Look for the (Harris ?) hawk atop the saguaro in the distance…

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