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Month: November 2016

Friday Hike – Spur Cross to Skull Mesa

Linda, Nancy, Marilyn, Bob, Mike, and I hiked from Spur Cross to the top of Skull Mesa on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  (Not all of us went to the summit.)  The hike was 12 miles long with over 3200 feet of total elevation gain.

This is a view of Cave Creek (which was dry on the day we hiked) from the Spur Cross Trail.

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Skull Mesa, in the distance:
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Another view of Skull Mesa from Cottonwood Trail #247:

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This petroglyph is on the Skull Mesa Trail, shortly after leaving the Cottonwood Trail – though you have to hike about five miles just to get to that intersection.
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A view to the west from the Skull Mesa Trail:

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Ruins (of perhaps an ancient dwelling) can be found on the ascent to the top of Skull Mesa:
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A view to the east from the Skull Mesa Trail:

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Looking west again, further up the trail:

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Nancy, Linda, and Bob:

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We saw a young tarantula on our way up…

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Climbing higher on the Skull Mesa Trail – roughly 1000 feet are gained in the mile to the top:

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Looking east from the summit of Skull Mesa:

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Looking southwest from the top of Skull Mesa…

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Looking west from the western-most edge…

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Nancy and Linda descending the Skull Mesa Trail.  In some respects, the descent was more treacherous than the ascent.

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Looking west on the descent:

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Another view to the west:

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Friday Fitness Hike

Mike and I hiked 15.9 miles starting from the parking area for the Dixie Mine Trail. We hiked Dixie Mine, Prospector, Bell Pass (up and over the Pass), Gateway Loop, Windgate (up and over Windgate Pass), Bell Pass, Prospector, Dixie Mine (back to parking lot).

We saw at least half a dozen deer crossing the Dixie Mine Trail early in our hike.

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A view of Thompson Peak (with the antennas) from early in the hike.

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Despite being a cool day, I began to get warm while hiking up the Prospector Trail. We stopped near the overlook so that I could remove a layer of clothing. When I picked up my backpack, I noticed this tarantula underneath pack’s hip belt.  I think I woke it up when I set my pack down near it.

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A view from the Prospector Trail:

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Looking at Scottsdale (and other Valley cities) from Bell Pass:

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Barrel Cacti growing out of rock outcropping on the Scottsdale side of the Bell Pass Trail:

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A view of Thompson Peak from Gateway Saddle:
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We saw this inscribed rock at the intersection of the Windgate Pass Trail and the trail leading to Inspiration Viewpoint:
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Two more views from the Windgate Pass Trail:

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Saguaros on the Prospector Trail:
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Another view from the Prospector Trail:

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Kevin at Grand Viewpoint, Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park

This is a new edit of a photo that Marilyn took in June 2015. I made this version warmer and brighter. I also gave it a slight painterly effect via the use of Topaz Impression.

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Wild Burros at Lake Pleasant

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Friday Fitness Hike

Marilyn, Nancy, Linda, Mike, and I hiked a little over ten miles on Friday.  We did a loop which took us up the Tom’s Thumb Trail, down the East End Trail, and then into the park via the Windmill and Coachwhip Trails. We hiked the Pemberton to Boulder and then to Marcus Landslide.  Marilyn returned on the Marcus Landslide Trail, while the rest of us hiked Feldspar, returning on the Tom’s Thumb Trail.

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The view from the parking lot

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Gardener’s Wall and Tom’s Thumb

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Marilyn, Mike, Linda, and Nancy on the Tom’s Thumb Trail

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Glass Dome

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A view of Pinnacle Peak in the distance

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Weaver’s Needle, The Fountain, and Red Mountain, off in the distance

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Thompson Peak

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A “droopy armed” saguaro on the Boulder Trail

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Linda and Marilyn on the Boulder Trail

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Mike, Kevin, Nancy, and Linda

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Mushroom boulders on the Marcus Landslide Trail

Friday Fitness Hike

Nancy, Linda, Mike, Bob, and I hiked 14.5 miles on Friday. George joined us for the first 2.5 miles before turning back.

We hiked Dixie Mine to Pemberton which, due to its length, is something that we rarely do. From there, we hiked Pemberton, Coachwhip, Windmill, Bell Pass, and Prospector back to the service road. From there, we picked up Dixie Mine for the return to our vehicles.

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A view of Four Peaks from the sidewalk leading into the park

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A view of the McDowells from the Dixie Mine Trail

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Moss along the Dixie Mine Trail

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A small rock formation along the Dixie Mine Trail

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George, Bob, Linda, Nancy, and Mike

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View from the Coachwhip Trail

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A view of Thompson Peak from the Bell Pass Trail

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Rock formation on the Bell Pass Trail

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Cyclists on the Prospector Trail

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Tarantula on the Prospector Trail

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Saguaros near the end of the Prospector Trail

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Christmas Cholla

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