Today’s hike started at the Wagner Trailhead. Bob, Janet, Linda, Amy, and I hiked the Wagner to the Granite, and turned onto a trail unofficially known as the “Cowboy” trail. Ranger Amy hiked out perhaps halfway with us on the Cowboy Trail before turning back to open the visitor center.
Bob took this photo of the four of us just prior to Amy turning back. (The colors are a bit off today. I haven’t quite gotten the knack of getting the white balance right when converting RAW files. The skies often ended up more purple than I wanted them to be.)
Here’s another version of the above photo with possibly more accurate colors. (I might be starting to figure out some of the problems I was having with the RAW conversion.) Marie tells me it’s better, but Marilyn likes the one above. So I’m leaving them both here for those who’ve already looked at the one above and have decided they like it.
The Cowboy Trail eventually runs into the Pemberton at the north end of the park. Linda mentioned that she had not seen that part of the Pemberton yet. Below is a view of the McDowells from the portion of Pemberton that’s also a service road.
This photo was taken from the Pemberton perhaps less than a mile from the intersection with the Delsie Trail.
We saw this large buckhorn cholla at or around the time that we turned onto the Delsie Trail.
As we hiked the Delsie Trail, we saw interesting looking clouds off in the distance. We had already been hearing distant thunder for much of the hike. We could see rain off in the distance.
Linda took this photo of some yellow flowers and me taking pictures of the storms far off in the distance.
Linda also took this photo of Bob and Janet. Tom’s Thumb is visible in the distance above and slightly to the (viewer’s) right of Bob’s hat.
I didn’t think we’d be hiking in the rain today, but I was wrong. Here’s a photo of Bob, Linda, and Janet hiking fast once it became clear that heavy rain was on the way.
When it started to rain hard, I put my camera under my rain jacket that I had stuffed in the outer compartment of my pack. Strong winds made the rain come down sideways. My clothing was soaked in under than a minute. We were hiking into the wind – I put my sunglasses on for a while in an attempt to keep the rain from getting in my eyes.
After a while of trudging through the rain, my eyes began to sting. I think the rain dissolved the salt accumulated in my hat and was washing it into my eyes. Eventually, the rain starting coming merely down instead of coming at us sideways too. I was able to see again.
Bob and Janet got well ahead of us while I was hiking somewhat more slowly due to not being able to see very well. Linda hiked with me. We talked about the lightning and thunder we were seeing and hearing.
After what seemed like a very long time, we got to the Granite Trail and then the Wagner Trail. During that time the rain abated, but did not completely stop.
We frequently hike across washes and sometimes even through them on our hikes, but we almost never see them with any significant amount of water. Today was different; there was enough water running in them that we nervous about fording them.
The photo below shows the last significant wash that we had to cross on the Wagner trail prior to getting back to our vehicles.
When we got back to the Trailhead, we were met by Ranger Amy and Mark, another park employee. They had been concerned about us because we were out hiking during a monsoon. We assured them we were okay and, after chatting a while, we got in our cars and drove home.
But driving home wasn’t as easy as normal. As we were leaving the park, we saw that Sheriff’s deputies had stopped traffic on the road leading to Rio Verde. Linda decided to return home by way of Fountain HIlls, but that proved to be a problem too because there’s a good sized wash between the park entrance and Fountain Hills. Linda took this photo of me studying the wash to see if I could cross it. A truck is crossing it there. After seeing that truck and several other vehicles cross, I decided that I could cross too. (And I did.)
Linda decided to turn around and wait for the deputies to reopen the section of road leading to Rio Verde. She took this photo while she was waiting.