Linda and I hiked a little over eleven miles starting from the Four Peaks / Horse Staging Area. We hiked part of the Technical Loop and then hit the washes for many miles, returning on the Pemberton and Shallmo Wash Trails.
Category: Hiking (page 3 of 52)
For Friday’s hike, Kay and I hiked a combination of the Hog Heaven Loop and the Lost Wall Loop.
We started on the Marcus Landslide Trail and then turned right onto Feldspar. To the left are some low angle (third class) slabs which lead to the top of Sven Tower I. We summited there and then continued on the climber’s access trail leading past Sven Towers II and III. This soon joined the standard route for the Hog Heaven Loop. We hiked past Hog Heaven and the Thumbnail Pinnacle and then continued onto the East End (summit) where we also went to that summit.
Continuing on, we descended the climber’s access trail to Tom’s Thumb Trail. From there, we hiked over to (and then on) the oft used climber’s access trail going to Tom’s Thumb. We continued past Tom’s Thumb and then down past Lost Wall, Half & Half Wall and the Fort McDowell climbing areas. This eventually led us back to Tom’s Thumb Trail and then back to the parking lot.
Total distance was just over five miles with nearly 2300 feet of total ascent.
Sunrise from the parking lot:
Kay, ascending the granite slab adjacent to the Feldspar Trail:
Morrell’s Wall and Tom’s Thumb:
Three views of the Thumbnail Pinnacle:
Looking back along the ridge, on the left, that got us to this vantage point. On the right is Thompson Peak and some other lesser peaks in the McDowell Range. Of course, the East End, the highest point in the McDowells is not visible in this shot as it’s just behind us.
Kay atop the East End (Peak), the highest point in the McDowells.
Chuparosa; we saw this plant on the ridge northwest of Tom’s Thumb.
Marilyn and I hiked near Flagstaff on Sunday.
The Sandy Canyon Trailhead is near Flagstaff off of Lake Mary Rd. I had been to this area many years ago when I climbed at The Pit.
We hiked Sandy’s Canyon Trail which descends to Walnut Creek. We then continued up Walnut Canyon until the way started to become slightly overgrown. I think we could have continued on for a good while, but we had time constraints, so I opted instead to pay a visit to the Fisher Point Overlook on the way back.
This is Fisher Point. Up high and to the left is the overlook. Walnut Canyon is ahead of us in this photo. There is a small cave at the base of the rock formation.
This is another somewhat deep and narrow cave that we encountered as we hiked up Walnut Canyon.
A more or less typical view of Walnut Canyon:
Marilyn, hiking in Walnut Canyon:
This was the most expansive view that I could find from Fisher Point Overlook. Marilyn is waiting for me under the tree just beyond where the trail forks to the left. I took the right fork to hike up to the overlook.
I was hoping to get a view up Walnut Canyon, but trees at the top blocked my view. This was the best view that I could find…
Friday’s hike started at the Wagner Trailhead. We hiked Wagner, Granite, Delsie, Pemberton, Bluff Trail Wash, Granite, Bluff, Granite, and back on Wagner. Total hike distance was 10.2 miles, but with only 640 feet of total ascent.
Mike, Sara, Tracy, Kay, Kevin, and Bob:
Ranger Amy joined us for some of the hike on her bike.
The skeleton is now sporting a sombrero!
This is the crested saguaro that’s south of Granite Tank.
One of the few flowers – this one is a hedgehog blossom – that we saw on our hike.
Some of the rocks in the wash adjoining the Bluff Trail.
Tracy, Kay, and Sara in the Bluff Trail Wash:
I hiked the Black Ridge Loop in the Mazatzals on Sunday. Total distance was about 7.6 miles with over 1900 feet of total ascent.
This is Brunson Tank. When I visited it at about this time of year in 2016 and 2017, it was full of water – I had to skirt the edge to avoid getting my feet wet. No such problem today. I did encounter some water when I got to the drainage that runs along Little Saddle Mountain Trail. It seems to be spring fed.
Heading down the Little Saddle Mountain Trail…
Marilyn, Nora, Linda, and I hiked part of the Barnhardt Trail on Friday. We went out about five miles on the Barnhardt Trail. We had planned to also hike the Sandy Saddle Trail to Casterson Seep and then hike down to the first waterfall in Barnhardt Canyon, but the manzanita not only obscured the trail but also greatly slowed us down. We hiked perhaps a quarter of a mile of Sandy Saddle before turning back.
Looking into Barnhardt Canyon from midway up the trail:
We’re much higher on the trail now, perhaps even on the Sandy Saddle Trail – I don’t remember exactly.
As we continued on, we saw greater evidence of damage from the 2004 Willow Fire. It’s my understanding that there used to be a forest of Ponderosa Pines in this area.
We were intrigued by the fallen tree. It looked like someone had drilled a bunch of 7/16″ holes in the wood.
Looking into “Big Kahuna” falls from the trail. I also got a shot from further into the canyon on the way up, but I decided that I liked this shot better.
One of the blocky rock walls along the trail.
This was a well shaded area – it doesn’t appear to ever get much direct sun.
Another secluded spot for cacti to grow:
Some kind of toad…
Some interesting veins of zig-zaggy rock.
Mona, Linda, and Marilyn:
Linda provided this photo of Nora and me looking over one of the edges.
Nora and I did and out-and-back hike on the Four Peaks Trail. We ended up hiking just under 12 miles w/ nearly 3200 feet of total ascent. One of our hike options was to go to the summit of Buckhorn Mountain, but the brush looked dense, so we decided to stick to the well groomed Four Peaks Trail.
I had hiked the Four Peaks Trail back in 2001 or 2002. It was quite a different experience. The area had (sort of) recently been devastated by forest fire and was kind of barren. The trail was difficult to follow – I had to look very carefully for cairns or occasional ribbons tied to mostly burned trees. Due to the fire, the foliage was fairly sparse. I think I did go to the top of Buckhorn Mountain that day – the Four Peaks Trail used to go over the top, but has now been rerouted to go around the mountain.
On our Friday hike, we found a very different trail to the one that I recalled. The trail surface is well beaten in and is not especially rocky or loose. It was exceptionally easy to follow – there was never any doubt about which way to go.
Views from Mills Ridge Trailhead…
On the trail now…
The trail went both below and above this small dryfall. We took the lower trail on the way out and the upper trail on the way back. We had thought at first that the lower trail is the preferred trail, but on the way back, we found that a great deal of care had been taken in the construction of steps leading down to the wash.
One of many views of Roosevelt Lake:
One of the few remaining tall trees. I would guess that, prior to the fire, there were a lot of this type of tree.
This is Camelback Peak 5663. Nora and I wondered about going to the summit. I looked it up on HAZ when I got home. BobP did it in 2013 and uploaded a track, but in his notes, he says, “If I were you…I’d choose a different route.” So maybe there is no good route.
Four Peaks; this is pretty close to where we turned around. We had several decent views of Four Peaks prior to this point, but this was the best.
Nora next to a burned and dead tree.
We encountered a group who are riding the Arizona Trail on their mules. We chatted with them for a while and then continued. These mules worked hard as the trip outward had quite a lot of elevation gain.
This is a poppy. I also got a shot of a desert marigold, but was unhappy with the way it turned out (so I’m not posting it).
As we hiked back to the trailhead, I noticed a catchment just off the Vineyard Trail. I decided to hike down to take a look…
When we were finished with our hike, we became tourists and visited Theodore Roosevelt Dam, which was just down the road from where we had driven in on Forest Road 647 to get to the Mills Ridge Trailhead.
This is a photo of the bridge from the upper view area: