For Sunday’s hike, I hiked the Y Bar Trail, which starts at the Barnhardt Trailhead. I hiked out a little over four miles and turned around at the saddle / ridge that separates Shake Tree Canyon from Y Bar Basin. I ended up with 8.6 miles and a total ascent of 2460 feet.
Category: Hiking (page 4 of 52)
Heather, Ben, and I hiked from the Spur Cross Trailhead to Black Mesa on Friday. From there we hiked over to New River Mesa and then returned the way we came. Total distance was nearly 13 miles with over 3400 feet of ascent.
Black Mesa on the left; Sugarloaf Mountain on the right. Sugarloaf looks higher in this photo, but we were looking down on it when we got to the top of Black Mesa. Black Mesa is about 800 feet taller.
This is the Fortress Pinnacle next to Elephant Mountain.
We followed the Rondo Spring Trail, even though it seems like it’s going in the wrong direction.
Ben and Heather:
The grass was less of a problem than when we did this hike in December of 2014. Much of it was matted down as shown here. On the section before this spot, it had broken off and was fairly short allowing us to see the cairns.
For some reason there’s a yellow tire in a tree at the top of Black Mesa. I haven’t a clue about how it got there. We made it to the top of Black Mesa in good time and with such relative ease that I suggested going over to New River Mesa, which is the formation well beyond the tree. There’s a fairly narrow isthmus which connects the two mesas.
Looking at Skull Mesa from that connector strip of land between Black Mesa and New River Mesa:
Heather and Ben make their way down some rocks:
We didn’t see many flowers on our hike which is kind of unusual for Spring.
Looking back at Black Mesa, on the right, from New River Mesa. The formation to the left is Sugarloaf Mountain.
Another look at Skull Mesa, this time from New River Mesa:
We encountered this dead tree on our way back across Black Mesa.
Some of the ocotillos are in bloom:
We saw this young Mule Deer as we returned on the Elephant Mountain Trail. You can see its mom’s ears poking up above the bush on the right.
Marilyn, Linda, Ben, Marilyn, and Mona joined me for a twelve mile hike of the La Barge Battleship Saddle Loop. I modified the hike somewhat from the route on hikearizona.com; I turned the loop into more of a lollipop by hiking back on the Boulder Canyon Trail instead of coming back via Boulder Creek.
The hike starts at the Canyon Lake Marina and follows the Boulder Canyon Trail to the intersection with La Barge Canyon. From there, we entered La Barge Canyon and hiked up-canyon until the way narrowed and became blocked with boulders. There are some nice pools of water here; some of us stopped and ate lunch at this spot. We then backtracked slightly and hiked up to the saddle at the “stern” of Battleship Mountain. From there, we descended the other side of the ridge until we entered Boulder Creek. From there, we hiked back on the Boulder Canyon Trail (mostly through Boulder Creek) and found Marilyn waiting for us at the Indian Paint Mine ruins. (Marilyn wanted to limit her hiking to eight miles for the day.) We finished our hike by returning the way we came – on the Boulder Canyon Trail.
The route is shorter and has less elevation gain if you follow the route posted on HAZ. However, I’m guessing that it is harder because the way back is through Boulder Creek; there is no trail for the two miles or so back. It looks to me like it’s boulder hopping all the way. For me, I think this would be more strenuous than hiking back on the Boulder Canyon Trail.
This is La Barge Creek, just above the point where it empties into Canyon Lake. It has water in it due to the backflow from Canyon Lake. While we did see some pools of water in La Barge Creek, it was mostly dry on the day we hiked it.
Yep, this is still Battleship Mountain.
Heading up La Barge Creek now, with Battleship Mountain on the right.
The bow of Battleship Mountain is impressively steep.
I haven’t been able to figure out the name of this peak, but it’s impressive looking from this vantage point while walking up La Barge Canyon.
This shot helps to explain why Battleship Mountain has its name. When approaching it on the Boulder Canyon Trail from the marina, it looks like it might be a blocky cube shaped mountain. But that’s not the case at all. It’s a long mountain which forms one of the walls (for quite a distance) of La Barge Canyon. I hope to get a photo of it someday from Geronimo Head which is taller than Battleship Mountain – it’s just across the canyon from Battleship Mountain.
Continuing up La Barge Canyon. Later on, we hiked to the top of the saddle at the right.
This is where La Barge Canyon starts to narrow. There are several pools in this area.
Looking back down La Barge Canyon from the trail leading up to the saddle. Battleship Mountain is on the left and Geronimo Head is on the right.
Ben, Marilyn, Linda, and Mona:
A view of Weaver’s Needle from the saddle just aft of the “stern” of Battleship Mountain.
As we hiked down to Boulder Creek, we saw a saguaro with many twisted arms.
This is part of the ruins at the Indian Paint Mine where Marilyn was waiting for us.
One of the many rock formations that we saw while hiking back on the Boulder Canyon Trail.
Looking down at Canyon Lake:
Some last looks at Battleship Mountain and Weaver’s Needle just prior to losing sight of them on our descent back to the Marina…
Kevin and Marilyn:
Nick, Ben, Marilyn, and I hiked perhaps a mile up Fish Creek Canyon from the bridge. We had planned to go further, but were turned back by bees.
A view from the bridge before starting out:
Nick and Ben take a look at the bridge from the bottom just before heading up canyon.
A tiny waterfall:
There were a number of pools that we had to work around.
An especially green pool:
The piled up logs and smaller pieces of wood is evidence that the canyon occasionally carries a substantial amount of water.
Looking up-canyon (while still on lunch break):
Kay, Laureen, Diane, Caroline, and Diane hiked to the top of Picketpost Mountain with me on Sunday.
The summit was sort of crowded:
A view from a point near the summit:
We eventually got the summit to ourselves; we got a photo with the famous mailbox. A placard on the door to the box describes how it came to be there.
Making our way back down…
Looking back up at where we had been!
Caroline, Diane, Diane, Laureen, Kay, and Kevin:
Bob, Sara, Mike, Kay, Sunaree, Marilyn, and I hiked a loop of a little over 10 miles starting from the Horse Staging Area.
What a view!
This tree had six owls in it of which three are easily visible in this photo. If you look very closely, it’s possible to pick out the fourth. There’s a spot where there might be a fifth owl, but I can’t be sure. I have no idea where the sixth owl was hiding.
This was one of the owls flying down the small gorge through which we hiked. We saw these owls several more times as we made our way down the wash.
Bob, Sara, Mike, Kay, Sunaree, Marilyn, and Kevin:
A relic from the days when this land formed part of a working ranch:
This is a look back at part of the Sport Loop, one of the competitive tracks in McDowell Mountain Regional Park:
Linda, Sunaree, Gayle, John, Kay, and Ben joined me for a six and a half mile hike in the Tom’s Thumb area on Friday. Starting on the Tom’s Thumb Trail, we took the first climber’s access trail west to the ridge north of Tom’s Thumb. We followed this ridge past Tom’s Thumb to Tom’s Thumb Trail. It had been years since I last hiked the Lookout Trail, so we hiked to the end of the Lookout Trail where we could see the Windgate Pass Trail far below us. After hiking back on Lookout Trail, we hiked down Tom’s Thumb Trail, turned onto Feldspar, and then Marcus Landslide, returning via the Caballo Trail.
A small, but interesting pinnacle that we passed on the way up:
Gayle makes her way up the steep and sometimes loose trail:
Looking toward Scottsdale and a very hazy Phoenix:
A view of Tom’s Thumb from the ridge:
Linda, Sunaree, Kay, Ben, John, and Gayle:
A view of the west side of Tom’s Thumb:
Tom’s Thumb, again, but this time we’re seeing it from the Lookout Trail:
Heading back down Tom’s Thumb Trail:
This is one of the mushroom pinnacles near the Sven Slab area.
On Sunday, I did a hike in the Superstitions, the La Barge Battleship Saddle Loop. This hike starts at the Canyon Lake Marina, following the Boulder Canyon Trail until it reaches La Barge Creek. It then heads south down the creek until it reaches a narrows with pools of water. It then backtracks a bit and heads up to the saddle south of Battleship Mountain. I took a short side trip from the route at this point and visited the “stern” of Battleship Mountain in order to see what the opening moves of this class 3 territory look like. The route then heads to the west to Boulder Creek. From there, I rejoined the Boulder Canyon Trail which I took back to the trailhead.
A view of Battleship Mountain and Weaver’s Needle from the Boulder Canyon Trail.
Another look at Battleship Mountain. I’m still on the Boulder Canyon Trail, but am near the turnoff into La Barge Creek at this point.
One of the pools of La Barge Canyon. Prior to this the creek had been quite rocky.
Looking back down La Barge Canyon from the way I had came.
I turned around shortly after passing this pool.
At this point, I’m returning to find the trail up to Battleship Saddle. The saddle is in the sunlit section to the left. The red rock near the top of the photo is actually the starboard side of Battleship Mountain. The part at the far left in the photo would be the stern.
Looking north down La Barge Canyon on my way up to the saddle. Battleship Mountain is on the left side and Geronimo Head is on the right side.
This is the “stern” of Battleship Mountain – it’s not as impressive as the “bow” which was shown in two of the earlier photos. If you look closely, you can see two hikers making their way up at the left.
A view of Weaver’s Needle from just below the stern of Battleship Mountain.
I’ve made it through the rocky part of Boulder Canyon now. The GPS track that I was following routed me further down Boulder Canyon, but I opted to follow the trail instead.
This is the site of the Indian Paint Mine.
This is one of the walls of Geronimo Head.
Looking toward Canyon Lake on the way back.