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Category: Hiking (page 43 of 46)

Hike descriptions and/or photos.

Friday Fitness Hike

Today’s hike went up and down Lousley Hill.  At the bottom of the hill, we hiked down Lousley Wash and made our way over to the Verde Trail.  We then picked up the North Trail and took the Chuparosa out to Pemberton.  We completed our loop by taking Lousley Wash back to the Lousley Hill trailhead.    Total distance covered was almost seven miles.

There were eight of us on the hike today: Me, Marilyn, Linda, Janet, Bob, Sue, Sharon, and Amy.

A view from Lousley Hill:

Hiking up Lousley Hill:

At the top.  From right to left are Sharon, Linda, Marilyn, Janet, Amy, Bob, and Sue:

Another photo from the top, but this time Amy is taking the photo and I’m standing between Bob and Sue:

A view of Tom’s Thumb from the Verde Trail:

A view from the North Trail:

An eroded hillside along Lousley Wash:



Little Saddle Mountain Trail, after the Fire

Back in mid-May, Joe, Bob, Nancy, and I hiked the Little Saddle Mountain Trail.  On that very same morning, a man from Mesa shot an incendiary shotgun round into some brush probably not more than a mile from where we were hiking.  This turned into a massive fire, known as the Sunflower Fire, that would eventually burn 17,446 acres in the area.

Joe, Marilyn, and I attempted to hike some of the Little Saddle Mountain Trail on Sunday afternoon.

We could see that some of the hills had been burned from where we parked, but the initial quarter mile or so of trail hasn’t been much affected.

I saw a bee pollinating some flowers…

…and some more flowers growing amidst some prickly pear:

Marilyn took this picture of an Agave.  You can see some burned trees on the hillside to the right.

Marilyn also took this photo of me and Joe hiking past some burned trees.  There’s some new growth in the middle of the remnants of the shrub on the far left – I think it might be a Manzanita plant that had burned there.  My guess is that the new growth is Manzanita too.

Burned trees:

More burned trees:

We encountered a blooming Agave or Century Plant:

Here’s a close-up shot of the blooms…

…and another crop showing the very top of the plant.  I don’t think I had ever seen one in bloom before.  As I was editing it, I noticed some bees on these blooms.

The creek had only a little bit of water in it.  We ended up hiking in the creek for a while because the trail became very difficult to find and follow.  Either new growth has sprouted up where the trail is or rain has washed parts of it away.  This is not uncommon in areas that have been ravaged by fires.  We made it just slightly less than two miles along the trail before turning back.  We could have gone further, but I was outvoted.

A roll of rusty barbed wire hung up on a burned out tree.  I think I noticed this wire on a previous hike, but of course, the tree wasn’t burned then.

A view as we were hiking back through the creek:

A ridged and pocked rock perched on the bank of the creek near some burned trees.  Their proximity to the creek did not protect these trees.

Joe, hiking up a hill on the way back:

Another interesting looking boulder:

Fallen Prickly Pear fruit below a ridge line of burned trees.  Most of the Prickly Pear that we saw looked to be in reasonable condition.  Most of the Barrel Cacti that we saw though seemed to have been burned on the inside leaving only a yellow husk.


Friday Fitness Hike

Bob, Linda, Janet, Amy, and I started our Friday hike at the Wagner Trailhead.  We hiked a 9.35 mile route utilizing the Wagner, Granite, Delsie, Pemberton, and Stoneman Wash trails.

It had rained Thursday night into Friday Morning.  The trails were damp, but no rain fell on us during the hike.  The sky was full of interesting clouds and I think those clouds made for some interesting photos.

Amy is holding the rib of a dead saguaro in both of the group pictures.  The McDowells are visible behind us.

Below, Amy is taking her own photo of the McDowells and the highly textured clouds above.  Red Mountain is visible off in the distance.

Textured clouds:

The edges of the two cloud layers direct the viewer’s attention to the McDowells in this photo.

A pair of saguaros.

A view from the Pemberton.  This shot was taken near the Granite Tank as we were ascending the nearby hill.  At the top of the hill is a crested saguaro off to the right.  (It’s not shown in this photo.)

The damp conditions made sand in the washes firmer than usual.  I noticed, however, that the Wagner and Granite Trails felt somewhat soft and squishy when we first started hiking.  It’s interesting that the rain can make a normally firm trail soft and a normally soft trail firm.

We saw this tree just as we entered Stoneman Wash.

Boulders in Stoneman Wash:

A large multi-armed saguaro visible from Stoneman Wash:

Another edit of the above photo.  The sky has somewhat less contrast in this one.  Marie likes this one better, but Joe likes the original edit, above, better.

Yellow flowers.  Anyone know what kind of plant this is?

We heard helicopters flying overhead around the time when I was trying to photograph the yellow flowers.  (My camera didn’t want to focus for close-up shots.)

I’m hoping that Amy will be able to tell me the name of this reddish plant.  There’s a lot of it growing in the washes.  Several weeks ago, we saw similar plants that were light pink in color at the bottom of the Tonto Tank Trail.






Views from the Pine Creek Loop

Marilyn and I hiked the Pine Creek Loop late on Sunday.  It’s a three mile loop that starts from a parking area just off the Beeline Highway.  It connects with the Ballantine Trail about half way around, though we did not hike the Ballantine Trail on Sunday.

The trail starts off steep; elevation is gained quickly.  This is a view from perhaps half way up.

A view looking off to the west.  Beeline Highway (AZ 87) is visible in this photo as is Red Mountain.

We had descended from the top of the hill and were making our way around the loop here.  The terrain is very hilly here.

The trail is cut into the hill forming a steep bank and this location.  The sun had not quite set yet and was peeking through a bush.  I thought it made for an interesting shot.  I was shooting in RAW mode with exposure bracketing.  I used the brightest and darkest exposures (which are a stop and third apart) along with a bit of tone mapping to create the image below.

We’re perhaps half a mile away from the parking area in this photo.

Bob’s Siphon Draw / Flat Iron Photos

Bob hiked up Siphon Draw to the Flat Iron on Saturday.  He sent me these pictures…


Rock Knob, at Sunset, from the Feldspar Trail

This photo was taken last Sunday just before sunset from the Feldspar Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  The setting sun gave Rock Knob a nice reddish orange glow.

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead is now open

Marilyn and I drove out on 128th street (from Dynamite / Rio Verde Drive) last night to hike the Marcus Landslide Trail.  The Friday Hike group hiked a significant portion of the Marcus Landslide Trail, but we did not reach the end.  Marilyn and I hiked the Marcus Landslide Trail in its entirety.  I had hopes that it would meet up with one of the other Preserve trails, but it doesn’t.   But it doesn’t exactly dead end either.  It forks at one point and loops back to the fork.  After hiking it, I remembered that I had seen that loop on a map at some point in the past.  I probably saw it on the map of rock climbing access trails.  After scouring the Preserve website, I believe that this may be the most accurate map for trails in the area.  The Northern Mountain Region map, at the time of this writing anyway, is out of date.

When we visited the area in the past, we parked at one of several temporary parking areas.  These parking areas are no longer accessible.  Several of the areas that we visited on our hike had been plowed up and will presumably be re-vegetated.  The old roads in the area have been plowed up too.  Here’s what’s left of the road that used to go up to one of the temporary parking areas:

Morrell’s Wall is visible in the center of the photo, above.

Parking is now available at the newly constructed trailhead at the end of 128th St.  As far as I can tell, 128th St no longer goes through to Paraiso.  It appears that portions of Paraiso have either been converted to short sections of trail or have been plowed up and re-vegetated.  The new parking area has spaces for 200 vehicles and 12 horse trailers.  It has restrooms, but the doors were locked when we were there last night.  No water is available at this time (nor in the foreseeable future).  A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for October 18, 2012.

As Marilyn and I hiked out to the Marcus Landslide Trail, it became obvious that we had somehow missed the turnoff to the Tom’s Thumb Trail.  It turns out that the Tom’s Thumb Trail is accessible by walking through the shelter at the trailhead:

Morrell’s Wall, Gardener’s Wall, and Tom’s Thumb are all visible in the above photo.  If you look closely, you can see a small white sign on the sidewalk within the structure.  This sign indicates that the Tom’s Thumb Trail goes through the structure.

The Marcus Landslide Trail is accessible off to the camera’s left – it does not appear in the above photo.  You can also get to it by hiking through the structure, but you’ll need to turn off (left) on the new Feldspar Trail to get there.  This junction is near the location of the (old) lower temporary parking area.  Access to the three Sven Tower Climbing areas is just off the Feldspar Trail too.  There is a canyon there known as Mesquite Canyon.

Friday Fitness Hike

Today’s hike started at the Wagner Trailhead.  We had a larger group today consisting of me, Ranger Amy, Bob, Linda, Janet, Nancy, Sue, and Sharon.

Our goal for the day was to get out to the Marcus Landslide Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  We decided to shorten the initial part of the hike as much as possible by cutting through the campground.  Even so, we ended up hiking around eleven miles.  Our route took us up Bluff to Pemberton to Rock Knob.  From there we were able to get on the Marcus Landslide Trail.  We followed it a bit past the intersection with the Boulder Trail.  It’s a nice trail; I suspect that it eventually connects with the Windmill Trail at some point.  I’ll have to do some further exploration to find out…

This photo was taken early on while we were still on the Granite Trail.  From left to right are Bob, Sue, Sharon, Janet, Amy, Nancy, and Linda.

Part way up the Bluff Trail, we saw this small bird sitting atop a large granite boulder.

Below is a view of Tom’s Thumb.  There are some chain fruit cholla in the foreground.  Part of the Sven Slab climbing area can be seen to the left.  I once climbed that detached flake (a little ways left of center) with Craig Thornley back in the late 80s.  We climbed Tom’s Thumb too.

Another view of Tom’s Thumb and the Sven Slab climbing area.  Joe and I have climbed that face at the far left in the picture.

A patch of Teddy Bear Cholla.  I think we’re looking back at part of Rock Knob in this photo.

This was one of the interesting rock formations along the Marcus Landslide Trail.

Another interesting looking rock.  I posted another view of this rock yesterday.

This is a view from the Marcus Landslide Trail just prior to turning around.  Note that the trail keeps going and is visible in the lower right of the photo.

On our way back, we saw three equestrians on the Marcus Landslide Trail.

Here, Ranger Amy is telling us about the sound that a small type of squirrel was making as were hiking back.

Hiking along the Pemberton:

Nancy and Amy approaching the intersection of Pemberton and Bluff:

A very healthy saguaro on the Bluff Trail:

Ocotillo in the park had turned green from the recent rains, but the leaves are now drying out and turning yellow.  This one caught my eye as we were hiking back along the Bluff Trail.  Weaver’s Needle is visible along the skyline to the left.

We encountered three more equestrians while hiking down the Bluff Trail.




Fitness Hike Preview

I went out this morning and biked a potential route for tomorrow’s hike.  The photos below were taken from the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

The Preserve trails have been diverted somewhat and sanitized since I was last there.  There are also some new trail signs.

Those leaning rocks on the skyline about a third of the way over from the left edge of the photo can be seen from many places in the park.  I sometimes think that they look like people hiking with heavy packs.

Another cool looking rock on the Marcus Landslide Trail:

It doesn’t say so on the sign, but this (below) is one end of the Boulder Trail.  The trail has been around for quite awhile, but only recently has an official opening been made in the fence.

Hiking the Dixie Mine Trail with Marilyn and Joe

Joe, Marilyn, and I went out late Sunday afternoon and hiked out a ways on the Dixie Mine Trail.

There were several contrails that hung around for the duration of our hike.  Here’s a photo where they seem to form a “V” emanating from behind one of the McDowells.

Weaver’s Needle is off in the distance in the photo below.  You can also see a part of Dixie Mine Trail in the foreground.  It’s a nice trail in that section.  There’s not a lot of elevation gain or loss, but numerous small hills and washes give texture to the terrain.

The half-moon and a nearby saguaro:

A particularly scenic section of the Dixie Mine Trail:

Mother and son hiking together just after sunset.

Another view of the contrails as the sun was setting:

A short while later, we turned to see that the setting sun had turned the contrails a brilliant reddish orange:

Another edit of the above photo using the Mantiuk ’06 contrast mapping algorithm.  All of the above photos use the Mantiuk ’06 contrast equalization algorithm.  In the tests that I’ve done, contrast mapping seems to produce more realistic looking results, but I often like the look obtained using contrast equalization.  The sky in the photo below is fairly close to the image obtained out-of-camera, but the out-of-camera foreground detail is very dark; so dark in fact that it appears to be mostly black.


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