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Friday Fitness Hike

On Friday, the 12th, I hiked a 10.5 mile loop: Escondido, Pemberton, Scenic, and back on Cinch and Escondido. It’s getting warm here; I had planned on a longer hike, but ended up shortening it a bit.

Sunrise at the trailhead:

Views from the Escondido Trail…

The fountain was up as I was hiking the Scenic Trail:

Another view from the Scenic Trail:

 

Friday Fitness Hike

Linda and I hiked nearly 9 miles on July 5.

A view from the Dixie Mine Trail:

A mammillaria cactus – it was right beside the trail we were hiking:

Rocks have been piled up on either side of the fallen saguaro making it possible to ride a mountain bike over the saguaro.

Nearing Dixie Mine – the mine tailings can be seen at the upper left.

The path from the road to the mine is getting overgrown, but the area in front of the mine entrance is as clear as I’ve ever seen it. In the past, you’d have to push your way past tamarisk plants to get to the adit.

Petroglyphs:

Look for the owl!  (I had a hard time with the shot.  I was unable to see the owl when looking through the viewfinder.  I zoomed all the way in and ended up taking a photo where I thought the owl was.  When I looked at it on my computer, I still had a hard time finding it.  I’ve cropped the image significantly, making it easier to find it now.)

A view from the top of the waterfall:

Saguaros on the Prospector Trail; Linda and I hiked all of Prospector to Bell Pass and then returned via Prospector and Dixie Mine.

Back on the Dixie Mine Trail for this shot…

Friday Fitness Hike

On Friday, the 28th, I hiked twelve miles starting from the Wagner Trailhead. After hiking Wagner and part of Granite, I headed up Bluff Wash until I came to the Pemberton. From there, I took the Pemberton over to Granite Tank and then crossed into the Preserve, hiking part of the Saguaro Nest Trail. I reentered the park at the northwest corner, taking service road which used to form part of the Pemberton Trail eastward; I don’t think I had been in this part of the park in over a year.  I returned via Lariat, Granite, and Wagner.

A view of Red Mountain from the Wagner Trail.

I think this might be an acacia.

I saw a lot of different kinds of seed pods…

This is the only significant obstacle in Bluff Wash. It used to be easy to scramble up the notch just left of center.  There is a good foothold – a small ledge about two feet long and 2-3 inches deep – that is now at (perhaps) waist height.  Over the years, the sand below this foothold has washed away, effectively raising that small ledge, making it harder to use it as a foothold.  Assuming you can get your foot onto this ledge, it’s possible to push your weight on top of it using your right hand in opposition using the rock to the right. I tried that move today and found that I really had to kick my leg up to get my foot onto the ledge.  Moreover, I had to stand far enough back that I was out of position to do the next move. Noticing some handholds left of the ledge, I decided to try another way.  The handholds are good; smearing the left foot on the rock below allows you to put the right foot on the ledge.  From there, there’s a side pull (Gaston) above the ledge for the right hand.  I got both feet on the ledge and then was able to make the easy move to get into the notch.

I don’t know what these are, but I saw them in the wash.

Boulders on the bank of the wash…

More seed pods; I think I was still in the wash when I saw them.

This is a view of the Pemberton just before going up the small hill just before arriving at Granite Tank.

This shelter changes a little bit every time I see it.

Barrel cactus blossoms:

Saguaros on the Pemberton:

I saw this raven as I neared the trailhead at the end of my hike.

Friday Fitness Hike

Mike, Marilyn, and I hiked eight miles starting from the parking area for the Dixie Mine Trail. We hiked a short ways on Dixie Mine and then turned onto Sonoran, hiking the Lower Sonoran Trail after entering the Preserve and then returning on the (upper) Sonoran Trail on the way back.

The first of these photos is a view from the Dixie Mine Trail; the rest were taken from the Sonoran Trails.

Friday Fitness Hike

For the hike on the first Friday in June, I hiked a 9.7 mile loop starting from Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. I hiked the Marcus Landslide Trail to the edge of McDowell Mountain Regional Park and then crossed the park boundary, hiking Boulder, Pemberton, Coachwhip, and Windmill, at which point I reentered the Preserve. I finished the hike by going up East End, down Tom’s Thumb, with a short diversion at the end on Feldspar and Mesquite Canyon.

Views from the Marcus Landslide Trail…

I think I’m on Pemberton at this point; that’s Red Mountain in the background.

Views from the Windmill Trail…

You can barely see the (remains of the) windmill in this photo.  It’s just left of (and partially obscured by) the saguaro that’s a third of the way from left edge of the photo.

Thompson Peak is the one with the antennae on top.

Starting up East End…

I’m a good ways down Tom’s Thumb Trail now.  Gardener’s Wall is on the left, Tom’s Thumb is on the right.

A view of Mesquite Canyon (and one of the Sven Towers) from the Feldspar Trail. The climbing on the Sven Towers is on the other side. The approach starts from this side; once at the top, the climbers will rappel down the route and then climb back up.

I saw this lizard as I neared the trailhead. I saw many other lizards that day too, but none were as colorful as this one.

Friday Fitness Hike

Mike and I hiked a little over 9 miles on Friday. Starting from the Trailhead Staging Area, we hiked Pemberton, Escondido, Cinch, and Scenic.

All but the last of the photos below were taken along the Escondido Trail. I took the last one from the beginning of Cinch, just after turning off of Escondido.

 

Friday Fitness Hike

Linda, Bob, Marilyn, and I hiked 7.3 miles starting from the Wagner Trailhead…

Senna:

Sandwash Groundsel:

A view from the Bluff Trail Wash:

Tamarisk:

I’m not sure what this is. Perezia/Brownfoot, maybe?

Velvet Mesquite:

Nearing the intersection of Pemberton and Bluff:

Views from the Bluff Trail:

Friday Fitness Hike

Mike, Sandra, Jan, Melissa, Joelyne, Kristin, and I hiked 10.8 miles in the Dixie Mine area.  (I’m not sure of the spelling of some of the names, though I did check with Jan on the spelling of his name.)

A view of the McDowells from the Dixie Mine Trail:

We noticed that the grass has become quite dry.

I think this is mesquite:

We saw some nice ocotillo blossoms.  This one was just off the trail and at a low enough height that I didn’t need to shoot upward.

These are the mine tailings:

Flat-Top / Mojave Buckwheat:

New Mexico Thistle:

As we made our way towards the mine from the road, we saw a nest high in one of the trees.  Two birds, which we took to be hawks were flying around, alarmed at our presence. I only got this shot, though it’s definitely out of focus.

This is the petroglyph panel near the mine.

Sandra, Melissa, and Jan:

Another New Mexico Thistle:

Ascending the waterfall:

Looking down/back from the waterfall:

Continuing up the Prospector Trail…

I think this might be Miniature Woollystar:

Prickly Pear:

Globemallow:

Another prickly pear:

Hedgehog:

Heading down the Coachwhip Trail:

Ocotillo – I think we might have been back on Dixie Mine for this one:

Fleabane:

Friday Fitness Hike

Linda and I hiked a 12 mile loop starting from the Wagner Trailhead. Sara hiked most of it with us, but she needed to return early.

This is a view of Red Mountain from the Pemberton Trail:

Four Peaks in the background with some hills near the Sport Loop in the foreground:

Hedgehog blossoms:

The ocotillos are in bloom too!

Poppies:

Phacelia:

Linda identified this as a Pincushion Flower:

Spiny Goldenweed???

Shortly before this point, Sara hiked back via the Pemberton while Linda and I tramped through some washes…

Brittlebush:

We noticed some dirt-fall in this area.  There’s a big chunk of this wall which looks like it might fall sometime soon.  I took this photo after we passed that section.  It looked worse as we approached it.

Linda noticed this rock as we continued on…

This is a view of Red Mountain from the Tonto Tank Trail:

I think this is Sandwash Groundsel:

More poppies.  We weren’t sure what the magenta colored plant behind it was.

Desert Mistletoe berries:

Friday Fitness Hike

Nora, Heather, and I hiked a little over five miles starting from Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. We did a combo of the Hog Heaven Loop and the Lost Wall Loop visiting the East End, the highest point in the McDowells, along the way.  We saw a lot of flowers, perhaps more than I’ve seen on any hike so far this year.

Early in the hike, on the Mesquite Trail:

Heading up to the pass at the top of Mesquite Canyon:

At the pass now; looking toward the Superstitions:

Continuing on the way to Hog Heaven…

The small but prominent pinnacle is the Thumbnail Pinnacle. Below it and to the left is the main wall of Hog Heaven.

Lupine:

Chia:

One of the many patches of owl clover, lupine, and poppies:

(Big) Boulder hopping:

Thistle:

Nora and Heather, below the main wall at Hog Heaven:

Heather and Nora, making their way up some steep terrain below the Thumbnail Pinnacle:

I originally thought that this was a hawk, but in the comments, Cathy says that she thinks it’s a Peregrine Falcon.  I think she’s right.  In any case, we saw this bird as we continued to make our way up to the Thumbnail Pinnacle.  It hung around on that pinnacle as we passed it.  We weren’t especially close to it – once again, I used Topaz Gigapixel AI to enhance the detail.  (I also used this software on the owl photo from last week.)

We’re near or above the Thumbnail Pinnacle now, looking towards Scottsdale:

We continued up to the ridge leading over to the East End.  The Thumbnail Pinnacle is well below us here, looking more like a spire.  In the distance is Weaver’s Needle and the Flatiron. Towards the right and somewhat closer is Fountain Hills with the Fountain.

Another view looking toward Scottsdale.  Thompson Peak is the one with the antennas. Also visible is the East End Trail, far below us.

Blister beetle – thanks to Linda for the ID:

I’m not sure what this flower is; it was incredibly blue/purple though.  (Update: Linda identified it as Larkspur / Delphinium.)

Tom’s Thumb with the edge of Gardener’s Wall below it and slightly to the right.

Another view of that ridge; also visible in this photo is Glass Dome at the left.

A view of Pinnacle Peak (center) and Troon Mountain at the right:

We’re nearly down to Tom’s Thumb Trail now. The two prominent pinnacles in this photo are Glass Dome on the left and Tom’s Thumb on the right.  Again, the edge of Gardener’s wall can be seen at the far right.

Another patch of dry grasses and flowers:

Tom’s Thumb:

A view of Tom’s Thumb from the other side. The Class 4 West Corner route can be seen in this photo.  (Mountain Project has it rated at 5.2.) This was my first climb way back before there were “easy” trails leading to Tom’s Thumb.

Nora and Heather, descending part of the Lost Wall Loop.  (It was pretty much all descent, much of it loose and/or rocky, after we left Tom’s Thumb.)

Globe Chamomile:

Another view of Tom’s Thumb – this is one of my favorite spots for getting a photo of Tom’s Thumb.

Hedgehog Blossom; we saw quite a few of them on the ridge prior to resuming our descent.

Chicory:

Blackfoot Daisy? (Not sure about this one.)

Another interesting rock formation on the Lost Wall Loop:

Phacelia (I thought it was Fiddleneck, but Linda corrected me on the ID). What was remarkable about this bunch of flowers was how high they were growing.  They’re usually no more than a foot or two off the ground.  Other nearby vegetation allowed this clump of it to reach up to perhaps four feet in height.

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