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Tag: Friday Fitness Hike (page 25 of 32)

Friday Fitness Hike

Ranger Amy had scheduled two consecutive Friday hikes at the North Trail.  She suggested that I and those wanting to do a longer hike take a look at the newly opened Escondido Trail.  We started our hike from the Lousely Trailhead while Ranger Amy lead the scheduled hike on the North Trail.

Bob, Sarge, Janet, Doug, and I did a 9.2 mile loop.  We started at Lousely Trailhead and made a left on the Escondido trail which now crosses the Lousely trail perhaps 200 yards from the Trailhead.  We followed Escondido to Cinch, took Cinch to Scenic, Scenic to Pemberton, Pemberton to Escondido, and Escondido back to the Lousely.  The Cinch Trail has been around for a while, but I didn’t know the name until recently.

The map below shows our route.  If you look at the top (north) part of the map, you’ll make out a short spur coming off the loop; this is where we started.  The Escondido Trail zigs and zags a lot, but the first leg of our journey lead us generally southward.  The Cinch Trail heads northwest to join the Scenic Trail.  If you zoom the map, and you know what you’re looking for, it’s possible to see where Cinch intersects the Scenic.

View hike-131213-track-only.kml in a larger map

This is a view from the Escondido Trail, shortly after turning off of Lousely:

20131213-_DSC2163-Edit-2-medium A view to the west (I think) while traveling south on Escondido:


Bob, Sarge (the dog), and Janet on Escondido.  The trail is set in from the road somewhat, but has minimal elevation gain or loss.  In order to achieve this, the trail builders cut the trail into the sides of the many hills in the area.  There was an old road nearby which used to follow a much straighter path.  It, however, went fairly close to the McDowell Mountain Road.  Satellite photos show that this old road briefly crossing McDowell Mountain Road.  20131213-_DSC2232-Edit-medium Janet, Doug, and Bob, at the intersection of the Cinch and Scenic Trails.20131213-_DSC2255-Edit-medium

A view of the newly cut Escondido Trail near Pemberton.


This area was ravaged by the Tonto Fire of the mid-90’s.


We encountered two cyclists on the Escondido Trail.


A glimpse of a saguaro with lots of arms:


A closer view of this same saguaro:


Updated Storm Photo from September 7, 2012

Below is a newly edited photo of the impending storm taken during a hike on September 7, 2012.  Those of us on the hike got very wet that day!  I was new to editing RAW files back then.  I don’t think my initial effort was very good.


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike was nearly ten miles in length with over 2,000 feet of total ascent.  Eight of us hiked Dixie Mine out to the Sonoran Trail, followed the Sonoran Trail to its end, and then hiked a short ways out on the Promenade Trail.  From there we hiked up the Western Loop Trail, stopped briefly at the overlook at the top, and then continued on the Western Loop Trail until it intersected with Promenade.  We then hiked back along the shortest route using the Promenade, Sonoran, and Dixie Mine Trails.

Marilyn and Linda wait for everyone to pay up at the iron ranger at the start of the Dixie Mine Trail.


Marilyn and Linda lead the way on the Dixie Mine Trail.


Linda, Marilyn, Vinnie, Renee, Janet, Rob, and Michael on the Sonoran Trail.  (Someone correct me if I have any of the names wrong.)

20131129-DSC01964-medium A view from the Sonoran Trail.

20131129-DSC01970-medium Another view from the Sonoran Trail.  I did this one in Photomatix, but did not like it, so I redid it in Lightroom and Photoshop.


I think this is still the Sonoran Trail.


A view of Tom’s Thumb in the distance.


This was supposed to be another view of Tom’s Thumb.  Unfortunately, I shot everything on Friday at f/4, so there was a significant amount of background blurring due to the focus being on the tree.

20131129-DSC01997-medium A view of Fountain Hills from the top of the Western Loop Trail.

20131129-DSC02000-medium Taking photos from the Western Loop Overlook…


Several views while descending the Western Loop Trail:

20131129-DSC02015-medium 20131129-DSC02018-medium 20131129-DSC02021-medium 20131129-DSC02024-medium I think this was taken from the Promenade Trail.

20131129-DSC02030-medium Taking a break on the Sonoran Trail…20131129-DSC02036-mediumThe rain that we got last week is starting to make things green again:


Friday Fitness Hike

Thirteen of us started from the Wagner Trailhead for Friday’s hike, but over the course of the hike, we broke up into three groups.  Janet, Michelle, Nick, and Bob accompanied me through the Bluff Trail Wash to Pemberton and then down Stoneman Wash to Granite at which point we returned on Wagner and Granite.  (We took Wagner and Granite on the way out too.)

Group photo; unfortunately, I could not remember the names of everyone who joined the hike this week.

20131115-DSC01660-medium Troon Mountain is lit up off in the distance.


A view of Four Peaks through vegetation along the trail.


This is where Janet, Michelle, Bob, Nick, and I turned off the Granite Trail.


We wait for a time for Robert to catch up with us.  While we waited I took this photo of the Granite Trail.  The rest of the group that was hiking with us went this way and perhaps those who followed later on did too.


We scramble up these boulders to hike up the wash.  (I’ve posted similar photos in the past, but I processed all of this week’s photos with Adobe Lightroom 5 and wanted to see what it was like to edit this photo using LR5.)


A dead tree in the wash…

20131115-DSC01735-medium Janet and Michelle scramble over boulders on their way up the wash.


A narrow passageway through some rocks:



20131115-DSC01766-medium 20131115-DSC01780-medium

This rock pile is visible from the Pemberton Trail somewhat north of the Bluff Trail intersection with Pemberton.

20131115-DSC01786-medium I saw this small cholla as we hiked the Pemberton over to Stoneman Wash.


A large saguaro just off of the Pemberton Trail.  Michelle noticed that there were three buds on one of the arms that sort of looked like eyes and a nose.


A rock formation in Stoneman Wash:


Bob, Janet, Nick, and Michelle hiking Stoneman Wash:


Views of Stoneman Wash…

20131115-DSC01871-medium 20131115-DSC01879-medium 20131115-DSC01885-medium 20131115-DSC01891-medium 20131115-DSC01904-medium

Friday Fitness Hike

Twelve of us met on Friday to hike the Scenic Trail.  Nick, Janet, Linda, and I continued on, eventually getting in a total of eleven miles for the day.

Midway up the first hill on the Scenic Trail:


Yay!  We’re at the petroglyph.2013-11-08-DSC00879-medium

Looking out at the McDowells…


Red Mountain:



Looking east from the Scenic Trail’s ridgeline.2013-11-08-DSC00900-medium

A view to the northeast…

2013-11-08-DSC00923-medium An interesting palo verde tree with Four Peaks in the background:


Linda looks up at a saguaro with lots of arms:


Returning to the Scenic Trail:

2013-11-08-DSC01052-1-medium A view of the ridgeline that we had hiked earlier in the day:


Eleven miles total!


Friday Fitness Hike

We met at the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead for Friday’s hike.  A new hiker to our group, Marilyn, joined Bob, Amy, Janet, and me for a hike up to Tom’s Thumb.

Below is a view of Tom’s Thumb and the surrounding area in the early morning light.


We saw this cluster of rocks early on, through one of the easier stretches.  I think the boulders in the picture below are on private land.



We saw a red-tailed hawk on the top of a rock, just as the trail started getting steep.


Another view of the rock upon which the hawk was perched:


Two views of Troon and Pinnacle Peak, off in the distance:

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We got high enough to see a Juniper Tree.2013-10-25-DSC01322-medium

A view to the west taken from the ridge west of Tom’s Thumb:


The East End, the very top of Gardener’s Wall, Glass Dome, Weaver’s Needle, Tom’s Thumb, and the Rist are all visible in this photo.


We noticed that we could see downtown Phoenix from the ridge near Tom’s Thumb. (Scottsdale is the closer community though.)


A view of the west side of Tom’s Thumb.  (The camera is looking east.)2013-10-25-DSC01370-medium

Marilyn, Amy, Janet, and Bob approach Tom’s Thumb.

2013-10-25-DSC01379-mediumA photo of the five of us on the east side of Tom’s Thumb:

2013-10-25-DSC01400-mediumAnother pinnacle that we noticed on our descent.  (I don’t know the name of it.)


I chose a rocky path for part of our descent…


Marilyn, looking down into the canyon below Gardener’s Wall:



Friday Fitness Hike

We hiked the Scenic Trail for last Friday’s hike.  When we were done with the Scenic Trail, Marilyn, Linda, Nancy, Janet, and I hiked another five miles, visiting the Tortoise enclosure and the wreck of the old Chevy along the way.  Our total distance was around 9.5 miles.

Red Mountain as seen from the Scenic Trail:

2013-10-18-DSC01064-mediumAnother view of Red Mountain with some large saguaros in the foreground:

2013-10-18-DSC01097-mediumAmy and I took this group photo in the wash just off of the Scenic Trail.  (The Scenic Trail used to be routed through this wash.)  From left to right are Amy, Nancy, Linda, Janet, Linda, Marilyn, and Kevin.


Rand told me that the friendly tortoise in the enclosure is named Scarlett.  She crawled toward us and opened her mouth several times during our visit.  I think she wanted us to feed her.   (I learned from Amy, later on, that this tortoise’s name is actually Alice.  There is another tortoise named Scarlet in the enclosure.)

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This is the saguaro that’s at the intersection of the Wagner and Granite trails.  The McDowell mountains are in the background.2013-10-18-DSC01184-medium

Stoneman Wash:

2013-10-18-DSC01204-3-medium 2013-10-18-DSC01205-medium

This is the old Chevy in Stoneman Wash.




Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s Hike started at the Wagner Trailhead.  We hiked Wagner to Granite, Granite to the Bluff Trail Wash, the wash to Pemberton, Pemberton to Delsie, Delsie back to Granite, Granite to Wagner, and Wagner to the Trailhead.  Total distance was 9.75 miles.

We encountered this wash on the Wagner Trail.  This wash sometimes has deep sand in it.  When I started mountain biking, I fell while crossing it at least once.


Bob and Sarge:


Approaching the scramble for the Bluff Wash.  (That’s not an official name.)


Jerry, Joe, Nancy, Sarge (in front), Bob, and Janet.  Tom and Michelle hiked partway with us, but continued their hike on the Granite at the point where we turned into the wash.

2013-10-11-DSC00815-medium A view of the McDowells from the Pemberton Trail.


Saguaros on the Delsie Trail.


A small portion of a buckhorn cholla:


We saw a tarantula while hiking back on the Delsie Trail.  I took a lot of photos, but these were the only ones which were close to being in focus.  Clearly, I need to work on my technique – I think I’m taking to long to frame the shot after acquiring focus.  This works for static scenes, but not very well for moving subjects.

2013-10-11-DSC00941-medium 2013-10-11-DSC00957-medium

A mountain biker on the Delsie Trail.


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike was somewhat over seven miles.  We hiked the North Trail, the Chuparosa Trail, and part of the Pemberton (out to Cedar Tank).

One of the things we noticed on this hike is that we’re starting to see fall colors in the ocotillo – many of the leaves had turned a golden yellow color.


We saw more flowers this week too!


Another golden ocotillo…


Linda, Janet, and Nancy examine an unusual saguaro.  Most saguaros do not have arms so close to the ground.  We thought it interesting, too, that there’s a fairly small arm near the ground.

2013-10-04-DSC00357-1-medium We saw a rattlesnake sunning itself on the trail.

2013-10-04-DSC00375-medium Linda and Michelle hiking the Pemberton Trail:

2013-10-04-DSC00390-medium We saw a lone equestrian riding her horse on the 168th St Spur.

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Yet another golden ocotillo with Four Peaks at the far right, in the background.2013-10-04-DSC00414-medium An interesting saguaro on the North Trail.


Looking up at the saguaro in the previous picture:


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started from the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead.  Ranger Amy lead four others (including Bill and Kathy from last week’s hike) on a hike of the Marcus Landslide Trail.

Bob, Linda, and I hiked less than a half a mile with Amy and her group.  We parted ways when we got to the Feldspar Trail.  I had hoped to hike to the top of Morrell’s Wall.  We made it as far as the base of the wall, but seeing no easy way to the top, we made our way over to Mesquite Canyon instead.  From there we followed the trail leading to Hog Heaven.  We hiked up past Hog Heaven to the Thumbnail Pinnacle and continued on to the East End, which is the highest point in the McDowells.  We finished our hike by taking the Tom’s Thumb Trail back to the trailhead.  We hiked only about five and a half miles but had well over 2,000 feet of total ascent for the day.

The day started out cool and cloudy.  We saw this beam of light shining through the early morning clouds.

2013-09-27-DSC09562-mediumShortly after we got on the Feldspar Trail, we saw this tarantula.  I took lots of pictures, but am only including three of them here.

2013-09-27-DSC09594-medium 2013-09-27-DSC09601-medium

In this shot, it had woken up and was starting to crawl towards me.

2013-09-27-DSC09604-mediumWe passed this boulder on our way up to Morrell’s Wall.

2013-09-27-DSC09625-mediumThis rock pile is part of the Morrell’s Wall Parking Lot Area.  There is no longer a nearby parking lot, but there was a nearby temporary parking area constructed for Tom’s Thumb Trail not long ago.  The area had been named well before that however.  In the past, a narrow jeep road lead to the rock pile with a turnaround / pullout that could accommodate two or maybe three vehicles.

2013-09-27-DSC09643-medium We saw a paramotorist (powered paraglider) just after takeoff as we rested on our way up to Morrell’s Wall.  We also saw some hot air balloons far off in the distance.  I took some photos, but the balloons were too far away to see clearly.


More interesting clouds…

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In this photo, below, of Morrell’s Wall, it looks like it should be possible to get to the top by going left, but once we got there, our way was blocked by large boulders and unforgiving vegetation.


I liked this view of two saguaros with a dead tree up on a rock wall.  I took several photos from different angles.

2013-09-27-DSC09766-medium 2013-09-27-DSC09769-medium 2013-09-27-DSC09777-mediumLinda took this photo of me as we were hiking up to Hog Heaven.



This is the Main Wall at Hog Heaven.


Bob and Linda make their way up the trail past Hog Heaven.


A wide-angle view from partway up the ascent adjacent to Hog Heaven.  The wall is quite tall – it took us a while to get above it.  The Fountain (in Fountain Hills) can be seen in the right hand corner of this photo.


Another view of the Fountain.  Red Mountain can be seen in this photo too.


Linda scrambles up some more rocks.

2013-09-27-DSC09906-medium A view of the Thumbnail Pinnacle from below.

2013-09-27-DSC09909-mediumA view looking down at the top of Hog Heaven.  Further below, part the Marcus Landslide slide mass, is a large boulder known as Submarine Rock.
2013-09-27-DSC09915-mediumA view looking up at the Thumbnail Pinnacle.  I happened to be there at just the right time of day so that I could get the upper part of the pinnacle to partially block the sun.

2013-09-27-DSC09933-mediumOnce we got to the Thumbnail Pinnacle we were afforded new views to the east.  Thompson’s Peak (with the antenna towers) is visible in the photo below.

2013-09-27-DSC09945-mediumLinda, standing next to the Thumbnail Pinnacle.  It’s surprising how different it looks depending upon from where it’s being viewed.

2013-09-27-DSC09948-mediumGetting to the Thumbnail Pinnacle was a goal, but there was more uphill ahead of us.  This photo below, looks back at the Thumbnail Pinnacle, before we went over the ridge blocking our view of it.

2013-09-27-DSC09975-medium A double saguaro!  And… it’s a long way down!

2013-09-27-DSC09993-mediumMore saguaros upon the boulder encrusted ridge.  The trail lead over and around some of these boulders.



Looking back towards Thompson Peak.  The East End Trail can be seen far below.


We saw some very tiny yellow flowers.  Each flower was smaller than my pinkie fingernail.


A barrel cactus with extraordinarily red needles.


Yet another view to the southeast.

2013-09-27-DSC00081-mediumAt this point, but behind the camera, we’re approaching the East End, which is the highest point in the McDowells.  This photo, below, looks back at the boulder encrusted ridge that we hiked to get over to this point.  The Thumbnail Pinnacle is not visible from here.  It is below at the left end of this ridge.

2013-09-27-DSC00099-medium A view of Glass Dome, on the left, and Tom’s Thumb on the right.  Gardener’s Wall is below and slightly to the right of Tom’s Thumb in this photo.


We saw a larger yellow flower as we were descending.

2013-09-27-DSC00147-medium A view of Tom’s Thumb from the Tom’s Thumb Trail.

2013-09-27-DSC00150-medium We saw some purple flowers too.

2013-09-27-DSC00162-mediumOn the way down, we saw climbers on Gardener’s Wall.  There are two climber’s at the belay station midway up the wall.  A third and maybe even a fourth climber are at the bottom waiting to make their ascent.  As we watched, we saw the third climber start on the first pitch of Hanging Gardens (5.5).2013-09-27-DSC00171-medium Here is a crop of the above photo showing the climbers.  From the bottom, the climb follows crack system that leads up and left, where it intersects another crack leading up and right. Past the belay station, there are a few face moves that lead to another crack leading up and to the right.  My recollection is that you have to work your way left again once you get close to the top.2013-09-27-DSC00171-cropped



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