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Tag: Friday Fitness Hike (page 25 of 31)

Friday Fitness Hike

For Friday’s hike, Linda, Amy, Bill, Kathy, and I met at the Trailhead Staging Area.  The five of us hiked the Scenic Trail.  After that, Linda and I continued on and explored Stoneman Wash.

Equestrians saddle their horses just before sunrise.


Sunrise in the rear window of my F-150; the moon is still on its way to setting just over the cab.

2013-09-20-DSC08932-mediumA view from the Scenic Trail early in the hike.


Linda, Bill, Kathy, and Amy hike up the one substantial hill on the Scenic Trail.  It’s only about 200 feet of elevation gain.

2013-09-20-DSC08962-mediumThe view from partway up the hill.  Amy suggested we stop for water; good thing we did, or I would have missed this picture!


Another view from approximately the same location.

2013-09-20-DSC08983-mediumA petroglyph can be seen along the trail.

2013-09-20-DSC09013-medium Another “scenic” view from the Scenic Trail.

2013-09-20-DSC09031-medium A view from the Pemberton, shortly before crossing the road:


A view of a small feeder wash to Stoneman Wash.  This can be seen from the Pemberton just before descending a short hill leading down into (and across) Stoneman Wash.


Dried and cracked clay near the former clay mining test site.  I wouldn’t have thought to take this photo, but I saw Linda photographing it with her camera, so I decided to give it a try too.

2013-09-20-DSC09102-medium Another view of Red Mountain.


A palo verde at the top of a small bluff along Stoneman Wash.


The same bluff as above, viewed from a short ways further up the wash:


A large palo verde tree in Stoneman Wash:


Linda poses next to a large saguaro.  It really was leaning that much.

2013-09-20-DSC09255-medium A bright yellow flower with a small white spider in the tortoise enclosure.  We looked for tortoises in the enclosure, but did not see any.


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started at the Wagner Trailhead.  Ranger Amy introduced regulars Bob, Linda, Janet, and me to Bill and Kathy who recently moved here from Wisconsin.  Also joining us was Jerry, who had been on one of our hikes in the past.  Amy had to work at the visitor center and was unable to join us for the hike.

We hiked the Wagner Trail to Granite, turning right.  We followed the Granite Trail until we got to the wash below the Bluff Trail.  We hiked up the wash until we got to the Pemberton Trail, seeing two snakes along the way.  From there we hiked a short ways on Pemberton, turned onto Bluff and followed the Bluff trail to the bottom where it intersects with the Granite Trail.  From there we took Granite back to Wagner, which lead us back to the trailhead.  Total distance was a little over seven miles.

A view of the McDowells from the Granite Trail.

2013-09-13-DSC08361-mediumRecent rainstorms have caused some flowers to bloom.  I think these are Senna, but Jerry knew them by a different name (which I’ve now forgotten).

Bob and Sarge lead the way to the gap in the rocks where an easy scramble allowed us to continue on up the wash.  Sarge tried to make it up the rocks on the own, but he needed a boost.  He was a very good dog when I picked him up.

2013-09-13-DSC08388-mediumEasy scrambling was required further up the wash too.


We stopped for a group photo at a small wall built in the wash.  We don’t know who built this wall or the purpose of it, save that it may prevent erosion to some degree.  Perhaps it was a small dam at one time which filled in over time?

From left to right, and top to bottom, are Bill, Jerry, Bob, Sarge, Kathy, Janet, Kevin, and Linda.


Boulder-strewn hills form the banks of the wash.

2013-09-13-DSC08411-medium This rattlesnake was well away from where we were walking, but made itself known to us by employing its rattle.  It was kind of dark and difficult to see this snake.  This is the best photo I got of it.


The upper parts of the McDowells can be seen from the wash.


More bouldery outcroppings…

2013-09-13-DSC08485-medium 2013-09-13-DSC08486-medium

Just before reaching Pemberton, we saw coachwhip snake, also known as a red racer.  I tried to get close to it while it was still on the ground, but it raced away, disappearing into some brush.  Moments later, Jerry noticed it slithering up into a tree.  It took me a long time to see it because, to me, it looked like just another branch.  Once I finally did see it, I was able to take the photo, below:

2013-09-13-DSC08497-cropped-mediumHere’s the uncropped version of the photo above.  I like this one too because you can see the sky through the leaves and branches of the tree.


This is the palo verde (tree) at the top of the hill near the intersection of Bluff and Pemberton.  There is a small bench, just barely visible, to the left of the tree.

2013-09-13-DSC08507-mediumSarge and Bob pose for a picture.


Snake in a Tree? How can that be?

We saw this snake during our hike today.  It started out on the ground, but then raced off, climbing into the tree.  Bob identified it as a red racer.

2013-09-13-DSC08497-cropped-medium 2013-09-13-DSC08497-medium


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started at the trailhead for the North Trail.  Linda, Janet, Bob, and I joined Ranger Amy for a 7.2 mile hike that utilized the North Trail, Chuparosa, and part of the Pemberton Trail.  We focused on hiking, mostly.  I took few photos on this hike than usual.

I took this photo before the hike begin, shortly after sunrise:

2013-09-06-DSC07892-mediumLinda took this photo of Bob and Amy at Cedar Tank.  The tank has water in it and Amy saw swimming shrimp.  There were also mosquitoes there, so we didn’t stay long.

2013-09-06-From_Linda-015We stopped to take a group photo near an old water tank no longer capable of holding water due to many bullet holes.

2013-09-06-DSC07941-mediumWe saw these large saguaros as we were nearing the Chuparosa Trail on our way back.





Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started at the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead.  Linda, Janet, Amy, Bob, and I hiked the Tom’s Thumb Trail to the climber’s access trail for Gardener’s Wall.  We hiked up past Gardener’s wall, ending up at the top of the wall and then hiked a short ways further to reach Tom’s Thumb.  For the trip back, we hiked back down the Tom’s Thumb Trail for a ways and then took a somewhat easier route back amongst the rocks adjacent to Gardener’s Wall.   We hiked only a little over four miles, but we had a lot of elevation gain along with some technical challenges along the way.

Note: The route that we took is not the easiest nor the safest way to get to Tom’s Thumb. It has many steep and loose sections. Finding a workable route over, around, and even under the many boulders below the wall can be challenging even for those familiar with the area.

The easiest and safest route to Tom’s Thumb is via the main Tom’s Thumb Trail to the climber’s access trail leading to Tom’s Thumb.  This latter trail is hiked so frequently that route finding is relatively easy and its condition is about the same as that of the Tom’s Thumb Trail.  (The Tom’s Thumb Trail doesn’t actually go to Tom’s Thumb.  You have to take another trail – the climber’s access trail just mentioned – to get there.)

This is a view from the parking lot prior to starting the hike.  It had rained the night before. Although there were a lot of heavy clouds, it did not rain on us during our hike.

2013-08-30-DSC06916-medium A view of our destination for the day: Tom’s Thumb, off in the distance.

2013-08-30-DSC06961-medium A view of Troon Mountain and Pinnacle Peak2013-08-30-DSC06979-medium

A saguaro snuggles up next to a large rock. Pinnacle Peak and part of Troon are visible in the distance.


Amy hurries to catch up with the group after taking her own pictures.


Some of the technical challenges involved scrambling up and down large boulders along the way.

2013-08-30-DSC07018-medium Bob uses the sticky rubber on his approach shoes to scramble up a large boulder.  There was an easier way around the boulder, but we both thought that climbing up the boulder was more fun.

2013-08-30-DSC07035-medium Bob pauses on his way up to Gardener’s wall.  The trail is steep and loose in spots.  The hiking poles that we brought along helped us to make our way up the trail without slipping too much.


Looking over towards the East End from near the base of Gardener’s Wall.

2013-08-30-DSC07060-mediumThere was a spot where we had to crawl under a boulder only to emerge and have to scramble up another boulder to make progress.  I got this photo of Janet just as she looked up after crawling underneath the boulder behind her.


The trail hugs the large boulder to the left, going over smaller boulders along the way. Linda and Janet are approaching the black opening of the “cave”.


We also had to crawl into a “cave” which consisted of a huge boulder piled on some other supporting boulders.  We posed for a photo here, though it did not turn out as well as I would have liked.  It was fairly dark in this cave: this was a two second exposure at f/8, ISO 400.  Many of my other shots in brighter conditions used the same aperture size, f/8, at ISO 100 for 1/60sec or even faster.  I’d like to try a shot like this again some time using a fill light.

2013-08-30-DSC07085-mediumAll of us lost a bit of blood on the hike, due to sharp rocks and the prickly vegetation.  Amy gives the “thumbs up” even though her leg is bleeding.


A view of Glass Dome and East End to the left from where we topped out above Gardener’s Wall.


Linda took this photo of me hiking back up the trail again after going back to check on the whereabouts of Janet and Amy.


We’re getting close to Tom’s Thumb!


Amy, Bob, Linda, Janet, and I pose in front of and below Tom’s Thumb.


Amy poses in front of Tom’s Thumb.

2013-08-30-DSC07238-medium A view of the top of Gardener’s Wall.  We topped out in that saddle just to the left of the rocks forming the top of Gardener’s Wall.

2013-08-30-DSC07241-medium A view of the Flatiron and Red Mountain from the intersection of Tom’s Thumb Trail & the East End Trail.

2013-08-30-DSC07258-medium Looking the other direction towards Pinnacle Peak.

2013-08-30-DSC07273-medium Another view of Glass Dome.


Our return trip featured more scrambling.

2013-08-30-DSC07306-medium A barrel cactus along the trail.

2013-08-30-DSC07313-mediumA view of Gardener’s Wall and Tom’s Thumb.  There is a smaller boulder pile known as “The Rist” to the right of Tom’s Thumb.

2013-08-30-DSC07325-mediumAmy, Linda, Bob, and Janet hike down the Tom’s Thumb Trail.


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started at the Dixie Mine Trailhead at the end of Golden Eagle Blvd.  We hiked out to the mine where we looked down the mine shaft.  We then hiked up the wash past the petroglyphs, meeting up with the Prospector Trail, and continuing down the road before returning on the Dixie Mine Trail. Total distance was just over six miles.

Ranger Amy stopped by to say “Hi” and to pose for a photo by the crested saguaro at the trailhead.


Amy took this photo of Bill, Bob, Janet, Linda, and me.


An early morning view of the Dixie Mine Trail.


We saw a cyclist riding the trail.


One of the many rock outcroppings along the Dixie Mine Trail:




A view of the mine tailings.  We hiked to the top of that hill where we looked down the mine shaft.2013-08-23-DSC06376-medium

We saw these saguaros on our way up to the top of the tailings.




Bill enjoys the view from the edge of the tailings.


Janet, Bob, and Bill look at the shaft as I get my tripod out.

2013-08-23-From_Linda-001-mediumBill helps me with the tripod as I attempt to get a photo of the mine shaft.  (Thanks to Linda for both this photo and the previous photo!)


I didn’t have the camera angled down quite as much as I had wanted.  This is the photo I got:


Red Mountain (Mount McDowell) can be seen from the top of the tailings.  The road below is part of the road that leads from Grassland Dr. in Fountain Hills to the radio towers at the top of Thompson Peak.

2013-08-23-DSC06416-medium There are a lot of saguaros on the hillside above the mine tailings.  I thought that the notch in the tall saguaro was interesting.  You can tell that I’m pointing the camera upwards because the saguaros at the edges lean in.



Linda, Bill, Janet, and Bob patiently wait for me to take photos…

2013-08-23-DSC06445-medium One more shot from the top of the tailings…


There is a spring near the mine which keeps that area quite lush.  We found the trail to be more overgrown than normal.  In the photo below, Bill holds up a tree branch to let the ladies through.  (Bob and I ducked underneath it.)


When we got near the mine, we found that several branches, or perhaps even trees, had fallen across the trail.  Janet points up at the tree from which one of the branches had fallen.

2013-08-23-DSC06455-medium Janet ducks underneath the fallen branch.


Approaching the large petroglyph panel…2013-08-23-DSC06464-medium

Two more views of the panel of petroglyphs…

2013-08-23-DSC06470-medium 2013-08-23-DSC06473-medium

Continuing on past the petroglyphs…


A largish boulder in the wash somewhat past the waterfall area.


Bob climbed a short ways up a slab on the side of the wash.  This could be a useful skill in the event of a flash flood!


A forest of saguaros can be seen from the Prospector Trail.


Janet and Linda hike back along the Dixie Mine Trail.

2013-08-23-DSC06548-medium A nice looking saguaro amid a rock outcropping along the Dixie Mine Trail.


Friday Fitness Hike

Linda, Janet, Bob, Bill, and I met at the Horse Staging Area (in McDowell Mountain Park) for Friday’s hike.  We hiked a 7.25 mile loop.

The sun had not quite risen yet when I arrived.  Linda took this photo of me taking some predawn photos using my tripod.

2013-08-16-From_Linda-015This is one of the photos I got:

2013-08-16-DSC05005-mediumIt’s amazing how much the sky can change in just a few minutes…

2013-08-16-DSC05083-mediumLinda’s photo of the sky just before sunrise:



A view of Red Mountain, just after sunrise:

2013-08-16-DSC05128-mediumAnother pre-hike photo taken just after sunrise:



I had seen this area from the Technical Loop before, but we found a road that brought us closer.

2013-08-16-DSC05143-mediumI like this photo from Linda…

2013-08-16-From_Linda-020Janet noticed the remains of a dead saguaro with an interesting looking protrusion at the top.  I think this might be from one of the arms when it was alive.

2013-08-16-DSC05163-mediumLinda took a photo of it too…

2013-08-16-From_Linda-021A dead tree in Stoneman Wash:


We noticed some very green and healthy looking trees in Stoneman Wash, but none of us knew what they were.  Below, Bill, Janet, Linda, and Bob pose in front of one of them.


Two more views of Stoneman Wash…

2013-08-16-DSC05191-export 2013-08-16-DSC05206-medium

Senna flowers on the Pemberton Trail:


Friday Fitness Hike


This week’s hike started at the Wagner Trailhead, though we never actually got around to hiking the Wagner Trail.  Even so, we hiked 8.7 miles.

I got this photo of the sunrise before the hike started.  Part of the Wagner Trail is visible in this photo.


Another pre-hike photo; A good view of Red Mountain off in the distance with some interesting foliage in the foreground.


We hiked the Tortoise Trail to the Pemberton and then hiked Pemberton to Stoneman Wash.  We hiked up the wash, stopping to take photos at this rusted convertible.


From left to right are Kevin, Bob, Amy, Janet, and Teresa.


Bob took this photo of me while I was photographing the car.


A large palo verde tree in Stoneman Wash:

2013-08-09-DSC04559-mediumWe hiked up one of the feeder washes for Stoneman Wash.  It eventually lead us back to the Pemberton, somewhat south of the Bluff Trail.

We saw this rattlesnake along the way.  Ranger Amy has confirmed that it’s a Mohave rattlesnake.  We saw one on last week’s hike too.

2013-08-09-DSC04580-medium 2013-08-09-DSC04625-medium 2013-08-09-DSC04631-medium

I was suprised to see a blooming barrel cactus in the area.

2013-08-09-DSC04652-medium Ranger Amy examines the skull of a small animal.


A view from the Pemberton Trail.  There is a small bench just below and left of the Palo Verde on the hill.  Just below and beyond the tree and bench lies the Bluff Trail.  The yellow sign visible in this photo warns of a sharp turn on the Pemberton Trail.


Teresa and Bob hike down the Bluff Trail.


A view of Weaver’s Needle and the Flatiron far off in the distance:


We came across a number of healthy looking ocotillos while hiking back on the Bluff Trail.


Ranger Amy spotted this horseshoe on a granite boulder.

2013-08-09-DSC04727-medium A view of the nine o’clock fountain with Red Mountain behind it.


Friday Fitness Hike

Janet, Linda, Bob, and I hiked out on the Pemberton from the Trailhead Staging Area today.  We passed the site of the ranch homestead until we found a promising looking wash heading west.  We hiked the wash, seeing three snakes along the way.  I only got photos of two of these snakes.  We returned via the Tonto Tank Trail.  Total distance was 7.67 miles.

I took this photo from the road leading into the parking area while before the hike.


A photo of the sunrise, also before the hike:


A large multi-armed saguaro in Stoneman Wash:


A view from the Pemberton, near Stoneman Wash:


This is the wash that we hiked after leaving the Pemberton.  It meandered both west and north, though there were several forks we could have taken along the way which would have probably lead us to the Pemberton again.


Linda takes a photo of…2013-08-02-DSC04217-medium

…me, Janet, and Bob:



Three photos of the first snake we encountered.  I believe it’s a Western Diamondback rattlesnake.

2013-08-02-DSC04238-medium 2013-08-02-DSC04243-medium 2013-08-02-DSC04249-medium

Linda took this photo of me photographing the snake:


Bob, Linda, and Janet wait for the snake to move off.


This is the second rattlesnake that we saw.  Linda and Alan’s research suggests that it’s a Mohave rattlesnake.  I saw one other snake, but it was not a rattlesnake; I don’t know what it was aside from being small and quick.


A view of Four Peaks from the Tonto Tank Trail:


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike met at the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead, where we hiked the Marcus Landslide Trail.  The hike started off rainy, but cleared after perhaps twenty minutes or so.

Amy composed this group photo, which I shot from my tripod.  From left to right are Linda, Kevin, Amy, Janet, Teresa, Marilyn, Mary, and Jerry.



A bird’s nest in a chain fruit cholla, with Sven Slab in the background:


Linda sent me this photo of me photographing the nest.



More chain fruit cholla:


Sven Towers III, and II.  (Seven Tower I is only partially visible at the far right in this photo.)



A spider web among some barrel cacti:


Linda took this photo of the web from above:



We saw a mule deer, but the wide angle lens that I was using didn’t get me very close:


Marilyn got this photo of the deer with her camera.



The Granite Ballroom with the Thumbnail Pinnacle off in the distance.

2013-07-26-DSC04026-mediumBroken mushroom rocks:



We spent nearly all of the hike in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  Some of us did, however, take a few steps into McDowell Mountain Park.  Here, Amy and Teresa pose by a sign on the Boulder Trail.

2013-07-26-DSC04050-mediumThe trail leads up a hill formed from the slide mass:

2013-07-26-DSC04053-medium Linda took this photo of me at around that point.


The trail goes past a lichen covered slab of granite:

2013-07-26-DSC04056-mediumAmy makes her way up the slide mass.  Rock Knob is in the background at the right.


We stopped at the interpretive viewpoint which shows the locations of various landmarks including Four Peaks and Weaver’s Needle.  I took this photo from that view area.

2013-07-26-DSC04077-medium Taking a break near the view point…


Submarine Rock:

2013-07-26-DSC04093-mediumWe returned via the Caballo Trail.  Along that trail is an old feeding trough…


There’s also an old water tank nearby.  Tom’s Thumb can be seen just left of the water tank.


On the drive out, after the hike was over, Teresa took this photo of caballos crossing the road.







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