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Friday Fitness Hike

Seven of us met at the Trailhead Staging Area for Friday’s hike: me, Bill, Janet, Amy, Lynn, Bob, and Bob’s dog, Sarge.  Sarge is appropriately named; he kept us moving at a brisk pace just as a drill sergeant would.  We hiked Pemberton to the pond and then continued on past the pond where we took a large feeder wash over to Stoneman Wash.  We continued on Stoneman Wash through the area of the competitive tracks.  We crossed the main park road and continued our hike up Shallmo Wash, skirted the edge of the horse staging area, hiked the new trail to the Scenic Trail.  We finished our hike on Scenic and a very short section of Pemberton.

In this group photo, below, from left to right, are Janet, Lynn, Bill, Amy, Sarge, and Bob.  We were on the Pemberton at a wash crossing.  Janet, Bob, Sarge, and I hiked that wash down to Stoneman Wash.

Stoneman Wash:

Sarge, on the move:

Sarge allowed me to stop just long enough to take a photo of this unusual saguaro.  At some point in its development, the main trunk split into two parts.

Here’s a crop showing the split and the portions above the split.  It appears that, above the split, the saguaro was even confused about which way to grow the ridges that are normally (roughly) parallel to each other.

Bob with Sarge:

Bob, Sarge, and Janet in Shallmo Wash, just after passing through a tunnel under the road for the horse staging area.

Shallmo Wash:



Friday Fitness Hike

Today’s hike was a loop comprising the Pemberton and Scenic Trail.  Once that portion of the hike was done, some of us went up the wash off the Tonto Tank Trail to look at some of the small canyons in that area.  Amy, Bob, Janet, Nick, Linda, Marilyn, Lynn, Mary Lou, Daniel, and Valerie showed up for the hike today.  That’s eleven of us (counting me too).

Nick shows off his new stick made from a portion of an agave stalk.  This was the same stick he found and used to negotiate the Barnhardt Trail several weeks ago.  Different ornaments may be affixed to the top of the staff.

Erosion in one of the washes created this interesting formation:

We saw this owl during our exploration of the area.  I had to crop the image significantly to get this picture.  (The RX100  used to take this photo has a very limited zoom.)

More views from the wash:

When we got back, we saw a group of equestrians preparing for a trail ride.



Friday Hike at Little Granite Mountain

Four of us, Marilyn, Linda, Bob, and I skipped the scheduled Fitness Hike at McDowell Mountain Park this week.  Instead, we met at Linda’s house and hiked up to the top of Little Granite Mountain!

The goal was get to the peak of this mountain:

A view from early in the hike when we were on good trails:

There are a lot of trails in this area, nearly all of which were made by motorcycles and quads.  This area is now part of the Preserve; Linda tells me that there is almost no motorcycle traffic there now.  We did, however, see some recent tracks on one of the trails that we hiked.

It’s difficult to know which trails to hike; we basically just guessed until we got to a point where I thought we might be able to begin our ascent.  We bushwhacked for only a short ways before finding an established trail.  We found numerous trails on our way up.  Unfortunately, there’s a lot of growth and rocks.  We’d often lose the trail for a time only to find it, or some other trail, again later on.

Here is a photo Linda making her way up one of these marginal trails:

The route we ascended was in the shade and was quite cold even though we were expending a lot of energy.  Bob forged ahead and waited for the rest of us in the sun.  That’s still not the top though, just one of the lower peaks.

A view of Troon to the left and Pinnacle Peak to the right.  We were surprised at the high density of saguaros in the area.

More saguaros!

Another view of Pinnacle Peak from even higher up.  This photo helps to convey just how steep this area is.

Linda took this photo of me on top of the peak:

Linda also took these photos of me and Marilyn:

We were definitely not the first ones up there.  The US Coast and Geodetic Survey placed this marker on the top in 1946.

A view from the top.  Bartlett Dam is just visible at the far right of the photo.

Four Peaks with a small bank of clouds for a cap:

Another view from somewhere near the top.  We wandered around for a long while trying to decide on the best way down.  I had seen some cairns that looked promising, but somehow we missed them during the initial part of our descent.  I backtracked and found them only to find that they lead back to where the rest of the group was patiently waiting.

We ended up taking a different route on our descent.  We somehow made our way down through that mass of rock and vegetation in the photo below.

Linda, Bob, and Marilyn hiking back on easier trails:

Looking up at a large saguaro.  I thought about editing the airplane out of the picture, but decided to leave it in.

Linda took this photograph of the same saguaro.  I’m in the process of framing the shot above.  The NEX-7’s viewscreen does tilt, but not quite enough for me to see what’s at the top of the frame.  It took several tries before I was satisfied with the composition.

We ended up hiking 6.2 miles with over 1500 feet of total ascent.

Friday Hike at the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead

Friday’s Hike wasn’t an official Fitness Hike scheduled at McDowell Mountain Park, but five of us met at the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead just off of 128th Street.  Bob, Bob’s dog Sarge, Linda, Nick, and I hiked the Marcus Landslide Trail, including the short loop at the end.  After hiking the loop on the Marcus Landslide Trail, we backtracked to the intersection with the Boulder Trail and took Boulder down to the Pemberton.  From there, we hiked over to Coachwhip and turned off on the Windmill Trail.  We took the East End Trail up to the Tom’s Thumb Trail, which took us most of the way back to the parking lot.  We made a slight diversion near the end in order to make our hike just slightly longer than twelve miles.

A pair of rocks near the Sven Slab climbing area:

A saguaro on the Marcus Landslide Trail:

Another view from the Marcus Landslide Trail:

A broken mushroom rock leaning against another rock.  I managed to avoid getting the sign in the photo by standing right behind the sign while taking this photo.  (I took another photo of this rock formation on a hike back in November.  On that occasion, I had Nancy stand in front of the sign.)

Another mushroom shaped rock:

Bob’s dog, Sarge:

Submarine Rock:

Beneath Submarine Rock:

Bob, Sarge, Linda, and Nick on the Coachwhip Trail:

Looking up at a few of the many switchbacks on the East End Trail:

Views from the East End Trail:

Linda, Nick, and Bob near the top of the East End Trail:

Linda takes a break while Nick explores the nearby cave / shelter:

The cave / shelter:

Below are some signs on the Tom’s Thumb Trail.  Joe and I climbed at Fort McDowell one time, but I haven’t been any further on this trail.  Back in the ’90s, Marilyn and I tried to find the other climbing areas, but there weren’t decent trails to these areas back then. (None that I could find, anyway.) According to the map, this trail should lead all the way to Tom’s Thumb.  I think it’d be fun to try to get to Tom’s Thumb via the Fort McDowell / Lost Wall / Half and Half Wall access trail.




Friday Fitness Hike

Today’s hike started at the Wagner Trailhead.  We went out Wagner, turned right on Granite, and turned up Delsie.  We then made our way back on Stoneman Wash and retraced our steps back to the trailhead.  We had a small group today, just me, Bob, Janet, Amy, and Lynn.  It had rained overnight and, although we got rained on a bit during our hike, it was clear most of the way.  The trails were very spongy though.

We saw these saguaros just off the Delsie Trail:

Amy holds up a horseshoe that she found in Stoneman Wash:

A mushroom shaped rock near Stoneman Wash:

Janet, Lynn, and Amy finish hiking Stoneman Wash:

A Hedgehog Cactus off the Wagner Trail:


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started at the Trailhead Staging Area.  Eleven of us hiked the Scenic Trail and then a smaller group of us hiked out to the site of the ranch homestead.  We finished up by hiking back on part of Stoneman Wash.

Below is a group photo.  (There were too many new names for me to remember…)

Ranger Amy tells the group about a petroglyph that can be seen along the Scenic Trail:

Amy and Nick lead the way along the Scenic Trail:

A coil of barbed wire and a fence post remind us that the area was once a ranch:

The steep bank of a wash near the old homestead:

This clay pit (below) is just off the Pemberton Trail somewhat past the site of the old homestead.  I’ve been told that clay was mined here for a short period of time with the intent of making clay water pipes.  If it weren’t for the invention of PVC pipe, the area might have been very heavily mined for clay.

Four Peaks can be seen in the distance.

We saw some Desert Broom flowers that had gone to seed in some of the washes:

Hiking down one of the feeders to Stoneman Wash:

Hiking up a short, but steep hill leading out of Stoneman Wash:

The arrow points at Nancy:

Two of our hiking group with the McDowells in the background:


Friday Fitness Hike

Bob, Janet, Linda, Nancy, and I met at 7:30am, half an hour early, in order to give ourselves enough time to do a long hike with a significant amount of elevation change.  A 7:00am start might have been even better.

We hiked out Dixie Mine to the mine, passed the petroglyphs, and continued up the wash until we hit the Prospector Trail.  We took Prospector up to the Bell Pass Trail and then hiked up to Bell Pass.  After looking at the views afforded by our vantage point at Bell Pass, we turned around and hiked the Bell Pass Trail to the Windmill Trail.  We stopped at the windmill and spent some time looking around that area.  We continued on Windmill until it ended at Coachwhip. Coachwhip took us back to the Dixie Mine Trail, which, in turn, took us back to our vehicles.  We hiked twelve miles with over 1700 feet of total ascent.

Bob pointed out this bright field of quartz on the Dixie Mine Trail:

Linda takes photos of the petroglyphs near the mine, while Janet looks on:


Linda hikes up the smooth and slippery rock of the (dry) waterfall while Nancy and Bob negotiate the bottom section.  It’s not really as far down as it looks in this photo; it’s an illusion created by the wide angle lens I was using.  If you look to the far left, you can see another petroglyph.

This is what it looked like from the bottom:

Linda, Janet, Bob, and Nancy slightly past the waterfall area.

Saguaros on the Prospector Trail.   The saguaros are “leaning” due to the fact that I was pointing the wide angle lens slightly upward.  I had thought about trying to correct the lean in post processing, but Marie convinced me that the photo looked cooler left alone.

The windmill, for which the Windmill Trail was named:

This large cottonwood is near the windmill.  It makes for a better landmark than the windmill itself since the windmill can be kind of hard to see from the Windmill Trail.

Another view of the cottonwood and the bullet-ridden storage tank:

Looking up through the dead tree at the right in the previous photo:

A view from the Coachwhip Trail.

Another view from further down the Coachwhip Trail:

Bob, Janet, and Linda pass the turnoff to the mine on the way back:

Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started at the Wagner Trailhead.  Amy had the day off due to the Thanksgiving day holiday.  Susan Davis lead the short hike in her place.

Eleven of us started from Wagner Trailhead.  We hiked Wagner to Granite and then Granite to the Delsie Trail.  At that point, we split up.  Sue took her group up to the Bluff and then back to the trailhead making for a four to five mile hike depending upon the exact route back to the trailhead.

The long hike group, me, Marilyn, Bob, Janet, Alan, Nancy, and Linda, hiked the Deslie to Pemberton.  We then hiked over to one of the Stoneman Wash feeder washes which lead to Stoneman Wash.  We saw horse tracks in the feeder wash, but smaller tracks too and sign of activity under some of the brush along the way.  Stoneman Wash was quite the slog as it had been churned up by the equestrian event from a week earlier.

When we got back to the Granite Trail, we took it back to Wagner and then back to our cars, making for a nine mile hike.

Group photo:

A saguaro on the Delsie Trail:

Bob and Alan take a short break at the new picnic table and shelter near Granite Tank:

One of the views while hiking to Stoneman Wash:

Friday Fitness Hike

Twelve of us hiked the Scenic Trail today.  At the end of the Scenic trail, Bob, Nancy, Janet, Pat, Mike, Malcolm, Sue, and I split off from the rest of the group and continued on to hike Lousley Hill too.  (The only name I remember from those who split off is Lynn, who is Mike’s wife.)  Those of us who did the long hike covered about eight miles today; the short hike was about 4.3 miles.

Below is a map showing where we hiked today.

View Fitness Hike: Scenic / Lousley Hill in a larger map

This is the group that we had on today’s hike.  The dog was very well behaved.

I noticed that the mountains to the northeast didn’t have as much haze as normal.  In fact, they were startlingly clear.

Below is another shot of these mountains using a shorter focal length (wider angle).  I’m guessing that the burned tree branch in this photo was due to the Rio Fire of the mid-nineties.

I took this photo of Bob, Nancy, and Janet just after they had hiked the hill leading to the top of the Ridge on the Scenic Trail.




Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike this week took us out to the Marcus Landslide Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  Eleven of us started out from the Wagner Trailhead.  We hiked through the campground, using one of the campground trails to get to the Granite Trail.  From there we hiked, in succession, portions of Bluff, Pemberton, the Rock Knob Trail, the Marcus Landslide Trail, the Boulder Trail, Pemberton, Tonto Tank, and Pemberton.  We ended up hiking the main park road back to our vehicles at the Wagner Trailhead.

Amy and four others split off from the long hike group on the Bluff at the upper Granite Trail Intersection.  Nancy, Linda, Janet, Nick, Mike, and I continued on up the Bluff to finish the route sketched out above   Below is the map of our hike.  My GPS reported the distance as 11.4 miles, but Google Earth reported the track as being only 11.2 miles.

View Marcus Landslide Hike in a larger map

Here’s a group photo just after hiking up the short, but steep hill at the beginning of the Bluff Trail:

Linda took the photo below in which Amy had us all kneel (or squat) down to better see the rays of the sun streaming through the clouds.

We saw this young Queen of the Night cactus as we hiked up the Bluff Trail:

A view of Rock Knob near the end of the Bluff Trail:

A view from the Rock Knob Trail:

One of the mushroom shaped rocks on the Marcus Landslide Trail.  The sign had been put in since I was last out there perhaps a month ago.  The signs are informative, but in some cases, I think they were placed too close to the feature being described.  (In my opinion this photo, below, would have been better without a sign in it.)

Here’s what the sign says:

Nancy poses in beside a pair of mushroom boulders leaning against each other.  I took several shots here, but hated the fact that the sign was in the picture.  Finally, I asked Nancy to come stand in front of the sign.  I think it’s a much better photo as a result.

The hill in the foreground is a portion of the slide mass of the Marcus Landslide.  It extends for quite a distance from the preserve into McDowell Mountain Park.

Nick sits in another abandoned and, this time, overturned vehicle that Linda spotted a short ways off the Boulder Trail.

A pair of saguaros just off the Pemberton.  We saw these near the end of the hike just before crossing Stoneman Wash.


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