Linda, Bob, and I hiked a 13.5 mile loop utilizing the Technical Loop, Stoneman Wash, Pemberton, Dixie Mine, the South Wash, portions of the Long Loop, and several other smaller washes along the way.
Linda, Mona, and I hiked 10.4 miles starting from the end of Golden Eagle Blvd. We hiked out Dixie Mine, went left on the service road, right on Prospector, right on the Bell Pass Trail, right on Windmill (past the windmill), right on Coachwhip, and then right on Dixie Mine, which eventually led us back to where we started.
It felt warmer to me today than it did last week, but I think that was mostly due to the humidity being somewhat higher. Visibility was very poor. Mona told me that smoke from the wildfires in California and Oregon has been blown into the Phoenix area. Prominent landmarks such as Four Peaks, Weaver’s Needle, and the Flatiron were totally obscured by the smoke. Even Red Mountain, which is not that far away, was partially obscured by the haze. The air smelled somewhat smoky too, but I really had to breathe it in in order to detect it. The pictures below reflect this fact – missing are the distant mountain vistas which are normally in my photos.
We saw this hawk atop a saguaro early in our hike along the Dixie Mine Trail:
If you look closely, you can see the windmill for which the Windmill Trail is named.
Looking back toward Bell Pass – we can actually see a patch of blue sky!
Heading down the Coachwhip Trail – Weaver’s Needle and other landmarks in the Superstition Wilderness are normally visible from this vantage point. On this day, the haze obscured it all.
This was the large saguaro that used to stand at the bottom of the hill.
Bob, Heather, and I hiked 8.75 miles starting from the Trailhead Staging Area.
An early morning view of a saguaro on the Pemberton Trail:
Views from one of the washes off of the Pemberton:
A view of Stoneman Wash from the Granite Trail:
The remains of a dead tree in Stoneman Wash:
1960 Chevy Impala – check out that chrome!
That old car provides a home to this spider. (I missed the focus on the spider, but at least got the web in focus.)
I hiked 10.3 miles on Friday starting from the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead at the end of 128th St. I hiked up the Tom’s Thumb Trail to the East End Trail, then down East End, continuing on Windmill, Coachwhip, Pemberton, Boulder, Marcus Landslide, Feldspar, and finally finishing up on Tom’s Thumb. Linda accompanied me on the first bit of the hike up Tom’s Thumb. It was great hiking with Linda again – she had been out a while due to a knee injury.
Early morning view from the Tom’s Thumb Trail:
Looking ahead on the Tom’s Thumb Trail – at this point, the hard part of the day’s hike was pretty much done.
A view from the East End Trail:
Part way down the East End Trail is a small wall:
This is one of the mushroom rocks alongside the Marcus Landslide Trail:
Sven’s slab (right) with another mushroom pinnacle at the far left:
Marilyn, Bob, and I hiked a little over eight miles on Friday. Starting from the Wagner Trailhead, we hiked Tortoise to Pemberton, then south down Stoneman Wash. We took a feeder wash west to the Pemberton, then went north on Pemberton back to Stoneman Wash. From there we went northwest on Stoneman Wash again, then to Granite, and back on Wagner.
Just before sunrise at the Wagner Trailhead:
Looking toward the Superstitions from the Pemberton Trail:
Heading south in Stoneman Wash:
We’re in the feeder wash now, heading toward the Pemberton Trail:
Marilyn, making her way up the wash:
Saguaros in Stoneman Wash:
A view from the Wagner Trail:
I hiked 8.3 miles on Friday – Dixie Mine to Sonoran, and then a loop on the Sonoran after crossing into the Preserve. Temperatures were in the mid-eighties when I started, warming up to the mid-nineties when I finished. Once I got to the Promenade Trail, I considered adding the Western Loop, but decided that it was a little too warm and humid to do it comfortably. As it was, I drank all of one of my 3 liter reservoirs and had started on the second just before finishing.
An early morning view from the Dixie Mine Trail:
This was my first time hiking the new section of the Sonoran Trail since its completion. The left fork is the new section of trail. It leads to the same place – the Promenade Trail – but is almost a quarter of a mile longer than the original segment of the Sonoran Trail.
Nearing the end (where it intersects the Promenade Trail) of the new segment of the Sonoran Trail.
Bob and I hiked a little over eight and half miles in the Competitive Track area. We started off on the Tech Loop, made our way into Stoneman Wash, went up a feeder wash to Pemberton, and then made our way over to the Long Loop via a wash that I had not yet visited. We then followed a minor, but passable wash to another segment of the Long Loop which we used for our return.
This is a view from the parking lot just before sunrise:
A view of Red Mountain from the Technical Loop:
We saw this tortoise as we were hiking up the hill leading to T-Bone Ridge on the Technical Loop. Linda and I saw a tortoise – possibly even this same tortoise – in pretty much the same location in 2014.
I hiked 10.3 miles on Friday starting from the parking lot for the Dixie Mine Trail at the end of Golden Eagle Blvd. I hiked Dixie Mine, Coachwhip, Windmill, Bell Pass, Prospector, service road, and then back on Dixie Mine.
It rained off and on, though never hard – often times, it was just some light sprinkles. The rain plus the cloud cover kept the temperature down in the low to mid eighties.
Ocotillos on the Dixie Mine Trail:
Past the spur which leads to the mine – which I did not do – the Dixie Mine Trail goes up a hill. This is a view from the top of that hill.
A view from the Coachwhip Trail:
At this point, I’m still within the boundaries of McDowell Mountain Park, at the intersection of Windmill & Coachwhip.
A view from the Windmill Trail. The windmill is out of frame to the left. (You can see a little bit of the nearby cottonwood tree at the edge at the far left.)
I’m in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve now. Notice the difference in signage between the Park and the Preserve. There’s no getting lost with these signs!
A view from the Bell Pass Trail. The mountain with the antenna towers is Thompson Peak.
This is a barrel cactus blossom:
Heather, Dave, and I hike a little over four miles in the Tom’s Thumb Area on Friday. We hiked up Mesquite Canyon, past Hog Heaven, past the Thumbnail Pinnacle, and then made our way over to the East End (summit), which is the highest point in the McDowells. After that, we hiked down to the Tom’s Thumb Trail and returned to the parking area.
Making our way up to the pass at the top of Mesquite Canyon:
This is an easy section on the way to Hog Heaven:
We saw this turkey vulture along the way:
The prominent rock formation somewhat belong the ridgeline and about a third of the way over from the right hand edge of the photo is Hog Heaven. Above that and to the right is the Thumbnail Pinnacle. This strange looking pinnacle can be seen from Fountain Hills.
Thumbnail Pinnacle, up close:
From this vantage point, above the Thumbnail Pinnacle, it no longer has a hooked shape, but instead looks more like a spire. Weaver’s Needle and the Flatiron can be seen in the distance. The large bright area in front of (and slightly to the right) of Weaver’s Needle looks like it might be a lake, but is actually a quarry. The Fountain Lake can be seen in this photo – it’s right of the quarry.
The East End (summit) can be seen at the far right in this photo. Below and to the left is a radio repeater.
This is a view from the East End summit. We hiked along that rocky ridge to get to this point.