Tag: McDowell Sonoran Preserve (page 1 of 8)
Sara, Linda, and I hiked a little over five miles in the Tom’s Thumb Area. Total elevation gain was only a little over 1500 feet.
This is the small pinnacle mentioned earlier.
Sara and Linda, hiking up some steep terrain.
Tom’s Thumb from the ridge:
Linda, Sara, and Kevin in front of Tom’s Thumb.
After we worked our way around to the other side of Tom’s Thumb, we met a woman who was walking back down the trail to take a picture of her male companion. I thought it was a good shot, so I took a picture too.
At the right is Glass Dome and, past that, Goat Hill.
This is not really a tunnel; the large leaning rocks don’t actually touch each other, but it sort of looks like they do if you stand in the right place.
Another view of Glass Dome:
Linda and Sara making their way across the boulders:
Looking up at Gardener’s Wall; as we were making our way back, we came across two women who were hiking up to Gardener’s Wall, and then to Tom’s Thumb. It was remarkable just to come across anyone else on this particular trail.
We saw this tarantula as we made our way back down Tom’s Thumb Trail:
Linda, hiking down Tom’s Thumb Trail:
We turned right on the Feldspar Trail and then right again on the Marcus Landslide Trail. Linda told me that she had helped to clear the path to this mushroom boulder on the hill near where Marilyn and I used to park for climbing at Sven Slab. After visiting this mushroom rock, we went over to look at Energizer (5.8) and the Gripple Variation (5.10a) on a boulder in the Sven Slab area.
Look for four deer at the bottom left:
Five deer; the second one in line has a tracking collar.
Marilyn, Linda, Sara, Susan, and I hiked 10.3 miles with somewhat over 1400 feet of total ascent. We hiked Dixie Mine, Coachwhip, Windmill, Bell Pass, Prospector, and then back down the service road to Dixie Mine, which we used to return to the parking area.
A view from the Dixie Mine Trail – at this point, we were midway up the hill just past the service road.
Continuing up the hill…
A view from the Coachwhip Trail:
Looking towards Thompson Peak from the Windmill Trail:
Looking toward Four Peaks from the Bell Pass Trail:
Views from the Prospector Trail…
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.
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:
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.
Nora, Bob, and I hiked a loop of about 5 miles in the Tom’s Thumb area. Following mostly climber’s access trails, we visited Hog Heaven, the Thumbnail Pinnacle, the East End (which is the highest point in the McDowells), and Tom’s Thumb.
Kathy, Jerry, Mike, Nancy, Bill, Heather, Bob, and I did a 10.2 mile hike on Friday. We hiked Dixie Mine to Sonoran and then did a loop on the Western Loop Trail. On the way back, Bill showed us the trail that he and his crew have been building. Tentatively called the Lower Sonoran Trail, it uses some of the lower portions of the slope below the current Sonoran Trail, running from the Promenade Trail to Sonoran Trail at the boundary between the park and the preserve. Bill told me that the current Sonoran Trail between those two points is 1.8 miles in length; the new section of trail is 2.1 miles long. In most instances, I prefer hiking a loop instead of a pure out-and-back, so having a new and scenic option in the area is much appreciated.
Mike (far left), Bob, Jerry, Nancy, and Heather on the Sonoran Trail:
Ocotillos on the Sonoran Trail:
Nancy and Kathy hiking up the Western Loop Trail:
A view from just below the overlook:
Heather at the top of the overlook just off the Western Loop Trail:
Mike (above left), Nancy, Bill, and Heather descending the Western Loop Trail:
Nancy, Bill, and Heather:
The new section of trail has lots of ocotillos too!
Bill on the new section of trail:
Heather and Nancy taking a break…