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Tag: McDowell Sonoran Preserve (page 1 of 8)

Friday Fitness Hike

Linda, Sunaree, Gayle, John, Kay, and Ben joined me for a six and a half mile hike in the Tom’s Thumb area on Friday. Starting on the Tom’s Thumb Trail, we took the first climber’s access trail west to the ridge north of Tom’s Thumb. We followed this ridge past Tom’s Thumb to Tom’s Thumb Trail. It had been years since I last hiked the Lookout Trail, so we hiked to the end of the Lookout Trail where we could see the Windgate Pass Trail far below us. After hiking back on Lookout Trail, we hiked down Tom’s Thumb Trail, turned onto Feldspar, and then Marcus Landslide, returning via the Caballo Trail.

Midway up the climber’s access trail:

A small, but interesting pinnacle that we passed on the way up:

Gayle makes her way up the steep and sometimes loose trail:

Looking toward Scottsdale and a very hazy Phoenix:

A view of Tom’s Thumb from the ridge:

Linda, Sunaree, Kay, Ben, John, and Gayle:

A view of the west side of Tom’s Thumb:

Tom’s Thumb, again, but this time we’re seeing it from the Lookout Trail:

Heading back down Tom’s Thumb Trail:

This is one of the mushroom pinnacles near the Sven Slab area.

Friday Fitness Hike

We hiked 11.6 miles on Friday, following a familiar lasso-loop: Dixie Mine, Coachwhip, Windmill, Bell Pass, Prospector, service road, and Dixie Mine. We also made two short side trips, one to visit a water catchment for wildlife, and the other to the mine and petroglyphs.

Early morning on the Dixie Mine Trail…

A view from the Coachwhip Trail:

There was an ample amount of water in the tank – kind of surprising since we haven’t gotten much recent rain.

When rain falls on the corrugated sheets, it runs downhill to the trough at the bottom. From there it flows through the pipe into the large covered holding tank shown in the earlier photo. That large tank then feeds the smaller tank from which wildlife can drink.

Saguaros on the bank of the wash on our way back to the Windmill Trail:

I was told that I stepped over this gopher snake on our hike through the wash:

A view from the Windmill Trail:

Gayle noticed this colorful rock on the Windmill Trail:

Gayle, Mike Heather, Linda, Marilyn, Marilyn, Nora, and Ben:

Thompson Peak:

Saguaros on the Prospector Trail:

This is the main petroglyph panel:

Friday Fitness Hike

Mona, Sara, Gayle, Heather, Sunaree, Randy, and I hiked the Hog Heaven Loop. Total distance was only about four and quarter miles, but we gained over 1600 feet of elevation along the way.

We encountered this view shortly after topping out at the saddle at the top of Mesquite Canyon.  (I took photos of Mesquite Canyon, but it was mostly in the shade, so the photos weren’t especially compelling.)

We saw this small hook-shaped pinnacle a short while later:

Mona completes the hop boulder hop…

The group makes their way up to the base of Hog Heaven (which is out of view above Heather):

The rock wall behind the group is the main wall of the Hog Heaven climbing area:

Heather and Sara make their way up a section of granite while Gayle and Mona look on:

This is one of the scrambles between Hog Heaven and the Thumbnail Pinnacle.  We’re definitely on the right route – note the cairn:

Heather, Sunaree, Gayle, Mona, Andy, and Sara posing by the Thumbnail Pinnacle:

Looking back down at the Thumbnail Pinnacle: from nearly every other vantage point, the hooked shape is clearly evident. But at this point it looks like a straight up and down spire.

Sara and Heather make their way along the northeast side of the ridge.

This the part of the loop that I like the least.  The section from where Randy is standing down to where Mona has made it is steep and loose. Thankfully, there’s a bush to stop you if you should slip. It’s probably easier if you slide down it on your butt, but I never do it that way.

We had some great views as we made our way along the southwest side of the ridge leading over to the East End (peak)…

Sara and Sunaree at the highest point in the McDowells.  Sunaree is signing the summit register.

Descending the climber’s access Trail from the East End:

Glass Dome (left) and Tom’s Thumb:

Gardener’s Wall and Tom’s Thumb:

When the hike was done, I added on nearly seven more miles by hiking into McDowell Mountain Regional Park. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see the Thumbnail Pinnacle.  It looks very small from here.

This is a view of Rock Knob from the Pemberton Trail:


Friday Fitness Hike

Cheryl, Sunaree, Marilyn, Mike, and I did a 10.7 mile hike starting from the Dixie Mine Parking lot. We hiked Dixie Mine to the road, then went and took a look at the mine and the petroglyphs. We continued up the canyon, which eventually turns into just a wash until we got to the Prospector Trail. At that point, we turned right and followed the Prospector Trail up to it’s junction with the Bell Pass Trail. We then took Bell Pass, Windmill, and Coachwhip back to the Dixie Mine Trail for our return trip. Total distance was just under 10.7 miles with nearly 1500 feet of total ascent.

This is a view of one of the washes that crosses the Dixie Mine Trail, well before getting to the service road.

A view of the mine tailings.  Our route went well below the tailings through the trees that can be seen in the wash.

This is one of several shallow holes near the mine.  It goes in perhaps only eight feet and there is no vertical shaft. I suppose that the warning sign is posted in the not very likely event that it should collapse.

Although I took a picture of the main petroglyph panel which is near the mine entrance, I decided not to post it for this hike.  (I’ve taken a lot of pictures of it.) These are some other petroglyphs which are further up the canyon on the way to the “waterfall”.

Another pair of glyphs:

This is a view from the top of the “waterfall”.  (It’s not steep enough to be a true waterfall, but it is steep enough to be challenging to ascend when it’s wet.)

A triangle shaped slab can be found further up the canyon:

This is one of the views just before the canyon opens up, turning the route into a hike up a wash:

This is the view just after turning onto the Prospector Trail:

Cheryl, Sunaree, Marilyn, and Mike, hiking up the Prospector Trail:

More views from the Prospector Trail – this is a very scenic section:

Looking back towards where we had been hiking perhaps half an hour earlier.  An old road can be seen along the hill at the left side of the photo. (We didn’t hike that road.) The trail comes up from below the right side of the hill and then continues up to the right.  Not much of it is visible in this photo.

The remnants of the windmill for which the Windmill Trail is named can be seen in this photo:

A view of Four Peaks from the Coachwhip Trail:

Returning via the Dixie Mine Trail…

Rappel Practice

Sunday Bike Ride – Granite / Cholla Mountain Area

Marilyn, Joe, and I rode at Granite Mountain on Sunday.

Friday Fitness Hike

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.

Glass Dome, in the sunlight, on the far left; Gardener’s Wall at the left (but right of Glass Dome); Tom’s Thumb, also in the sunlight, at the far right.

The trail goes through the rock formations on the left and right. We eventually passed that little pinnacle in the middle.

Looking at the other side of the rock formations to the middle right in the previous photo…

This is the small pinnacle mentioned earlier.

Sara and Linda, hiking up some steep terrain.

Pinnacle Peak and Troon Mountain:

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.

Another view of Pinnacle Peak and Troon with a picturesque saguaro and mushroom boulder in the foreground:

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.

We then made are way back to the Caballo Trail where we eventually saw dos caballos with their riders.

Look for four deer at the bottom left:

Five deer; the second one in line has a tracking collar.

Friday Fitness Hike

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…

Friday Fitness Hike

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:

Even looking towards Thompson Peak looked hazy.

We’re near the intersection of Prospector and Bell Pass for this photo.

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!

But looking back in the other direction, toward Linda and Mona who were waiting for me, it’s very hazy.

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.

Returning now on the Dixie Mine Trail…


Friday Fitness Hike

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.

 Linda sent me this photo of me taking the photo above. (I did some retouching on it – I like the color correction that I did for this one better than the one above.)

A view from the East End Trail:

Part way down the East End Trail is a small wall:

 A view of Four Peaks from the Windmill Trail:

 Looking at Thompson’s Peak from the Boulder Trail:

This is one of the mushroom rocks alongside the Marcus Landslide Trail:

 A short side trail leads to this broken mushroom rock:

 A large boulder along the Marcus Landslide Trail:

Sven’s slab (right) with another mushroom pinnacle at the far left:

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