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Tag: Tonto National Forest (page 3 of 7)

Sunday Hike – Pine Creek Loop / Ballantine Trail

Sunday Hike – Rock Creek Trail – Mazatzals


Sunday Hike – Half Moon / Rock Creek Trails

I hiked about 12 miles round trip on the Half Moon and Rock Creek Trails beginning from the Barnhardt Trailhead.

Back in 2002 (or maybe 2001), I had first scouted these trails and then hiked them as part of a loop.

Later, after the Willow Fire of 2004, Marilyn, Nick, and I hiked the Half Moon Trail. It was miserable after the fire – some of our clothing was torn to shreds by catclaw and other thorny bushes.

I’ve become interested in perhaps doing a loop in this area again, so I decided to hike the Half Moon Trail to assess it’s condition. A lane of eight feet or wider has been cut through the thorny brush for most of the trail. The same is true for sections of the Rock Creek trail as well. I’ve posted a complete triplog at hikearizona.com.

Sunday Hike – Black Ridge Loop

Marilyn, Nick, Bob, and I hiked the Black Ridge Loop on Sunday…

Sunday Hike – Pine Creek Loop / Ballantine Trail

Friday Hike – Vineyard Trail

Bill, Bill, Jim, Walt, Bob, Ben, Linda, Marilyn, and I hiked ten miles on the Vineyard Trail. Part of AZT #20, the Vineyard Trail is very scenic with expansive views along its entire length. (The rest of AZT #20 continues to the west on Four Peaks Trail #130.) Though the trail runs for six miles, we turned around at the five mile point, which was the point at which we crossed a ridge, providing an excellent view of Roosevelt Dam.

This is the view from Mills Ridge Trailhead:

Even from early in the hike, we could see Roosevelt Lake:

Blackfoot Daisy:

Blackfoot Daisies:

A view with multiple flowers…

Mexican Poppy:

A small cactus (hedgehog?), blackfoot daisies, and deer vetch:

I think this is might be Desert Chicory:

A view to the south:

Walt, Jim, Bill, Bill, Bob, Marilyn, Linda, and Ben at the intersection with Forest Service Road 336.  The trail followed this road for perhaps a quarter mile in a northerly direction before splitting off from the road to the east.

A view of a prominent bluff with Roosevelt Lake behind it:

The Vineyard Trail was easy to follow.  There were cairns along the way, but we didn’t need them to find our way.  (The trickiest part was to know to follow FS Road 336 instead of crossing the road to what looked like a continuation of the trail.)

This might be Bluedick / Desert Hyancinth ?:

White Flower Borage?? :

The saguaros became more numerous as we lost some elevation:

A very healthy saguaro:

Linda identified this as an Arizona Mariposa Tulip:

More saguaros. At several points in during our hike, we noticed the sheer cliff in the distance (that’s on the horizon halfway across in this photo).  Ben thought it might be one of the cliffs near Tortilla Flats.

Blackfoot daisies sheltered by and agave:

Another view of Roosevelt Lake:

Ben examined the structure in this photo with his field glasses. He told us that the outer sections that he could see were corrugated metal. We don’t know it’s purpose, nor did we see any roads or trails leading to it.

A small section of the Apache Trail (AZ 88) can be seen in this photo:

Hedgehog cactus blossom:

Another view to the south – more of AZ 88 can be seen in this photo:

An even more expansive view of the Apache Trail. The Salt River is also visible in this photo.

Another view of Theodore Roosevelt Lake:

Jim spotted this plane flying low above the lake.  Someone on the hike identified it as a C-130.

Two views of the bridge and dam:

Bob and I hiked to a point where we got a better view of the dam. (The rest of the group finished their lunch while we were doing this.)

Dudleya / Rock Live-Forever (alongside a small cactus) – we saw these as we were hiking back to join the rest of the group.

Linda sent me a better photo of a Rock Live-Forever:

(Photo Credit: Linda Kalbach)

This is the “other” side of Four Peaks.  Brown’s Peak is the right-most peak in this photo.


This is the group hiking back…

Another view of the Salt River and the Apache Trail:

Lots of saguaros above the Salt River:

An insect on a Chicory blossom:

Deer Vetch (in front of a prickly pear cactus):


Mexican Poppies:

I got a photo of this small cactus just before the final ascent up to the trailhead:

Sunday Hike – Superstition Peak 5057 / Balanced Rock Loop

Bob and I hiked a loop which took us past a cool balanced rock and then took us to the highest peak in the western Superstitions. We returned by by hiking back through Hieroglyphic Canyon as the sun was setting. We hiked somewhat less than eight miles in nearly ten hours.  We took two 10-20 min breaks during our hike (so that we could pull thorns out of our feet).  We took other, shorter, breaks to figure out where the route went. We got off track several times, mostly due to following a well defined path (which often had cairns)  which didn’t correspond to the GPS track – we probably wouldn’t have figured it out without the GPS track. Aside from those few breaks, we were on the move all day long.

The area is very scenic and well worth hiking.  It’s not an easy hike though; we both wished that we had gotten an earlier start – we were only about halfway around the loop at around 3:00 in the afternoon. At that point I thought that we’d eventually have to get our headlamps out, but we got back just as it was getting really dark.

This is a view of the balanced rock from a distance:

We’re getting closer here.  As we got even nearer, we ended up below it and lost sight of it for a while.

Bob, next to the balanced rock:

Another view of the balanced rock. At this point, we had climbed a short ways up the ridge to the right of the rock from the earlier photo.

The views got even better as we got higher!

The route took us along the base of this formation and then up through something of a gap.

When I first saw the cairn in this picture, I thought that our path went past through those boulders.  But, when we looked, we saw there was nothing there – it dropped off (somewhat) precipitously.  Our route actually made a sharp turn, going uphill in front of the large rock at the right edge of this photo.  We packed away our hiking poles for this section so that we could more easily use our hands for the climbing.

More hiking and a fair amount of scrambling eventually led us to the summit of Peak 5057.  We were higher than Weaver’s Needle!

Another shot of Weaver’s Needle from Peak 5057:

Bob makes his way to the summit.  If you look closely, you can see another hiker in this photo. We passed him as he made his way to the summit a short while later.

When we got down from the summit of 5057, we saw a number of hoodoos as we continued on our loop.

Two shots of Weaver’s Needle through some hoodoos…

This shot was taken a good time later after we had negotiated several obstacles (and a few wrong turns) on the Ridgeline Trail.  We’re starting to make our way down into Hieroglyphic Canyon here:

Looking back at where we had been:

Another shot of the canyon:

And, again, looking back:

Finally! We arrive at the pools and the petroglyphs.  Just in time, too, as it was starting to get dark.  The rock was slick from being polished by water.  I fell on my back when both of my feet simultaneously slid out from under me.  Luckily though, my backpack absorbed the fall. My only injury was a bruised elbow.

A view as we exited Hieroglyphic Canyon:

The sunset produced an intense orange glow on the rock.  Off to the left in this photo is where we began our off-trail portion of the hike earlier in the day.

Nearly back here, but we still had a great view!

Sunday Hike Photos

Marilyn, Nancy, Nick, and I hiked the Pass Mountain Trail at Usery Mountain Regional Park on Sunday.

Nick, hiking to the top of the pass:

Look for mountain bikers at bottom of photo…

Looking back at the pass:

Marilyn, Nick, and Nancy:

Chuparosa blossoms:

Friday Hike – Spur Cross / Limestone Trail

On Friday, the 23rd, Mike, Andrea, Mark, Laurie (and their dogs, Zig and Phil), Doug, Leslie, DeAnn, Sandy, Heather, Marilyn, and I hiked at Spur Cross.  It was my intention to hike from west to east on the Limestone Trail; we did part of it, but I made a wrong turn which returned to the park early.  Our total distance was still around 7.8 miles with roughly 1500 feet of total ascent.  It had rained earlier in the day; the trails were wet and the clay sections, which we had underfoot for much of the hike, grabbed at our footwear making the hike more difficult than normal.


Heather, DeAnn, Sandy, Leslie, Andrea, Mike, Laurie, Mark, Doug, and Marilyn (with dogs Phil and Zig) on the Spur Cross Trail.


Though the day was overcast, it didn’t rain while we were hiking.


A view of the fortress pinnacle from the southern section of the Elephant Mountain Trail.


Another view from the Elephant Mountain Trail.


Still on the Elephant Mountain Trail: Nearing the saddle between the main part of Elephant Mountain and the fortress.


A view of the fortress from the Limestone Trail.


Marilyn, Mike, Laurie, Andrea, Heather, DeAnn, Leslie, Doug, Sandy, and Kevin on the Limestone Trail. (The top of Mark’s hat can be seen behind Doug; Heather and I took turns with the camera so that I’d be in the picture too.)


A view of Elephant Mountain and the fortress from the connector trail between the Limestone Trail and the east end of the Elephant Mountain Trail


Muddy footwear in the trunk of the car.

Labor Day Hike on the Ballantine Trail

Marilyn hiked 5.1 miles on the Pine Creek Loop and the Ballantine Trail.  We saw two tortoises on our hike!







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