For Friday’s hike, Bob, Alan, Linda, Janet, Allen, and I hiked 12.5 miles on the Pine Mountain passage of the Arizona Trail. Accumulated elevation gain was over 1800 feet.
Tag: Tonto National Forest (page 4 of 6)
Bob, Nick, Allen, Janet, and I hiked from the Spur Cross Trailhead to the top of Black Mesa. It was an arduous hike. We started at 8:00am and hiked all day with few rests, returning to our vehicle after dark. Total distance was 14 miles with over 3100 feet of total ascent. The trails in Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area were in good condition. We had difficulty following the trails once we entered Tonto National Forest. Tall grass has grown up over the rocks blocking our view of many of the cairns. If it were not for the track that I had loaded into my GPS, we probably would not have found our way. Hiking uphill through tall grass over unseen rocks was very tiring. Despite the difficulty, I had fun on the hike anyway.
Below are two views of the fortress. We passed the path up to the top on our way back (adding two miles to our hike), but we were running short on daylight, so we left it for another day.
We took a short break after passing through one of the fences.
A view of Black Mesa. At the start of the day, we thought that we’d be hiking up a different nearby formation.
Bob, after emerging from one section of tall grass.
Allen, Janet, and Nick on an easy section of the hike.
A view from part way up the final ascent of Black Mesa:
It turns out that there’s a very good trail, complete with switchbacks, up to the top of Black Mesa. We couldn’t find it on the way up, however. We did find it on the way down, but it became harder and harder to follow (due to the grass) as we descended.
Another view from part way up:
We were surprised to find a tire, painted yellow, in a tree at the top of the mesa.
A view from the top:
A view of Elephant Mountain at the right and the fortress, below it to the left:
A barrel cactus alongside the trail. The trail is quite good here.
Two more views of the fortress…
We went the wrong way and missed seeing this large saguaro on our way out.
Black Mesa is the formation to the left. We started the day thinking that we’d be hiking the mesa at the right. In the morning light, it looked more like a “black mesa” than the other one.
Another view of the Fortress with the sun getting lower in the sky.
Another view of Black Mesa (left) and Sugarloaf Mountain (right):
Another view of the Fortress:
A view from the pass between Elephant Mountain and the Fortress:
More views from the Elephant Mountain Trail:
I think these last three photos were taken from the Spur Cross Trail:
Bob, Nick, Marilyn, and I hiked five miles out (and five miles back) on the Barnhardt Trail on Sunday. Total ascent was over 2,000 feet.
We heard, and then saw, an Arizona Black Rattlesnake. I had never seen this type of rattlesnake before.
I think this might be fleabane:
A view of the waterfall; only a small trickle of water was flowing through it on our visit.
Just outside of the alcove leading into the waterfall:
A dead tree – one of many – a short ways up the trail from the waterfall:
Bob scouted ahead while I was taking shots of the waterfall with my tripod. He recommended this shot of the pincushion (mammillaria) cacti.
This panorama was constructed from 33 separate exposures. Eleven three shot brackets were processed individually to form eleven exposure merged files. These eleven files were edited in Lightroom and then combined into a panorama in Photoshop.
On Saturday, Marilyn and I hiked about four miles on the Pine Creek Loop and Ballantine Trails.
Midway up the steep part of the Pine Creek Loop, we encountered this saguaro. Most of it is clearly dead, but one arm still seems to be living.
Bob and I hiked out to the top of Apache Leap on July 4. On July 5, we returned to the area and approached Apache Leap from the west side. We hiked up some old roads and eventually started following some cairns to the base of Apache Leap, but turned back before we got there because, without climbing gear, it looked doubtful that we would be able to proceed much further once we arrived at the base. We then went on to do a short hike in Upper Devil’s Canyon.
Bees and other insects around an agave flower.
A view of Superior with Picketpost Mountain in the distance. We’ve added Picketpost Mountain to the list of hikes we want to do. There is a hike which goes to the summit.We could see Weaver’s Needle from this vantage point too.
A view looking back towards where we had come. The terrain is quite rough; we only hiked 3.5 miles in 5.5 hours, though our moving time was about 3 hours. There were cairns leading us out and back, but spotting them was difficult. We would frequently stop for a minute or two and try to spot the next cairn. We’d then have to figure out a reasonable looking path over to(wards) the cairn.
We saw many agave flowers on our hike. Near the edge of the leap, I noticed a flowering agave plant just below one of (the many) boulders. That particular boulder as fairly close to the flowers and placed me and my camera about level with it.
A view of the mine. It’s expanded a lot since I used to climb in the area. There’s a lot of exploration and drilling going on elsewhere in the area too. We saw thick black hoses snaking along the road and across the terrain.
This is what the west side of Apache Leap looked like on Saturday morning. You can see the old road that we hiked in the foreground.