Friday’s hike started at the Wagner Trailhead. Ranger Amy introduced regulars Bob, Linda, Janet, and me to Bill and Kathy who recently moved here from Wisconsin. Also joining us was Jerry, who had been on one of our hikes in the past. Amy had to work at the visitor center and was unable to join us for the hike.
We hiked the Wagner Trail to Granite, turning right. We followed the Granite Trail until we got to the wash below the Bluff Trail. We hiked up the wash until we got to the Pemberton Trail, seeing two snakes along the way. From there we hiked a short ways on Pemberton, turned onto Bluff and followed the Bluff trail to the bottom where it intersects with the Granite Trail. From there we took Granite back to Wagner, which lead us back to the trailhead. Total distance was a little over seven miles.
A view of the McDowells from the Granite Trail.
Bob and Sarge lead the way to the gap in the rocks where an easy scramble allowed us to continue on up the wash. Sarge tried to make it up the rocks on the own, but he needed a boost. He was a very good dog when I picked him up.
We stopped for a group photo at a small wall built in the wash. We don’t know who built this wall or the purpose of it, save that it may prevent erosion to some degree. Perhaps it was a small dam at one time which filled in over time?
From left to right, and top to bottom, are Bill, Jerry, Bob, Sarge, Kathy, Janet, Kevin, and Linda.
Boulder-strewn hills form the banks of the wash.
This rattlesnake was well away from where we were walking, but made itself known to us by employing its rattle. It was kind of dark and difficult to see this snake. This is the best photo I got of it.
The upper parts of the McDowells can be seen from the wash.
More bouldery outcroppings…
Just before reaching Pemberton, we saw coachwhip snake, also known as a red racer. I tried to get close to it while it was still on the ground, but it raced away, disappearing into some brush. Moments later, Jerry noticed it slithering up into a tree. It took me a long time to see it because, to me, it looked like just another branch. Once I finally did see it, I was able to take the photo, below:
This is the palo verde (tree) at the top of the hill near the intersection of Bluff and Pemberton. There is a small bench, just barely visible, to the left of the tree.