Month: April 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Friday Fitness Hike

Amy, Bob, Venie, Linda, and I met at the Dixie Mine Trailhead on Friday.  We hiked the Dixie Mine Trail to the intersection with the Sonoran Trail, at which point Amy turned back. The rest of us continued on, hiking the Sonoran, Promenade, and Western Loop Trails. The Western Loop Trail lead us back to the Promenade which took us back to the Sonoran Trail where we retraced our steps back to the trailhead.  Midway along the Western Loop Trail, we hiked a section of the new (but not yet complete) trail which will connect with the Sunrise Trail.  Total distance was 11.8 miles with 2,333 feet of total ascent.

From left to right are Amy, Linda, Venie, Bob, and Kevin:

20140425-_DSC1287-Edit-medium A hedgehog cactus on the Sonoran Trail.

20140425-_DSC1317-Edit-mediumViews from the Sonoran Trail:

20140425-_DSC1353-Edit-medium 20140425-_DSC1368-Edit-mediumViews from the Western Loop Overlook:

20140425-_DSC1422-Edit-medium 20140425-_DSC1428-Edit-medium Views as we were descending the Western Loop Trail:

20140425-_DSC1434-Edit-medium 20140425-_DSC1440-Edit-medium At this point, we had hiked out as far as (currently) possible on the trail that will eventually connect the Western Loop Trail to the Sunrise Trail.

20140425-_DSC1482-Edit-medium 20140425-_DSC1485-Edit-medium A backhoe can be seen in the upper-right of this photo.

20140425-_DSC1488-Edit-medium 20140425-_DSC1491-Edit-medium 20140425-_DSC1497-Edit-medium We had returned to the Western Loop Trail at this point and took the right fork (which I hadn’t seen yet).  Both forks lead back to the Promenade Trail, but the right fork is less steep.


A barrel cactus on the Sonoran Trail.

20140425-_DSC1533-Edit-mediumAnother view from the Sonoran Trail.

20140425-_DSC1551-Edit-medium An ocotillo on the Sonoran Trail:

20140425-_DSC1572-Edit-medium We saw this saguaro in bloom as we were walking back through the gated community to the parking area.

20140425-_DSC1587-Edit-mediumWe also saw these flowers on our way back.  I think that they were just across the street from the trailhead parking.


Glass Dome as Viewed from the Tom’s Thumb Trail

More Lightroom-only practice…


Mushroom rock near Sven Slab

This is very similar to another shot already posted from last Friday’s hike, except that I used only Lightroom to process this one.  The other one was processed using both Lightroom and Photoshop.


Golden Barrel Cacti

Marie and I saw these golden barrel cacti earlier today.



Prickly Pear Flower

I took this photo while on a walk with Marilyn earlier today.


Friday Fitness Hike

Last Friday’s hike started at the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead.  Seven of us hiked up to Tom’s Thumb and back.  On the way back, we visited the Sven Slab climbing area where we saw a Gila monster.

A Goldeneye bush with Gardener’s Wall in the background.


This is a cholla flower:

20140418-_DSC0917-Edit-mediumWe encountered this rock formation on the way up.

20140418-_DSC0932-Edit-medium California Buckwheat:

20140418-_DSC0941-Edit-mediumA view to the west as we made our way up to the ridge leading over to Tom’s Thumb:

20140418-_DSC0944-Edit-medium Amy is instructing her iPhone to take a panoramic shot.

20140418-_DSC0968-Edit-mediumSomeone on the hike identified this purple flower, but I don’t remember its name. I can’t find it in my flower identification book either.

20140418-_DSC0978-Edit-mediumA view of Pinnacle Peak and Troon:

20140418-_DSC1013-Edit-medium A view of Scottsdale and perhaps other nearby cities as well.

20140418-_DSC1025-Edit-mediumA small rock formation on the ridge line.  (I’ve photographed these rocks several times before.)

20140418-_DSC1031-Edit-medium Another view of Scottsdale.

20140418-_DSC1046-Edit-medium Linda and Amy hike up a steep trail on their way to Tom’s Thumb.

20140418-_DSC1067-Edit-medium A view of the west side of Tom’s Thumb:

20140418-_DSC1088-Edit-medium Bob, Marilyn, Amy, Linda, Cynthia, and Bill pose in front of Tom’s Thumb.


A view of the East End.  Glass Dome is visible near the center of the photo.

20140418-_DSC1109-Edit-medium A view of the southeast side of Tom’s Thumb.


I think it was Bob who pointed out the numerous Globemallow flowers as we started our descent.

20140418-_DSC1145-Edit-medium A better view of Glass Dome as we continue back on the Tom’s Thumb Trail.

20140418-_DSC1148-Edit-mediumThis is a view of Fountain Hills from the intersection of the East End Trail and the Tom’s Thumb Trail.

20140418-_DSC1157-Edit-medium Another view of Glass Dome:

20140418-_DSC1160-Edit-mediumTom’s Thumb is still visible, though you do have to kind of look for it among all the other boulders in the area.  The side of Gardener’s Wall can also be seen at the far right in this photo.

20140418-_DSC1169-Edit-medium Cynthia, Linda, Marilyn, Bill, and Amy do some scrambling on their way back.

20140418-_DSC1178-Edit-mediumThis large boulder reminded us of Barney (from the children’s television series) head.  It’s in the sun in this photo, but often looks more purplish when it’s in the shade.

20140418-_DSC1181-Edit-medium Another view of Gardener’s Wall:

20140418-_DSC1187-Edit-medium The mushroom rock with the saguaro cuddled up next to it is another favorite on this part of the hike.


Four Peaks is visible in the distance as well as the back sides of the Sven Towers.  They don’t look much like towers here; they’re more impressive looking from the other side.

20140418-_DSC1211-Edit-medium Morrell’s Wall:

20140418-_DSC1214-Edit-medium I think this is Sandwash Groundsel:

20140418-_DSC1217-Edit-medium Sven’s Slab:

20140418-_DSC1242-Edit-medium A prominent mushroom rock near Sven Slab:

20140418-_DSC1245-Edit-medium We saw this Gila monster as we were leaving the Sven Slab area.

20140418-_DSC1256-Edit-medium Desert Marigold.  If you look closely, you can see an insect at the center of the lower-right flower.


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started at the Wagner Trailhead.  We hiked Wagner to Granite; right on Granite, crossing Stoneman Wash.  Later on, somewhat before the Granite Trail intersects the Bluff Trail, we stopped at an unnamed wash which feeds into Stoneman Wash.  Amy lead part of the group back to the trailhead via the Bluff Trail.  The rest of us hiked up the wash, eventually coming to the Pemberton Trail.  We continued on, up to the base of Rock Knob.  We returned via the shortest path utilizing the Rock Knob, Pemberton, Bluff, Granite, and Wagner Trails.  Total distance for those of us doing the long hike was nine miles with a total ascent of only a bit over 400 feet.

I took this photo from the trailhead as we were waiting for the hike to start:

20140411-DSC03179-Edit-medium This photo was taken at the trailhead before the hike even started.  From left to right are Jon, Nancy (in back), Venie (in front), Linda, Mary Lou, Kevin, Merilee, Pauline, Bob (with Sarge in front), Allen, and Janet (with Savannah in front).  Sarge was happy to see another dog on the hike.20140411-DSC03187-Edit-medium A view looking along a small wash towards Four Peaks.

20140411-DSC03190-Edit-medium Jon and Venie hiking on the Wagner Trail:

20140411-DSC03196-Edit-medium According to Ranger Amy (who verified her identification with Ranger Kevin at Spur Cross), this is a Sandwash Groundsel.

20140411-DSC03205-Edit-medium Palo Verde flower:

20140411-DSC03214-Edit-medium Linda took this photo of the group just before splitting up.  Those of us who did the long hike continued up the wash shown in this photo.

20140411-DSC03223-Edit-medium Two photos from the wash…

20140411-DSC03244-Edit-medium 20140411-DSC03250-Edit-medium



On their way back, the group that went with Ranger Amy found a kingsnake.  (Amy sent me this photo.)


I think the white flowers in the photo below are Blackfoot Daisy.

20140411-DSC03268-Edit-medium Approaching Rock Knob:

20140411-DSC03277-Edit-medium One of the rock formations at Rock Knob:

20140411-DSC03283-Edit-mediumRed Mountain and the Fountain off in the distance:

20140411-DSC03286-Edit-medium A largish boulder in the vicinity of Rock Knob:

20140411-DSC03289-Edit-mediumHorses on the Bluff Trail:

20140411-DSC03315-Edit-medium Christmas Cholla:20140411-DSC03340-Edit-medium An ocotillo blossom:

20140411-DSC03358-Edit-medium More palo verde flowers:




Friday Fitness Hike

Eight of us (counting Sarge) hiked the Scenic Trail in McDowell Mountain Park last Friday. When Nancy, Venie, Bob, Sarge, and I got to the Cinch Trail, we split off from the rest of the group and continued on.  We made our way across the road, eventually ending up in Stoneman Wash and some of its feeder washes.  Our hike was ten miles long with around 650 feet of total ascent.

On the Scenic Trail…



Sarge looks at me as if to say,  “What are you doing with that camera?”

20140404-DSC03028-Edit-medium A group photo at the bottom of the Scenic Trail.  It was at this point, that Bob, Sarge, Venie, Nancy, and I continued our adventure starting on the Cinch Trail.

20140404-DSC03053-Edit-medium Sarge leads the way on the Tech Loop.

20140404-DSC03062-Edit-medium Looking back at “The Leoge” on the Technical Loop.  Fortunately for us, there are now some nice bypasses that go around these drops on this trail.

20140404-DSC03068-Edit-2-medium A Mexican Poppy.  Many of the wildflowers have dried up or are in the process of wilting.

20140404-DSC03089-Edit-medium A view of Stoneman Wash in the foreground with the McDowells in the background.

20140404-DSC03098-Edit-medium A Hedgehog Cactus blossom.

20140404-DSC03101-Edit-mediumThis is a teddy bear cholla flower:

20140404-DSC03122-Edit-mediumSome saguaros.

20140404-DSC03125-Edit-mediumThis might be another buckhorn cholla flower.

20140404-DSC03130-Edit-medium A look at some of the small canyons west of the homestead site.

20140404-DSC03134-Edit-2-medium 20140404-DSC03137-Edit-2-medium 20140404-DSC03149-Edit-mediumI think this one is Spiny Goldenweed:

20140404-DSC03163-Edit-mediumAnother hedgehog flower.


Gandalf, MangledEar, and Minstrel

A new ginger tomcat has come to our neighborhood.  We’ve named him MangledEar because one of his ears is seriously damaged from the fights he’s been in.  He and Gandalf are vying for Minstrel’s affections.  I’ve seen the three of them together on our balcony and in our backyard.

The photos below show the three of them in the patio area.  Gandalf is on one of the beams below the patio roof.  Minstrel is perched atop the corner pillar in the patio area. MangledEar is on the ground below.

I saw Gandalf and Minstrel together (alone) earlier today, but I doubt that MangledEar has been run off for long.

Here is MangledEar.  I have even better photos of his ear, but I think this one conveys the idea.

20140330-_DSC0406-Edit-medium Gandalf atop the beam.  He looks bored here.

20140330-_DSC0419-Edit-medium Minstrel was sleeping atop this pillar, but woke up briefly for this photo.

20140330-_DSC0536-Edit-medium Another view of Gandalf; he was only a foot or two away from Minstrel.