Month: August 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Friday Fitness Hike


Linda, Bob, and I hiked 9.5 miles on Friday starting from the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead.  We took the shortest route using the following trails (in order): Tom’s Thumb Trail, East End Trail, Windmill Trail, Coachwhip Trail, Pemberton Trail, Boulder Trail, and Marcus Landslide Trail.  Roughly half of our hike was in the Preserve; the rest was in McDowell Mountain Park.  Our total accumulated ascent for this hike was a bit over 1,700 feet.

The rising sun created an interesting glow on one of the slopes as we started our hike.

20140829-DSC05722-Edit-medium Tom’s Thumb and the upper ridge to the north had a similar glow.

20140829-DSC05725-Edit-medium As the sun got slightly higher, we noticed the landscape behind us turning a brilliant yellow.  It didn’t last long, however.  When we looked a few minutes later, from somewhat higher on the trail, it was mostly gone.

20140829-DSC05740-Edit-medium Glass Dome on the left and Tom’s Thumb on the right, both in the sun.

20140829-DSC05777-Edit-medium Approaching the East End Trail:

20140829-DSC05785-Edit-medium Another shot of Glass Dome and Tom’s Thumb:

20140829-DSC05794-Edit-medium Views from the upper part of the East End Trail:

20140829-DSC05803-Edit-medium 20140829-DSC05818-Edit-medium I think these flowers might be Phacelia.  We saw some Globemallow flowers too, but my photos of those weren’t in focus.

20140829-DSC05819-Edit-medium A view from further down the East End Trail:

20140829-DSC05825-Edit-medium Thompson Peak as seen from the lower portion of the East End Trail.

20140829-DSC05840-Edit-mediumA view from the Windmill Trail.  There is a nearby windmill which is off to the right, but not visible in this photo.

20140829-DSC05855-Edit-medium Senna flowers on the Coachwhip Trail:

20140829-DSC05877-Edit-medium We saw two rattlesnakes on the Coachwhip Trail.  This was the second of the two.  In both cases, we didn’t see them until Bob was right on top of them.  I think I might have stepped on the first one, riling it up which, in turn, gave Bob a few moments of excitement. I’ve adjusted the contrast in this photo, making it much easier to see here than it was in real life.

20140829-DSC05900-Edit-medium Here’s another photo of that snake, showing how difficult it is to see them.

20140829-DSC05903-Edit-medium A view of some saguaros from further along the Coachwhip Trail.

20140829-DSC05938-Edit-medium The remains of a saguaro on the Coachwhip Trail:

20140829-DSC05939-Edit-medium An old, overturned car near the Boulder Trail:

20140829-DSC05957-Edit-mediumFallen pieces of cholla near the trail leading to the leaning mushroom rocks (on the Marcus Landslide Trail):

20140829-DSC05975-Edit-medium I think the prominent pinnacle in the foreground of the picture below is Noah’s Ark, which is part of the Granite Ballroom climbing area.  According to both Waugh’s and Opland’s books, there’s a 5.7 (Beam Me Up Scotty) on the back side and a 5.9 (Wattle ‘n Daub) on the front side. We’re viewing it from the side, so the 5.9 is on the left and the 5.7 is on the right.  Opland’s book, which is newer, also lists a 5.10 TR.  Bob and I are thinking about climbing this pinnacle.  Linda said she’d carry the rope.

Hog Heaven and the Thumbnail Pinnacle can be seen on the ridge in the distance.  We had considered going there for this hike, but decided to leave it for a day when Allen and Janet could join us.

20140829-DSC05978-Edit-medium This is a view of the Sven Slab Climbing area.


Garmin fēnix 2

Photo of a Garmin fēnix 2, taken with a Sony NEX-7, Sigma 105mm macro lens, and Metz Mecablitz 15 MS-1 (macro flash).


Freckles, in Mid-Yawn


Lousley Hill / Hilltop Trail Views

I did a couple of laps on Lousley Hill late in the day on Monday…

20140825-DSC05678-Edit-medium 20140825-DSC05685-medium As I was driving back at around sunset, I stopped off at the Hilltop Trail to get this shot:


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s hike started from the Four Peaks (Horse) Staging Area.  Janet, Linda, and I crossed the main park road and then hiked a service road from the parking area for the competitive tracks to the Pemberton Trail.  We then hiked Pemberton to Shallmo Wash and returned to the Horse Staging Area via the wash.  Total hike distance was 7.6 miles.

Sunrise – this was taken from the parking lot.

20140822-DSC05346-Edit-medium Another early morning photo taken from the parking area:

20140822-DSC05356-Edit-medium These shots were taken early on from the service road.

20140822-DSC05407-Edit-medium 20140822-DSC05429-Edit-medium Red Mountain, framed by a saguaro and some ocotillo plants:

20140822-DSC05444-Edit-mediumDespite taking bracketed exposures (of only +/- 0.7EV), the sky ended up being blown out in this photo of Janet and Linda.  I decided that I kind of liked it anyway.  Somewhere around this point, I had also inadvertently put the camera in shutter priority mode; as a consequence, all of the exposures were taken at 1/2000sec, which led to the camera selecting larger apertures (for a shallower depth of field) and higher ISO values (which results in more noise).  I didn’t notice that this happened until we were almost done with the Pemberton.

20140822-DSC05469-Edit-mediumThis photo was taken at the junction of the service road and the Pemberton Trail.

20140822-DSC05501-Edit-mediumA view of one of the clay pits along the Pemberton.  I’ve been told that clay was once mined here to determine its suitability for use in making pipe.  Clay in this area might have been extensively mined were it not for the invention of PVC pipe.

20140822-DSC05510-Edit-mediumA tank, which presumably once held water, near the former site of the ranch house.

20140822-DSC05525-Edit-medium A toppled windmill, also located near the site where the ranch house once was:

20140822-DSC05535-Edit-mediumI stitched together four exposures to form this panorama of the “pond”.  This is where wildlife in the area get their water.


These cut ocotillo branches and gate have been placed to match an old photo of the entrance to the homestead displayed on a nearby sign.


A dead tree along the Pemberton Trail:



I don’t hike Shallmo wash very often.  The sand is usually very loose, but water from recent storms made the surface very firm for Friday’s hike.



Linda and Janet in Shallmo Wash:



More photos of Shallmo wash…


Tiger & Molly


Bird of Paradise Flowers




Friday Fitness Hike

Bob and I hiked 6.25 miles starting from the Trailhead Staging Area last Friday.

I took this photo from midway up the Hilltop Trail just moments before sunrise.

20140815-DSC05147-Edit-mediumA view looking down the Hilltop Trail.  The trail leads back to the Trailhead Staging Area, which is a large parking lot complete with bathroom and showers.  The early morning light gave the McDowells a magenta glow.
20140815-DSC05151-Edit-medium Other early morning photos, taken shortly after the hike began…

20140815-DSC05161-Edit-medium 20140815-DSC05173-Edit-medium This is a view of Shallmo Wash:20140815-DSC05191-Edit-medium Another view from Shallmo Wash:

20140815-DSC05200-Edit-mediumI took this photo from midway up the hill of the Technical Loop in the Competitive Track area.

20140815-DSC05206-Edit-medium A view from the top of the hill on the Tech Loop.


A view from Stoneman Wash:

20140815-DSC05214-Edit-medium A barrel cactus, viewed from the Pemberton Trail, just before climbing out of Stoneman Wash:


Friday Fitness Hike

Friday’s Hike started from the Wagner Trailhead.  Linda, Bob, and I hiked 11.3 miles total that day.

A view of the sunrise before the hike:


Recent rain has caused the Senna flowers to pop out.

20140808-DSC05032-Edit-mediumAs we hiked some of the washes, we saw evidence of rapidly moving water.

20140808-DSC05038-Edit-medium A rock formation in the wash paralleling the Bluff Trail.

20140808-DSC05041-Edit-mediumMore views from the wash…

20140808-DSC05044-Edit-medium 20140808-DSC05062-Edit-medium 20140808-DSC05068-Edit-medium We saw a large bird, probably a hawk, sitting atop a rock as we hiked a wash.

20140808-DSC05086-Edit-medium I took this photo from the shadow of the saguaro.

20140808-DSC05103-Edit-mediumA view as we neared the Pemberton:

20140808-DSC05104-Edit-mediumApproaching Granite Tank…

20140808-DSC05107-Edit-medium We saw a new gate connecting the Park to the Preserve near Granite Tank.  Linda take a look…


We hiked out on one of the new trails on the Preserve side to this rock formation.  Bob and I scrambled to the top.  Linda took these three pictures:

20140708-018-medium 20140708-022-medium 20140708-023-medium A view of Red Mountain from the Granite Trail: