Month: December 2015 (page 1 of 1)

Saturday Hike – Spur Cross


Nancy, Marilyn, and I hiked at the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area on Saturday, the 26th.  It was a cold and windy day; we had hoped to hike to the top of Skull Mesa, but we abandoned that plan and did a somewhat easier hike instead. We hiked the following trails for an 8.5 mile hike with 2200 feet of total ascent: Spur Cross, FS 48, unnamed wash / canyon, FS 48, TR 252 (Limestone), Elephant Mountain, Tortuga, Spur Cross.

An early view from the Spur Cross Trail:


I think this is entrance to the wash / canyon.  We thought this might be TR 252 at first, but after a short ways in, it became clear that it was not.  We were happy to enter this canyon, however, as it was sheltered from the wind and allowed us to warm up.



We even saw flowers growing on one of the walls of the wash.


We retraced our steps and hiked further up FS 48 until we got to the corral.  We found TR 252 at the back of the corral.  The trail climbed steadily upward, passing the south side of Sugarloaf Mountain. This is a view from early in the hike after the trail turned eastward.


Another view of Sugarloaf Mountain:


A view of Skull Mesa, which was our initial goal for the day. Given the conditions that day, we were happy that we chose this easier hike instead. (It was still fairly challenging.)


Marilyn and Nancy at a gate in the fence.  We’re near the high point on TR 252 here.  It was especially windy and cold at this point.  Both Marilyn and Nancy were eager for me to finish my photography so that we could proceed.


A view of Elephant Mountain. The Fortress pinnacle can be seen in front of Elephant Mountain.


There were some interesting cairns / trail markers along the Limestone Trail (TR 252).  We could have shortened our hike by following the arrow back to Spur Cross, but I wanted to proceed onward towards Rondo Spring.


Another trail marker on TR 252:


The crossed several substantial washes and then proceeded upward.  Route finding became somewhat more difficult; at one point, I thought we had gone too far and had missed the trail back into the park (from the Tonto National Forest), but we still had further to go. In this photo, below, Nancy and Marilyn make their way up from the trail from one of several wash crossings.


I think this is a look back at Sugarloaf Mountain. When we hiked to Black Mesa last year, we thought we’d summit on that formation, but we were mistaken. Black Mesa is mostly out of the frame to the left.




Friday Fitness Hike

Linda, Nancy, Mike, and I hiked 12.4 miles on Friday.  We hiked the following trails: Tom’s Thumb, climber’s access trail leading up to the ridge, and eventually to and past the Tom’s Thumb pinnacle, Tom’s Thumb, East End, Windmill, Coachwhip, Dixie Mine, Pemberton, Boulder, Marcus Landslide. Amy, Bill, and Denise accompanied us up to and past Tom’s Thumb (the pinnacle); we parted ways at the intersection of the Tom’s Thumb and East End trails.

This is a view (modified by Topaz Impression) from the Tom’s Thumb Trail.


A view from the lower slopes of the climber’s access trail.

Taking a break…


This is the small pinnacle across from the Fort McDowell climbing area.20151218-_DSC8116-Edit-medium

Amy, Bill, Nancy, and Linda making their way up the climber’s access trail.

A view from one of the spur trails (leading to the Half and Half Wall):


Amy, Mike, Nancy, Linda, Bill, and Denise:


A view from the ridge.  Linda tells me that the scar at upper right (extending off the edge of the photo) will be a new golf course.


Tom’s Thumb with The Rist, in front.


Mike, Linda, Amy, Denise, Nancy, and Bill:


A view of the northwest side of Tom’s Thumb:


One of the views as we made our way around Tom’s Thumb:

Mike, Nancy, Linda, Denise, Amy, and Bill attempt to get out of the wind.  (It was quite chilly after we made our way around Tom’s Thumb and regained the ridge.)


Descending the climber’s access trail leading from Tom’s Thumb to the (main) Tom’s Thumb Trail…




Views from the intersection of the Tom’s Thumb and East End trails:



Topaz Impression version of…


…this photo of Thompson Peak:


Four Peaks as seen from the Windmill Trail:


A view of the large cottonwood tree near the windmill (on the Windmill Trail).  The windmill can be seen in this photo, but you need to know where to look.  (That’s often the case when you’re actually there too.)


I think we were near the bottom of the Coachwhip Trail (on our way to the Dixie Mine Trail) when I took this shot:


Four Peaks as seen from the Coachwhip Trail:


A view from the Dixie Mine Trail:


This is the photo on which the above version made by Topaz Impression was based.  Part of Fountain Hills can be seen to the at the right.  Weaver’s Needle and the Flatiron are both visible in this photo.


This is a photo of the Fallen Mushroom.  I attempted to remove the sign via use of the clone tool; I ended up with something that looked pretty good to me when I noticed that the shadow still remained.  I ended up leaving the sign in the photo.  I wish that those who had installed that sign would have placed it a bit further away.


A view of two of the Sven Towers from the Marcus Landslide Trail:


Desert Mistletoe:


These next two shots were taken with a different camera, a Sony HX90V:



Amy sent me this photo of me setting up a group shot on the northwest side of Tom’s Thumb:


Friday Fitness Hike


We hiked twelve miles on Friday. Starting from the Wagner Trailhead, we hiked the following trails (in order): Tortoise, Pemberton, Tonto Tank, Pemberton, Boulder, Marcus Landslide, Rock Knob, Pemberton, Bluff, Granite, and Wagner.  (We hiked a short ways up the road when we were done because we were a tenth of a mile short of our goal.)

A view from the trailhead prior to starting our hike. Sunrise was actually about 45 minutes earlier.

A view from the Pemberton somewhat before crossing Stoneman Wash.

A small hill near the beginning of the Bluff Trail:

Linda, Laura, and Nancy hiking up the Bluff Trail:


A large boulder on… the Boulder Trail:


Kevin, Nancy, Bill, Linda, Bob, Laura, Allen, Janet, and Mike in front of a mushroom boulder on the Marcus Landslide Trail:


Chainfruit Cholla on the Rock Knob Trail:


A view of Four Peaks from the Bluff Trail:


Flowers for Marie

My Mom and Dad sent these flowers to Marie.


Sunday Hike – McDowell Sonoran Preserve & McDowell Mountain Park

Marilyn and I hiked eight miles in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and McDowell Mountain Park.  We hiked the following trails (in order): Marcus Landslide, Rock Knob, Pemberton, Gooseneck, Rock Knob, Marcus Landslide, Feldspar, Tom’s Thumb.

Mushroom rock near the start of the Marcus Landslide Trail:


Rock pile on the Gooseneck Trail.

The Gooseneck Trail goes through this rock formation.


Climber on Sven Slab – I think he’s on the upper part of the first pitch of Quaker Oats (5.5).  It’s also possible that he top-roped the climb to the left of Quaker Oats called I Sinkso (5.8R).


Friday Fitness Hike

Linda, Nancy, Bob, and I hiked 11.2 miles on Friday. We hiked the following trails: Shallmo Wash, Pemberton, Stoneman Wash, Service Rd, Tech Loop, Long Loop.

Bill hiked with us until the Long Loop.  Amy, Pam, and Joelle hiked part way up Shallmo Wash with us.

Stoneman Wash, just after leaving the Pemberton:


Linda, Bill, and Nancy hiking Stoneman Wash:

Signs up for the McDowell Mountain Frenzy.  This is a portion of the Tech Loop just after “The Chunnel”. Note that the arrows are pointing against the normal flow of traffic on the trail. I noticed this at several other places as well. My guess is that, for the race, some of these trails were run “backwards”.


A tree on the Long Loop near the Pemberton Wash sign. The wash in question is actually part of lower Stoneman Wash.


Saguaros on the Long Loop.20151204-_DSC7835-Edit-medium

A view from the South Ridge of the Loop Loop:


This is the view from a short ways past “Convict’s Crossing.” (It’s listed as “Convict Corner” on the map, but I’m pretty sure that the sign says “Convict’s Crossing.”)


We noticed this unusual growth on one of the buckhorn chollas.


Linda (in front) and Nancy descending the last big hill on the Long Loop.