9 miles on Wednesday Night. I was testing a new headlamp which allowed me to see a number of night-time critters. I saw a tarantula, three scorpions, several packrats, a couple of bunnies, and an owl!
Heather and I hiked a ten mile loop starting from the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. Total elevation gain was slightly over 1900 feet. We hiked the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead until the first climber’s access trail to the right. From there, we hiked up to the ridge upon which Tom’s Thumb is situated. We hiked the ridge past Tom’s Thumb and then continued on the heavily used access trail down to Tom’s Thumb Trail. From there, we hiked down East End Trail, then took Windmill, Coachwhip, Pemberton, Boulder, and Marcus Landslide to return.
Along the way we encountered Anika, who we’ve seen trail running in various parts of the Preserve. I usually see her on the Bell Pass Trail, but today we met her as she was running up the East End Trail. She was running a seventeen mile route on Friday which had a lot more elevation gain than what Heather and I did. And she was doing it with just one small water bottle tucked into the elastic waistband of her running shorts!
This is a sunrise shot from the parking lot:
There are many interesting rock formations on the way up to the ridge.
Heather spotted this Tarantula as we were hiking up to the ridge:
Approaching Tom’s Thumb:
As we were making our way over to Tom’s Thumb, we saw a snake ahead!
We she got home, Heather’s husband, Dave, identified it as a Sonoran Coral Snake.
Heading down Tom’s Thumb Trail towards the East End Trail…
A view from the East End Trail:
Nearing the Windmill Trail…
This collection of saguaros is on the Coachwhip Trail:
A side trail off of Marcus Landslide leads to this fallen mushroom rock:
Nancy, Linda, Mike, Bob, and I hiked 14.5 miles on Friday. George joined us for the first 2.5 miles before turning back.
We hiked Dixie Mine to Pemberton which, due to its length, is something that we rarely do. From there, we hiked Pemberton, Coachwhip, Windmill, Bell Pass, and Prospector back to the service road. From there, we picked up Dixie Mine for the return to our vehicles.