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Friday Fitness Hike

Linda and I hiked a 12 mile loop starting from the Wagner Trailhead. Sara hiked most of it with us, but she needed to return early.

This is a view of Red Mountain from the Pemberton Trail:

Four Peaks in the background with some hills near the Sport Loop in the foreground:

Hedgehog blossoms:

The ocotillos are in bloom too!

Poppies:

Phacelia:

Linda identified this as a Pincushion Flower:

Spiny Goldenweed???

Shortly before this point, Sara hiked back via the Pemberton while Linda and I tramped through some washes…

Brittlebush:

We noticed some dirt-fall in this area.  There’s a big chunk of this wall which looks like it might fall sometime soon.  I took this photo after we passed that section.  It looked worse as we approached it.

Linda noticed this rock as we continued on…

This is a view of Red Mountain from the Tonto Tank Trail:

I think this is Sandwash Groundsel:

More poppies.  We weren’t sure what the magenta colored plant behind it was.

Desert Mistletoe berries:

Friday Fitness Hike

Nora, Heather, and I hiked a little over five miles starting from Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. We did a combo of the Hog Heaven Loop and the Lost Wall Loop visiting the East End, the highest point in the McDowells, along the way.  We saw a lot of flowers, perhaps more than I’ve seen on any hike so far this year.

Early in the hike, on the Mesquite Trail:

Heading up to the pass at the top of Mesquite Canyon:

At the pass now; looking toward the Superstitions:

Continuing on the way to Hog Heaven…

The small but prominent pinnacle is the Thumbnail Pinnacle. Below it and to the left is the main wall of Hog Heaven.

Lupine:

Chia:

One of the many patches of owl clover, lupine, and poppies:

(Big) Boulder hopping:

Thistle:

Nora and Heather, below the main wall at Hog Heaven:

Heather and Nora, making their way up some steep terrain below the Thumbnail Pinnacle:

I originally thought that this was a hawk, but in the comments, Cathy says that she thinks it’s a Peregrine Falcon.  I think she’s right.  In any case, we saw this bird as we continued to make our way up to the Thumbnail Pinnacle.  It hung around on that pinnacle as we passed it.  We weren’t especially close to it – once again, I used Topaz Gigapixel AI to enhance the detail.  (I also used this software on the owl photo from last week.)

We’re near or above the Thumbnail Pinnacle now, looking towards Scottsdale:

We continued up to the ridge leading over to the East End.  The Thumbnail Pinnacle is well below us here, looking more like a spire.  In the distance is Weaver’s Needle and the Flatiron. Towards the right and somewhat closer is Fountain Hills with the Fountain.

Another view looking toward Scottsdale.  Thompson Peak is the one with the antennas. Also visible is the East End Trail, far below us.

Blister beetle – thanks to Linda for the ID:

I’m not sure what this flower is; it was incredibly blue/purple though.  (Update: Linda identified it as Larkspur / Delphinium.)

Tom’s Thumb with the edge of Gardener’s Wall below it and slightly to the right.

Another view of that ridge; also visible in this photo is Glass Dome at the left.

A view of Pinnacle Peak (center) and Troon Mountain at the right:

We’re nearly down to Tom’s Thumb Trail now. The two prominent pinnacles in this photo are Glass Dome on the left and Tom’s Thumb on the right.  Again, the edge of Gardener’s wall can be seen at the far right.

Another patch of dry grasses and flowers:

Tom’s Thumb:

A view of Tom’s Thumb from the other side. The Class 4 West Corner route can be seen in this photo.  (Mountain Project has it rated at 5.2.) This was my first climb way back before there were “easy” trails leading to Tom’s Thumb.

Nora and Heather, descending part of the Lost Wall Loop.  (It was pretty much all descent, much of it loose and/or rocky, after we left Tom’s Thumb.)

Globe Chamomile:

Another view of Tom’s Thumb – this is one of my favorite spots for getting a photo of Tom’s Thumb.

Hedgehog Blossom; we saw quite a few of them on the ridge prior to resuming our descent.

Chicory:

Blackfoot Daisy? (Not sure about this one.)

Another interesting rock formation on the Lost Wall Loop:

Phacelia (I thought it was Fiddleneck, but Linda corrected me on the ID). What was remarkable about this bunch of flowers was how high they were growing.  They’re usually no more than a foot or two off the ground.  Other nearby vegetation allowed this clump of it to reach up to perhaps four feet in height.

Friday Fitness Hike

Mike, Cathy, Ro (short for Rosemary), and I hiked 12.6 miles starting from the Four Peaks parking lot at MMRP. We hiked a big loop which incorporated the South Wash and a significant portion of the Long Loop, which is one of the competitive track loops.

The desert grasses are definitely drying out; we saw a lot of tan, brown, and even red grasses.  But we also saw a lot of flowers, both cactus flowers and wildflowers.  We saw a surprising amount of brittlebush blooms.  We also saw poppies, fiddleneck, chia, globemallow, owl clover, and even thistle.

We saw a deer and an owl while hiking the South Wash. I got a photo of the owl (enhanced with Topaz Gigapixel AI), but was not quick enough to get a photo of the deer despite the fact that it was only about 20 yards away.

A view from the parking lot:

Views of Red Mountain from the Technical Loop…

Hedgehog  Blossoms:

Another view of Red Mountain, also from the Technical Loop, while descending T-Bone Ridge:

This is one of the feeder washes for Stoneman Wash.  It led us to the Pemberton Trail.

Prickly Pear Blossom:

This is the South Wash. Note the brittlebush on the left bank.

Mexican Poppies:

Globemallow:

The South Wash has some very high mostly vertical banks.  We saw this owl three quarters of the way up in a small “cave”  on one of the 50-80 foot banks.

A dead tree with character:

Verbena:

Brittlebush growing out of the side of the bank:

New Mexico Thistle (with bees):

Globe Chamomile – thanks to Cathy for identifying this:

Chia:

This is a crested (fasciated) hedghog cactus.

After hiking the South Wash, we left the wash by hiking up the Long Loop to the South Ridge.  This is another view of Red Mountain from that section of the Long Loop.

Hedgehog blossoms:

Views from the South Ridge:

Fiddleneck:

Hedgehog cactus and blossoms. Note the dry grass!

Friday Hike – Flatiron

Nora, Marilyn, Sara, and I hike to the top of the Flatiron and back on Friday.

Early morning photos looking up Siphon Draw towards the Flatiron were almost all back lit.  Sorting through my photos, I found that I liked the afternoon shots better. But this one was okay.  At this point, we’re nearly two miles in, close to the point where those who don’t go to the top will turn around.

At the top…

After looking over the edge of the Flatiron, we walked east for a short ways (probably less than a quarter mile) where we got this great view looking east. I took a few photos looking west from the top, but I didn’t find them to be especially compelling.

Prior to heading down, we stopped at a memorial commemorating the 2011 plane crash victims.

Continuing on, we got some great views of the Flatiron from the side. If you look closely, you can see someone near the edge.

Looking east again from the massive outcropping north of the Flatiron.

Looking ESE from this prominence.

Looking over the edge…

Nora, Sara, and Marilyn, making their way down.

Looking back up at the Flatiron. Several of the photos above were taken while making our way out to the point of the prominence left of the Flatiron.

We saw these flowers near the top of the slickrock area.

This is the slickrock area. Traction was pretty good, though care had to be taken because some of the rock has been smoothed by the water.

Slickrock area below; Flatiron above:

Globemallow:

We’re nearly done now – this is a good view of where we had been earlier in the day.

Friday Hike – Boulder Canyon Trail

Marilyn, Ben, Mike, Sara, Kelly, Julie, Marta, and I hiked part of the Boulder Canyon Trail starting from the Canyon Lake Marina. We hiked together out to La Barge Creek; when I’ve hiked there in the past, the creek was either totally or mostly dry.  This time, however, the creek was perhaps 30 feet wide with ankle deep water through the shallowest path to the other side. (If you purposely chose a deeper path, you might have ended up in knee deep water.) In any case, Sara, Julie, Kelly, and Marta opted to go back at this point, while Ben, Marilyn, Mike, and I continued on.

I had hoped to hike up La Barge Canyon to see the pools at the point where it starts to get hard to continue onward, but the wetness discouraged us – none of us had brought appropriate footwear for these conditions. We continued on, also crossing Boulder Creek. We found Boulder Creek to be easier to cross without getting quite as wet.  We turned around at the intersection with Second Water Trail.

The photo below shows Battleship Mountain with Weaver’s Needle behind and to the right; some of us hiked to the top back in January. Battleship Mountain is a long skinny mountain, though it doesn’t look like it from this angle. From this vantage-point, we’re looking at the bow of the battleship. Our hike to the top involved climbing up the stern and then making our way foward towards the bow.

Looking back at Canyon Lake:

Another view of Battleship Mountain as we neared La Barge Creek:

After crossing La Barge Creek, we came across some ruins known as the Indian Paint Mine.

This is a section of Boulder Creek near Second Water Trail. The water was quite turbulent here. Downstream, where we crossed, the water was shallower and calmer, though we still had to do some boulder hopping to get across. Even so, at least one of my feet got wet (again) each time I crossed it.

Looking up La Barge Canyon.  We noticed a large bird overhead and I quickly snapped a couple of shots.  I was surprised that one of them turned out.

There are other rock formations along the way that aren’t Battleship Mountain…

Marilyn, hiking back up the long hill from La Barge Creek:

The flowers had opened up for our hike back:

Another view of Canyon Lake:

Had I taken a couple more steps, I would have stepped on this snake! I’m guessing it’s a type of gopher snake. It’s definitely not a rattler.

A view of Battleship Mountain and Weaver’s Needle from (near) Frog Peak:

Friday Hike – Miner’s Needle Loop

For our hike on Friday, March 8, Sara, Marilyn, Ben, Marilyn, Mike, Nick, and I hiked the Miner’s Needle Loop in the Superstition Wilderness. Starting from Peralta Trailhead, we hiked the Dutchman Trail #104 and returned on Bluff Springs #235.  I took a brief detour on Whiskey Spring #238 while the others ate lunch.

Weaver’s Needle seen from the Whiskey Springs Trail.

From this vantage point on the Whiskey Springs Trail, I was able to see both Miner’s Needle, below, and Weaver’s Needle, above.

Sara, Marilyn, Nick, Ben, Mike, and Marilyn:

Friday Hike – Cave Trail, Weaver’s Crosscut, and Bluff Springs

Ben, Marilyn, and Mike joined me for 9.6 mile hike in the Superstition Wilderness. Starting from Peralta Trailhead, we hiked Bluff Springs #235, Cave Trail #233, Peralta #102, part of Weaver’s Needle Access, Weaver’s Needle Crosscut, Terrapin Trail #234, and Bluff Springs #235.

Our ascent of part of the Weaver’s Needle access was inadvertent. I wasn’t keeping an eye on the GPS track and we ended up hiking a fair way up the trail before realizing our mistake.  Even after returning to Weaver’s Needle Crosscut, we floundered around for a while before finding the path.  Weaver’s Needle Crosscut was still pretty steep – in fact some of it seemed more difficult that the part of the Weaver’s Needle access trail that we had done earlier.

We had hoped to hike Lower Barks Canyon for the finish, but it was wet and we were all pretty tired at that point.

A view of Peralta Canyon from the Bluff Springs Trail:

Ben and Marilyn take a break on the Cave Trail.

Ben and Mike on the Cave Trail:

Mike ascending the low ridge adjacent to the Devil’s Slide, to the right.  When I’ve hiked this in the past, in the opposite direction, we went down the slide, but it was wet on Friday; that low ridge looked safer.

Another view from the Cave Trail. (The Cave Trail is pretty awesome.)

A view of Weaver’s Needle as we’re descending the Peralta Trail NNW of Fremont Saddle.

We’re either on the Weaver’s Needle Access Trail or the Crosscut Trail at this point.

This was one of the easier sections of the Weaver’s Needle Crosscut Trail. The Crosscut Trail had less bushwhacking that I expected, but was somewhat more strenuous than I expected. It was still fun though!

A view of Weaver’s Needle from the Weaver’s Needle Crosscut Trail.  We are nearing the Terrapin Trail at this point.

A pair of hikers that we met on the Crosscut Trail told us about this large balanced rock.  The portion on top is at least as large as a bus. However, due to it’s closeness to the rock on the left, you might not even notice it as you hike the Terrapin Trail. I think it’s likely that we would have missed it had we not known about it ahead of time. There was perhaps a 15-20 foot section of trail where you could stand and see a distinct gap between the balanced rock on the right and the neighboring rock on the left.

I think we were on Bluff Springs at this point.

Another view of Weaver’s Needle:

Later afternoon on the Bluff Springs Trail:

Friday Fitness Hike

Bob, Mike, Nick, Marilyn, Nora, Sara, and Kelly joined me for a 10+ mile loop in the McDowells. We hiked: Marcus Landslide, Boulder, Pemberton, Coachwhip, Windmill, East End, and Tom’s Thumb trails.

Friday Fitness Hike

Ben, Marilyn, Mike, Bob, and Cathy joined me for a twelve and a half mile hike that took us all the way out to Marcus Landslide (starting from the Trailhead Staging Area).

Some of us saw javelina (and ravens) on our drive into the park. Later, during the hike, we saw jackrabbits, coyotes, deer, and more ravens.

Ravens at the trailhead:

Passing through Stoneman Wash…

The pond is looking both cleaner and fuller than normal!

Marilyn, Cathy, Ben, Mike, and Bob:

One of many rabbits that we saw…

Look for the coyote in the lower left portion of this photo…

Owl clover:

We saw some poppies in the park, but we saw more and more as we neared the Marcus Landslide Trail. This bunch of poppies was just off the Marcus Landslide Trail near it’s interesection with the Boulder Trail.

A view from the Marcus Landslide Trail:

This bunch of poppies was just off the Rock Knob Trail in the Preserve.

 

Friday Fitness Hike

Lloyd and I hiked 11.4 miles in the Tom’s Thumb area on Friday, the 25th.

Early in the morning on part of the Lost Wall Loop…

Continuing up, we passed this notable rock formation…

Looking down on Pinnacle Peak and Troon:

Tom’s Thumb and the Rist – yes, I’ve spelled it correctly:

It took us somewhat longer than normal to get to this point. Lloyd told me at the outset that he’s 70 years old with a pacemaker, so we went a more relaxed pace.

Heading down the East End Trail…

We saw a lot of poppies on Friday.

A cyclist coming up the Coachwhip Trail. Another hiker named Danny joined us for this section of the hike.

When we got to the Marcus Landslide Trail, Lloyd wanted a longer hike, so we turned left and hiked the little loop on the Marcus Landslide Trail. Danny had time constraints and headed straight back. I thought that this was a nice view of  more poppies and also of the Thumbnail Pinnacle high above. I told Lloyd that we sometimes hike up there.

Submarine Rock and some of the Landslide too.

One of the mushroom boulders along the Marcus Landslide Trail. The Granite Ballroom can be seen behind it – Marilyn and I once did a climb in this area – back in the days when it was possible to drive your vehicle all the way back to this point or perhaps somewhat beyond.

Another prominent pinnacle near the Marcus Landslide Trail.

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