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Tag: McDowell Sonoran Preserve (page 1 of 10)

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

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

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.

Friday Fitness Hike

Mike, Ben, Marilyn, Kay, Diane, and Marilyn joined me for a twelve mile hike in the park and nearby preserve.

Friday Fitness Hike

Laura and I hiked an 11 mile loop in the Tom’s Thumb area on Friday.

Friday Fitness Hike

Ben, Marilyn, Sara, Nick, Mike, and Marilyn joined me for Friday’s hike starting from the Wagner Trailhead. A subset of us did: Wagner, Delsie, Gooseneck, Rock Knob, Pemberton, Bluff Wash, Bluff, Granite, and Wagner. Total hike distance was 11.8 miles with 800+ feet of total ascent.

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

Some sort of hawk, perhaps a red tail.

Chain fruit cholla:

The flowers are goldeneye – see below – with Red Mountain in the distance.

Chuparosa:

Goldeneye – these flowers sort of look like brittlebush, but the leaves are different and don’t have the whitish coating that brittlebush leaves have.

Marilyn descends a steep section coming down from Bluff Wash. We also used to go up this way, but the move up has gotten a lot harder now that even more of the sand below has eroded away.

Friday Fitness Hike

Ben, Marilyn, Kay, and Nora joined me for a hike of the Hog Heaven Loop starting from Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. After doing the interesting / fun part of the loop, I left the group, hiking down East End, left on Windmill, left on Coachwhip, left on Pemberton, left on Boulder, right on Marcus Landslide, and right on Caballo. My total distance ended up being 10.7 miles with nearly 2500 feet of total ascent.

This is part of the trail leading to Hog Heaven.

Kay leads the way up a steep section between the main wall of Hog Heaven and the Thumbnail Pinnacle.

Ben, Kay, Marilyn, Nora, and Kevin at the Thumbnail Pinnacle.

We’ve passed the Thumbnail Pinnacle and are now on the ridge leading to the East End, the highest point in the McDowells.

Ben, Marilyn, Kay, and Nora at the summit.

Glass dome on the left and Tom’s Thumb on the right.

I think these purple flowers are Trailing Windmills.

Fairy Duster on the East End Trail.

I think this is a hawk…

Look for the Thumbnail Pinnacle below and to the right of what appears to be the summit. We were there earlier in the day. (The actual summit is beyond the apparent high point in this photo.)

A view from the Coachwhip Trail.

Another look at the Thumbnail Pinnacle, this time from the Pemberton Trail.

Friday Fitness Hike

Nina, Pat, Wayne, Kay, Mike, and Marilyn joined me for a 10.6 mile hike in the Dixie Mine area. We also saw Bill and Stan at the trailhead as well as on the way back – they did some maintenance in the mine area. We also saw Jill who had intended to join our hike, but arrived at the trailhead an hour early; she ended up hiking by herself.

This area was somewhat more slippery than normal due to the puddles and wet sand.

Kay, Pat, Nina, Wayne, and Kevin.

Friday Fitness Hike

Linda, Kathy, and I hiked 10.4 miles starting from Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. After struggling to find our way up the climber’s access trail to the ridge north of Tom’s Thumb, we followed the ridge past the Thumb to Tom’s Thumb Trail. We then went west down the Scottsdale side of the mountain. We hiked back up again via the Windgate Pass Trail, descended towards the intersection with Bell Pass and Windmill, and then took the Windmill Trail a short ways to the East End Trail. East End took us up and up and up until we once again returned to Tom’s Thumb Trail. We returned via Tom’s Thumb Trail. Total elevation gain for the day was 3,186 feet.

Sunrise from Tom’s Thumb Trailhead:

I think this might be Phacelia, but am not certain.

This is a view of Tom’s Thumb from the Tom’s Thumb Trail early in our descent of the west side of the mountain.

More views of our descent…

We saw a tarantula along the way.

Linda identified this flower as a Desert Rose Mallow. We saw a number of these flowers during our hike.

Note the cholla within the ocotillo!

This is a view of Pinnacle Peak from near the intersection of East End Trail and Tom’s Thumb Trail.

Linda, Kathy, and Kevin:

Friday Fitness Hike

I hiked 5.5 miles in the Tom’s Thumb area, doing a combination of the Hog Heaven Loop and the Lost Wall Loop. Towards the end of the hike, I added on the Feldspar and Marcus Landslide trails turning the route into more of a figure-8. Along the way, I visited Hog Heaven, the Thumbnail Pinnacle, the East End (highest point in the McDowells), and Tom’s Thumb.

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