Laura and I hiked an 11 mile loop in the Tom’s Thumb area on Friday.
Tag: McDowell Sonoran Preserve (page 1 of 9)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
I hiked 10.6 miles on Friday: Dixie Mine, Coachwhip, Windmill, Bell Pass, Prospector, and back on Dixie Mine.
Sunrise from the approach through Eagles Nest:
A view from the Dixie Mine Trail:
A view from the Coachwhip Trail.
Arizona Poppies – I saw these in a wash running across the Windmill Trail.
A view of Four Peaks from the Bell Pass Trail:
A view from the Prospector Trail:
Barrel Cactus blooms on the Dixie Mine Trail:
Starting from the Wagner Trailhead, I hiked 13.4 miles on Friday morning. I did Wagner, left on Granite, right on Bluff, left on Pemberton, right on Rock Knob (and slightly past the intersection with Gooseneck before returning to Gooseneck), Gooseneck, connector trail leading to Saguaro Nest, a short ways on Saguaro Nest, right onto another connector leading back to the park, left on Pemberton, right on Lariat, left on Granite, and left on Wagner.
Sunrise from the Wagner Trail:
Looking toward the McDowells from the Bluff Trail:
Looking toward Four Peaks from the Bluff Trail:
A view of Sven Slab (left) and Tom’s Thumb (right) from the Rock Knob Trail. I had hiked a short ways past the intersection with Gooseneck to get this photo.
A view from the Gooseneck Trail:
I think this is the most water that I’ve ever seen in Granite Tank!
White Thorn Acacia:
I hiked a little over five miles doing the Hog Heaven Loop, which is in the Tom’s Thumb area.
From this vantage point, I eventually hiked up past Hog Heaven, which is the climbing area just below the ridge in the center. I then made my way up to the Thumbnail Pinnacle which is on the ridge, just right of center. After that, I went to the highest point in the McDowells, the East End at the far right.
This is one of the interesting rock formations along the way. It is not the Thumbnail Pinnacle.
I saw this Gila Monster along the way. A got a photo of it when it turned around to hiss at me.
I took this shot while standing atop the boulders that form the highest point in the McDowells.
I saw a number of these yellow caterpillars as I made my descent to Tom’s Thumb Trail. Joe Bartels has identified it as a White-lined Sphinx Caterpillar.
When I got to Tom’s Thumb Trail, I started seeing what I thought were Mariposa Lilies. Joe Bartels at hikearizona.com identified it as an Arizona Caltrop, also known as an Arizona Poppy.
On July 4, I woke up very early and drove to Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. I hiked the beginning of the Lost Wall Loop, passing the Tom’s Thumb pinnacle. When I (again) reached Tom’s Thumb Trail, I followed it west to the Scottsdale side of the mountain range. I returned by hiking up Windgate to the pass, then down Windgate, and down some more on Windmill. I then went up East End to arrive back at Tom’s Thumb Trail. Near the end of my descent of Tom’s Thumb Trail, I added on an extra mile by hiking Feldspar, Marcus Landslide, and Caballo. Total distance was 11.2 miles with about 3100 feet of total ascent.