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Lost Dutchman State Park Loop, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 2.87 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,111 feet
Elevation Gain 555 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.65
Interest Historic
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7  2019-03-10
Siphon Draw Trail #53
2  2019-01-19 rayhuston
3  2018-11-24 kenandjude
7  2018-10-04 Tortoise_Hiker
2  2018-09-05 gummo
3  2018-01-06 rayhuston
3  2017-04-01 rayhuston
3  2017-02-17 rayhuston
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author Randal_Schulhauser
author avatar Guides 71
Routes 98
Photos 9,967
Trips 1,009 map ( 9,248 miles )
Age 59 Male Gender
Location Ahwatukee, AZ
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Preferred   Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr → NOON
Sun  6:13am - 6:24pm
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Waltzing in the Desert
by Randal_Schulhauser

Some History: I can remember my first visit to Arizona in the mid-80's and being introduced to the history and legends of the Superstition Mountains during a business trip break to check out the Apache Trail. I purchased Tom Kollenborn's book "Superstition Mountain - A Ride through Time" as a souvenir from that first visit and remember devouring it on the plane ride home. The book still remains in our home library as a reference for Superstition gold and other lore.

The most prominent legend has to include Jacob Waltz (aka "the Dutchman" - actually the "Deutsch Man" in reference to his German heritage), and the mysterious source of the gold he used to pay the bills. When Jacob Waltz made his way into Phoenix during the 1870's, picking up various supplies, he always paid promptly with gold. He'd make his way back to the Superstition Mountains to an undisclosed location. So where did his gold come from?

Prior to Jacob Waltz's arrival to the Superstitions, it was rumored that the Peralta family of northern Mexico had developed a rich gold mine in these mountains. According to legend, an Apache ambush in the 1840's ended the family's last expedition with only a single Peralta escaping the slaughter. Jacob Waltz purportedly located the mine through the aid of the Peralta descendant. Waltz and his partner, Jacob Weiser, worked in the mine and allegedly hid one or more caches of gold in the Superstitions. Most stories place the gold in the vicinity of Weaver's Needle. Waltz's partner died under suspicious circumstances.

Jacob Waltz moved to Phoenix and died in 1891, at the age of 83. $15,000 of gold was found under his bed after he died. He supposedly described the mine's location to Julia Thomas, a neighbor who took care of him prior to his death. Neither she nor dozens of other seekers in the years that followed were able to find the "Lost Dutchman Mine." Subsequent searchers have sometimes met with foul play or even death, contributing to the mystery, superstition, and legend that surrounds these mountains.

In 1912, Carl Silverlocke and Carl Malm found an old Spanish saddle bag filled with $18,000 worth of smelted gold near the site of the Massacre Grounds. Many people look to this as evidence that the legends of lost Superstition gold are true. Many maps have surfaced over the years , only to perpetuate the legend...

There is no shortage of information today continuing the legend of the Superstitions. Information may be found through searching the HAZ Forum and in popular Dutchman books.

The Hike: The Lost Dutchman State Park was founded in 1977 to act as a buffer between urban sprawl and the Superstition Mountains. It has a trail system that crosses into Tonto National Forest and in some instances, the Superstition Wilderness Area. This loop hike combines the five most prominent hiking segments into a single excursion. Although many of the hiking segments have been previously described on HAZ, this popular loop has remained un-posted.

Pay the day-use fee at the Visitor Center and proceed to either the Cholla or Saguaro day-use parking areas. I'll describe this hike as a counter-clockwise loop starting from the Saguaro parking area at the Discovery TH located near the restrooms.

The Discovery Trail heads south from the day-use area towards the campgrounds and the Siphon Draw TH. There are interpretive signs along this trail providing information about flora and fauna native to the area. There are strategically placed bird feeders and water ponds to attract wildlife. We spotted the "blunt" end of a coyote as we approached attesting to their effectiveness. This trail undulates into a couple of washes and passes the campground amphitheater just before it connects with the Siphon Draw TH.

Siphon Draw Trail #53 offers classic views of the Superstition Mountains and the distinctive Flatiron Peak. You will soon cross the park boundary heading into the Tonto National Forest. The trail follows the old 4WD track leading to Palmer Mine. About 1 mile from the Discovery TH, you will come to the intersection with Jacob's Crosscut Trail #58. Continue along Siphon Draw Trail #53 another half mile if you wish to view the abandoned Palmer Mine.

Otherwise, continue the loop by taking Jacob's Crosscut Trail #58 in a northeast direction in and out of a wash joining up on the other side to Prospector's View Trail #57. You hike along Jacob's Crosscut Trail #58 for only about 1/10th of a mile.

Prospector's View Trail #57 will begin a steady ascent upwards towards the surrounding cliffs of the Superstition Mountains and the distinctive Praying Hands rock feature. As you reach a prominent view point near some boulders, take advantage of the park bench to rest and savor the sights. You've now hiked about 1.5 miles from the Discovery TH. The city of Phoenix lies to the west and Four Peaks to the east. Every now and then a steam whistle can be heard emanating from the tourist train at Goldfield.

Close to the park bench lays the intersection with Treasure Loop Trail #56. Continue east about - miles until you see the off-trail route continuing upwards to the Praying Hands. The Treasure Loop Trail #56 makes a 90 degree bend here, heading downwards towards the Lost Dutchman State Park boundary and the Cholla parking area.

Summary: The Lost Dutchman State Park trail system offers many choices to the hiker. This is a popular loop hike combines the five most prominent hiking segments into a single excursion.

Discovery Trail: Connects the campground and day use areas. Trail features information signs, a wildlife pond, bird feeder and viewing bench.
Siphon Draw Trail #53: 4 miles round trip, a very scenic hike, this trail winds up into a canyon known as Siphon Draw. It is possible to hike up the Flatiron (5.8 miles roundtrip), although it is not a designated, maintained trail all the way. It's advised that only experienced hikers in good shape attempt to hike to the top, as the climb is steep and difficult to follow. Allow at least five hours to the Flatiron and back.
Palmer Mine Off-Trail: Off-trail hiking to an abandoned mine.
Jacob's Crosscut Trail #58: Trail runs 0.8 miles along the base of the mountain, rated easy. It connects Treasure Loop Trail with Prospector's View Trail, and continues 4.5 miles past the park area along the base of the Superstitions.
Prospector's View Trail #57: Length 0.7 miles, rated moderate. It connects Siphon Draw Trail with Treasure Loop Trail also connects with Jacob's Crosscut Trail.
Treasure Loop Trail #56: Length 2.4 miles round trip, rated moderate, elevation change of 500 feet. It terminates at either picnic area.
Praying Hands Off-Trail: Off-trail hiking to the base of a distinctive rock outcrop.

This loop hike can also serve as a good introduction to the mysterious Superstition Mountains and its abundant legends. I've brought many first time visitors to Arizona to this park and will continue to do so. Just remember not to let the truth stand in the way of a good story... Enjoy!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2008-01-20 Randal_Schulhauser
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  • 2018 Lost Dutchman SP Info
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    2018 Lost Dutchman SP Info
  • 2018 Lost Dutchman SP Map
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    2018 Lost Dutchman SP Map
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 11 deeper Triplog Reviews
Lost Dutchman State Park Loop
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I finally made it up Siphon Draw!

No, not all the way up - what do you think I am, one of you in-shape locals?! :lol:

Our pasty Midwestern butts got, I'd guess, about two-thirds of the way to the basin, turning around just as the climb became truly challenging. Far enough to get a good sense of how the incredible formations of the Superstition front range close in around you and the Flatiron looms above as you ascend. (For those familiar with the trail, our turnaround point was just past the pair of rocks south of the trail that lean together to create an inviting little cave-like space.)

We'd started by taking Jacobs Crosscut south from the Treasure Loop to Siphon Draw, a welcome warm-up but I was itching to get up close to the mountains. The afternoon was overcast, perfect hiking weather but, sadly, less than ideal for showing off the landforms at their best. I was actually looking for the clandestine Palmer Mine turnoff, thinking we'd do an extended loop that way, but I must have missed it completely, or else it's further up the trail than I expected based on the descriptions. As it was, after descending Siphon Draw we hiked up Prospector's, where I did notice what I guessed to be the other end of the mine trail snaking in from the south. Then down Treasure Loop for a total route of about 3-3.5 miles,the final stretch graced by a typically spectacular Valley sunset and simultaneous moonrise over the Supes behind us. And we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a tarantula we narrowly avoided stomping on as it scurried underground!

I always say I will return to a spot, then when I get the rare chance to hike I always want to go somewhere new! But having finally made it to Lost Dutchman, I regret that my eagerness to experience Siphon Draw made us skip the first leg of Treasure Loop that goes past the Praying Hands. (On the way back tiredness and fading light made us take the faster way down, as it always seems to go with us; it was at this point I joked to Sid, "Hey, it's not full dark and we're not lost - we must be getting better at this!") It was such a thrill to get up close to this range I've been admiring from afar (and exploring from other locations) for years, it made me just want more!
Lost Dutchman State Park Loop
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Final Four this afternoon, so a day hike will have to wait until tomorrow, in spite of ideal conditions for a local hike. Actually, today's schedule was decided by Rhonda, who wanted to take advantage of cool temps for one last Rhonda's Loop at LDSP before it's too hot. It's getting a bit parched out there now, with fox tail sprouting everywhere. Still it was nice with a cool breeze and the park was packed. Followed up with breakfast burritos from The Burrito Shack. It was packed, too.
Lost Dutchman State Park Loop
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The whole family is in town so we took a trip out to Lost Dutchman and did a variation of Rhonda's favorite loop. We didn't get started until after 8:30 :o so it was busy!

Beautiful morning in the park.
Lost Dutchman State Park Loop
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Time to get this off our Bucket List. Thanks to Vincent and gmaclachian's routes we had a big idea where we went wrong in the past attempts. Thought we were all set, but then decided we wanted a few more miles and do an off route extension after we topped out behind the Hoodoos, hooking up with the ridgeline trail via a small saddle we had spotted previously. Parked at the second parking spot off 1st water and up we went. All went well, 3/4th of the way up we startled a couple of : rein : but to quick for a pic. Got up and over the Hoodoos East of 5024 and spotted the saddle we wanted to go down and connect with the ridgeline trail back to Flatiron. This is such a beautiful hike and especially up on top past the 1st set of Hoodoos my camera wouldn't stop clicking :M2C: :D . Started down and ran in to a wall of trees and bushes, couldn't go thru or under as they were really thick. ](*,) Backed out and worked our way up and around the North side of the Thicket. Hooked up with the ridgeline and up and over connecting with the Reverse Flatiron Route. Decided not to head over to Flatiron due to setting sun. Headed down Siphon Draw to Jacob's Crosscut and headed North to parking lot. Got dark on us and missed a sign , we ended up over at the Cholla Campground area, all in all was a great hike, but happy I was able to cross it off my Bucket List....
Lost Dutchman State Park Loop
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After our Pass Mountain hike, we returned to our campsite at Lost Dutchman SP with a little energy left for the loop. We hiked the trails counter clock-wise at sunset and walked the park roads back to camp in the dark. I always enjoy hiking these short Dutchman park trails. Dinner and campfire ended the long, very fun day!
Lost Dutchman State Park Loop
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Palmer Mine Big Loop
Day 2, Hike 2 of the TibberFest/60th Birthday Bash. 13 of us would be hiking this Loop, well part of us anyway as some would go back from Palmer Mine to go up Siphon Draw. I can't tell you how much this made me :D smile to have so many people to hike with that I've hiked with over my short time hiking. I am one lucky hiker.

Larry had the route, Larry got nominated trip leader. He got us to the mine but was a little nervous about herding 12 cats. I can't remember what my niece asked Larry but his response was, "I usually hike alone." :lol: Oh well, not today. We headed up the trail from the Main Campground via the Mining Camp restaurant trail, merged with Siphon Draw and then turned at the trail that goes to the left after the Crosscut.

It was a bit warm and we were anxiously hoping to get to the shade of the mine. We could have gone on Jacob's to Prospector to get to the shade earlier but that was a steeper climb. The mine adit has a lot more overgrowth then when I was here last with Ambika. The mine has a great history though and I forwarded that to the non-HAZers so it will hopefully make it more memorable for them (I'll test them the next time I see them ;) ). We goofed around here and enjoyed the shade a bit before continuing on via some dips to the Prospector Trail intersection. We had the option to take it back down or continue on for a larger loop. It was no-contest as everyone opted for the bigger loop (it was a matter of time out on the trail for those that had later plans).

So the nine of us continued, visited for a moment at the Treasure Loop intersection and headed on down to the Jacob's Crosscut. Most folks had not done this trail or this hike so it was new and a nice way to start a Sunday. Larry and I lingered behind as the others picked up the pace.

Back at the campground, folks finished packing up and went their separate ways. It was nice of my brother to bring out Snowball as it came in handy for storage and late afternoon shade. Others brot food or wood or charcoal and it all worked out very well. It is a very nice campground and having the food truck come out for Saturday's meal worked perfectly. To finish off the weekend, we stopped at the Mammoth Steakhouse for lunch (great skins and wings; lucky for me Ambika gives me the leftovers to take home) with Wade & Mary Jo and Wendy & Ambika.

Thursday, Chumley got a few of us together (for those who couldn't make the weekend bash due to a backpack trip at Powers Garden) to celebrate the real 60th at the AZ Wilderness Brewery so that was a nice way to cap off my second 30th Birthday. As I've told others, I actually think I wouldn't mind turning 60 all over again cuz this was way too much fun :y: !

Video 1: ... cvI0
Video 2: ... B7_Y
Lost Dutchman State Park Loop
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Just cooling my heels after hiking with Hank (Grasshopper) and I get an email from Angela (Tibber) for some wildflower hunting along the trails around the LDSP and Siphon Draw. Can't turn down an opportunity to hike with Angela, especially when she offered to buy me a beer afterwards :) so I gladly accepted.

We met at the Mining Camp Restaurant at 0830 and got our "stuff" together to chase the colorful wildflowers (hope, hope). The parking lot was quickly filling up and we could already see hoards of hikers on the trails. Once through the gates and on the trails, we were aware that this was going to be a little less than spectacular :-k Lots of Brittlebush in all stages of bloom but mostly still in the budding stage. We found tons of Chuparosa in full bloom in every wash in the foothills but Siphon Draw Wash was particularly colorful :D

We kept hoping and looking for the fields of golden Mexican Poppies, but only found a few sparse patches of the stunted golden beauties ](*,) The highlight of the day, however, was the discovery of a rare Red Poppy that was growing all by itself right alongside the Treasure Loop Trail :y: Lots of hikers out taking pictures of the flowers and the mountain and the trail up Siphon Draw had drawn the majority, as would be expected.

We finally turned around and headed back to the parking lot and along the way we ran into Spider Legs and Hike Mule on their return from 5024. We talked for a bit then all decided to go inside and have a cold beer. Nice meeting you guys and the good conversation.... Thanks Angela for the beer. The flowers weren't quite as expected, but it was a beautiful day to be out and next time I'll buy the beer :y:

The Brittlebush needs a little time yet to get to full bloom. The Mexican Poppies are sparse and stunted. The Chuparosa is going crazy in the washes.
Lost Dutchman State Park Loop
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I've been off all week. I spent the first part of the week in Oregon celebrating my mother's 80th birthday. Other than a short hike in the mud along Fall Creek near Eugene, I went on my first hike in more than two weeks yesterday. I was feeling it this morning and throughout this hike. It's amazing how quickly you lose your stamina if you don't keep it up.

My wife played hooky with me today. We took advantage of this fabulous morning by going out to Lost Dutchman for a saunter around Rhonda's favorite loop, then hit Cobb's diner for a late breakfast.

Wildflowers were isolated but starting to show up. It's green everywhere.
Lost Dutchman State Park Loop
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Return to Lost Dutchman State Park

On November 17th, I recorded a triplog for a Geocaching/hiking journey along the Lost Dutchman State Park Loop. That day, I had planned on visiting several geocaches that had been placed in the foothills around the State Park. At the end of my circle route, I found that I had missed one of the caches but decided to save that one for another day.

Well today was the day to hike out, claim that cache and sign the log and I needed to work off a too-much-to-eat Saturday night Christmas party. It was a cool start to the day with a fair amount of cloud cover and because of the day, there weren't many people out on the trails. It looked like a so-so kind of a day, but I took my camera along anyway (something might come up).

I stuck to the hiking trails and soon found my cache hiding under a bush, right where the GPS said it should be. After signing the log and re-hiding the cache container, I thought it was too early to be heading back, so I had a quick talk with myself and decided to continue on to the base of the mountain.

As we all know, there's a strange beckoning to the Superstition Mountains that lures us on. A strange force that pulls us in deeper to investigate the history of the mountain, and so I got sucked in and continued my hike. As I approached the base of the mountain I made a turn to my left (now heading North) towards some tall rock spires that held the mystique guiding me further off the main trail system.

Then I could hear voices. It took me a while to locate the individuals, because they were on the backside of one of the spires. As I approached the source of the voices, I found two guys all rigged in climbing gear and in the process of ascending the rock (see, now I know why I felt the urge to bring my camera along).

I conversed with the guy on the ground and found out that this rock is called the "Tower" and climbers fairly frequently visit it. It's the first time I witnessed a climb and it gave me time to catch my breath and take some photos. The GPS said I was at a 3,100 foot level and there wasn't much level land against the face of the mountain but everywhere I looked there was something to catch my eye and hold my fascination. I just love it.

It was from this point that I began my descent but along a track that would allow me to continue shooting (photographically speaking) the guys on the face of the Tower. It turned out to be a truly interesting morning and I think I burned up the calories that I consumed on Saturday night. My GPS confirmed that I had covered 4.54 miles in almost 3 hours.

Thanks to the guys making the climb and I Gotta make that trip again.
Lost Dutchman State Park Loop
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Hiking vs. Geocaching
Hiking and Geocaching are two of my favorite ways of passing the time any time I'm out of doors. Since I was born and raised in the Minnesota and Wisconsin area, I have had a life long addiction to just about anything that takes me outdoors. Fishing, Hunting, Hiking, Snowmobiling, 4-wheeling, you name it, at one time or another, I have probably done it. Now that I'm retired and a part time resident of the great Southwest, I have narrowed my local interests to Hiking and Geocaching.

I recently combined my two interests when I went on a hike along the Western slope of the Superstition Foothills. My planning began by going to and researching caches that had been placed just outside the wilderness boundaries (geocaches are not allowed within the Superstition Wilderness boundaries). Once identified, I planned a route that would take me on a circular course past nine geocaches that had been placed in the foothills and are located only by their coordinates.

To those unfamiliar with Geocaching, a brief primer follows: The earliest man probably stored food and water in familiar locations where they could be accessed as needed. These storage locations came to be known as a cache. As civilization progressed, the cache continued to be a primary requirement as travelers advanced into unfamiliar territories. Today the familiar cache has all but disappeared due to the car and the quick shopping markets that make your supplies readily available.

Enter the GPS. GPS (Global Positioning System) was developed by the US Department of Defense to help in global navigation and keep soldiers from getting lost. The initial system was very secretive and guarded, but by the 80's the Department of Defense made a limited system available to all of us.

Today GPS is used by hunters to mark trails and good hunting areas. Any serious angler has GPS in the boat and, along with digital lake maps, can tell the bottom contours and structure of the lake beneath the boat. Hikers use GPS along with high definition topographical mapping to know in advance what lies ahead. And now, GPS is used for Geocaching.

Geocaching began around 2000 when the government eased the restrictions on GPS and later that year, two enterprising software professionals from Seattle coined the word Geocaching and was born. Soon people were hiding a cache and posting the coordinates on the website. When a cache was found, the finder signed and dated a provided logbook as proof of the 'find', then logged on to the website and recorded the action. Today there are 1,242,712 active geocaches around the world.

So off I went on today's adventure. I drove out on Apache Trail (Hwy. 88) past Goldfield, past the Superstition Mountain Museum and turned on the First Water Trail. I parked my vehicle in the first parking area as you enter First Water Trail, got my hydration pack, camera, binoculars, walking staff and my GPS and headed out. I reset all the counters and timers on my GPS and cleared the old breadcrumb trails from its memory so I could keep an accurate tally of the hike.

The time was 7:30 and the sun was just breaking over the crest of the mountain and I had to shield my eyes from its glare. I focused on the first geocache location and headed in that general direction watching as the setpoint on the screen got progressively closer. When I finally had the screen fully zoomed, and the setpoint lined up with my position, I knew I was close enough to start a visual search of the immediate area. I soon located a camouflaged ammo can hiding under some rocks and opened it to see what treasures were inside. A typical cache has a logbook, a pencil and some trinkets that can be traded (kids love this part). The contents of the cache didn't interest me so I signed the logbook and replaced the cache under its pile of rocks.

The cache site provided me with some excellent views of Four Peaks to the Northwest and the imposing wall of Superstition Mountain immediately in front of me. I took some pictures from this location then set up for the next geocache. I repeated this scenario as I continued searching for and finding the geocaches each in turn, then restoring the geocache to its hiding place again. My circular course crossed some familiar trails in the area including 'Jacob's Crosscut #58', 'Prospectors Trail #57', Praying Hands Loop and Superstition Ridgeline.

After locating the final cache, signing the log and hiding it again, I set a course to the parking lot and my vehicle. Once there I removed my hiking gear and stored everything in the car then checked the GPS and found that the time was now 11:30 and I had logged 6.34 miles. As I reviewed my breadcrumb trail, I noticed that I had missed one geocache way up there on the flank of the mountain.

I'll be darned, I guess I'm going to have to go back there again and find that last geocache but not today, that's another trip and another tale.

Permit $$
AZ State Parks more info
2018 Day Use Fees range from $2–$30

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Phoenix, take SR60 east towards Globe. Turn left at the SR88/Idaho Rd (exit 196) and follow north about 2 ½ miles until you reach SR88/Apache Trail Road. Follow the Apache Trail northeast about 3 ½ miles towards the Salt River Lakes. You will pass the Superstition Mountain Museum and through the old mining ghost town of Goldfield before you reach the entrance to Lost Dutchman State Park on the south side of the Apache Trail.

GPS coordinates for the intersection of Apache Trail Road and the Lost Dutchman State Park entrance are 33o 27.862'N, 111o 28.921'W. My GPS noted 42 miles traveled from my Ahwatukee home to the trail head. Travel time was about 45 minutes.
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