The last time I hiked in Estrella Mountain Regional Park was six years ago. Other than Gadsden Trail being miles of deep, sandy, wash, Estrella’s trails were very mellow. Large mileage is available without doing an out & back, which I always try to avoid.
In 2011, took Gadsden Trail from Corgett Wash to Coldwater Trail. This time I did all of Pedersen Trail. (Three Es in the correct spelling.)
I ate breakfast at the Waffle House on Dysart, but still got to the trailhead before sunrise, which was typically Arizona awesome.
Throughout my hike, there were directional signs for a trail running ultramarathon. (The longer distances did five laps of this loop.) It made me think of “Signs”, by Five Man Electrical Band.
From Gadsden Trail, the stock cars at Phoenix International Raceway, five miles away, were clearly audible. And that was only one or two cars: Imagine if there were 43!
Pederson, south of Gadsden, has a TON
of cholla, mostly teddy bear, though I also spotted some buckhorn. Six years ago, the cholla actually blocked the trail at points; now it is clear, except for the odd fallen ball.
After a long break at the far southeast corner of Pedersen -- 3 bar Verizon reception -- I continued west on Pedersen. Or just off it, in the desert, as the jeep trail was deep sand. I found one saguaro that was leaking so much sap it had a puddle at its base. Pretty cool.
At "155th Avenue" -- that is its real name -- I turned north, still on Pedersen. A mile up, I thought I saw a trailer, but it turned out to be large tent full of tables, chairs, cots, Coleman stoves, and two liter bottles of soda for the trail runners. Unfortunately, no beer. I took advantage of the shade, for my second break.
Just north of Corgett Wash, I could see I-10 against the White Tank Mountains.
on Pedersen, just before the intersection with Toothaker Trail, there is an interesting out crop of white rocks. (Smaller white rocks are scattered all over the park.)
Lots of small planes overhead, taking off from and landing at Goodyear Airport, which is visible from the west flank of Knobb Hill on Coldwater Trail.
The trail runners had another support tent at the corral. While the day started out cool & breezy, it had become warm & sunny, so I took a short break in the shade. I only had a mile to go, but I earned it.
In 2011, I said this was a really boring loop. This time, it was not so bad. Mostly, I did it for the miles. I know it's not a lot for many folks on here, but I'm trying to get 100 miles for the month.
Hike Video: [ youtube video ]