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Butcher Jones Trail #463
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mini location map2011-08-13
1 by photographer avatarmaloner
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Butcher Jones Trail #463Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 13 2011
Hiking5.50 Miles 400 AEG
Hiking5.50 Miles   7 Hrs   5 Mns   2.66 mph
400 ft AEG   5 Hrs   1 Min Break25 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I took a rather eclectic group of friends, few of whom had ever met each other before, out hiking at night on the Butcher Jones Trail by Saguaro Lake, and one of them, juliachaos, told me I needed to make an account here so I could log it. So, here I am.

I decided a couple months ago that I needed to start using my friends to give me excuses to go out into the wilderness to do star trail photos. A fairly good number wanted to go, so I loaded my camera bag with beer (and a camera) and ordered everyone to do the same (camera optional, beer less so). We got some grub in town then hit the trail around 9:00 or so.

The first part of the trail was almost disgusting. So much trash! I expected this from all the other descriptions I've read (I had never actually hiked this trail before leading my dear friends out into the night, a fact I cleverly neglected to mention until we were ready to go), but it was still sad. Also, for clearly being a popular spot, it was fairly overgrown with vegetation...probably because not too many people are going to drive out there for a summer hike when they can just go to the lake itself. They are missing out, because it was a great little trail.

After clearing the trashed area, I can't say too much about the trail itself, because it was too dark to see much. That's the idea, though...since it didn't appear to have been hiked too recently, and in the dark there were spots where it was ever so slightly tricky to find, which lead to a lot of, "Hey, are we on the trail?" with me saying, "Uhh, sure?" We were never lost for more than two seconds.

There was a fair variety of wildlife...we saw a skunk (I'm an Arizona native and I've hiked all my life, and can you believe this was my first skunk sighting? Thankfully we only SAW it and didn't SMELL it), the bravest little ground owl in the world, who barely cared that I'm a million times his size and let me get so close I figured he was hurt (he wasn't), some fine tarantulas, and multiple snakes. I take credit for scaring the first one out into the open because I kicked a cholla into my own ankle fairly hard, which caused some very loud cursing. I didn't realize a common comb could be so handy, but thank you, Miss Chaos! The highlight of the trip was the coral snake...never seen one of those, either. I wish I had my real camera out, but I did manage to get a cameraphone shot of him. (I'm trying to link that, but it's not working...I'll fix that when I know what I'm doing here.)

Not long after that we set up camp. I mean, we sat down and drank. I put the camera on auto, a little worried because there were so many clouds that I didn't think I'd get anything good (in theory, we were there to watch the Perseids, but didn't see any...someone claimed to see one but I think it was the beer). But there was a good light show...lightning far off in the distance, moonlight peeking through the clouds...and just a generally good time chatting with good people, which made up for the iffy lighting. And it turns out that wasn't so bad either.

When we got back to the meeting site in town, I dropped everyone off, made sure they got going safely, and turned on my car...clickclickclickclickclick. Dead battery! At 6:00 am, when I'm about as dead tired as I can possibly be? You've got to be kidding me...fortunately, my sister was still nearby so I called her and she took me home, then I dealt with that the next day.

But that was a minor glitch in an otherwise awesome day. I'm already planning the next one!
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