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Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass Trail
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mini location map2012-10-27
23 by photographer avatartibber
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Tom's Thumb Loop off Windgate Pass TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 27 2012
tibber
Hiking11.70 Miles 3,054 AEG
Hiking11.70 Miles   7 Hrs   15 Mns   2.38 mph
3,054 ft AEG   2 Hrs   20 Mns Break
 
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Trying to get ready for my Hermit Rapids-Granite Rapids Bright Angel Loop mid-Nov, this seemed like a good hike to do. I have to stay close to home until we get my mom's house ready for sale so I can't veer too far. Pam asked to join me and I always like having company on those longer/harder hikes; especially for those last couple miles that seem to take forever.

The hike up was brisk in more than one way: we didn't take any pics until the spring, we didn't stop until the spring (about 3 miles in) and we were hiking into a very brisk headwind. Before getting to the Spring we said, "heh that looks like John" "heh that is John" :) . He said someone had clipped the sticky bush by the spring and that there was a rattler in residence but not today.

We stopped briefly at the Spring before starting the trek up to the infamous Switchbacks. We were still fighting the wind and thot somehow we should get extra credit like some more AEG or something. Before we started the Sbacks, we let a bunch of bike riders pass us by. I tried to film them and take pics as they spread out across the Sbacks but the sun was not cooperating.

I got to the top of the first Sbacks and then it levels a bit as you go around the corner and then up to another somewhat level spot and then... uh oh, I forgot about this second set of Sbacks :doh: as I told Pam when she came around the corner. But I made it to the top in pretty good time as you walk up two long stretches with Sbacks in between. On the way up, the bikers were coming down rapidly so while we waited, I filmed them.

Next stop was at the Intersection with the Lookout Trail where I thot the Ogre's Den was based on this: http://hikearizona.com/dex2/igallery/image_page.php?id=4841 but that doesn't match up with the description in the Tom's Thumb (from the north) hike description. So it was over to Tom's Thumb we went. We got to a certain point that didn't feel right to me so I wondered if we were on the right trail :-k .... tho I seemed to remember a couple guys while sitting on a large rock commenting on my poles a couple years ago. I backtracked down the hill but then realized that wasn't right either.

So we followed some other folks back up hoping they would know the way but they didn't so at the original point I backtracked from I said to Pam, "let's just keep going" and less than a minute later we realized we were indeed on the right trail. After that little bit of scrambling we were finally at the ramp to Tom's Thumb. Pam ran up and gave it a hug as much as you can hug a 140 foot landmark :GB: . I tried to get a pic but she was too far away and didn't hug it long enough.

We had our lunch in an area a little secluded from the wind and watched as a large group congregated below us. Soon it was time to move on. We looked at the new Visitors Center below us before heading back down the trail. Pam took the lead for a lot of the downhill as she gets into her "downhill junkie" mode. So I pushed it a little as well knowing that I have 9 miles down :o from Hermit's TH to the Rapids and like 4000 feet of elevation loss. Sunday my quads hurt a little so I hope the 9 miles will be doable without too much pain the following day.

So down and down and down we went with no wind to speak of. The trip was pretty uneventful. I think I only took 5 pictures for that 5 1/2 miles and 2 1/2 hrs later. Thx for hanging in there with me Pam.

Here is the video: http://youtu.be/HhpsimmCHl8?hd=1
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Tom's Thumb
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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