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North Mountain National Trail #44
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4 by photographer avatarblack_toes
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North Mountain National Trail #44Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 29 2014
black_toes
Hiking4.40 Miles 1,153 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles   2 Hrs   45 Mns   2.30 mph
1,153 ft AEG      50 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
The idea today was to reach the summit of North Mountain via the steep eastern route from the Quechan picnic area. I followed a lariat loop from the VC, starting with a long line of 1.5 mi to the #44 National Trail, then clockwise on the loop, down into the picnic area and up to the summit. First time going up. Had come down this trail before, knew its steepness and wasn't eager to tackle it.

There are three segments on this trail that are so steep I felt like I was all but touching my nose on the path. Encountered half a dozen hikers ascending and stopped to talk with two Hispanic women, school teachers. One said it was her favorite Phoenix trail, but, alas, has seen it get much busier of late. It is only .67 mi, ramada to the summit towers fence, but it took all of 40 minutes and three rest stops to traverse the 479' in el gain. Hey, I only sat down once.

The western route, which I've done several times, was closed off at the summit with a strong metal gate attached to the main fence. I didn't notice it on the 13th, my last visit to the top. The gate won't stop everyone. About 2' of crawl space allows the determined hiker to make it under. In fact, I saw one stocky hiker with small pack go under it and continue his route. The red "Danger" tape has been shredded. Is nothing sacred?

Stayed up on the summit until almost sunset. Counted 15 hikers coming up from the eastern route in the 25 minutes I was on top, having a sandwich and taking in the beauty of it all. Completed the #44 National Trail loop by going down on the pavement. Very busy as usual. Counted over 70 ascending after sunset. Reached the VC again at 6:45 with a weak flashlight and no help from the moon.
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