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Arizona Canal - I-17 to 43 Ave, AZ
mini location map2014-02-05
2 by photographer avatarblack_toes
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Arizona Canal - I-17 to 43 Ave, AZ 
Arizona Canal - I-17 to 43 Ave, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 05 2014
black_toes
Hiking4.54 Miles 161 AEG
Hiking4.54 Miles   1 Hour   43 Mns   3.06 mph
161 ft AEG      14 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Had no intention of hiking today until I came to the 29th Ave canal bridge just south of Metrocenter. Realizing it was a segment of the AC I had yet to do, I whipped into a parking lot at the near-abandoned Metro Marketplace and set out. It was late, and I decided to do a narrow loop, going out an hour on the north bank before turning around and coming back on the south. Don't relish walking after dark on an unlit, lonesome canal bank in the city. I'll take my chances in remote mountains any day.

I found limited points of interest and nothing after 35th Ave. In the beginning, there was the exciting stone wall around the city Water Services complex and then Cortez Park and lake, both on the south. After that the scenery was mind-numbing as the canal shoots a straight line for a mile or more. From the 35th Ave underpass to the bridge at 43rd and Peoria, my turn-around point, it was nothing but rooftops of modest houses poking above ugly walls of concrete-block, on both sides. The city has done a good job of painting over graffiti here. Saw about a dozen people in the 1:45 I was on the trail, most of them bikers.

The saving grace of this segment, as has been my previous canal experiences, is waterfowl. Counted 22 mallards, 9 ringed-necks, 5 killdeer and two cormorants on the way out. Encountered only a young woman on foot on the return trip of roughly 2 1/4 miles. Nobody seems to use this segment of the AC except to exercise via biking or jogging. It's not an eyesore, like you see on the Grand Canal to the south. No golf carts in the water and little trash. But anyone walking for pleasure along this strip had better bring a world of imagination.

There was some excitement as I approached Cortez Park again. To the north, along the side of the large concrete drainage ditch that parallels the canal, flashing lights of police vehicles began to pop up, and a loud police helicopter hovered. Soon, TV cameras arrived as did one of the local station's helicopters. I saw it later on the 10 o'clock news that a guy had driven his car through a barrier and landed upside-down at the bottom of the dry drainage ditch, probably a 20-foot drop. Believe he was unhurt. Witness said the guy was texting and lost control of his vehicle. At least there was that.
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