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Golden Eagle Loop with Bell Pass, AZ
mini location map2014-03-09
23 by photographer avatartibber
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Golden Eagle Loop with Bell Pass, AZ 
Golden Eagle Loop with Bell Pass, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 09 2014
Hiking11.69 Miles 1,989 AEG
Hiking11.69 Miles   5 Hrs   49 Mns   2.46 mph
1,989 ft AEG   1 Hour   4 Mns Break
1st trip
Plan B due to Ambika's schedule we decided to go with this loop on the side of town she needed to be. We both had last been out here when we did our Thompson Peak hike.

The morning was nice with a little breeze. In fact, most of the day we had a little breeze up to breezy. The morning trek on the Dixie Mine Trail seemed rather dull except we did see a squirrel perched on a rock. He was a chunky little thing even from a distance.
Soon we arrived at the mine area and hung a right as we would be hiking this counterclockwise today. You follow the road for just a piece before the arrow sign (it's not big so keep your eye open for it; I almost missed it cuz I was babbling) takes you onto a trail paralleling the road. Once you finally get to the top of the hill, the scenery and flora improve substantially.

We would get a chance to stop and watch the fountain go off. It was something to watch the water in the heavy breeze as it seemed the water was spraying all the way into downtown Fountain Hills. We captured it in video and photos.

Next stop was the Coachwhip/Windmill Trail junction where there is a bench. We had our morning snack here. Three other bike riders did the same. We headed up to Windmill junction and then continued up toward the junction with the East End Trail. It was pretty nice through here as far as McDowell scenery was concerned. Eventually you run into the Bell Pass/Windgate Junction where you head south on Bell Pass Trail. We did encounter a few other hikers/runners in this area.

And then over we went on the Bell Pass Trail. This is a longer section that takes you up and down with a couple switchbacks. Just before you get to the Prospector Trail junction it is a little steep. Here we would encounter a big group of hikers. We discussed whether or not Ambika wanted to see Scottsdale from above :lol:; because we had time to kill we did the .4 somewhat steep section up to Bell Pass. We did stop to get a photo of some blooming hedgehogs :) .

We had a bigger snack at the Pass where there were several folks. Two fellows had trouble reading the map but were smart enough to ask us where they were and what was the best way to get where they wanted. When they came off the Prospector they should have turned right.
And after observing how far we could see on this extremely clear day :y: and taking a couple photos to bear witness, we headed back down and onto the Prospector Trail.

We come upon this clearing with a grass floor. I decided I want to take a picture of this clearing and then I see this rock side of a drainage and head over there when I spot a bed frame and then an old stove. As I come back to exclaim this to Ambika I look up toward the rocks and spot a glyph. Needless to say we wandered around here a bit and found the old mine pit area before heading back to the trail. Don't recall anyone bringing this up in their trip logs but I'll have to check. Anyway, hence the name of the trail. We saw a grown-in road that went east from the Prospector Trail saddle and that looks worth exploring as well.
The Prospector Trail goes thru some of the more interesting area of this side of the McDowells I think as it follows beside a rather large wash. It also goes in and out of a couple drainages as you make your way to the road. We didn't run into anyone on this part of the hike.

It did start to get a bit warm as we finished off the Dixie Mine Trail. Fortunately we got distracted by some pretty chuparosa settings. The trail seemed much prettier on the way back so it had to be the light. That and the flora's blooms were out. And of course as you head this way you get a nice clear view of Four Peaks today.

We finished off our day at Sofrita's in FH with the Afternoon Brushcetta Board (4 different kinds) and I had a Huckleberry Mojito (could have used a little more huckleberry syrup cuz the fresh mint kind of overwhelmed the huck).

Now shock of all shocks here is a very short video (under 2 min) covering two events on the hike:
If you want to see the video from the rain in my backyard on the first of March, raise your hand ;) or go to my channel (TibberProductions) and scroll down to Recent Uploads.
Named place
Named place
Dixie Mine East End
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
chupurosa, hedgehogs, brittle bush blooming was hit and miss
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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