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Brown's Ranch Road Trail - MSPN
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mini location map2014-03-13
10 by photographer avatarblack_toes
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Brown's Ranch Road Trail - MSPNPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 13 2014
black_toes
Hiking5.77 Miles 568 AEG
Hiking5.77 Miles   3 Hrs   28 Mns   2.60 mph
568 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
 no routes
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In the numerous years I've hiked the desertlands, one thing was missing. A rattlesnake sighting. That ended today only 2/10 of a mile down the Ranch Rd from the TH. The 3-foot stick laying rock-cold still and stretched out in the middle of the trail turned out to be a rattler, probably a Western Diamondback. Possibly a Mohave but I saw no greenish tint and of course did not dare to get close enough to look for the triangle patch on the head. The snake had the black-and-white banded tail and, I later discovered, 10 rattle segments, which would make it 3-5 years old on the assumption it sheds two or three times a year and adds a rattle each shedding. I walked up to within 10 feet of it before stopping for some unknown reason and took a closer look. There was no drama. It didn't coil and rattle but as I shot photos slowly meandered into brush at the side of the trail. The chances of me bushwhacking in there are now none and none. Well, maybe wearing snake-gaiters of Kryptonite.

My goal was to find somewhere to eat lunch near Cholla Mountain. That "somewhere" became a seat on one of the many flat granite boulders in the Amphitheater. I wish, though, I'd taken a path other than Powerline Road. It's so straight and ugly. The Vaquero would likely have been a better choice. Next time.

To get to the Amphitheater, I took a sharp turn north on Watershed Trail, a narrow winding path through a diverse paradise of wildflowers, cactus and blooming brittlebush and creosote. It's the best trail I've hiked in Brown's Ranch. And also the busiest segment of the day. Five bikers and two hikers, all going south toward Powerline. For the next hour after that, no one.

The Amphitheater sets up on a small hill of boulders south of Cholla Mtn on a spur trail about 2/10 of a mile N of the Cholla Mtn Loop junction. It was warm, and it felt good to get my pack of 12 pounds off the shoulders. Saw a desert cottontail, a red-tailed hawk, a squirrel and what I thought were two purple finches (very red heads anyway).

To complete the counter-clockwise loop, I crossed over to the desert-marigold lined Corral Tr via the short Dry Gulch Tr. The latter trail was adorned in the red-tubed blooms of tuparosa. Passed by the old ranch ruins but didn't stop. Hit Ranch Road and made a beeline back. It was getting late, and I wanted to get by "rattlesnake crossing" while the light was good. Reached the car at sunset and for once wasn't the last person out of the TH parking lot.
Flora
Flora
Blackfoot Daisy
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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black_toes'
242 Photosets

  2014-04-21
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  2014-04-19
  2014-04-18
  2014-04-17
  2014-04-15
  2014-04-13
  2014-04-05
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  2014-03-31
  2014-03-29
  2014-03-27
  2014-03-22
  2014-03-16
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  2014-03-08
  2014-03-05
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