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Windgate Pass Trail - MSP
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mini location map2014-08-02
18 by photographer avatarneilends
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Windgate Pass Trail - MSPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 02 2014
neilends
Hiking7.90 Miles 1,408 AEG
Hiking7.90 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   1.86 mph
1,408 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
My summer routine is to hike the Gateway Loop before work each morning, since it's mostly shaded by the peaks, and then leave town on a weekend day to do a cooler, longer hike by Payson or Flagstaff. But family events prevented me from leaving town this weekend, and I was forced to consider an exploratory hike in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, with sun exposure, if I wanted anything lengthier. Funny how life works out sometimes.

The original goal was to start from the Gateway TH, head clockwise, and reach Inspiration Point. But I felt so awesome upon reaching Inspiration Point that I was, er, inspired to keep going until I reached Windgate Pass, over a mile further. The sun was blocked the entire route, by clouds. There was a nice breeze throughout that only got cooler as I climbed in elevation up to the Pass's 3,000 feet. It was easy to forget that it was early August in Phoenix.

There's a steady, moderately heavy climb all the way up to the Pass of course. I doubt I could have made it just 3 months ago. Having hiked over 75 miles since then (55 in July), it was no problem. I took my sweet time, since I had the luxury.

The geology of the mostly volcanic landscape fascinated me as I walked, and made me wish I was a geologist so I could answer the dozens of my own questions about this rock or that mineral. I did recognize lots of quartz from an MSP publication I'd read. And lots of volcanic product. Our state's beloved saguaros are in full display throughout. Some of the bigger, older ones (100 years? 150?) I had to stop and stare at. I've lived in Arizona since the 4th grade and saguaros still leave me in awe.There was one small, freakish tree near the pass, photo to be uploaded later, that looked like a pine to me. No wildlife this trip other than a few rabbits.

From the Pass, I could clearly make out the Four Peaks. Took tons of photos this time using a digital camera my wife found stored away in her things. Will take me a while to upload.
Geology
Geology
Unidentified Geology
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
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