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Coachwhip Trail - MMRP
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mini location map2014-08-16
1 by photographer avatarneilends
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Toms Thumb Marcus Landslide Loop, AZ 
Toms Thumb Marcus Landslide Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 16 2014
Hiking9.90 Miles 1,643 AEG
Hiking9.90 Miles   4 Hrs   50 Mns   2.42 mph
1,643 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
1st trip
This was an ambitious desert hike for mid-August, for me. It was a success but not without challenges. My route was Tom's Thumb, East End, Windmill, slightly aimless wandering by accident for just a bit and back to Windmill, Coachwhip, Pemberton, a trail that didn't show up in my research but that followed the GPS track that was marked by the county as "Boulder Trail," and on to Marcus Landslide for the final stretch. (Note: I've confirmed that Boulder Trail exists on the official MMRP map but not here on HAZ. I just added it to HAZ. To complete the loop, then, you hike north on Pemberton but then turn left at Boulder Trail, which takes you to Marcus landslide.)

I started at 5:30am. I brought 4 liters of water in two 3L and 1L hydration packs. I finished the 3L with only 2 miles to go and thought I wouldn't need to switch the packs out. And I was wrong. I started feeling just a tad icky after about a mile, and decided to find shade, sit down, switch the hydration packs, drink up, and splatter water all over my head to cool down. That did the trick and I got a strong second wind to comfortably push me to the end, by which time it was 10:30. But I shudder at the thought that I even debated whether to bring the extra 1 liter. Most of this hike was sun-exposed. I'd slathered on gobs of sun screen, and enjoyed my wide-brimmed hiking hat (but am thinking I'd like something a bit less floppy in the future.)

The hike up to the Thumb spur was fantastic, despite kicking my fanny. The climb was very crowded, which I noted for a future hike to the actual Thumb (goal: show up earlier than everyone else so I can have it almost to myself for a few minutes). East End and onward was totally peaceful though. 3-4 friendly mountain bikers passed me but I met no other hikers.

I will say that Coachwhip and Pemberton were kind of disappointing. They're flat and the trail is super smooth, without a lot of features. The views of the Supes are nice while walking along, I guess. But mainly these stretches just impressed upon me that I should try mountain biking the McDowell Regional Park some day. Those bikers were having a lot more fun than I was.

The interpretive signs by the Landslide were fun to read and a nice reward for the distance I'd just covered. I feel great having finished this loop, much less in August, and I also like that I hiked into the county regional park for the first time. But I probably won't duplicate this exact loop in future. For this desired distance, I'd be better off hiking from Thumb TH to Gateway TH, all within the MSP.

Some milestones:

- Longest hike I've completed in 18 years.
- First time in northern portion of MSP, and in MMRP.
- Second straight 50-mile hiking month in my life.
- Most miles hiked in one month, lifetime
Desert Senna
"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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