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Saddle Mountain - AZT #22
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mini location map2014-04-27
20 by photographer avatarsirena
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Saddle Mountain - AZT #22Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 27 2014
sirena
Hiking16.40 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking16.40 Miles
1,500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
When I finished my last passage to Highway 87, I was ahead of schedule, so I got to go back to Tucson for three days before my Scottsdale Gateway Community event at Juan Jaime’s Tacos and Tequila. It was really wonderful to be at home with my husband, dog and cat for some bonus time. I was also conveniently off the trail when we had a much-needed storm roll in on the 26th.

The event at Juan Jaime’s was so much fun! The owner, John, has hiked the Arizona Trail twice- once northbound, once southbound. The man is not only a hiking machine, he’s quite modest and extremely generous as well. Big thanks to him for hosting such a fantastic event and thanks to the HAZers that showed up!

I was up late that night, and had a big hike the next day. My friend Chris Forsyth was along for the 17- mile dayhike from Mount Peeley Trailhead back to Highway 87. I chose to go southbound on this passage because I knew I was going to be tired from the event and it is much easier in that direction.

Chris and I only hiked for about a half-hour before we ran into thru-hikers UltraPedestrian Ras and Kathy. I was super-happy to meet them, I’d heard they were in the area and moving fast and light. Great to talk to fellow travelers, but too soon we had to keep moving and parted ways.

Soon after, we met another thru-hiker Nate and his dog Bandit. I hadn’t seen him since the Gila River and we caught up on trail talk. Chris was very patient, even when a short time after leaving Nate, we ran into Michael E- yet another thru-hiker that I had to chat with. This is one of the fun parts of traveling southbound every so often- I get to chat with folks that I might have missed had I been traveling in the same direction the whole time.

The trail went through the Sunflower Fire of 2012- tortured, toasted, black-and-white limbs of trees a constant sight. It’s an area that will need crews to come in and repair the damage- a great reason to support the Arizona Trail Association! The trail was covered with light pink Palmer’s Penstemon and quite a few other wildflowers. The geology in this area is really interesting with flaky shale layers and what looked like mudstone.

The trail dropped into McFarland Canyon, a beautiful spot with great camping. We took a break and as I was sitting there, I recalled what a friend had said to me last night- that he had recently gotten a bad case of Poison Ivy in McFarland. To my horror, I looked down and was basically sitting in a patch of it! I jumped up, hoping I hadn’t accidentally brushed my bare feet against any- I was going to be leading people on a 5-day backpacking trip ithe next day. Thankfully, there was no exposure and I reminded myself to be more careful.

We climbed out of McFarland and onto the Saddle Mountain Trail, contouring around Saddle and Little Saddle Mountain.

Then we were on the Little Saddle Mountain Trail, one of my favorites back when I section-hiked the trail in 2009. I was interested to see how it fared after the fire. A little tougher to find, maybe, but still spectacularly gorgeous, especially with water running in the creek. We took a break and I dipped my feet in the creek for a bit.

There was a fancy AZT mileage sign and along the way I passed the 400-mile mark. So exciting to be almost halfway done!

The trail left the confines of the canyon and opened up to wide views. Trail 344 is on a two-track and mostly flat, which was nice for our final miles.

We could see and hear Highway 87 long before we crossed underneath it. We crossed Sycamore Creek and found our way back to the Bushnell Tanks parking area with ease. A long, scenic day with perfect weather, can’t ask for much more than that!
Named place
Named place
Mount Peeley
_____________________
"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view."
-Edward Abbey
http://www.desertsirena.wordpress.com
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HAZ Member
sirena's
208 Photosets

  2014-04-28
  2014-04-27
  2014-04-21
  2014-04-16
  2014-04-12
  2014-04-07
  2014-03-29
  2014-03-24
  2014-03-21
  2014-03-14
  2014-02-08
  2014-02-05
  2014-01-26
  2014-01-17
  2014-01-11
  2014-01-01
  2013-12-31
  2013-12-25
  2013-12-01
  2013-11-20
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