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mini location map2014-11-09
13 by photographer avatarwinotron
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Alta - Bajada LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 09 2014
winotron
Hiking9.21 Miles 1,890 AEG
Hiking9.21 Miles   4 Hrs      2.46 mph
1,890 ft AEG      15 Mns Break3 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I knew this was going to be my 100th triplog, so I wanted to make it a good one. Stats-wise, probably the hardest hike I've done yet. My first visit to the west end of South Mountain. Started from the 43rd ave/Estrella TH. One other car parked there. Started around 8:30am while it was still pretty cool out. Right away you can tell this end of the mountain has a different feel to it. A LOT of ground cover all over the place, something I'm not used to seeing elsewhere on South Mountain. I can see how this would be a great wildflower show in the spring. Even now there are some wildflowers out there.

Started out climbing towards the sun, but once passing the ramada I was in the shade for the whole north side climb. The first couple miles were pretty steep, but for some reason it didn't seem too bad. Not as bad as I was expecting. A couple spots were washed away from the monsoon storms and some minor scrambling was required. A lot of interesting weeds and ground cover I wasn't familiar with growing along this part of the trail. After that initial steep climb it was a series of ups and downs along the ridge. Really nice views in all directions from up here. The area was FULL of grasshoppers, some of which were jumping all over me. Ran into a group of about 10 hikers on the ridge, the first hikers I'd seen so far. Made me wonder where they started from, since they were going the same direction I was and there was only 1 other car in the parking lot.

Descending from the ridge I passed a few more hikers. It started to warm up at that point. The view of the valley below was nice. I was hoping to make better time than this today, but going back on Bajada was pretty slow going. VERY rocky trail with a lot of wash crossings, and a lot of the trail was pretty beat up from the monsoon storms. Lots of spots washed away. Honestly, Bajada wasn't fun at all. I was glad to get off it and join the National. The National had some severe storm damage as well, but was a lot less rocky. Actually, the National was completely destroyed in some spots, with 2-3 ft deep ruts washed right through it. Definitely needs some major repairs. Despite all the damage to the Bajada and National trails though, I had no real route finding issues.

I was pretty tired when I got back to my car, and it was getting pretty dang warm. Overall this was an awesome hike despite the long slog through Bajada. I'll definitely have to come back here.
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