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MSP Northern Expansion, AZ
mini location map2015-01-11
5 by photographer avatarDarthStiller
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MSP Northern Expansion, AZ 
MSP Northern Expansion, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 11 2015
DarthStiller
Hiking9.50 Miles 370 AEG
Hiking9.50 Miles   3 Hrs   35 Mns   2.65 mph
370 ft AEG
 no routes
Took another trip up to the northern MSP expansion to finish off some of the trails I haven’t hiked there yet. I decided to get a later start than I normally do since it’s still dark until about 7am. I forgot that at the Granite Mt. Trailhead, where I started, they don’t have one of those automated slide gates that keeps everyone out until sunrise.

From Granite Mt. TH, I took the Bootlegger Trail and then headed south on the Granite Mt. Loop Trail to the Black Hills Trail down to the Fraesfield TH. As I approached the parking lot there, I noticed a sign for the Gooseneck Trail, which is not on any maps of this area. The sign said from Fraesfield it was 1.0 miles to 128th St. and Dynamite. I decided to do that out and back to scope it out. From Fraesfield TH, it heads west to 128th St. and then crosses Dynamite, going south. After you cross Dynamite, there is another sign giving the distances along the Gooseneck Trail to various points, ultimately ending at the Tom’s Thumb TH, 6.4 miles away. Looks like another section of trail to check out in this area.

After checking that out, I got back on the Black Hills Trail and followed it to its terminus at the SE corner of this area, at the intersection of 136th St. and Rio Verde Drive. From there I took the 136th St. Express Trail back to the Granite Mt. TH and headed home for lunch.

It was pretty chilly early on, but warmed up once the sun got over the clouds. Not too crowded, saw more bikers than hikers as usual.
Fauna
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Desert Cottontail
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