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South Wash Loop - MMRP, AZ
mini location map2017-09-15
13 by photographer avatarKBKB
photographer avatar
 
South Wash Loop - MMRP, AZ 
South Wash Loop - MMRP, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 15 2017
KBKB
Hiking13.46 Miles 1,027 AEG
Hiking13.46 Miles   5 Hrs   10 Mns   2.79 mph
1,027 ft AEG      21 Mns Break30 LBS Pack
 no routes
On Friday, the 15th, Bob, Linda, and I hiked a loop in McDowell Mountain Regional Park that featured the South Wash.

Starting from the Horse Staging Area, we hiked across the road, took the Technical Loop to the service road encountering a young tarantula along the way. From midway along the service road, we turned onto Stoneman/Pemberton Wash and hiked SSE. I missed the turn up one of Stoneman's feeder washes, but there's another one about a quarter of a mile later. We took that wash to the Pemberton, turned left (which makes it's way south for a while) on Dixie Mine, and then turned left (east) at the first major wash - this is the South Wash.

We hiked 2.7 miles on the South Wash to the Long Loop. This section of the South Wash starts out narrow with high nearly vertical banks on at least one side of the wash. It gradually opens up to be a very, very wide wash with a lot of opportunity for exploration. We encountered a group of at least six ravens which were circling above one of the high dirt walls that formed the west bank of the wash. One or more of the ravens would occasionally land on a ledge of this wall, hang out there for a bit, and then rejoin its companions circling above. We never did figure out the reason for this behavior - there didn't appear to be any obvious food source here, nor nest that we could see.

The South Wash was looser than we expected it to be, so, wanting to get back onto a firm trail, we turned onto the Long Loop when we finally got to it. This section of the Long Loop winds back and forth a bit - this undoubtedly extended the length of our hike by at least a mile. In the past, I've managed to do similar loops that are only slightly over 11 miles in length. These shorter loops were accomplished by crossing the Long Loop and staying in South Wash until it crosses the Long Loop again.

Shortly after passing a section of the Long Loop known as "The Step", we found another wash which had some cool looking saguaros. We encountered two separate piles of fresh deer scat in this wash and then, not more than a few minutes later, we saw a large buck with a huge rack. It bounded away before I could get my camera out.

We finished up by first finding a nearby service road and then yet another section of Stoneman/Pemberton Wash. We took this to the return leg of the Long Loop, and then used the obvious route to get back to our vehicles.

It was a very pleasant morning with temperatures starting out in the low 70s. Even when we finished it wasn't that hot - I think it was still somewhat under 90.
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