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Gateway hike - snow day, AZ
mini location map2019-02-23
31 by photographer avatartibber
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Gateway hike - snow day, AZ 
Gateway hike - snow day, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 23 2019
tibber
Hiking3.54 Miles 452 AEG
Hiking3.54 Miles   3 Hrs      1.85 mph
452 ft AEG   1 Hour   5 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Sadly I've got stuff going on so I just can't get out there for a lengthy hike to get pictures. Friday I took my camera to work and got some pictures driving in and from the office. I had hoped to go up to North Carefree after work but it was just starting to pour again. All day at my office I can see the McDowells and the clouds would come all the way down to the foothills and up a few times. After work they almost lifted up completely before coming back down again but I was able to snap some pics of Tom's Thumb and some of the McDowells before driving home with an ominous sky in front of me.

Snow Day. Well I knew I wanted to hike in the McDowells but the particular area was closed so plan B would be the Gateway Trail. On the 101, ALL of the high country to the north (the Mesas) were completely covered in snow. There was one long line of snow from New River Mesa to the Tonto Foothills. It was impressive! After I had my hair done, I headed north with the throngs of other vehicles. Many would stop along Pima even before hitting Cave Creek Road. Once I started heading west and starting driving up a tad in elevation, well there were vehicles stopped everywhere. I tried to film the drive but when you're keeping your eye on the road, you miss a little of the sites. There was snow on all the roofs and the further I drove the deeper it got. "Where am I?" was definitely the theme these last two days.

I pulled over just south of the Raven's View and squeezed Tonto Jr off the road near a high point as my goal was the Mazzies. The snow was quite deep on the golf course as it was all the way to the Mazzies and Superstitions and McDowells. There wasn't much clear shoulder to walk on so I was in the snow quite a bit. I had my hiking boots on so I was good. I tried to find the best photo ops incorporating the scene in front of me and in the distance. Not sure how far I walked but it was until my views weren't that great anymore and I turned and headed back. It was so bright it was even hard looking through my view finder.

I had to walk through some deeper snow alongside the road this time as the traffic was too much to risk getting too close to the road. Humboldt Mountain and the Tonto Foothills and homes were deep in snow. I finally got back to Tonto Jr and we headed south. I found one more place for a quick pullover to get some more pictures looking west and north. Can you imagine what it was like when these folks woke up to see this winter wonderland? :o People were having a great time and though I don't like being around that many people, who could blame them. It was fun to see their smiles; heck I was even grinning ear to ear at all the snow-bathed beauty.

Oh ya, the hike. I finally made it down to the Gateway TH. It was very crowded. I decided to head north on the Desert Park Trail as I had not been on it before and it would hopefully provide the angle I wanted to get my photos. Next I intersected with the Horseshoe Trail, another new trail for me before arriving at the Gateway Loop Trail. I had already encountered a dozen people. Little did I know, this was just the beginning.

I headed south and then east as far as I could to get my shot of snow-capped Thompson Peak with the saguaros in the foreground. But first, I had to get through all these people. I seemed to be heading the wrong way. I felt bad for one older lady that was struggling down this side of the trail. She still had another mile. I don't think the younger folks with her bothered to check the mileage. As continued throngs of people kept coming toward me I forged on. I finally got to the section where I could get my pictures and turn around. At least now I would be going with the flow as I encountered fewer people.

Once back at the bottom toward the TH the throngs seem to re-group or something. It just never stopped the entire way. And now, I hoped to miss the traffic from the Arabian Horse Show as it was later in the afternoon and I did.

The day before slideshow: [ youtube video ]
Snowday :D :
The Drive: [ youtube video ]
The snow with views: [ youtube video ]
The hike: [ youtube video ]
Named place
Named place
Saddle Mountain
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
a few poppies, closed
some Scorpionweed,
some lupine,
one new plant I can't ID
_____________________
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
HAZ Member
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