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Windgate Bell Loop
56 Photosets

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mini location map2019-11-22
12 by photographer avatarkingsnake
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Windgate Bell LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking10.22 Miles 2,097 AEG
Hiking10.22 Miles   4 Hrs   21 Mns   2.35 mph
2,097 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I had planned to mine explore in the Dripping Spring Mountains this week, but after Arizona got absolutely hammered with rain I did not relish driving eight miles on muddy dirt roads: The last time I tried that [ youtube video ] in my stock SUV, with street tires, did not go so well … ✋

So, I switched plans, deciding to do this hike instead.10:00 a.m. on a Friday there were plenty of people out exercising, not all of them over 65.

There were a ton of people and lots of chatter on the Saguaro Trail and even on the first third of Gateway Loop Trail. I don’t recall any unleashed dogs, or “forgotten” dog 💩, bagged or otherwise. There’s always at least one person wearing WAY too much perfume and today, surprisingly, it was a man. A middle-aged one at that. 😏

Every trail intersection is signed, with distance, direction and even an emergency marker — i.e., “BP7” — you can call in if some sort of disaster has occured, like somehow getting lost despite all the signs. I thought it ironic some of the signs asked hikers to stay on trail to respect the habitat of snakes & scorpions: It would have been nice if the scorpion that stung me three times on my couch had returned the courtesy. 🦂

Between Tom’s Thumb Trail and Inspiration Point, what may have once been ~10 ft. tall saguaro lay across Windgate Pass Trail in three large pieces, like a snapped pencil. The damage looked fresh. I did not see any signs of shooting, skin damage from a chain or rope, or other vandalism that may have caused the saguaro to break apart. Curious. 🤔

East from Windgate Pass, I could see Ft. McDowell and even Weaver’s Needle. Four Peaks was obscured by clouds. 🌁

After lunch — gas station murderwich and a beer — at the intersection of Windgate Pass Trail and East End Trail, I turned southwest up Bell Pass Trail. It was not a bad climb, but I was feeling the lack of elevation gain over the past few weeks. (Hiking 18 miles from Great Falls to Edwards Ferry on the C&O Canal had half the gain.)

Bell Pass had great views west towards Phoenix. I could easily pick out Papago Buttes, Camelback Mountain, Mummy Mountain, Piestewa Peak, North Mountain and Shaw Butte. 📸

From Bell Pass, it was all downhill back to the Gateway Trailhead, where I arrived feeling not too bad. (Though I was pretty sore the next two days.)

Hiking Video: https://vimeo.com/480289401
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http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
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kingsnake's
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