|Hiking||10.22 Miles|| 4 Hrs 21 Mns ||2.35 mph|
|2,097 ft AEG|
|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
|http://prestonm.com : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.|