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Massacre Falls
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mini location map2020-03-15
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Massacre FallsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 15 2020
Hiking5.80 Miles 1,192 AEG
Hiking5.80 Miles   5 Hrs   21 Mns   1.51 mph
1,192 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Ambika wanted to do the hike to the Falls as she thot she had never been and Pam had never been. Come to find out, about 2 miles into the hike I said to Ambika, “You’ve done this hike. You did it with Susan.” After she pondered that for a moment, she kind of remembered (Jan 2016). I told her that was the hike that someone came up to her and asked if she was the one in the videos they had seen.

We were going to make a loop out of it and go down the First Water Tributary. Finding parking was the first challenge at around 8:30 after we set up a shuttle at the Horse Lot. But we were able to squeeze in at the end of the lot.
The first part of the hike is always so pretty as you traverse the desert floor looking toward the landscape that surrounds you near and far. This section, before you cross the fence, is delightful with all the desert flora, mostly cactus.

Just where you go thru the gate there is a deep ditch that it looks the trail maneuvers across a couple different ways. As you head south, the shadow covered the rock outcropping faces to the east but the sun did light up the Brittlebush and cactus below so we were able to shoot some pictures. We made it to the first saddle and noticed someone had defaced some of the rocks east off the trail with some sort of blue paint.

It was a bit humid this morning and I seemed to be struggling :sweat: a bit so I pulled out my poles. Besides, I needed a bit of an arm workout anyway. Of course, you head downhill and cross some water here and there before heading up the first little hill to the flat area where I found Ambika talking with Jamie from AZ Highways. It is here where we found out our workshop scheduled for mid-April had been canceled :( .

We hiked a little further to the next bedrock and I had decided I really didn’t want to go any further but after a few minutes rest, Ambika more or less shamed me into continuing. By this time the parade was in full force, it really was something I had heard about but now I was seeing it with my own eyes :o . We got up that last hill thru a lot of the jojoba which is pretty thick in this area to the top of the next hill. A couple young boys passed me by and exclaimed to each other, “Look at these beautiful views”. That made me smile!

One fellow in his hurry to get to the falls about pushed me out of his way as I had paused to take a quick picture. He said “excuse me” but didn’t give me time to get out of the way before he bulled his way past me. He could learn from the little ones to enjoy the beauty rather than just getting there.

Just before the Falls I pulled over to a nice viewpoint where I could take my photos and videos. Ambika and Pam continued to the falls with the rest of the throngs of people. I think after about 15 minutes they came back by and we headed on down trying to avoid the traffic. We paused at the bedrock area as we ran into another AZ Highways participant, we had done the river trip with in May 2017. We visited for a while. In the distance I saw a bi-plane and then a smoke plume that was coming out of the airplane. I got a couple pics of the smoke plume but it didn’t come out very well. Also, I didn’t realize I had hit Peaking on my camera :doh: so my zoom photos struggled for the rest of the day.

I had decided earlier that I wasn’t up for the hike down the tributary. It looked way too lush and I feared the water might present a bit of a challenge in getting around based on the water we had crossed today. There are a couple pool areas that had limited areas to make your way past and I really didn’t want to do any wading today.

Not too far from here we pulled over to have a snack where there is another trail that goes to the NW. I followed it for a bit but it petered out (FYI: The earliest known use of peter as a verb meaning dwindle relates to the mining industry in the USA in the mid 19th century). However, three other hikers had used it but by the time I decided to follow it, they were gone. I don’t know if this trail wraps around or what it does :-k .

Some horseback riders came by and I sure didn’t think that was going to be a good mix with all of the other people on the trail. I hope that all went well. There seemed a slight lull in traffic but then soon again, the peoples would start coming again; many not prepared for the constant uphill they would be hiking. We saw that several turned around, the ones with families.

We did spot this really cool thistle with a beautifully colored bloom and bees, so we hung here for a bit. The rest of the hike was pretty and uneventful other than more people. We were glad we finally got back to our vehicles. We had made the decision to eat at Mammoth Steakhouse since it would be outdoors. My steak was so-so. I was a little disappointed. But the Prickly Pear Margarita hit the spot.

Part 1 - [ youtube video ] to past the first drainages
Part 2 - [ youtube video ] drainage to Falls and back to bedrock area
Part 3 - [ youtube video ] bedrock area to TH
Blackfoot Daisy
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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.
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