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Desert - Union - Dixie Mountain Loop, AZ
mini location map2020-05-23
36 by photographer avatartibber
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Desert - Union - Dixie Mountain Loop, AZ 
Desert - Union - Dixie Mountain Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar May 23 2020
Hiking9.02 Miles 1,437 AEG
Hiking9.02 Miles   3 Hrs   51 Mns   2.49 mph
1,437 ft AEG      14 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
from yesterday's triplog:
"if at first you don't succeed" and "get back on the horse" hike tomorrow
I'm happy to report: Mission Accomplished and happily.

I got up 15 minutes earlier than last Saturday. The humidity would start about 8 pts less than last weekend. I wore my regular backpack and hiking boots, and tried my additional hat from (so far a real winner thus I ordered again). The temps started in the low 70s at 6:30AM and a great breeze!

My hike started off with a bunny rabbit which was pretty cool since I saw two at the end of last evening's hike. It really is a beautiful desert here; especially as you get away from the houses. I started off on the Desert Tortoise to the intersection that I took west last time. This time the conditions were much nicer so I had no doubt about doing Union Peak (eastish). I did have to backtrack twice on the trail as I hadn't done this since 2014.

The only thing that threw me off was the C (Cactus Wren) Trail that split in two and I seemed to recall going south was the appropriate choice here and it was. You are on the Valle Verde and Cactus Wren at the same time as I think maybe the Cactus Wren does some kind of 1/2 circle. Altho looking at the Park Map, it doesn't show overlap. ... 01113&z=14

I hit the rise and then the Gt Horned Owl splits off to the east toward Union Peak. This is what I call the ramp that takes you to the Union Peak junction. You gain some elevation here before taking the turn up Union. The elevation continues to gain and just when I thot I was close to the top I came to a corner and realized, nope, not yet as I hiked around to the other side of the mountain and finally made the ridge part of the hike that takes you up and down a few times. Finally, success. I sat down and had a snack and enjoyed the views around me and there was only me on this mountain top. I spotted things here and there including the dam I can see from the floor of the North Phx Sonoran Preserve [ photo ] .

Back down I went heading back over to the Dixie Mountain Loop. I was surprised how many pictures I took :stop: on the way but those blooming saguaros are really something. Oh, and I saw a little bunny as well as all sizes of lizards; all of them too fast for photos. There is one section along the Valle Verde that has a great stance of large and fat saguaros. Of course, once I got down to the desert floor the population of people picked up (hikers and bikers). And before you knew it, I was on the Dixie Mountain Loop which gradually rises as you hike in a counter-clockwise direction.

I reached the saddle where you can hike to Dixie Peak, but not today. I opted for a snack here before pressing on to the staying on the "getting back on the horse part" of the hike for me. I had tripped several times previously already so I tried to pay extra attention; but you know how that goes. However, I hiked past the "Tib berrr" area and stayed upright for the rest of the hike. I didn't run into too many folks as I made my way around the north and west side. I gave thot to doing the Western Vista summit but I was already late for my 9:45AM beer so the beer won out; especially cuz it's one of six that I have left.

As always, I enjoyed the Teddy Cholla saddle area before completing the western part of the hike. And now to complete the hill which wasn't too bad especially as there was a light breeze. Just before Hawk Nest Trail, this one hiker walked by with his eyes straight ahead; he wasn't going to acknowledge me let alone say hello so I laughed and may have said something else under my breath. For the most part today, the hellos were unabashed. I did see a few hikers with masks again...I'm sorry, I just don't get it but whatever.

And now to get down that Hawks Nest Trail to Tonto Jr. to celebrate :y: . Kelly, I have a great idea for a hike for next fall. Let's do the high points of the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve. We can do this side in the morning (3 peaks), have lunch and do the North Preserve after (2 peaks). It's not much for you but I think it would be fun; well not exactly fun but a worthy task.

While I was enjoying my huckleberry lager, though 45 mins late, a returning hiker started his mini-van remotely before he arrived. I hope that feature comes with Tonto III in Sept. Anyway, he is from WI and moved to AZ in 2003. He likes it here as well. He was familiar a bit with MT so we talked about that for a moment. I like this having a beer in the parking lot as the last two times I've had some good conversation.

I put together a slideshow video with music by LosDosSloFolks. The video has a few more pictures including of the blooming saguaros: [ youtube video ]
Cag Shot
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation None
blooming saguaros, lavender, teddy cholla, buckthorn cholla, desert foothill palo verde, southwest barrel, one ratany but I'm sure there was more, creosote with puff balls
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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