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Union Peak-Great Horned Owl Plus, AZ
mini location map2021-01-17
12 by photographer avatartibber
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Union Peak-Great Horned Owl Plus, AZ 
Union Peak-Great Horned Owl Plus, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 17 2021
Hiking8.21 Miles 1,280 AEG
Hiking8.21 Miles   3 Hrs      3.00 mph
1,280 ft AEG      16 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX

The parking lot was almost full to the brim so I got there just in time. For today's hike I had two options and I went for the easier by doing Union Peak toward the beginning of the hike.

I started on the Hawk's Nest Trail which is always a good way to get the heart pumped and ready. I hung a right (east) on the Dixie Mountain Loop and continued until the junction with Valle Verde. It was pretty how the sunlight backlit the cholla and the views were very clear to the east as well. I hooked up with the GO (Great Horned Owl Trail) which slowly goes up to the junction with UP (Union Peak Trail) so the peak isn't quite as tall.

I made pretty good time, it does have just a few very short steep sections just before you hit the ridge. I was abruptly stopped from getting to the actual peak as there were a couple SOTA ham radio operators doing their thing. One of them, a police captain (works for IA at the police precinct in the historic district) took time to talk to me and explained some of what was going on and who they had been talking to; including all the way to Japan and France. He used some technical terms relative to the atmosphere and how the waves travel. It was quite interesting and I actually understood it :) . I told him we had a HAZer that used to be active on our site that was a SOTA guy.

But now it was time to get back down the mountain and continue on my new venture to hike the GO (Great Horned Owl Trail) that circles Union Peak. I had not yet hiked the whole GO. Just as I headed south I heard a commotion of birds. They were having quite the conversation so I filmed about 30 seconds of it [ youtube video ] . From here the trail goes up and down a little as you circle the south side. It gets a little too close to the city before turning north to join back up with east/west traverse. There were a couple bike riders that I would have to pass three times and vis versa, so that was a little annoying.

I finished off via the Desert Tortoise Trail. It was a pretty busy day with lots of hikers that mostly stepped aside for me despite them having the right of way most of the time. The trail is a nice one really; can't complain as it's wide and mostly clear for a lot of the hike. I liked the back (east, south) part of the Great Horned but don't know that I need to do it again except to add miles.

The TH was full and there were vehicles in the horse trailer lot and the ranger was waiting for their return but soon gave up. I drank my beer and caught up on Facebook and did some other research before heading home.

WATCH: 8.04 miles, 131 avg bpm with max 163 (40 mins Zone 5 or 28%, 59 mins Zone 4 of 41%, 36 mins Zone 3 or 25%, last 5% in Zone 2 burning 1175 calories) Temp at start 53.5 and 20% humidity
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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