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San Tan Loop Tour, AZ
mini location map2021-01-30
22 by photographer avatarjoebartels
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San Tan Loop Tour, AZ 
San Tan Loop Tour, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 30 2021
joebartels
Hiking15.17 Miles 1,810 AEG
Hiking15.17 Miles   5 Hrs   38 Mns   3.05 mph
1,810 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Headed out on a short leg of Goldmine Trail to begin our lasso loop. The small crowd of big-booty hikers included Olympic stretched spandex. 0.2 miles in we took a right on Dynamite Trail and parted ways with the herd.

O.2 to 1.7 mi we traded the lead with a friendly mountain biker duo that took several breather-breaks. Easy-grade mountain biking in my opinion but I think they were in the sprout-a-lung stage.

At 1.7 mi we crested the highpoint of Dynamite Trail. Perhaps a nice out-n-back for a shorter hike. A sharp left begins descending and parts way with the urban feel.

2.65 mi - reached the desert floor. Turned right for 2.25 miles through the western heart of the odd-layout San Tan Trail. Not the most appealing pre-hike stretch in mapping. That said, the hike was increasingly getting my attention. Notably Malapais Hills. Unexpected Superstition-esque wham-bam pizzaz Geronimo-Malapais(by chance) look vs hills from our angle.

4.9 mi - turned right onto Malapais Trail. The anticipated leg of the hike for myself. My attention-rise was fading slowly in the wash like the sand through time.

8.0 mi the_eagle_god granted a pre-twelve-mile break! Hopped outta the wash for views. Kinna ho-hum kicking off the break. Cheetos, a @Ladyeagle brownie(thx!), and a cloud increased enthusiasm.

8.25 mi - what I was dreading to be a never-ending wash crested to a flipside wash. Puffy cloud explosion was underway and the choir was hitting a few of the high notes. Albeit far far away, we were rooting-on the tibbernator to net a few clouds in her KofA Kabana Workshop. However, that may have been a yesterday event in hindsight.

9.2 mi - back on the odd U shaped San Tan Trail. We crossed paths with more hikers/bikers along the next 3 miles to the main East entrance. Restrooms are a notch below Tom's Thumb or new Phx Parks class but not bad. Bruce insisted we honor lord Denny with a trip through the turtle?tortoise habit. Nicely done, albeit seemingly an unlikely perennial cascading water habit in the greater Sonoran Desert.

12.85 mi - totally unexpected second break before ticking off another ten miles. Shriveled up and black but proved he has a heart!

Pleasant and unexpected change of terrain continuing too. The bulk of the hike until now was anybody could bike if desired. Passed one of those "extreme blah blah trail" ahead signs. Yeah right. I've read the little Peoria-park signs that cried wolf to various overkill degrees. It's a good thing we've been on a few hikes and a damn good thing we didn't escort grandma out onto the 40° grade. Culture shock from the rest of the park but a cool twist! The footing is semi sketchy on the north grade.

◇◇ The gist of the range in review since it was previously a mystery for myself ◇◇
Santan Mountain - NW. Signature blop of a mountain. Out of the park.
Goldmine Mountain - NNE. Linear split ridge. Imagine hiked most based on access and lack of entrance gate.
Malapais Hills - South. Multi ridged eye candy. No access. Gasp.
Valley - Center. Majority of trails. Better than anticipated 360° views.

Parking - Overflowing. Fee to be legal is cash envelope. Electric tender would seemingly net more use.
Activity - Diversified cultures and skill levels, hikers and mountain bikers alike.
Signage - better than average. Every turn and the potential wrong-turn in the washes have carsonite signage.
Flora - better than anticipated desert varieties. A step up from White Tanks which I figure resemble how SoMo once looked before the human-kind invasion.
Fauna - one bunny, occasional bird calls throughout.

Expected a low 3 of 5-star hike overall. Moments of high-4 will net at least one return. Perhaps shoved aside due to two less than stellar Usery hikes eons ago. A dandy 80 photo urban-fringe hike on this day.
Flora
Flora
Creosote Bush
Named place
Named place
Malpais Hills Santan Mountain
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- joe
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