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mini location map2021-02-04
9 by photographer avatarDaytripper
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Alta - Bajada LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 04 2021
Daytripper
Hiking10.95 Miles 2,082 AEG
Hiking10.95 Miles
2,082 ft AEG10 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Figured out I hadn’t driven south of Baseline Rd on Central since about 2004 my second year in Arizona, didn’t recall ever seeing Scorpion Gulch before! Came here to hike some more South Mountain Trails that were new to me with my trusty guide @LindaAnn. Arrived at the almost full “parking lot” about 0830 and started quickly after. Went up to the Max Delta Mine area right away since I had requested it. Not too many picture opportunities unless your into graffiti art. Kicked around a few rocks and then not finding any large gold nuggets headed down to the Bajada Trail. Linda kindly suggested we do this loop the easier clockwise direction instead of the CCW direction she takes her children on :? There were low expectations advised for the Bajada Trail so it didn’t seem too bad . I was surprised to see how close we were getting to the casino and 202 before turning back east. She avoided the neighborhood where reportedly resides a fellow curmudgeon, had hoped to pick up some tips on keeping kids off my lawn :D This is definitely the less busy side of the park, on taking a break at the San Juan Lookout shelter we encountered our first humans of the day , two bike riding ladies circled by. Observed this shelter to be a poor choice in rainy weather or for shade either since it’s lacking a roof. After snacking and solving the worlds problems the energizer bunny was getting restless so it’s on to the Alta Trail toward Maricopa Peak . Wearing glasses causes problems with depth perception ,so I don’t wear them to reduce falling potential , so when Linda pointed out Maricopa Peak I was concerned about not being able to observe a trail to the peak .Turns out instead of rock climbing there was a route to take to the top. Nice 360° views from the top of the Ma Ha Tauk ridgeline , air was clearer than expected for viewing Phoenix and Laveen and Petroleum tanks! Was hoping to hear there was a secret easy way to descend but we left the same way gotta love those steep loose rock descents. I had it in mind that the peak was the high point of the route , as we continued on Alta it sure seemed like we were still heading up, so I queried about this development , distracting tactics were then deployed such as pointing out landmarks and was finally told it was just a peculiar aspect of the Alta Trail in this section , kind of like an optical illusion ?? Anyway after a couple more breathless “optical illusions “ we were finally heading down off the ridgeline on a nice section of Alta Trail to complete the loop at Bajada. Linda pointed out several Busera Trees that were struggling to leaf out and a sort of crested or mutant saguaro. A little warm at times when the breeze disappeared but otherwise a pleasant day with pleasant company. Thanks Linda for recommending this route , Alta Trail and the peak were the highlight, nice to experience the western end of the park and National Trail , only have a couple more trails to do on South Mountain.
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