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Fountain Hills Preserve Northside, AZ
mini location map2022-01-07
28 by photographer avatartibber
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Fountain Hills Preserve Northside, AZ 
Fountain Hills Preserve Northside, AZ
Hiking7.35 Miles 1,842 AEG
Hiking7.35 Miles   3 Hrs   13 Mns   2.53 mph
1,842 ft AEG      19 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
I'm trying to complete some of the unfinished trails of the various "Areas" Joe has set up on HAZ. I was going to tackle something in the McDowell Preserve but that's going to take further study to figure out a strategy. So I picked the Fountain Hills Preserve to hike this afternoon.

This hike starts up right away and continues that way for awhile with occasional short flatter stretches. I tripped hard twice in a row but did fine for the rest of the hike. While the climb up the Western Loop is steep in spots, it's short and goes through some nice desert vegetation which I like. However, it surely is not a climb I would want to do when it's warm. Once to the top I took the short and quick spur to get to the very top. I spent a moment here.

Once back at the saddle I enjoyed the views west and north toward the Tom's Thumb area. I looked to the southwest and saw clouds and the inversion partially covering the Valley with the mountains sticking up so I took some pictures of that. There was also nice views toward Four Peaks and the Superstition Mountains. Now to get down this mountain. I was totally in the shade and the incline seems steeper and not nearly as stable as the south side. It felt like it took a long time to get down to the Sonoran Trail.

The Sonoran Trail heads to the NW for a bit, up and down hills and through ravines and back up again. I did encounter a couple who thot the trail was shorter and I showed them the route so they decided to turn back. In a few minutes I would run across a sign that said you could crossover to the Lower Sonoran. I had no idea about this and would encounter one or two more of those signs for crossovers. I yelled up to them as I was in a ravine but they didn't hear me.

As I came up out of the ravine the sun was glowing on the golden grass from time to time. It was really pretty but hard to get photos because of the angle of the sun. I also saw a saguaro with a big nest in it. It was a roller coaster hike on this nice trail. There are also several signs for Heli-pads which I thot was interesting. Around 4 PM I came to a sign that said it was the end of the FHP. I was so intent on getting a good picture of the sign and terrain that I totally didn't see the Lower Sonoran Trail to my right (south). I kept going straight on the trail.

The trail started to go down, off to my left (north) I could see Dixie Mine tailings area and what looked like a seal (boulder) up on the top of the McDowell Mountains. A little bit later, to my right, I saw the fountain going off so decided to go off trail to see if I could get a picture with a nice foreground. The ground was soft and I didn't have to go up very much until I got the foreground I wanted for the photos. However, this is a time I should have switched to manual mode so I could keep everything in focus. I then headed back down toward the trail. I decided to check RS and that's when I discovered I had missed the turn.

I went back up (west) toward the top of the trail and for some reason, thot I had gone too far again and turned back around. This is where I encountered the only other hiker I would see for this hike until the Promenade Trail. Well I looked at RS again and turned around hiking this time back to the sign. And then I saw the other trail but thot that was the one I had come in on, but it wasn't so I headed on down the Lower Sonoran Trail.

By this time I was totally in the shade and it was just a tad nippy; especially when I went down in the ravines. I did see the other hiker ahead of me. This trail is also a bit of a roller coaster with some sharp switchbacks. The tread, however, is very nice for the most part. I was glad I had long pants on and rolled down my shirt sleeves. I could see I still had a ways to go to get around the side of the mountain to finally hook up with the last leg of the trail. I also saw a couple of the signs indicating the crossover to the Sonoran Trail.

Finally I arrived at the Promenade Trail which was on the remains of an old and wide road. As you continue on this road I had great sunlit views of the Superstitions. This trail allows you to walk and gawk which I love and it seemed a tad warmer. As you get closer to the TH, they have put in a trail next to the road. I called my brother Rick to see if I could drop by or buy dinner; however TMobile reception is not the best.

Anyway, it was pretty dark by the time I got to Tonto 3; altho I did see a few hikers heading up the trail. I wasn't able to hook up with my brother so I had my beer and peanuts before driving home. I liked these Sonoran Trails and they make a nice little workout with the up and down.

WATCH: 7.17 miles, starting temp 62.5 and 34% humidity (high point 3137, low 2371) avg bpm 144 (seems high), max 181 (36% at zone 4 anaerobic, 42% at aerobic and 20% at Zone 2 weight control) burning 1455 calories (total ascent 2.49, descent 2.6) finishing at 5:30PM
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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