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1.3 k triplogs

Jul 01 2020
CannondaleKid
avatar

 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Highline Out & Back via 260 TH, AZ 
Highline Out & Back via 260 TH, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 01 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking9.30 Miles 1,191 AEG
Hiking9.30 Miles   4 Hrs   24 Mns   2.31 mph
1,191 ft AEG      22 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked linked
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trixiec
Early start and finished by noon... basically a re-run of our hike last September except we went a short distance up the Drew Trail before stopping for an early lunch, whereas last year we continued a short distance on the Highline.

We met one hiker on the way out and two groups of two mountain bikers on the return trip. Plenty of elk, deer and bear tracks, which meant Tracey had a heightened awareness of our surroundings. No live animal sightings, just a lone red-tailed hawk giving us a look.

Major screw-up of the day... one small change in my normal after-hike routine resulted leaving my GPS on the right rear tire, so of course I drove over it as we left. ](*,)
The soonest I became aware of the fiasco was a few hours after we got home and I couldn't find it and Tracey said "didn't you pick it up off the tire?" :doh:

Anyway, within an hour of that realization (and after deciding to forego purchasing a replacement) I get a call from one of the mountain bikers (also named Mark) who found an old GPS laying in the parking lot. It wouldn't turn on but when he got home (in Payson) he plugged it into his PC and although the display was inoperative he located the file with my contact information and called me. Unfortunately as nice as it was for him to contact me, it's pretty much a doorstop so there's no need to get it back to me.

Live and learn... it's just a sign of an aging mind. :roll:
No photos today.
_____________________
CannondaleKid
Jun 30 2020
CannondaleKid
avatar

 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Bulldog Ridge, AZ 
Bulldog Ridge, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 30 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking4.51 Miles 927 AEG
Hiking4.51 Miles   3 Hrs   12 Mns   1.48 mph
927 ft AEG      9 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
rayhuston
Once again Ray did a great job of documenting the hike.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn't thank Ray for his able assistance past a spot which gave me a minor attack of the Gumby-legs syndrome... I'd hiked the full ridge three times before (2x in this direction) but whether due to advancing age or something else, my aversion to heights/exposure has become more advanced, so Ray's show-me-the-way assistance was much appreciated.

One huge bonus for me was an IN-focus photo of a Cardinal... for once, it did not fly away the moment I took out my camera.
Fauna
Fauna
Cardinal
_____________________
CannondaleKid
Jun 27 2020
CannondaleKid
avatar

 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Old Mine Road - Peak 4912, AZ 
Old Mine Road - Peak 4912, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 27 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking5.00 Miles 1,331 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   2 Hrs   41 Mns   1.99 mph
1,331 ft AEG      10 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
Tracey's goals for today:
1. Avoid crowds
2. Hike somewhere a bit cooler
3. But don't drive too far
Oh wait, there's just one more...
4. find a replacement for the lightweight backpacking knife TSA confiscated on her trip to NY last year.

1-3 were easy enough as I had a plan in mind for literally a decade that would fit those demands.
But #4? Ok, I'll do my best...

Although we were up and on the road early enough to hit the trail shortly before 6 am, since my plan was almost ten years old we were immediately presented with an ugly fence and fox-tails (insert a Tracey scowl here) so it was time for a quick change in plan. Ok, so, we take off the packs, drive to a more suitable location and once more hit the trail, or in this case it was now FR 25, which we followed down to and crossed the now-dry Sycamore Creek before following the old mining road up the steep slope.

When I first mapped this 'old mining road' it appeared no vehicular traffic had been on it in many years, plus where I thought it was accessed was through posted private property, so I had simply filed away. Once I realized no crossing of private property would be involved it rose on the possibility list.

Fast forward to today and lo and behold, as we begin the ascent we quickly realize the ATV/ATC crowds have deemed it rideable route (although NOT legal) and have proceeded to make full use of it. While no bushwhacking was required (like if it was a many-decades unused road), the loose, sharp rock surface made for a challenge in both directions.
But the positive take-away is that with all my attention on the ground for each-and-every step meant I noticed bits and pieces of ATV's (I scored a shiny-new D-ring), as well as... well whad'dya know, what's this? It's #4 on Tracey's demand-list, a nice lightweight folding knife to replace the TSA-confiscated one. Cool! :DANCE:
(Ok, so when she checked online to see how good a knife it was... well at $8 it probably ain't the best but it'll do.)

As we rounded the upper western slope of Peak 4912 and got a look at where we had yet to go to reach what may-or-many-not be the location of the old mine (newer maps don't show the prospects) neither of us was too enthused about descending 500' only to have to climb back up followed by the 1100' descent back to Sycamore Creek. And besides, we found a myriad of off-shoots along the saddle behind Peak 4912 so we did some wandering. And hoping one would be another, not-so-steep route down the backside of 4912. We had no such luck so we just headed for the summit of Peak 4912 where we found a nice shady spot with a panoramic view. The visible peaks included Saddle Mountain, Sheep Mountain, Mount Peeley, Peaks 7549/7579 (which block the view to Mazatzal Peak), Iron Dike, Mount Ord, Boulder Mountain, Crabtree Butte and Diamond Mountain.

While we had a straight-on view of Mount Ord, a recent wind change had moved a smoky haze in between so we could not determine just how much of the western slope of Ord was burned. When I had glanced at it before the hike I saw plenty of green pines above FR 1688 so I figured it may have been used as a fire-break to keep the fire from burning between FR 1688 and FR 626 on the ridge above. I do know Little Ord was completely charred.

The hike back down was uneventful, which meant the eventful part was still to come.
The drive back home via Bush Highway brought a portent of things to come... two weeks and we'll have another spike of Covid infections just like the one 2 weeks after Memorial Day weekend.

Around 11 am the Water Users parking area was already full and the Forest Service LEO's & Maricopa County Deputies were almost overwhelmed by people parking wherever they pleased causing a number of near fender-benders. Good thing I watch my rearview mirror as much as I do or we would have been hit from behind by a guy gawking at the crowds... luckily the shoulder provided just enough room to step-aside momentarily. It appears to have given the driver a filled-pants moment as he sat there for a until we were a hundred yards ahead before he started moving again.

As we drove over the Salt River at Blue Point it looked like Woodstock (No, not Snoopy's pal) had set up on both sides of the river... and of course no masks were to be seen.

Whew! Is there anything else before we reach home? for sure...
Over the hill approaching the 3-way intersection of Bush and Coon Bluff Road everything is stopped and there are 3-4 Maricopa Deputy vehicles plus an ambulance for what appeared to be a lone motorcycle accident due to no other vehicles.
It may have happened barely 5-10 minutes earlier as we reached the scene within a minute of the ambulance... it had pulled out in front of us as it turned onto Bush from the Maricopa Sheriff's Station where one is staged on heavy traffic weekends. From where the Sheriff's Deputy stopped us I could see the motorcyclist laying on the pavement and based on the lack of urgency of the paramedics most likely it was a fatality. It appears possibly the first Deputy to arrive had done CPR and he and/or someone else may have used a defibrillator as they were in the process of putting it away.

Good to be back home safe-and-sound... at least for now.
Flora
Flora
Century Plant
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CannondaleKid
Jun 23 2020
CannondaleKid
avatar

 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Bellevue Ghost Town, AZ 
Bellevue Ghost Town, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 23 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking7.80 Miles 1,373 AEG
Hiking7.80 Miles   3 Hrs   49 Mns   2.20 mph
1,373 ft AEG      16 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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rayhuston
Sunday Tracey and I hiked from the same spot when it was reasonably pleasant, so by starting almost an hour earlier and a forecast of slightly higher winds than we had I figured this one would be a breeze. I guess the earlier start meant we didn't yet have an east wind so it felt just a tad warmer.

On the way downhill to Bellevue we got a few wisps of air movement but much of the time the only wind we had was a result of our forward motion. Having visited the site on three previous occasions the few photos I took were just a rehash save for one of a small lizard gazing at us from the end a pipe. Unfortunately the little guy was out-of-focus.

After a short chow break and very little wandering we headed back uphill on FR 3. After the turn onto the unnamed old mining road, although now on the home-stretch we still faced a number of steep uphills & downhills, with the last rocky part making sure the knees would have their say... please, no more!

After the hike I drove farther out along the seriously deteriorating FR 320 (Old 60/70) until we had a birds-eye view of the construction of the new Pinto Creek bridge before turning around. On the way back out to the US 60 we met a man walking his dogs (actually they were running toward us... the dogs, not the man.). If I recall he asked how far we had driven out on the old road. I responded we hadn't driven far but we had just finished a hike to Bellevue, to which without missing a beat he said Bellevue?! All the way to Bellevue? As though it was some kind of marathon hike...

Another fun hike. But, as many hikes as I've done within a ~4 mile radius of Five Point Mountain/Hutton Peak (well over a dozen) I still have areas of interest to check out. Unfortunately, there are no short-cuts to reach any so those trips will probably have to wait until cooler weather again.
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CannondaleKid
Jun 21 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Iron Flat Tank - Hutton Peak, AZ 
Iron Flat Tank - Hutton Peak, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 21 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking8.50 Miles 1,731 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.28 mph
1,731 ft AEG      46 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
With fire, fire almost everywhere and depending whether the result of the prevailing SW winds or overnight easterly winds it seems like smoke was everywhere as well. So, what do we do, where do we go to avoid the smoke, and particularly on a weekend to avoid crowds.

How about we fall back on what we did last year and take another trip to Iron Flat Tank and maybe spot some deer again. While nice to dream a bit, as dry as it has been I was positive the tank would be bone dry and there would be no deer sighting today... and there wasn't.

As before, just past Top-of-the-World we turned off the US 60, onto Forest Road 320 and continued to our favorite trailhead. We began with only 65 degrees and humidity in the teens so we were off to a pleasantly cool start. Although it was an hour before the temperature reached 75, due to the terribly rocky (larger than melons with squared edges) unnamed road and the steady climbing on a surface usually angled to one side or the other (thanks to the ATV's) we were definitely warming up.

Unfortunately, our expectation to get away from the smoke didn't turn out quite as well as hoped, as we could smell it in the air and when we looked initially over to the Pinal Mountains they were hidden in the smoke. We wore face coverings to minimize the smoke inhalation somewhat but thankfully the smoke was gradually fading away.
(I know my dampened balaclava helps because after a 2 mile hike on Saturday at Hawes (cut short due to smoke) my white baclava had a dark gray stain around my mouth and nose)

Anyway, based on the easterly wind bringing it across the Pinal Mountains, I believe the smoke was from the Blue River fire east of Globe and/or possibly smoke from the Bighorn Fire on Mount Lemmon which had been blown NE yesterday by the prevailing SW winds and overnight with the change to east wind it was blown across the Pinals.

When we reached the intersection with old Forest Road 3 the Pinal Mountains were now in sight, the air had cleared a bit and a steady east wind kept us cool. We took one side trip up to one of the mine shafts just off FR 3 only to find it had been covered with a steel mesh. Because it was a deep shaft I kind of expected it to be sealed, but there are a number of shallower vertical shafts in the area with no covering or even signs warning of the danger.

At the intersection with FR 3 and old North Hutton Peak Road we headed south toward Iron Flat Tank. On the way there we caught sight of smoke billowing from the Bighorn fire on Mount Lemmon... it didn't look good. The descent to Iron Flat Tank along what used to be a mining road some 50-70 years ago was pretty jolting... the rocks being every bit as bad as the first half-mile of the hike. My lower back doesn't take to jolting very well so for that reason as well as IF there happened to be deer at the tank we didn't want to spook them before our arrival so I took every step slow and carefully. But stealth mode made no difference, within a few hundred yards of the tank it was obvious there was not only no deer but hadn't seen moisture in a long time.

Rather than continue to the bone-dry tank we found some nice flat boulders in the shade of a Juniper and stopped for lunch, so what if it was before 9 am, it was already 4 hours after our pre-5 am breakfast. Our beds were so comfortable and it was so peaceful we napped/rested for 46 minutes... about the same as last week at Willow Springs Lake, only this time no barking dogs or yelling kids. The only interruption was a hummingbird which probably came to investigate my bright yellow shirt and almost flew into Tracey's face.

The return trip was no easier due to the same up and down and up and down except in the opposite direction, but we still had a cooling east wind... until the last turn toward the west, when whaddaya know, the wind changed to the west and we had a breeze back to the car.

All in all a great day and location for a peaceful hike. We did drive down to the bridge over Pinto Creek to see how the work has progressed... it appears it's gonna take a few more years. We did note all the new guardrails along the US 60 between Superior and the bridge, and we also noted the three spots where drivers had already tested the new guardrails... ripping the ends and coiling them back on themselves.
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CannondaleKid
Jun 18 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Peak 2541 SW Ascent, AZ 
Peak 2541 SW Ascent, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 18 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking4.90 Miles 1,511 AEG
Hiking4.90 Miles   3 Hrs   15 Mns   1.51 mph
1,511 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Smoke from the Bush Fire was pretty much gone yesterday so I figured I might get a better view from a ways up Peak 2541. Last week I tried a new-to-me off-trail ascent, mostly following Javelina trails but was thwarted about 3/4 the way up. Time to try another approach so I headed up the steeper slope from off the Hawes Secret Trail .

This was another one of those ascents where I am constantly asking myself if the better part of valor is simply to give up and head back down. But every time I looked back down I really didn't like that idea, so I soldiered on.

Then, just at the point I was really ready to say it's not worth it and call it a day, I popped up onto a large boulder and got quite a surprise... two huge eyes staring at me. :o
Wow! Less than two feet away is an owl, and best of all it has yet to move. I had enough time to pull out the camera, take a photo and even a 15 second video before it flew off.

Cool! The whole trip was now worth the effort. Oh wait, I still have another few hundred feet to go. But no matter, now I'm stoked and nothing was going to stop me now.

Now, let's get some photos of the Bush Fire smoke. Sad to say, I would have been better off to climb Stewart Mountain if I wanted a better view than yesterday, but then I didn't feel like driving any farther than I had.

On the way down along what is proposed to be a new official Hawes area trail I came across a bird squawking so loudly and intensely I just had to see what all the fuss was about. And whad'dya now, I see something pink underneath a small stack of rocks maybe 15 feet off the 'trail' so I remove the rocks and find a near-empty bottle of Jim Beam (only 'im Bea' was left of the decal) as well as a metal canister with a half-full bottle of Patron Tequila Silver.

Some cache, huh? Actually a liquor stash. That would be the last of my unique encounters/finds today, although I did catch a few new plumes of smoke just before reaching the trailhead.

Great day for a hike! Low humidity early and a breeze much of the time, with the exception of the steepest part of course as it was in the 'shadow' of the wind.
Fauna
Fauna
Great Horned Owl
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CannondaleKid
Jun 17 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Peak 2303 North Slope, AZ 
Peak 2303 North Slope, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 17 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking3.00 Miles 656 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   1 Hour   40 Mns   1.80 mph
656 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Wasn't sure if there would still be smoke along Bush Highway so wasn't really prepared for a longer hike. But what a surprise, no smoke or even odor of smoke. So I decided to take a quick loop partway up the northern slope of Peak 2303 for an up-to-date look at extent of the Bush Fire.

After taking a few photos I started heading back down, only to take another look a few minutes later and observe new huge plumes of smoke in two areas, the north side of Boulder Mountain and what appears to be the Alder Saddle area on the other side of Four Peaks.

Video: Smoke from Bush Fire filmed at 2 pm from the north slope of Peak 2303.
Named place
Named place
Boulder Mountain Four Peaks
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CannondaleKid
3 archives
Jun 16 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Peak 3134 - Apache Junction QuadPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 16 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking3.65 Miles 1,104 AEG
Hiking3.65 Miles   2 Hrs   44 Mns   1.40 mph
1,104 ft AEG      8 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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rayhuston
My plan for today originally was something off of Bush Highway but with the knowledge we'd very likely be dealing with smoke and the fact I was on this side of the Goldfields yesterday with no smoke to be seen or smelled (smelt?) I figured this one would provide a nice overview of the Bush Fire... and that it did.

Wolverine gate was WIDE open so I stopped, closed and locked it, and a moment later heard thank you from a man in the old RV 'camped' in the parking lot. I guess it was too much for him to walk the 30 feet to close it himself.
(I didn't notice it at the time, but on the way out I saw the rear window of the Chevy Malibu parked right next to the RV was shattered)

Slightly humid to begin with and due to dropping into the canyon before climbing to the saddle we had no wind to speak of so it felt slightly warm. Not much wind at the saddle between Dome and Peak 3134 but at the next smaller saddle we started to get a light breeze. At the summit we not only had great views but a pleasant breeze for a quick break.
Filmed at 6:54 am 6/16/20:
Bush Fire as viewed from the summit of Peak 3134

On the return trip we followed the usual route which provided a bit of variation. Just a tiny bit of off-trail near the end to avoid the rocky road.

Another fun hike!
On the downside it felt the time passed too quickly... maybe gonna have to extend our hikes a bit?
(Based on earlier trips of mine I really expected more distance but then I usually wander more when solo.)
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CannondaleKid
3 archives
Jun 15 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Peak 3004 Loop - Goldfield MtnsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 15 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking5.50 Miles 1,213 AEG
Hiking5.50 Miles   2 Hrs   42 Mns   2.04 mph
1,213 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Driving out on Bush Highway my throat was already raw before I reached Granite Reef picnic area so I made a quick u-turn and headed out for AJ, surely I can find something over that way, and the Goldfields should provide a nice barrier to the smoke.

I began at the Meridian TH and headed for to the saddle east of Peak 3004. At the saddle with a pretty good view of the extent of the Bush Fire I could tell this was going to a long-burning and wide-spread fire. I decided I'm here, I might as well complete the loop, which seems to take a wider jaunt to the north than I recall, but then it was 7-8 years ago when I last hiked it.

Took the shortcut down a minor drainage into the wash, following it most of the way back. Warmed quickly but humidity already in single-digits and brisk breeze I felt nice and cool.
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CannondaleKid
1 archive
Jun 14 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Hawes Smoky Loop, AZ 
Hawes Smoky Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 14 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking2.90 Miles 486 AEG
Hiking2.90 Miles   1 Hour   11 Mns   2.45 mph
486 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
We thought we'd get in an early hike in before back to the grind working on the house. Not only was it early but it was quick as well. As more smoke rolled along a light easterly wind it wasn't long before our throats were raw, and before we could get back to the car we were practically choking on the smoke from the Bush Fire. A wet neck gaiter for me and a wet neckerchief for Tracey may have helped a bit but as thick as the smoke was we couldn't tell.
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CannondaleKid
Jun 12 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Big Sister Twisted Sister Loop, AZ 
Big Sister Twisted Sister Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 12 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking2.80 Miles 1,198 AEG
Hiking2.80 Miles   1 Hour   25 Mns   1.98 mph
1,198 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Checked out the 'proposed' Big Sister trail which will simply make use of the illegal trail which was created early last year and rehabilitated shortly after by a Forest Service crew.

The first quarter of the proposed trail heading SW from the Wild Horse trail has been used for years by equestrians (and wild horses) so it is reasonably well defined.

However the rest of the trail was so thoroughly rehabilitated if I didn't know where it went in some areas you wouldn't know a trail had existed and it will take a considerable amount of work before it is rideable. In reality, I fully believe it will take more work that it took to build the illegal trail in the first place.
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CannondaleKid
Jun 11 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Hawes Loop & Bush Fence Line, AZ 
Hawes Loop & Bush Fence Line, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 11 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking4.10 Miles 627 AEG
Hiking4.10 Miles   1 Hour   38 Mns   2.51 mph
627 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Quick early hike
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CannondaleKid
Jun 10 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Willow Springs Bike Loop Trail #535Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 10 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking7.80 Miles 718 AEG
Hiking7.80 Miles   3 Hrs   50 Mns   2.59 mph
718 ft AEG      49 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
Still working on home updates but when Tracey has a day off we have to take advantage of it. She prefers cooler weather for hiking so we hit the road early and headed up to the Rim for a morning hike. To get a hike in in our allotted time we chose one that didn't include a drive on FR 300, which tends to eat up a lot of time.

On the drive up the Beeline, within probably an eight-of-a-mile of where the Bush Fire will begin on Saturday, in the split second it broke cover from the median what appeared to be a greyhound dog ran across the highway just ahead. It took a few moments to register that it was not a greyhound but a thin coyote. Not thin, like scraggly or underfed, but simply a healthy, lean coyote.

The rest of the drive was uneventful except for when I notice a white Toyota 4Runner packed to the gills, and although it sported no visible HAZ decal I said that looks like Hank and sure enough it was @Grasshopper heading up for his requisite June camping trip. Way to go Hank!

Barely a hundred minutes from home and we pulled into the Horse Trap TH, just a hundred feet off the 260. I was hit by the realization we would already be wrapping up a cool morning hike if we stayed close to home.
(And as it turned out, we would have had lower temps than what we ended this hike at)

Within five minutes of our start we encountered two horses and with no knowledge of any wild horses up here it got us wondering. They were grazing right at the edge of the old road so we gave them a wide berth as we passed by. And a minute or two Tracey looks back and says look, they're following us. With no sugar cubes to be had they soon lost interest in us and we continued on alone.

Then within the next quarter-mile we saw three deer grazing along the road but they had moved off before we got close enough for any reasonable photo opportunity. From then until we reached the lake (Willow Springs Lake, not the half-dozen large puddles we passed by) we just enjoyed the pines.

Oh wait, we did take a few off-trail detours to what turned out to be dry lakes, Horse Trap being the largest. Both on and off-trail we passed through some areas which had been very aggressively thinned.

At the lake it was so calm and peaceful we decided to take off our packs and set-a-spell. Tracey sacked out on a nice smooth boulder and I just chilled, half-dozing but not able to nod off due to the incessant barking of a dog across the lake at the picnic area.

Yup, bring your dog along, leave it tied it up as you frolic at the water's edge and all the while it is bored-to-death. Many folks need better training than their dog but again then you can't fix stupid. (A lot of that going around lately)

After the 49 minute 'spell' (easily the longest we've ever rested on a hike), instead of following the bike trail again we set off winding along the edge of the lake adding a bunch of ups-and-downs for some time until rejoining the trail. Instead of turning back to the TH near the end we followed some fresh bike tire tracks which continued straight to the 260, where they ended. What? I suppose the rider may stopped, lifted the bike up to turn around and followed in their own tracks back again. Oh well, just had another short stretch of off-trail and we were back to the car.

Nice hike, brought back memories of 5 years ago when we racked up an 18 mile bike ride which included this loop.
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CannondaleKid
Jun 09 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Saguaro Lake Bluffs, AZ 
Saguaro Lake Bluffs, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 09 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking5.20 Miles 1,004 AEG
Hiking5.20 Miles   3 Hrs   27 Mns   1.56 mph
1,004 ft AEG      7 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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rayhuston
Again Ray did such a great job documenting the hike there is little for me to add.

The only things missing from this hike was a bighorn sighting and a large herd of horses, both of which featured when Tracey and I did this loop last time. To be fair, I had no expectations of sighting a bighorn again and I was aware the wild horses are now being kept away from Butcher Jones Recreation Site.

It was fun to provide Ray the opportunity to view Saguaro Lake from a different perspective... and a bit closer view on a few occasions with skirting-the-edges of cliffs no longer in my repertoire.
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CannondaleKid
Jun 07 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Phon D Sutton Coon Bluff Loop, AZ 
Phon D Sutton Coon Bluff Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 07 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking4.20 Miles 954 AEG
Hiking4.20 Miles   2 Hrs   3 Mns   2.05 mph
954 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I couldn't find my GoPro so I wore my body-cam and I returned a bit earlier than yesterday in hopes of catching one or both of the bobcat kittens on film.

Today I went counter-clockwise from PDS mid-mountain lot, north past the mine, up to Coon Bluff ridge, west down the western slope, returning partway in the wash and partway along the southern ridge.

Before heading down the slope were I encountered the kittens yesterday I turned on the body-cam and sat for a while to scan the area before slowly working my way down the rocky slope. But of course, being better prepared just meant it would all be for nought.

After the hike I took a second trip up to the ridge and covered up the blue graffiti tagging I had spotted yesterday.

Humid at the start but quickly dried out so the hike felt like a breeze.
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CannondaleKid
Jun 06 2020
CannondaleKid
avatar

 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Phon D Sutton Coon Bluff Loop, AZ 
Phon D Sutton Coon Bluff Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 06 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking4.40 Miles 1,001 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles   2 Hrs      2.20 mph
1,001 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Clockwise from PDS mid-mountain lot, up and along the ridge, down to PDS parking lot, north along steel fence, up to Coon Bluff ridge and back.

Spotted a bobcat kitten while bushwhacking up the western slope. Although I did get the camera out and ready to take a photo, ANOTHER kitten pops up off to the side... so which do I attempt to take a photo of? I settled for a snap-shot on the first but I knew it wasn't in focus so I switched to video.

But again, just a moment of hesitation deciding which one to film was enough to end up with out-of-focus trees and brush but no cat.

Now that there are two bobcat kittens I'll be back soon, hopefully wearing my GoPro.
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CannondaleKid
1 archive
Jun 04 2020
CannondaleKid
avatar

 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Mount Ord FR 626, AZ 
Mount Ord FR 626, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 04 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking4.70 Miles 1,060 AEG
Hiking4.70 Miles   2 Hrs   28 Mns   1.91 mph
1,060 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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trixiec
Tracey hoped for something a bit cooler at this altitude but it was not to be. Not only warmer than expected but very humid and the no-see-ums were out in force and the closer to the summit the larger the swarms became. And since none of the forecast higher winds appeared to save us we turned around.
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CannondaleKid
Jun 02 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Bulldog Canyon Wander, AZ 
Bulldog Canyon Wander, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 02 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking4.85 Miles 600 AEG
Hiking4.85 Miles   2 Hrs   56 Mns   1.74 mph
600 ft AEG      9 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
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rayhuston
Ray pretty much nailed the hike in his triplog.
Another fun hike with Ray!
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CannondaleKid
May 28 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Bulldog via Usery Pass Road, AZ 
Bulldog via Usery Pass Road, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 28 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking3.20 Miles 721 AEG
Hiking3.20 Miles   2 Hrs      1.60 mph
721 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Started morning doing prep work for installation of new security door (French-style, so two doors for same opening) then waited for a late morning freight delivery of said doors, so I got a late start.
The conditions were pleasant enough for me (105+ 18% humidity 8-10 mph wind) but after all the morning work I wasn't really motivated so settled for a short loop.
But barely 4 minutes into the hike and I caught a movement off to my right and a moment later saw a nighthawk flying right-to-left out ahead of me. Right away it made me think the movement I caught may have been the nighthawk as it took off from its ground nest, so I wandered in that direction and scanned under the bushes. Eventually I saw what appeared to be a couple round stones on the ground and upon closer inspection, sure enough, there they were, a pair of nighthawk eggs.
After that I simply wandered before looping back to the car, spotting a reasonably fresh snake molt.
Although the high hit 108 my cooling gear did its job well.
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CannondaleKid
May 22 2020
CannondaleKid
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 Guides 43
 Routes 137
 Photos 21,225
 Triplogs 2,125

70 male
 Joined May 04 2004
 Mesa, AZ
Wandering West of Stewart Mountain, AZ 
Wandering West of Stewart Mountain, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 22 2020
CannondaleKid
Hiking6.40 Miles 1,202 AEG
Hiking6.40 Miles   3 Hrs   28 Mns   1.85 mph
1,202 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
For something different I had a thought of scaling Stewart Mountain from the west while starting from Bush Highway. Being able to follow existing horse trails for part of it I didn't think it would be that big a deal. But no matter how flat it appeared on the map it meant a lot of up-and-down across a series of steep, rocky and/or brushy washes. By time I got close to where I had planned an ascent I no longer had the urge.

So I decided to wander about in an area I had never been before. Again no wildlife, no humans and nothing worthy of documenting... andI won't need to return.
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CannondaleKid
average hiking speed 1.97 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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