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339 triplogs
Mar 31 2013
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Charles M. Christiansen Trail #100Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 31 2013
black_toes
Hiking3.00 Miles 138 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   2 Hrs   50 Mns   1.29 mph
138 ft AEG      31 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My hiking partner, Mary Jo, wanted a flat trail so she wouldn't further damage an injured knee, and this one worked out to a tee.

We left from the west end of the parking lot at the 40th St TH shortly after 5 o'clock, and proceeded SW until we hit the Christiansen Trail (#100), then up a gentle slope for maybe a mile before turning back.

Saw two birds of note, a Roadrunner about 40 yards off trail and a Gambel's quail taking an unusual position atop a snag at sunset. Wildflowers plentiful, particularly large splotches of desert bluebell under trees along the several ravines that ply through here. Saw six riders on horseback, all sauntering along the #100.

One of the nicest evenings I can recall, and I think I found the temperature range I like best, 78-80, and no wind.
Flora
Flora
Stinknet
Culture
Culture
Aircraft
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Bluebells in ravines and dying fiddleneck everywhere along with a smattering of blue dick.
_____________________
Mar 30 2013
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Mohave - Ruth Hamilton LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 30 2013
black_toes
Hiking3.90 Miles 833 AEG
Hiking3.90 Miles   3 Hrs   3 Mns   1.98 mph
833 ft AEG   1 Hour   5 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
First time to do this loop. Traversed the unexciting Mohave Connector to Squaw Peak Dr, but didn't turn left at the high saddle to do the Mohave Trail. My map said the Connector was the #200A but trail signs show #202. Worst thing about the Connector is having to look down on nearby residences at the back of ritzy Arizona Biltmore Estates. The wildflower season definitely on the decline here, although Buckhorn cholla and small-leaf palo verde are beginning to bloom. Passed only one hiker and saw another along this 1.6 mile stretch. It'll soon be too warm to do this south-facing segment in comfort. Had only warm water in my "camel" and was glad to reach the deadend at Squaw Peak Dr to freshen it, though I had to contend with some honey bees at the fountain outside the toilets. Many of the poppies seen near the saddle of the #8B on March 7 were gone, and the huge poppy fields below the White House were greatly diminished as well. Discovered for myself why the Quartz Ridge Trail (#8A) is so named as I hiked down from the saddle toward the 32nd St TH. About halfway I was startled to see so many white quartz boulders on a slope to the east, having toppled downhill at some long-ago date. A huge boulder, maybe 7-8 feet in diameter rests by the ravine. Usually you see outcroppings of quartz not boulders. Plenty of hikers, young and middle-aged, along this segment. Got back to the parking lot before sunset with few appealing photos to show for such a long time on the trail.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Phacelia holding strong in isolated spots. Fiddleneck mostly drying up, but the flowers on bushes, palo verde and cactus are on the increase. The brittlebush is absolutely vibrant yellow right now, and the most beautiful, the magenta-flowered Engelmann hedgehog.
_____________________
Mar 28 2013
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
North Mountain Summit / No Pavement, AZ 
North Mountain Summit / No Pavement, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 28 2013
black_toes
Hiking3.94 Miles 917 AEG
Hiking3.94 Miles   2 Hrs   47 Mns   2.23 mph
917 ft AEG   1 Hour   1 Min Break
 no routes
Partners none no partners
The nicest thing about hiking the same Arizona trails this time of year is to note the wonderful changes taking place. Hiking up the steep "northwest passage" to North Mountain summit, found the slope lit up like Broadway with yellow-flowering brittlebush and many bushes of orange globe mallow. Had not seen a globe mallow population so large. The wildflower season has passed its peak here with only a smattering of lupine and fiddleneck and very few phacelia. Coming up on the summit from the rocky west segment, heard a buzzing of bees and before I could stop and check it out for Africanized, I was in the middle of a swarm. Thanks to the gods it was only harmless male carpenter bees checking out a palo verde yet to bloom. Don't know what enticement they saw in it. These large, furry and golden brown bees look scary but are not aggressive and do not sting. Then not far away, more carpenters darting in and out of brittlebush flowers. Would've shot a photo but none stopped to take in some nectar. Ate a tuna sandwich just east of the towers, then headed back down planning to return to 7th Ave parking lot via the #60 Nature Trail below on the south. But before I knew it I had passed the turn off and was clambering down the very steep National Trail. Passed about 10 hikers trudging upward like Volga boatmen. It is so steep here I don't know if it's harder ascending or descending. About halway down as sunset neared, I glimpsed a beautiful patchnose snake slithering along the rock slope, poking its head into holes looking for supper I suppose. First one I'd seen in the wild. The detour east lengthened the hike considerably and I got back in the dark, using averted vision to find the last trail turn-off. No moon, and the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, was no help at all.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Globe mallow in great abundance on the northwest side of North Mountain, mixed in with heavy flowering brittlebush. Some lupine, fiddleneck and phacelia can be found in places, but the season here is past its peak for wildflowers.
_____________________
Mar 24 2013
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
North Mountain - PhoenixPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 24 2013
black_toes
Hiking1.88 Miles 205 AEG
Hiking1.88 Miles      53 Mns   2.13 mph
205 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
In a matter of three weeks, March 3 until today, the Nature Trail #60 has lost its wildflower allure. About 95 percent or more of the phaceilia that painted the area with a purple hue are dried up. The green ground cover too is all but gone, and things are beginning to take on the normal scorched look. Mostly now it is scattered fiddleneck. The surprise of the day was that cactus is starting to bloom. I found two Engelmann hedgehogs brilliantly inflamed with large magenta flowers. And the red compass barrels were sprouting their less brilliant yellow blooms. That said, this trail is idyllic if walked close to sunset and presents little challenge for even the least experienced hiker. On the way back to the parking lot on 7th Ave, I did a detour. At the jeep trail, just past the small South Park Dam, I turned off to the south and took the "low trail" back. I did this because there is an encampment of at least one man up a ravine on the "high trail" access to the Jeep road. He was young, probably Hispanic, and eating a meal amid all the trappings of a permanent base. I'd seen the camp back on the 3rd, so it has been there for several weeks. It was dark on the return and I did not want to put either the camper or me at risk. He shouldn't be in there, and I doubt rangers walk into that area very often.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
Mar 21 2013
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Preserve Trails #8 and #100, AZ 
Phoenix Preserve Trails #8 and #100, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2013
black_toes
Hiking1.87 Miles 135 AEG
Hiking1.87 Miles   1 Hour   43 Mns   2.12 mph
135 ft AEG      50 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This land this year in the north part of the Preserve belongs to fiddleneck wildflowers. They're everywhere and knee-high in places. Saw no poppies today but the yellows of brittlebush and creosote bloomed brilliantly on hillsides. Also saw some phacelia, blue dick and plenty of lupine. It's easy to wander out here. So many unmarked trails, the only clear sign is #100 for the Christiansen. Stayed out past sunset shooting photographs as the sun began to do its daily swan dive over a nearby ridge. Lots of young hikers and bikers. Was hoping to get a decent shot of Pinnacle Peak far to the north, but it would've taken near-perfect lighting to make it worthwhile.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Lots of fiddleneck at lower elevations but lupine begins to compete once you start up into the hills.
_____________________
Mar 18 2013
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
North Mountain Summit, AZ 
North Mountain Summit, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 18 2013
black_toes
Hiking3.88 Miles 661 AEG
Hiking3.88 Miles   2 Hrs   25 Mns   1.61 mph
661 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
As I approached the summit in late afternoon from one of the rocky, dirt paths up from the tower gate, a young woman, probably in her teens, looked me over and said, "You're about there. You can do it. You're kickin' a-s." I hate this kind of put down. I'm getting up there in age, but I ain't no Methuselah. Maybe I'm over-sensitive. Maybe she even meant well. Anyway this was my 5th trip to the el topo this year, and I do it for two reasons. Even coming up on the pavement it's a great place to build the cardio for bigger goals. And of course there's the sunset from one of the best spots in town to see it. Unfortunately this sunset was a dud. Too much cloud. With spring only a few days away, the sun now sets almost due west, behind the middle of the White Tanks. Not long ago you had to look southwest to the Estrellas to see the sun go down. Not as many wildflowers here as I've seen in other places. But the yellow flowers of creosote and brittlebush are coming on strong. Came down in darkness, seeing only three bikers in the two miles, all with bike lights ablaze and head lamps. Nice sight, these lightning bugs of the trail.
Flora
Flora
Creosote Bush
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Some poppies, lots of lupine and phacelia, and scattering of blue dick and fiddleneck. Some but not all creosote and brittlebush flashing strong yellow now, particularly at the summit.
_____________________
Mar 17 2013
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Willow Dells LoopPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 17 2013
black_toes
Hiking2.51 Miles 17 AEG
Hiking2.51 Miles   2 Hrs   25 Mns   1.88 mph
17 ft AEG   1 Hour   5 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Paid the $2 fee, parked at the western lot on the lake's north end and traversed to the Approach Trail via the Willow Lake Archaeological Site with the fancy ramadas protecting the excavations. My partner, Mary Jo, is a strong hiker but recently developed a knee cartilage tear and we were looking for a fairly level trail and a short jaunt before heading home to Phoenix. At almost 5,200 feet el, it's still winter up here and drab compared to the greenery of the low desert two hours away. Did see a blooming manzanita in the middle of the boulder field. Followed the dots of white paint over the rock and out to a high point that offered a good view of the placid lake but did not do the entire loop. Doubt I'd come back to this trail to boulder hop thru scrub oak. If a flat trail, bird life and touch of beauty are the goals, I much prefer nearby Lake Watson and the Peavine Trail that we took yesterday. Strangely, the archaeological site was closed on a Sunday when you would think visitors would be plentiful.
Flora
Flora
Whipple Cholla
Named place
Named place
Willow Lake Park
_____________________
Mar 16 2013
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Peavine Trail via Watson Lake, AZ 
Peavine Trail via Watson Lake, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2013
black_toes
Hiking4.95 Miles 63 AEG
Hiking4.95 Miles   1 Hour   32 Mns   3.62 mph
63 ft AEG      10 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Great place to watch water fowl, though, hiking with Mary Jo, didn't stop. We had started on a hilltop parking lot on the north end of the lake, then walked down to the shore and around the west and south sides to hit the flat Peavine Trail beyond the trailhead. The south end is a forest, a red bridge crossing Granite Creek. There are two or three benches for wildlife and probably even fish in the creek. Lots of friendly hikers out. Would've hiked farther up the Peavine on the east side of lake, but storm clouds gathered in the northwest so we turned back at the trestle crossing the small bay.
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Mar 15 2013
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Perl Charles Trail #1A / VOAZ Loop, AZ 
Perl Charles Trail #1A / VOAZ Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 15 2013
black_toes
Hiking3.05 Miles 580 AEG
Hiking3.05 Miles   2 Hrs   15 Mns   1.74 mph
580 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Stumbled across the best wildflower field I'd seen in years. I had started at the Squaw Pk Drive TH and traversed up the Nature Trail past the west saddle, then left on the combo Freedom/Perl Charles Trail to the junciton with the VOAZ. The VOAZ (Volunteers of Arizona organization) rises north up to a high saddle at about 1,900 feet with great views north and west and particularly of Dreamy Draw. I ate lunch there, then headed down. Up to that point, I had seen an abundance of phacelia, fiddleneck, lupine and blue dick and the creosote and brittlebush were beginning to put out their yellow blooms. Yet nothing to knock your eyes out. I should've known something special was about to greet me for I began to run into a steady flow of hikers as I descended. And soon, there I was, in the center of wildflower heaven. About a quarter-mile down from the saddle I ran into a huge golden poppy field with a mix of every other wildflower mentioned before, only much more of them. Many of the poppy fields currently visible in the Preserve are seen on hillsides at a distance. But here on the VOAZ you walk right through them. Dazzling. And on a north-facing slope! I would've lingered longer there, but I had a trip scheduled for Prescott that evening. Hope to get back there in the next few weeks before the heat kills all this beauty.
Named place
Named place
Dreamy Draw
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Extreme
Poppies galore, mixed with phacelia, fiddleneck, tons of lupine and a few blue dick and a small pink-flowered plant I've been unable to identify.
_____________________
Mar 09 2013
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Ruth Hamilton Trail #8BPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 09 2013
black_toes
Hiking0.92 Miles 365 AEG
Hiking0.92 Miles   1 Hour      1.58 mph
365 ft AEG      25 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Cool, cloudy, threat of rain. What else to do but to hike? I packed a tuna sandwich and went up this short, steep trail to the Elydia Davis Bench in the upper saddle. I thought of going on east to the trail's end but scotched that idea. Just wasn't into it.

Sitting there, eating and minding my own business, I heard a dog barking behind me and a man's voice yelling at it to stop. I didn't turn around even though my vet told me to never turn your back on a German shepherd, not that I knew what kind of a dog it was approaching. More frightened was a man who had come up the trail from a different direction, and was relieved when the owner leashed the dog before it got much farther. This guy looks at me and says, "Well, if the dog came after us, I knew I could out-run you." I just sat there looking at him blankly. "It's a joke," he said, before taking an uphill route on an unmarked trail. Idiot.

I popped out my Canon and shot a few photos. I'm falling in love with dark, subtle shots, and this was a great day for those. I go through obsessions like this.

Anyway, I'm getting in better shape. I reached the saddle without stopping once to allow my wind to regroup. From the parking lot at the end of Squaw Peak Dr, I got up to the saddle in 19 1/2 minuutes, and came down in 16. Pretty good for me. The poppies, so flashy the day before, were closed up in hiding under the overcast.
_____________________
Mar 07 2013
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Quartz Ridge Trail #8APhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 07 2013
black_toes
Hiking2.39 Miles 445 AEG
Hiking2.39 Miles   2 Hrs   15 Mns   1.91 mph
445 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 
Partners none no partners
Came across a huge field of golden poppies this afternoon. They bloomed radiantly from a slope east of the trail, just below what hikers call "the White House." I had parked at the trailhead at the end of Squaw Peak Drive and paid the price of admission, a traverse up the steep Ruth Hamilton Trail to the Davis Bench in the higher saddle. The trail shoots up 365 feet in less than a half mile. It's a rugged passage but wildflowers eased the pain. Purple lupine and phacelia with much yellow fiddleneck mixed in. A large poppy field dominated as I approached the bench, where I sat in warm sunshine and ate a deli sandwich. The Davis Bench seems a turn-around point for hikers coming up from the 32nd Street parking lot, so it can be busy. Then it was downhill to the lower saddle and a left turn onto the lonely Quartz Ridge (#8A) going north. From there, the huge poppy fields catch the eye immediately. This stretch of the Quartz Ridge down to the junction of the #8 going east and west is one of my favorites. In three hikes along it I've yet to run into a single human. Came back up through the wide valley that leads up to the east saddle of the Nature Trail. Some creosote have started to put out small blooms and the brittlebush is almost there. A very nice hike with plenty of beautiful wildflowers.
Flora
Flora
Wild Heliotrope
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Lupine, fiddleneck, phacelia, blue dick and a small flower of light purple bedeck the trails. Three large poppy fields, one at the top of the Ruth Hamilton Trail and the other two on the slopes beneath the White House off of #8A. The latter two are off trail by about 150 yards so it is hard to fully appreciate them.
_____________________
Mar 05 2013
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Lost Dog Wash to Taliesin OverlookPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 05 2013
black_toes
Hiking4.26 Miles 350 AEG
Hiking4.26 Miles   3 Hrs   3 Mns   2.17 mph
350 ft AEG   1 Hour   5 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Saw oodles of wildflowers during a late afternoon traverse of this easy 2.13 mile trail to the Overlook. Ran into several fields of Mexican poppies. Less showy blue dicks dominated at the sides of the trail the farther I went. Fiddlenecks and lupine also abound, and found phacelia in a few small clusters. Brittlebush buds are near bursting point. This is such a beautiful area this time of year you have to wonder why so few on the trail. Not complaining. I like my solitude. If you want to see all the desert plants, Lost Dog may be one of the better hikes. Plenty of saguaro,creosote, ocotillo, bersag and palo verde not to mention forests of teddy-bear cholla. I didn't stick around for sunset at the Overlook but it must've been spectacular because it was spectacular in the valley along the Wash. Some clouds, great day for photography.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Once you make the second crossing of the Wash and enter into the valley, the rewards of January's rainfall become clear.
_____________________
Mar 03 2013
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Nature Trail #60 - North Mountain Park, AZ 
Nature Trail #60 - North Mountain Park, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 03 2013
black_toes
Hiking1.75 Miles 192 AEG
Hiking1.75 Miles
192 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
In a matter of five days, the southern slope of North Mountain has exploded in a profusion of wildflowers, almost all of them the purple Notch-Leaved Phacelia. I came through here on February 26 and found only a few in bloom but noted a zillion buds about to open. And now they have and will continue to do so through April, I have read. The blooms of the Phacelia are small, about 3/8 of an inch in diameter, so it takes a lot of them to dominate the landscape. As the eye follows them up the slope this congregation of thousands changes the general color scheme from dark purple to almost gray. The fiddleneck with its tiny yellow flowers can not compete with the deluge of purple. The #60 trail starts at the east side of the reservoir basin of the West Park Dam just off 7th Ave and loops into the south basin of the park via a jeep road. Not too many folks go back in there. Besides my hiking partner, Mary Jo, I saw only four other humans, one a nervous guy with a very tight rein on his brown dog, a Chow mix. On the east side of the loop there are two abandoned mines, both sealed with rock. The trail rises up to a saddle on the southeast where it meets a sharply descending jeep road westward and down to a second FRS (Flood Retardant Structure, officially) aka the East Park Dam. This slope offers a great place to stop and admire the sunset or shoot photos as daylight ends behind the White Tanks on the horizon. A great evening and a fantastic array of sunlit color of clouds and virga. We got back to the 7th Ave parking lot in semi-darkness with no trouble. An amazing thing happened about halfway out on the loop where the unmarked trail ascends steeply up to the National Trail. On a rock near the juction I found the eyeglasses I had lost five days ago. Someone had apparently found them and set them out in an obvious place. Hikers are such good people, and my thanks goes out to the anonymous kind heart.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
As you head up the jeep road to the north, the Phacelia becomes increasingly apparent and contiues around the north and east ends of the loop. The scientific name, I believe, is phacelia crenulata, var. abigua. But there are many, many varieties of this wildflower.
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Mar 01 2013
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Shaw Butte Trail #306Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 01 2013
black_toes
Hiking4.75 Miles 780 AEG
Hiking4.75 Miles   3 Hrs   55 Mns   1.50 mph
780 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Did a loop of the summit coming up from the steep south side, then down on the north, returning to the Visitors Center.

Startled to see so many traveling the "lonely" segment up from the inner basin. Counted 33, including a party of nine, mostly hefty and huffing women of middle age. They turned around before the Cloud Nine ruins and went back down. I had two nice encounters there on the south slope. At one point, my eye caught a flashing of light above me on the switchbacks. I came to see it was an Asian woman carrying a parasol over her head, and I told her as we passed, "That's a pretty sight, you coming down the trail with a parasol and the sun shining through it like a beacon." A few moments later, a slender brunette passed me as I jotted a description in my notebook. She stopped and we chatted for about five minutes, mostly about the trails in North Mountain Park and her goal to someday do Kilimanjaro. I was sruprised she had no clue about Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Lower 48. Mary Jo and I had hiked up to that lofty summit in August 1988, and I told her she should give it a shot while she was still in good condition.

One of my goals today was to count the number of towers on top. I had mentioned in a previous post without thinking there were three. How stupid! I found at least eight tower clusters today.

Of course being a data freak, I had to compile a few stats, measuring the steepness of both summit routes. I recorded the gain/loss from Shaw's base to the tippy-top of the summit, north and south. The southern route via my GPS, rose 702' in 1.03 miles, or an average of 684.5 feet per mile. The northern came out to 701 feet over 1.39 miles, or an average of 504.3 feet a mile. Nice hike on a beautiful afternoon.
_____________________
Feb 26 2013
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
North Mountain Summit / No Pavement, AZ 
North Mountain Summit / No Pavement, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 26 2013
black_toes
Hiking2.24 Miles 724 AEG
Hiking2.24 Miles   2 Hrs   36 Mns   0.86 mph
724 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
My fourth trip to the summit this year but the first strictly by dirt and rock trails, no paved service road coming up or going down. The loop started and ended at 7th Ave parking lot. While the total distance is unimpressive, the steepness there on North Mountain's lonely southern slopes can be daunting, at least it was for me. I started out, as I had yesterday, looking for the elusive "southwest passage" to the summit and following the Maxine Lakin Nature Trail (#60)as it peels off from the east side of the reservoir basin behind the big retention dam. At the jeep road, I turned north. The towers were now in plain view, straight ahead and high above. I was sure now of coming up to the saddle west of the summit by either an all but untraveled trail or by blazing a new one. I could be as famous as Vancouver. Sadly, the jeep trail ended at an "Area Closed" sign, so I stayed right, glued to the #60, passing a large field of wildflowers (were they bluebells?) and accidentally coming across an unmarked trail on the left that I figured would connect me with the National Trail east of the towers, not on the west as I had hoped. So up I went. Up and up and up, 155 feet of el gain in just 1/10 of a mile. No switchbacks. At the junction with the National it didn't get easier. It was about 5 o'clock when I reached the rocks on the tippy-top of the summit and sat down in a cool wind for lunch. My GPS said the el was 2,049' which is about 55 feet lower than the offical reading. Can't explain it. Before long I headed down the west side to the saddle, using my trekking pole judiciously for there is much loose rock and grit on the outcroppings. I've done this "northwest approach" to the summit several times, and it is as lonely as the southern environs. Nothing like the zoo on the paved road from the northeast. Saw only two humans until I got back down in the inner basin. Reached the 7th Ave lot just at sunset with another interesting hike under my belt. And a first, an all-dirter round-trip to the summit and back. Didn't missed the paved route a bit.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Field of tiny purple flowers with yellow stamen on northern end of #60 loop. Could be bluebells. Lots of buds ready to bloom.
_____________________
Feb 23 2013
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Nature Trail #304 2 saddles, AZ 
Nature Trail #304 2 saddles, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 23 2013
black_toes
Hiking1.76 Miles 292 AEG
Hiking1.76 Miles   1 Hour   48 Mns   0.98 mph
292 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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Thought I would quantify the steepness of the two saddles of this loop trail going up from the parking lot. A topo of course will easily tell you what the eyeball also says: The trail to the saddle on the west is gentler than the east one. But, no, I have to take it a step further using the GPS. It's probably been done before, but I'll publish my findings anyway. It is .47 miles and 131' in el gain on the west, and .36 miles and 208' on the east. And, ta-dah, my computations tell me that's an average of 278' per mile on the west and 577.8'on the east. So the east trail is roughly twice as steep as the one on the west. I like average el gain over AEG. For some reason it makes better sense. The east saddle is by my GPS higher by 44', 1,754' el to 1,710. Anyway, I hiked on out to the upper Perl Charles Trail and ran across a field of delicate and tiny wildflowers on the side of a rocky slope. Purple, maybe a half-inch in breadth. Turned back at the Patsy Briggs memorial bench. It was all shade now coming back in late afternoon. It wasn't until reaching the east saddle that I hit warm sunlight again to enjoy a deli sandwich before heading down. In the parking lot a young Asian guy came wandering out of the hills, lost, and asked the way back to 32nd Street and Lincoln where he'd started. I guided him down Squaw Peak Dr, but failed to offer him a ride. Guess I was just too caught up in my saddle statistics.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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Feb 15 2013
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Shaw Butte -- Western Access Route, AZ 
Shaw Butte -- Western Access Route, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 15 2013
black_toes
Hiking0.68 Miles 747 AEG
Hiking0.68 Miles      56 Mns   1.00 mph
747 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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There is an unmarked, faint and very rocky trail that takes you to the Shaw Butte summit via what I call "Baby Butte" to the west, the hill with the single tower. This steep trail starts at the south end of a parking lot at Lodge 2 of the Fraternal Order of Police, 19th Ave and Sweetwater. Don't look for a sign that says "trail." There is none. Just start up and pick your way in places. I took it as far as Baby Butte in late afternoon today. Shaw Butte is only another quartermile away from here, down a dirt road into a saddle then up sharply again. But not wanting to mess with darkness, I turned around here and reached my car just at sunset. It is not a trail you want to come down at night even with a lamp. Precarious in spots with much loose rock, some with sharp edges. No one, it seems, maintains the path as it shoots straight up to a saddle, then up around the southeast side of a first hill and over the top of a second, then up and up and up to Baby Butte at 1,908 feet elevation, or about 240 feet below the Shaw summit. Up on top only the tower, a small building, fence, concertina wire, desert scrub and a few abandoned slabs of concrete. Passed only a party of three -- a father and his two boys -- coming down to "grandma's" whereever that was. I did see a young woman coming up behind me from the parking lot but never saw her again. My guess is you'll rarely if ever see bikers or joggers on the trail. Too rugged. I measure a "very steep" trail as one with an average elevation gain of 1,000 feet or more per mile. Overall, this one averaged 1,100 feet for the 2/3 of a mile. Some good views but nothing extraordinary, mostly just good exercise.
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Feb 05 2013
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Papago Buttes - Papago ParkPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 05 2013
black_toes
Hiking1.23 Miles 83 AEG
Hiking1.23 Miles      29 Mns   2.54 mph
83 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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It's nearly impossible to take a poor photograph in these buttes of red sandstone. I hiked out to the ramada at .55 miles with my Canon and tripod then took the high route to the west of the small butte. Hoped to get a shot of downtown Phoenix skyline at sunset but nothing appealed.

Did manage three hand-held shots of the "snubbed" buttes, the high one north of McDowell Road and the two little ones on the military reservation to the northwest. Particularly liked the photo of the Hunt Tomb butte to the east with airliner descending into Sky Harbor. Looks to me like the profile of a man staring up at the plane. Another beautiful day in a beautiful setting.
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Feb 04 2013
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
National Trail - South MountainPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 04 2013
black_toes
Hiking7.02 Miles 427 AEG
Hiking7.02 Miles   4 Hrs   20 Mns   1.62 mph
427 ft AEG10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Headed west from Telegraph Pass about 2:30 traveling solo. The goal: Reaching an ill-defined spot between posts 39 and 40 that I marked by GPS on the 2nd, coming up from San Juan Rd on the west. That nebulous spot will complete my last segment of doing the entire National Trail. Just past the Stone Hut, a Desert Tarantula crossed the trail. I'd not seen one before. It took an effort to reach the top of the first hill about 3/4 of a mile out, 427 feet above where I started. Next to Goat Hill, it seems the highest point (2,395') looking west. I dubbed it Bee Hill because a bee followed me from there for about a quarter mile.

The hills along the undulating trail are all about the same height, making for a relaxing hike on a beautiful day. Passed the junction with the Ranger Trail at 1.47 miles, the abandoned mine under Goat Hill at 1.7 and the Hill's summit trail at 1.8. I was racing with the clock now, wanting to beat darkness. Sunset was 6:02. I thought 4:30 would be a good turn-around time, but it was 4:25 when I finally passed Post 39, my goal nowhere in sight. By then I was bleeding.

In my hurry, I had slipped on a rock and pitched over to the left. I was lucky. Only cuts and bruises to my left elbow and forearm. Looked worse than it was. I pushed on knowing now I would have to get back to Telegraph in darkness. Rounding the side of a hill I recognized the spot I sought, a line of white quartz rocks crossing the trail. It was 4:45 when I got there, and decided, what the hell, I'd have a late lunch. "Hurrah," I wrote in my notebook.

I was 3.51 miles out when I started back a few minutes after 5. Even then I stopped to shoot a few photos of Goat Hill and the Estrellas to the west. This is lonesome country, and I met up with only two humans during the whole afternoon. A man and a woman on horses, riding west into the sunset, seemed startled by the blood on my arm and offered assistance. I thanked them and moved on. It was dark by the time I hit Bee Hill and started the steep descent to Telegraph Pass. Traveling along a deep ravine on the north, I negotiated this rocky section carefully, my trekking pole saving me at least twice from another fall. Very glad to reach the car in one piece a few minutes before 7. And glad to finish the National.
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average hiking speed 1.71 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.

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