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339 triplogs
Aug 03 2016
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Cobble Beach Tide Pools, OR 
Cobble Beach Tide Pools, OR
 
Hiking avatar Aug 03 2016
black_toes
Hiking0.47 Miles 60 AEG
Hiking0.47 Miles
60 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
For some reason the winds around Newport on Oregon's central coast blew unmercifully during our few days there, and so it was no surprise that on the high point north of town, at Yaquina Head, we were smacked by a gale of cool north air so strong I could not close the car door. At the lighthouse the wind was even more fierce, and so in seeking shelter we dropped down a steep staircase to Cobble Beach, also known as Cobblestone Beach. And thus by accident arrived at one of the highlights of our two weeks in Oregon. Tide pools full of sea life.

The tide was coming in, but about half way between high and low, and the pools were still land-locked. There we found dozens of other eager observers trodding on rough lava rock and large, smooth (cobble) stones of basalt to see the green anemones, purple sea urchins, mussels, etc. Kids and even adults were giddy, jumping from one pool to another in search for elusive stars. A BLM ranger walked the shore. Another at the base of the staircase handed out information about sea life that might be found here. Very nice place we stumbled onto. And the great thing about Oregon's coastline and beaches is that none is private. I think I could live here.
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1 archive
Aug 02 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Netul River Trail, OR 
Netul River Trail, OR
 
Hiking avatar Aug 02 2016
black_toes
Hiking3.94 Miles 621 AEG
Hiking3.94 Miles   2 Hrs   45 Mns   2.25 mph
621 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This flat, gravel and dirt trail follows the part of the historic river traversed by Lewis & Clark in December 1805 as the Expedition Corps searched for winter quarters. They found a small spot and called it Fort Clatsop after a small tribe of Indians in the area. The river's name was changed in 1925 from Netul (nettle) to Lewis & Clark.

The TH is at the Fort Clatsop Visitors Center in Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, about 8 mi S of Astoria. A replica of the fort was erected on the west side. The trail itself runs about 1.2 mi to Netul Landing on the river. Once we left the many tourists at the Visitors Center there were few others on the trail. It was an idyllic amble through heavy forest with many wildflowers and berries along the way. We nibbled on juicy blackberries until we reached the new cement Landing with its historical plaques and clean pit toilets.

Taking a steeper route back to the VC via the forested hills of the South Slough and Upper trails, the tranquility was broken by three park workers with machines spreading gravel on the trail and tamping it into solid footing. It was hard to imagine the expedition trying to negotiate the low, swampy areas of the slough where now hikers use boardwalks and wood bridges to pass through. Once away from the machines, it was utter silence except for our own noises. A short jaunt back in history and an enjoyable one. This is a "long" trail of several shorter ones around the VC, and I put the longest one on my "Next Time" list, the Fort to Sea Trail, followed by the expedition to Sunset Beach on the Pacific, 13 mi round trip. So nice to be far away from the ovens of Arizona.
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2 archives
Aug 01 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Cape Disappointment State Park TrailCoast, WA
Coast, WA
Hiking avatar Aug 01 2016
black_toes
Hiking1.30 Miles 192 AEG
Hiking1.30 Miles
192 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
If you follow Lewis & Clark's path far enough as we did you will ultimately come to Cape Disappointment at the SW tip of Washington state. It was as far west as the famed expedition would reach as winter approached in 1805. It was also here the dejected explorers turned back after finding no ships stopping in the area to trade for much-needed goods, it apparently being too late in the season for sea captains to ply the northern Pacific safely. The expedition retreated back across the Columbia River to present-day Oregon. There, they established winter quarters at a place along the Natul River they named Fort Clatsop, leaving that place to return east in March 1806.

We arrived late in the afternoon to forested Cape Disappointment State Park, having driven the 23 mi from our base in Astoria, Oregon, via the four-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge across the Columbia. Being a Monday did not prevent a heavy dose of vehicle traffic. And not much of the old days left here either. Of course the pine tree into which William Clark carved his name, date (Nov 19, 1805) and "By land from the U. States") is long gone and in its place a large bronze sculpture has been erected near the town of Long Beach, Washington. Paved roads, two lighthouses and the nifty Lewis & Clark Interpretative Center. Beautiful, even educational and yet. . . . From the Center, we followed a busy hiking trail over to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and back. Not much of a hike. And certainly not much of Lewis & Clark history. Once out from the forest, the wind blew up a cool gale. Lingering at the 1856-built lighthouse was not an option. Couldn't get inside anyway. I think most travelers seeking to touch history in a meaningful way with Lewis & Clark will leave the park as I did, thinking, "Cape Disappointment indeed!"
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1 archive
Jul 31 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Astoria Riverwalk, OR 
Astoria Riverwalk, OR
 
Hiking avatar Jul 31 2016
black_toes
Hiking1.54 Miles 14 AEG
Hiking1.54 Miles      52 Mns   2.50 mph
14 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Our first "hike" in Oregon. Near sunset, we ambled into town for supper from lodging on 34th Street, using only a small part of this 13-mile asphalt path along the Columbia River in Astoria. Lots of bicyclists and joggers as you near the city center. Follows old railroad track (Rails to Trails) from far east part of town, past the Maritime Museum and under the mammoth Astoria-Megler Bridge to the log yard on the west side. A 1915 trolley carries passengers up and down the line with little roofed stations here and there. Many wildflowers and berries on river banks. On the way in, counted four tankers anchored about a mile off-shore. The original town was built on pilings over the river, I read, until fire destroyed it. Pilings still there, now moss-covered and gull-occupied. The big, and I mean big, wildlife attractions are the sea lions that lounge on the docks, particularly the docks at the Port of Astoria East near our hotel. Paid $10 more for a river-view room, not knowing the downside which is listening to the unceasing loud roars and bellows of the lions all night. Nice Italian food, by the way, at Fulio's on Commercial St. Can vouch for the shrimp scampi.
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Jul 28 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Inner Basin - North Mtn Park, AZ 
Inner Basin - North Mtn Park, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 28 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.61 Miles 162 AEG
Hiking2.61 Miles   1 Hour   9 Mns   2.75 mph
162 ft AEG      12 Mns Break
 no routes
Partners none no partners
Another last-minute, spur of the moment walk to say, hey, I hiked in el desierto in July 2016, one of the hottest months on record. Cloudy and greasy when I started out just before sunset. Ran across 8 quail in the first quarter-mile from the VC. Others gabbling in the bush. Thunderclouds and lightning to the N. Was unprepared for a lindaagm moment, meaning rattlesnakes on dark trails. Lamp batteries shot and didn't take my stick. Luckily, no problem. Surprised to run into 6 hikers, 3 bikers and 2 joggers. Got back to the car about 2030 and checked the temp. It was 102. Leaving for Oregon tomorrow, wondering how my body will hold up in cool temperatures. At this stage of the summer, I'm more than willing to sacrifice my body to the science of it all.
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Jun 30 2016
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 Park - Inner Basin, AZ 
North Mountain Park - Inner Basin, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jun 30 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.65 Miles 232 AEG
Hiking2.65 Miles   1 Hour   28 Mns   2.52 mph
232 ft AEG      25 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Well, I didn't want to go a full month without a single hike. After all I did four in June last year. Last night's monsoon storm cooled the park down to a semi-survivable 94, causing me to reconsider another no-hike day. Very glad I did.

I was in a black mood starting out. It was sticky warm, and I hadn't yet run into a light SW breeze up by the divide, and everything save the palo verdes in the gullies was eye-numbing brown. The grass had died out of course and left large patches of brown dirt on the hillsides. But the thing that really nagged at me were the coyotes. It had been how long? six months? since I heard their calls at sunset. It was as if the North Mountain Park packs had vanished.

So, as all sanity departed and paranoia grew, I developed a conspiracy theory as I trudged along. The theory made perfect sense. The City of Phoenix had secretly removed these beautiful animals from the park at the behest of nearby homeowners who had lost an alarmingly large number of pets and unjustifiably blamed the coyotes, my coyotes in my park. What could make more sense than that?

I finished the hike still glum over the coyotes. I changed out of my boots into sneakers, stowed the camera and pack and jotted down the temperature (94) and the time (6:35) in a notebook. It was at that very moment it started. First a short yip from behind the VC, and suddenly a chorus of responding howls from the direction of Shaw Butte half a mile away. Then my coyotes began talking back and forth, east to west. It was glorious. Here it was one hour, 7 minutes before the designated howling time of sunset, and they had turned it loose as I prepared to leave. A spiritual person would arrive at only one conclusion. The coyotes howled for my ears only.
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3 archives
May 22 2016
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 Park - Inner Basin, AZ 
North Mountain Park - Inner Basin, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 22 2016
black_toes
Hiking3.96 Miles
Hiking3.96 Miles
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A spur of the minute hike with MJ at the end of a surprisingly pleasant May evening. Another bow tie, dam to dam, N to SW, as they relate to North Mountain. Many Ironwoods still in bloom. Ditto Saguaros. Nice breeze. Shared the park with a hawk, several sparrows and doves and a few coveys of quail. Again, heard no coyotes. Makes me wonder . . . .
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May 01 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Mohave Trail #200Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 01 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.69 Miles 806 AEG
Hiking2.69 Miles   1 Hour   41 Mns   1.94 mph
806 ft AEG      18 Mns Break
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
MJ wanted a short hike with good elevation. So we hiked up to the Mohave's high point and back to the saddle, then headed down on the #202 Connector, which I call the Low Connector, returning through the little peaks on the east (the High Connector). Although Piestewa Peak was humming on the other side of Squaw Peak Dr, we ran into almost no one. Most of the Palo Verdes were still in bloom as were several Sagaros.
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Apr 28 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Quartz Ridge Loop, AZ 
Quartz Ridge Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 28 2016
black_toes
Hiking3.48 Miles 1,180 AEG
Hiking3.48 Miles   2 Hrs   38 Mns   1.85 mph
1,180 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 
no photosets
Great afternoon hike. This loop always good for cardio and decent AEG. Did this route cw leaving from half-filled 32nd St parking lot. Took the high connector to the Mohave Tr and saw no one in that 9/10 mi. Walked up on pavement on Squaw Pk Drive to the deadend TH, then up the rugged and lonely Ruth Hamilton where I had a sandwich at the Davis bench. Windy up there. Had to tighten up my hat. Lots of buzzing bees working the still-blooming Palo Verde. Traffic coming up on the #8A was bumper to bumper as I was descending from the Kolbe bench to 32nd St. The small parking lot was full when I reached it at 1820. The idea is to get there beore 4:30 if you want a space.
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4 archives
Apr 26 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Red Rock State Park - Circumference, AZ 
Red Rock State Park - Circumference, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 26 2016
black_toes
Hiking3.37 Miles 733 AEG
Hiking3.37 Miles   3 Hrs   5 Mns   1.89 mph
733 ft AEG   1 Hour   18 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After three failures to hike elsewhere over three days around Sedona due to late arrival, bad weather and over-flow parking lots, we settled on Red Rock, which is several miles S of town. It turned out to be a surprisingly pleasant experience. Highlights: Great views of the red sandstone formations nearby like Cathedral Rock, Seven Warriors and Three Sisters not to mention a full shot at massive Wilson Mountain to the N and the lush Oak Creek riparian area. As a bonus, the park, which borders on 4,000' el, was in full wildflower season. A cover of small purplish flowers of what we thought were Feathery Dalea dominated the entire park.

The only bad thing was the entrance fee of $7 per person. No thanks to the stingy Republican legislature which has cut off funding for state parks. Now the parks must fend for themselves. Thus the steep fees, short hours (8-5) and staff shortages. Whatever, Red Rock's trails were in fine fettle and the one ranger, borrowed for the day from Slide Rock, was helpful.

Unlike at Soldier Pass TH on the other side of Sedona, there was little traffic at Red Rock. The attractive Visitors Center had only a few passing through, gathering info, checking out the exhibits, etc.

We told the ranger we were looking for a 4-5 mi hike, and he showed us a high route on the hillsides around the perimeter using five trails: Smoke, Eagles Nest, Coyote Ridge, Javelina and Bunkhouse. He said we cound start on the W side and get the elevation gain "out of the way quickly" or begin on the Bunkhouse Tr on the E and get the elevation gradually. We chose the W and the Eagles Nest Tr.

By far, I thought, the Eagles Nest was the best segment of the hike. After dipping down to swift Oak Creek and crossing it on two small wood bridges, the trail switchbacks fairly steeply in 3/4 mi through wildflower heaven to Eagles Nest Overlook. This vista point hovers about 200' above the VC and parking lot and delivers great views of Cathedral Rock et al. An interpretative map shows nearby rock formations and lists their names. Nearby houses and noise of a chainsaw cutting wood was a downer.

We picked up the Coyote Ridge Tr about 1.5 mi out. The VC is always in view here. Beyond lay several waterfall areas. Though dry now, you can imagine their potential in wet times. After only .20 mi, Coyote Ridge ends and the Javelina Tr begins. The Javelina swings around the SE corner of the park and offers the closest view of Three Sisters. All along the perimeter there are trails like the Kisva and Apache Fire heading down toward the VC. Grey Fox Overlook and Cathedral Rock Vista provided nice views. From those stops it is all downhill back to the VC via the longest pedestrian bridge in the park, the Kingfisher, and finally the Bunkhouse Tr.

Although the ranger had said 4 1/2 mi, our route came more than a mile short of that, though we followed his directions to a tee, I thought. We decided not to do the little thumb that is the Yavapai Ridge Tr nor did we go out the short distance to the "East Gate Access" with its way to four trails: Turkey Creek, Cathedral Bike Loop, House Mountain and Baldwin. It's too bad a shortage of funds has nipped off the best times to view and photograph the beautiful red rock formations from this unique location, at sunrise and sunset. But nice day, 60s with scattered cumulus and light breeze. I'd do this park again, any day.
Flora
Flora
Feather Dalea
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2 archives
Apr 20 2016
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 - PhoenixPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 20 2016
black_toes
Hiking4.01 Miles 986 AEG
Hiking4.01 Miles   2 Hrs   40 Mns   2.36 mph
986 ft AEG      58 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
From VC to summit and back. Highly unimaginative jaunt but I'm working on cardio. If it improved in a single day from going up Shaw Butte, it was negligible. In fact, my legs felt like they were lugging tractor tires.

Had the summit to myself except for passers-by. Most came up from the S and descended on the pavement. One group included a friend of mine, Mike S. He asked if I'd been photographing anything. "Just the wind," I replied which wasn't entirely accurate. My sub sandwich was not up to expectations, and I left a tomato for the unseen Antelope Squirrel. In fact, I haven't seen it for some time now. But again there was a refreshing breeze from the SW. I started down at 1845, knowing I could not beat darkness back to the VC. There was a record-shattering number of hikers. Counted 106 coming up from the ramadas parking lot and 9 more from the lower TH. It's only a zoo until you reach the towers gate below the summit. I'd bet 95% were Hispanic. Quite a change in the 10-15 years I've been hiking in this park.

The Ironwood blooms are in peak season, with bees working them like crazy.
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Apr 19 2016
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 Apr 19 2016
black_toes
Hiking4.41 Miles 1,098 AEG
Hiking4.41 Miles   2 Hrs   23 Mns   2.43 mph
1,098 ft AEG      34 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Routine hike up to the summit from the VC via the longer and less steep N side. My cardio still sucks, and no matter I never fail to dread seeing in front of me that steep straight-away I call "Long Haul." It rises 140' in just .15 mi, or an average of about 900' per mile. It is a gasser for me in my present condition. And then, at the top of the straight-away, I come to "Disappoint Curve," which is out of sight as I trudged the straight-away. At the curve, you sadly realize you are only half-way up Long Haul. Another 77' in el awaits. It is not quite so bad as the straight-away, but it is so disheartening that it feels just as tough. From the end of Long Haul, it seems to me a piece of cake to reach Shaw's summit, which is another .68 mi away.

Finally, at the end of a 91-degree day, I sat on the summit taking in a refreshing SW breeze with a half-dozen other hikers. I started down late and reached the VC in darkness with my lamp on. I stumbled once on the way back toward the N dam. It was before I turned the lamp on. Must've stepped on a loose rock. With a 10-12 pound pack on my back and ridiculous tipping point, I fell forward, out of control, breaking the fall with my arms on a flat stretch with, luckily, no jagged rocks and resulting in only a few minor scrapes. Most of the 4-5 falls I've had in recent years are due, I think, to tired legs. Anyway an otherwise enjoyable hike on a fantastic evening.
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Apr 17 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Sunrise Trail - ThunderbirdPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 17 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.84 Miles 703 AEG
Hiking2.84 Miles   1 Hour   50 Mns   2.13 mph
703 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Short hike on an 80-degree afternoon with MJ. We went up to summit of Peak 1682, the one on W side of the Amphitheater. Great views in all directions thanks to the clear air, the crud having been swept away, I assume, by the strong winds of two days ago. Views of the highrises in downtown Phoenix as clear as can be, ditto Vulture Peak far to the W and the knob of Red Picacho, both a long way off. A pleasant breeze on top. Surprised to hear Sun Ray write of "very windy" conditions to the far NE at Brown's Ranch.

We then circled around the covered reservoir (MJ heard a girl say it was "a jail") and up to the W side ramadas. In that segment we came a cross one flowering Saguaro, my first sighting of the year. Lots of buds but only the single white bloom. More flowers coming soon. This, to my mind, was a few weeks early for Saguaro flowers. They usually burst in May, as I recall, at least in this neck of the woods. Trails very busy, mostly with kids and young adults with families.
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1 archive
Apr 15 2016
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 Park - Inner Basin, AZ 
North Mountain Park - Inner Basin, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2016
black_toes
Hiking4.00 Miles 383 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   1 Hour   29 Mns   2.96 mph
383 ft AEG      8 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Dam to dam, N to SW and back, in the most fierce gusting winds I can recall while hiking anywhere. One small palo verde uprooted and laying on the trail. The wind sock at the 7th Ave TH fluttering mightily. Birds unable to fly where they wanted, dropped to the ground in surrender. Two teen-age girls spun around in front of me by the N dam trying to shield their faces from the stinging dirt bullets from a stiff NW wind. But the wind shot in from several directions depending on where in the basin you were. The Channel 5 weatherman reported gusts reaching 46 mph. I would have believed 60. One good thing. Not many on the trail late this afternoon.

Saw Gambel's quail, starlings, a mourning dove, cactus wren and a few other brave aviators. Dust made the White Tanks all but invisible to the W. The Ironwoods still in bloom, but I did not appreciate them much with my eyes on the ground and fighting to keep my ballcap from blowing to New Mexico. In all, not much fun. Just exercise.
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Apr 12 2016
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 - PhoenixPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 12 2016
black_toes
Hiking4.03 Miles 954 AEG
Hiking4.03 Miles   2 Hrs   41 Mns   2.30 mph
954 ft AEG      56 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
I had gotten no farther than a hundred yards into the park from the VC when I was startled to see the Ironwood trees in bloom. I was thinking they did not produce their lavender / pink and white flowers until at least early May. I saw four Ironwoods between the VC and the saddle beyond the Trupiano bench, the first one blooming only on its N side. The others were in full bloom. The flowering period, I read, lasts only 10-18 days. They are such hardy, scruffy-looking trees with dense wood that to see their delicate, colored flowers always makes me smile. Like seeing a tough guy with a soft heart.

At one point on the #101 Connector trail, I stopped to let a handful of hikers pass. While waiting, I checked the a.c.f. (as the crow flies) distance to the summit from where I sat. My GPS said .47 miles. But with all the curves and contours, the actual distance was .81 miles. On top, I enjoyed the views with a sandwich. It was 82 when I left the car, but a SW breeze made it pleasant on high. If the wind is from any direction other than SW I start looking for a change in weather.

The zoo count coming down was a record for me: 92 people passed me going up. The previous most I'd seen was 75. Other than the Ironwoods, there's very little glitter in the park. I heard quail in the bush, but I'm sad to say I've yet to hear the yips and howls of the park coyotes all this year. Hope they're OK.
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Apr 07 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Bobcat Trail Ramble, AZ 
Bobcat Trail Ramble, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 07 2016
black_toes
Hiking4.27 Miles 385 AEG
Hiking4.27 Miles   3 Hrs   3 Mns   2.31 mph
385 ft AEG   1 Hour   12 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A walk-about E of the Bobcat. The original idea was to hike out to Circle Tank or even farther to Dove Valley Rd. It was to be sort of a recon into this lightly-traveled area with a more ambitious hike in mind. That plan soon went awry when I missed a faint trail leading down into a rocky ravine. Reaching Circle Tank was never a goal etched in stone, so, with a narrow time window, I settled for a ramble in one of the most isolated spots in the Preserve. In three hours, I saw no one, not even the print of a shoe sole. Once or twice I ran into a single bike track, perhaps as old as the last rain in January.

It is not like this area is going to be serene for long. It lays just S of new construction for an extension of Sonoran Desert Dr. I believe this will connect to Dove Valley Rd. on the east. Although the new road has been scraped clean for at least a few miles, the hub of activity is for the moment around the Bobcat TH. So silence was the word of the day and utter bliss the result. Just a light breeze and me and a strong sun held mostly in check by gathering clouds.

The discovery of this warm afternoon proved to be the largest patch of Christmas Cholla I recall having ever seen. Plenty of red berries, which, I read, are edible like all cholla buds. Tweezers. Another thing to add to my pack for picking fruit amid the thorns. I also ran into what at first seemed the front end of a plane's fuselage. But, alas, it was only a large cement mixer tipped on its side, ruined by someone failing to clean it out. It would take dynamite to blow out the hardened cement and must weigh a few tons.

My GPS told me I came as close as a 1/2 mi from Circle Tank, but time was too short. No matter. I now know how to access the right trails to get where I want to get later in the spring.
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2 archives
Mar 31 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Bobcat Trail - Sonoran PreservePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 31 2016
black_toes
Hiking6.57 Miles 1,202 AEG
Hiking6.57 Miles   3 Hrs   51 Mns   2.28 mph
1,202 ft AEG      58 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Had not hiked the Bobcat and to make it longer than the 2-mile roundtrip, I started on the south side of the Preserve at Desert Vista TH, walking more than 3 mi N to the end at a large housing development at Sonoran Desert Dr near Paloma Pkwy. The Bobcat was of course the last mile on the N. It is a pleasant trail, clean and clear and flat and would probably be a wildflower heaven most years. Just not this one which has been disappointing on the trails I've covered.

Saw the nest of a Great Horned owl with Mama and 3 kiddos snuggled in the cradle of a Saguaro. A park ranger told me this was the 5th year Fish & Game has tracked the Mama owl to the same spot, and she has had 2-3 babies each year. A jogger, seeing me bent over a camera shooting a blooming Teddy Bear Cholla, stopped to tell me about the owl. He said it had two babies last year and three the year before.

The Teddy Bear blooms were the first I've ever photographed. Cactus flowers are all but gone on the S up to the end of the Hawk's Nest Tr. But once in the middle of the Preserve, there are plenty of Buckhorn blooms, ditto the Compass Barrel. But blooms of the dominant tree, the Palo Verde, have peaked and losing glow fast.

Enjoyable hike though a bit windy and cool once out of the protection of the mountains. Glad I did the Bobcat but unless I'm going out to Circle Tank or adventuring on some of the faint jeep roads, I likely won't be back there for a while.
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Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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2 archives
Mar 27 2016
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Inner Basin - North Mtn Park, AZ 
Inner Basin - North Mtn Park, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 27 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.71 Miles 262 AEG
Hiking2.71 Miles   1 Hour   42 Mns   2.43 mph
262 ft AEG      35 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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What a difference 8 days can make! Since I was last out here, the cast of the inner basin changed from yellow to green. The wildflowers, bushes and cactus have lost most of their colorful blossoms. Even the hardy creosote's small yellows have rapidly turned into the gray seedballs. The Buckhorn Cholla now has fresh growth where yellow flowers grew a week ago. The Compass Barrel is the only cactus with flowers still coming on strong.

About halfway into the little hike, MJ called, wanting to join me. Going counter-clockwise as I usually do, I suggested she start out clockwise to meet me. I dalled even more than usual, until I discovered she had walked past the Trupiano bench. Then we met and walked back to the VC in darkness, my headlamp blazing. Heard quail but saw none. I've heard no coyotes howling yet this year.
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Mar 19 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Inner Basin - North Mtn Park, AZ 
Inner Basin - North Mtn Park, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 19 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.67 Miles 267 AEG
Hiking2.67 Miles
267 ft AEG
 no routes
Partners none no partners
I plodded along more than usual, looking for blooms. Going slow, you see stuff bikers, joggers and goal-oriented hikers often don't.

Today's oddity: A dozen or more detached Teddy Bear Cholla stems scattered over a 20' x 20' area. And there wasn't a single Teddy Bear cholla growing within sight ! In fact I could not recall seeing one on the entire hike up until then. No rhyme or reason for them to be there. Stranger yet a small animal, it appeared, had dug divots in the hard ground and placed a Teddy Bear stem into each one. The only animal I know that uses the Teddy Bear for protection is the packrat. It lines openings to its middens with them. But I saw nary a midden nor tracks of little feet. Like I said the ground was hard. Perhaps the packrat is moving them cross-country, and this is where they stopped for the night. I'm at a loss on this one.

Plenty of wildflower blooms on the N dam but nowhere else. The park is brilliantly yellow with creosote, brittlebush and palo verde blossoms. The creosote has passed its blooming peak, at least in this park, with many gray seedballs replacing the flowers. The brittlebush is at its peak. The cactus flowers are just beginning in the inner basin. This year at least they have bloomed in this order, Engelmann Hedgehog first, then buckhorn followed by compass barrel. Lots of desert mistletoe strangling palo verdes in the park.

Have no fresh stats. My newly-purchased Sony AA alkalines petered out half way along the route. Paid 50 cents for a two-pack at a $ store, affirming again the old saw, "You get what ...." For a few cents more I could've gotten decent batteries. Borrowed mileage and AEG from previous hike of this route a month ago. Didn't pay heed to time.

Came back in darkness, my headlamp on. Arrived at the VC circa 1915. Only two other cars in the lot. Beautiful day, a bit warm at first (87 on the car gauge) and little traffic on the trails.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
On the N dam: Globemallow, Phacelia, a few Fiddleneck, Black-eyed Susan, Desert Marigold. No poppies.
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7 archives
Mar 14 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Circumference Trail - Deem HillsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 14 2016
black_toes
Hiking6.27 Miles 1,036 AEG
Hiking6.27 Miles   3 Hrs   38 Mns   2.34 mph
1,036 ft AEG      57 Mns Break
 
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Great weather, little traffic, cactus flowers aplenty on the S side (mostly hedgehog and buckhorn). Brittlebush loves these basalt hills and dressed them up magnificently today in yellow blooms. Started clockwise at West TH which now has two fenced-in dog parks nearby. They weren't there the last time I hiked this trail in Oct 2013. Followed some women on horseback up from the East TH. The horses were smart but quite impolite, as they dumped weight on the trail in front of me ascending the steep part. Love horses, all forgiven.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Mostly globemallow on the E side and particularly in the inner basin down by the AP canal.
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3 archives
average hiking speed 2.33 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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