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339 triplogs
Mar 12 2016
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
VOAZ Trail #1BPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 12 2016
black_toes
Hiking3.03 Miles 807 AEG
Hiking3.03 Miles   2 Hrs   13 Mns   1.93 mph
807 ft AEG      39 Mns Break
 
A disappointing wildflower season so far. Not so the cactus flowers. The buckhorn (waxy yellow) and Engelmann Hedgehog (magenta) are just starting to pop and what knockouts they are! Given a choice between wildflowers and cactus blooms, I'd take the latter every time. A few years ago coming down W off the VOAZ crest, I found a glorious field of golden poppies. This year, same place, nada. The hills are almost yellow with blooming creosote and brittlebush. Modest traffic on a Saturday afternoon due probably to cool temps (69) and stout breeze (E), which in shadows made it pretty cool indeed.
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Mar 08 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Goldmine Trail - San Tan MRPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 08 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.72 Miles 494 AEG
Hiking2.72 Miles   1 Hour   34 Mns   2.37 mph
494 ft AEG      25 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Since I planned to do research in the area and had two hours to kill, STMRP beckoned. Had not been out here in 20 years or more (it's 40 miles from home). Remembered only that I had done a trail that passes the fenced-in graves if two miners. Had to be the Goldmine, maybe the San Tan Tr. The goal was an hour out or to reach the top of the high saddle. Whichever came first, I'd turn around then. The saddle won out, up in about 40 mins. Moderate traffic, mostly young boys with girlfriends. No wildflowers to speak of, but the creosote and brittlebush yellows were dazzling.
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1 archive
Mar 06 2016
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Maxine Lakin Nature TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 06 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.25 Miles 232 AEG
Hiking2.25 Miles   1 Hour   25 Mns   2.25 mph
232 ft AEG      25 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Some of my shortest hikes have been my best. Like this one. The first of the cactus flowers in bloom, a wonderful sunset with strange streaks on the clouds and friendly folks on the trail. The afternoon was filled up. Had to watch the Suns game at 2. They are the most interesting bad team I've ever seen. Just seeing the two young kids -- Devin Booker, 19, and Alex Len, 22, develop so fast -- is exciting stuff. Anyway got a late start and finished after sunset. Counted an unusual 11 hikers on the trail, including a bodybuilder who was out of gas going up the rocky west side of the trail. Nice guy, sensible attitude. Took the long way out and back, by the S and SW dams and up the #100 past the cutoff to the 7th Ave TH. Super day and came home feeling great.
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5 archives
Mar 04 2016
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 04 2016
black_toes
Hiking5.31 Miles 940 AEG
Hiking5.31 Miles   2 Hrs   58 Mns   2.43 mph
940 ft AEG      47 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I stretched this hike out another mile and a half by doing a segment of the inner basin. The round-trip distance from the VC on 7th St to the summit is roughly 3.8 mi. But after coming off the mountaintop, I stopped at the Trupiano bench and debated whether to extend the hike into darkness. I checked the batteries in my headlamp to be sure they were good and took off about 10 minutes before sunset, going clockwise. My rule of thumb is that darkness sets in 30 minutes after sunset. At 1855, I reached the E end of the north dam and finally turned on my lamp, arriving back at the TH 10 minutes later. I passed three other groups with lights, enjoying a spectacular evening in the wilds with only the "yows" of Gambel's quail as company.

With this hike, I now feel comfortable with my gear. The first downhill test on my new Merrell Ridge Pass mid-tops worked out fine. Don't believe I will suffer black toes as I did in the early days of hiking with ill-fitting shoes. Also I finally got my GPS 62st operating efficiently again. For weeks it had taken 8-10 minutes to load, a real inconvenience. I called Garmin and was advised to do a software update via Base Camp. The GPS now loads in less than 10 seconds.

Something else is going on too. I have a lot more late-day energy. That's important becuase that's when I usually find time to hike, in late-day. This energy boost coincides with my recent return to juicing. I do cocktails of apples, celery, carrots and beet roots. I think, from what I've read, it is the beet root that is supplying the energy. Hail, then, to the hearty beet.
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1 archive
Feb 28 2016
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Lost Trail Wander, AZ 
Lost Trail Wander, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 28 2016
black_toes
Hiking6.52 Miles
Hiking6.52 Miles   4 Hrs   33 Mns   2.03 mph
   1 Hour   20 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Lost Trail truly became a lost one on this warm Sunday afternoon. We lost it not once but twice. The last time was for good and we ended up bushwhacking and crawling under a half dozen fences before finally reaching our destination as daylight closed.

A mapboard of Lost Trail at Picketpost TH was clear as can be. The trail runs W from the airport landing strip at Superior via the ghost town of Pinal City to the Arizona Trail, N of Picketpost TH. I estimated the distance 5-6 miles. Much of it lays N of U.S. 60 where a massive construction project is under way.

It was the first time I'd done a shuttle in years. We parked MJ's car at the busy Picketpost lot, drove my Civic up to the crude landing strip via the highway and left from there about 1345 with plenty of water, a couple of sandwiches and some energy bars. I knew well the first part of the Lost Trail since I'd hiked it four days earlier in a fruitless search for Pinal City. We passed through the ranchland. No horses this time and only a couple of cows bawling at us. We soon came upon Pinal City, one of our objectives.

At Pinal, we explored Mill Hill, checking out the old foundations and the iron and tin artifacts laying about. Stayed about 30 minutes, before heading N on dusty Perlite Rd, which apparently deadends now at the HW. Still following the colorful Superior Legends Trails post we turned right off Perlite at and went up to the wagon tracks that cut about a 8-10 inches through rock. Figured this had to be remnants of the wagon road of 125 years ago between Pinal City and the Silver King Mine. Within 100 yards N of the wagon tracks, the trail and signs vanished. There was nothing we could see that would get us under U.S. 60 to the N where the trail supposedly coursed W again toward the AZT. This was the first time we lost the trail.

After bushwhacking a short time to the E along the highway construction zone, I discovered a newly-built culvert going under the highway at the end of a deep ravine. To reach it we had to crawl under the first of a half-dozen barbwire fences we would encounter. The culvert arced slightly to the left and was in total darkness. Half-expected to find someone living in there. But it was clean with only a large water hose going through it. On the other side, relief. Up a slight incline to the left was a gate and beyond that was the trail with sign posts going up over a rise. Apparently the original route was destroyed by the construction.

The trail was beautiful at this point, winding upward through palo verde, mesquite, prickly pear and a sprinkling of wildflowers. But at the rusting Magma RR tracks, we made a fateful decision and lost the trail a second time.

We crossed the tracks to what seemed a continuation of the Lost Trail but it soon petered out, and we ended up walking a mile or so on a rough road under transmission lines. No sign of boot soles in the soft dirt. Only the treads of big truck tires. Looking back on it, we likely should've gone left at the RR tracks and not crossed them. But there were no signs, no cairns, and the fake trail looked so enticing.

What ensued next were a series of futile downhill recons toward the RR tracks, looking for the trail. The road's path was pulling us farther away from the tracks and the HW. Not a good sign. But there to the S was Picketpost Mountain and Boyce Thompson Arboretum. While we weren't lost, I could not envision a short path back to the car at Picketpost TH. If we just kept going W, I knew, we'd eventually run into Happy Camp Rd and later on, the Arizona Trail. It was late in the afternoon when we stopped briefly to eat along the road. Later we dropped down to the RR tracks and walked the ties for a bit.

At Happy Camp Rd, we ran into a woman walking up the road and a guy on an ATV going down, the first humans we'd seen since a couple on horseback near Pinal City. We had only about 45 minutes of daylight left, when I found a ravine and a culvert going under 60. It was, to my mind at least, a logical shortcut to Picketpost TH. After crossing under several more fences we bushwhacked our way to the top of a high hill where I could survey the land. I pulled out my binos and saw several cars about a half-mile off. A closer looker showed MJ's car parked between two others. It was rough going from there. Cattle trails, more bushwhacking. But we finally made it to Picketpost TH at 1811, about 13 minutes before sunset, an interesting day at an end.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Blue Dicks and small patches of golden Poppies et al.
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3 archives
Feb 25 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Shadow Mountain Summit from Acoma THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 25 2016
black_toes
Hiking1.67 Miles 595 AEG
Hiking1.67 Miles   2 Hrs   10 Mns   1.32 mph
595 ft AEG      54 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
If anyone has aspirations to do some climbing, they might want to first try the NE summit trail to Shadow Mountain. It is a good test. The last part is very steep and requires, at least it did for me, basic climbing skills such as firm hand holds and careful foot placement.

The NE summit trail is not easy to find in this small park because, if nothing else, there are no trail signs. Having done Shadow Mtn once before I had no problem. I came up from the street on the manicured trail that soon turns into a rough one of medium-sized loose rock. I stopped at the blue water fountain and was surprised to find some of the coolest water I'd experienced in local parks. After filling up my water supply for a warm afternoon, I moseyed on up to the saddle, then E to follow a contour trail around the N side of Shadow.

It is a deceptive little peak. At an elevation of only 1,928', the summit is 421' above the TH by my GPS. That's in a hiking distance of .61 mi. And it gets much steeper as you hit the summit trail. At one point, I looked up and thought, "Do I really want to do this?" Switchbacks? Forget it. The trail goes straight up. From the decision-point it appeared I was facing a wall of gray cement. In the next 1/10 of a mile, you face the prospect of rising 200 feet in elevation. That translates to about 2,000' el gain in a mile, my definition of Almost Climbing.

Against my better judgment, I started up with my backpack. My balance isn't the best anymore. The backpack wasn't going to help. I was soon using my hands, grasping for solid rock and good footing before moving up a step. Sometimes the rock pulled away before I put weight on it. Stupidly I had my hand leashed to a trekking pole. The pole was useless and got in the way of my climb. The risk here is not falling off a cliff to the side but falling backward. Nothing but jagged rock to break your fall. And you would likely roll a long way down. I inched up and finally, with great relief, made it to the summit.

The views from the top were magnificent in all directions. I'm still unsure, though, whether those views were worth the risk. It was good to see someone had painted over the awful graffiti I remembered from years ago. The rock on top is jagged too, so I couldn't find a soft spot to eat a sandwich before heading down. I stewed over the descent as I ate. Experience has taught me that going down is often more difficult than going up. But, using the pole and a few hand holds, I reached the end of the summit trail fairly easily.

At the contour trail, a Hispanic woman in her 40s watched me descend, and asked in broken English if I had been to the top. I said, yes, and put my pole at an angle and said, "Steep." She soon headed up the trail, a stocky woman with strong-looking legs. Within minutes I saw her standing on the summit. So, hmmm, "steep" is not prohibitive or even risky to everyone.

I searched in vain through 81 triplogs for specific details on the NE summit trail, but, alas, found none. A quick-study informed that most hikers at the park do the loop trails and don't go up to Shadow's summit. Of the few who do, I found only two on HAZ who had ascended from the NE. There apparently is a summit trail from the SW but did not see it. Trekkin Geco, for instance, used it to go up to the summit and down. She did mention "a nice scramble" in her log. BobP apparently did a scramble off-trail from the N. mt98dew struck the summit from the SW and descended on the NE.

I write at length of the NE approach because I have not experienced such a risky path on any of my hikes in the Valley. And I've done a few. I've posted my NE route to give a better picture of the summit trail. I think The Eagle said it all in 2011 when he did the summit as part of the Phoenix 7 Summit Challenge, "It was a steep bugger getting up."
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Feb 24 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Pinal City Search, AZ 
Pinal City Search, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 24 2016
black_toes
Hiking4.54 Miles 556 AEG
Hiking4.54 Miles   3 Hrs   39 Mns   1.95 mph
556 ft AEG   1 Hour   19 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Pinal City captured my interest many years ago. In researching the history of an 1880s mining project in the Bradshaws, I came across the name of noted geologist William Phipps Blake, Yale educated and nephew of the inventor, Eli Whitney. Wall Street investors hired Blake to examine the Arizona claims. In March of 1886, Blake took ore samples to Pinal City where his son, Frank, worked as an engineer for the Silver King mine. The elder Blake stayed in Pinal City from March 29 to April 7 where he assayed the ore, wrote a report to take back to New York and examined another mine in the area. Frank later that summer joined his father in another Arizona mining project. Pinal's post office was closed in 1891 and it soon became a ghost town.

I picked up a sandwich and a bottle of water in nearby Superior, drove to the municipal airport on the west side of town and started off in search of Pinal by foot. You can actually drive a dirt road to get close to old Pinal but I wanted to see the country. The trail is brightly marked with sign posts leading to the Arizona Trail about 5 miles W, on the other side of Picketpost Mountain. Prickly Pear, Jumping Cholla and Palo Verde dominate the first part. Lots of noise. Heavy construction on U.S. 60 to the north and, occasionally, helicopters landing at the airport. Approaching Queen Creek, you pass through ranchland. Saw a horse and disturbed some black cows but thankfully eluded a bull. Queen Creek was not running but had large pools of stagnant water. And as luck would have it, I walked right by old Pinal without seeing it. Too bad, yes, but not devastating. I'll try it again later in the spring with MJ and also visit the old Pinal cemetery on the other side of 60. Enjoyed walking off-trail. On a hilltop, I found the largest clusters of Blue Dick I've ever seen. Not much else in wildflower world and certainly no poppies. Got back to the car about 6 o'clock just as two helicopters landed. Other than the noise, a nice afternoon in the boonies.
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Feb 23 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 Trail #8APhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 23 2016
black_toes
Hiking4.61 Miles 1,331 AEG
Hiking4.61 Miles   3 Hrs   28 Mns   1.93 mph
1,331 ft AEG   1 Hour   5 Mns Break
 
You can often make a mountain out of a molehill of a trail as I did on this lariat out of the busy 32nd St parking lot. The result was my first AEG above 1,000' since October at Massacre Falls. Felt good. I stretched the Quartz Ridge (#8A) by turning W at the Kolbe Bench and going up and down the Hamilton (#8B) with a light lunch at the Davis bench on the high saddle. The Kolbe bench, by the way, is much my favorite in the Preserve with its grand views to the south and east parts of the Valley. I'd forgotten how much I hate going down the Hamilton. It's rough and rocky with a lot of deep step-downs. Much the same (only step-ups) could be said for rough going up the Nature Tr (#304) to yet a third memorial bench, Mandy Weaver Cohen's. I should call this hike The Bench Route. From Cohen, I took the spur Yates Tr north, along the row of peaks on the E, until I eventually rounded them and met the Quartz Ridge again in a sandy wash. This time the trail led south up through a beautiful isolated valley. Was suprised at seeing so many hikers, three of them and all young women. Usually I have the valley to mayself.

Retracing my steps down from Kolbe, the lesson of not judging people on first looks hit home again. I passed a guy, 35 to 40, running up the Quartz Ridge in black socks high above his running shoes. Black socks! Dork, I thought. Or European. I had a baseball coach in the military that made his first cut every spring by lopping off all the try-outs who wore wrist watches. Mickey Mantle would've been culled, I'm sure. Anyway the "dork" passed me again going down and was sitting on one of the metal benches at the TH when I arrived. Amazingly, we struck up a conversation that lasted 15 minutes. He struck me as a good, sensible person, interesting too, a native of Arizona who had just returned from the L.A. area. So much for stupid superficial judgments.

Beautiful day to be out, just a tad cool in the upper 60s and with a slight chill of a breeze at the open saddles.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Very puny selection. Did see my first golden Poppy of the season, all alone, and a Blue Dick and a few Phacelia. As for bushes, the creostoe was starting to pop its yellow bloosoms.
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2 archives
Feb 21 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Marinette Canal, AZ 
Marinette Canal, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 21 2016
black_toes
Hiking0.25 Miles
Hiking0.25 Miles
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Very little is left of the Marinette Canal after 106-years. Aka the Marinette Heading Canal, most of it was destroyed by modern housing developments. The canal ran along the east side of the Agua Fria River for 5 or so miles south of what is now Jomax Road. Its purpose was to provide irrigation for orchards and crops at a town called Marinette, which was deserted and became a ghost town. Del Webb bought the property in the middle of last century and turned it into modern-day Sun City.

The canal's beginning starts with a tunnel blasted through rock at the very SW corner of the little range of peaks and river bluffs around Calderwood Butte. It is clearly visible for about 200 feet, although imagination can follow it along for a short distance farther. The ditch lays about 8-10 feet below a wall of rocks that borders it on the W. Few people seem to notice it. The few locals I talked with did not know its history.

I thought of walking down in the ditch but I would have needed a machete to do it. Palo verde, mesquite, brush and cactus now grow where Marinette water used to run. Water is now diverted from a stone-lined riverbed before entering the tunnel. It goes out under a culvert to the Agua Fria's mainstream.

The length of the tunnel is about 60-75 feet and marked on the N with a cement wall with the numeral "1910" etched and painted into it. I assumed that was the year the canal was built. Taggers have left their work inside and out. I didn't go through the tunnel but could easily see all the way through. An old sofa rests at the far end. Must be a local hang-out of some kind. I saw a young man go into the tunnel, talking on a phone.

The Marinette Canal might be of some historic interest to hikers using the southern trail to Calderwood Butte's summit on the north side of Jomax. Just walk west about 100 yards from the unmarked TH, and you're at the canal.
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Feb 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
Brown's Mountain Summit via Upper RanchPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 19 2016
black_toes
Hiking3.90 Miles 718 AEG
Hiking3.90 Miles   2 Hrs   44 Mns   2.34 mph
718 ft AEG   1 Hour   4 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Did this loop clockwise, following Booneman's official route: Passed Cone Mtn on the N, then continued N on the rough and lonesome Upper Ranch Tr with its numerous ravines and finally to the Mountain Tr and on up to the saddle of Brown's Mountain. At the saddle I did not go for the summit on the S nor the Scenic Overlook on the N. I had an hour before sunset, and I knew the camera would be busy shooting this beautiful, virgin land as the shadows began to stretch across it. I got disgusted with the gods of Four Peaks for keeping them optically tantalizing yet unlit. Can't have everything. Got back 10 minutes after a terrific sunset with only two other vehicles remaining in the parking lot. The lot was very busy earlier. If only I lived closer to Brown's Ranch than what is the actual 33 miles and close to an hour's drvie, I would be out here much more often. For desert scenery, I can think of only a couple places in Maricopa County that match this area.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Patches of Fiddle Neck and Phacelia mostly coming up Brown Mountain's NW slope. Also ran into two or three Blue Dick blooms. This area is still a week or two away from hitting peak wildflower season.
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Feb 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
Calderwood Butte TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 14 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.94 Miles 768 AEG
Hiking2.94 Miles   2 Hrs   37 Mns   1.73 mph
768 ft AEG      55 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My second visit to the Butte's small bump of a summit. The first time, on Feb 12 of last year, I came up from the E, from the busy TH off 99th Ave. To avoid the traffic and cover new ground, I decided to try a route from the Jomax Road TH on the south. I made it much harder than it should've been.

First, I missed the TH. I parked at the side of a paved road and headed out N on what I thought was the Agua Fria River Trail. As I rounded the N end of a new housing development and turned E through a cozy playground, I hit a deadend. Not wanting to backtrack, I went off-trail on a slow stumbling ascent through palo verde, saguaro and you-name it. If I had to pick perfect rattlesnake country, this was it.

Very slow going. Steep terrain. Lots of rock, much of it loose. Not as bad as Ludden Mtn, but close. At this point I was swinging along the Butte's SW slope. The summit looked a hell of a long way off. I could see no direct line to the upper trail. Discouraged I kept going E, figuring I'd intersect the southern Calderwood Butte Trail eventually. And I did. It was a nice trail, switchbacking up and not too steep. From where I came out of the rough country, it was only 2/10 of mile on up to the juncture with the main trail coming up from 99th Ave.

It was an easy ascent from there to the summit, only .32 of a mile. I blew so much time, though, in the rough country, I had precious few moments to enjoy the views if I wanted to get back to the car before darkness. Even then I got mesmerized by a fleet of hot-air balloons rising from the N. I counted 12, more by far than I'd ever seen at one time in the Phoenix area. From the summit, I looked south along the "Jomax" trail and tried to map it out mentally. It disappeared behind some small peaks above an area of high bluffs standing guard along the Agua Fria. That trail was going to be my way back, come hell or high water. If it was a deadend over there, so be it. I wasn't traipsing back through that crud I'd ascended over, not with sunlight quickly vanishing.

The "Jomax" trail proved a winner. A bit rocky in places but clearly visible and winding a wide, artful path. I held my breath as I rounded the last little peak, then relaxed as I saw the trail led down to Jomax Road, a distance of about 1 1/4 mi from the Butte. I reached the car at 1820, about 10 minutes after a beautiful sunset.

I learned a couple of things on this hike. One, I will always go up Calderwood Butte from the south from now on. Nice trail, sweeping views to the west. Two, I have conquered my fear of sliding on loose rock with a sprained left ankle, now two months old. It's feeling good again and so am I.
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2 archives
Feb 13 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 Feb 13 2016
black_toes
Hiking4.44 Miles 935 AEG
Hiking4.44 Miles   2 Hrs   49 Mns   2.22 mph
935 ft AEG      49 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Round-trip, VC to summit and back via N route, temp in 80s. Lunched alone on top, same flat lava rock. The Antelope Squirrel did not join me this time. Followed a Japanese family on ascent. Looked to be a mother, son and grandson, each moving at different speeds. Moderate traffic on way up, picked up some coming down. My cardio isn't where I want it to be. Haven't hiked much elevation in the last year due to injuries. Only had one water bottle, needed two. Very warm afternoon with little shade.
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2 archives
Feb 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
Inner Basin - North Mtn Park, AZ 
Inner Basin - North Mtn Park, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 12 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.67 Miles 267 AEG
Hiking2.67 Miles   1 Hour   31 Mns   2.50 mph
267 ft AEG      27 Mns Break
 no routes
Partners none no partners
With a few hours open in late afternoon, I did what I call the Inner Basin East via the N dam. Hiked out to where the 100 and 306 trails merge, then looped back, looking for wildflowers, etc. Found only a lonely African Daisy atop the dam. And a Buckhorn bud still a few weeks from blooming. At the Trupiano bench, a sad note. A "Lost Dog" flyer said "Bella," an Austrailian Shepherd (mostly white with brown and black splotches), disappeared in the park on January 29. jakeandthehotshots@ ... .net. Very few moments worse than losing a pet. Moderate traffic, mostly bikers.
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Feb 04 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 Feb 04 2016
black_toes
Hiking4.06 Miles 896 AEG
Hiking4.06 Miles   2 Hrs   39 Mns   2.37 mph
896 ft AEG      56 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My 21st visit to summit since joining HAZ. Started as usual from the VC to add distance. Unless you chart cracks in the asphalt, nothing much ever changes on the summit trail. On top, young kids began appearing in droves. Turned out to be the Centennial HS track team, so I was told. Long way from home. Didn't ask what the occasion was. Always amazed you can see Vulture Peak from here as well as other distant places. Heavy snow on one of the Mazatzals and some on Four Peaks. Had a sandwich, sharing a small bite with an Antelope Squirrel trying to coax it into sunlight for a photo. Failed. But did get one in the shadow of a rock before heading down. Took a few off-route zigs and zags to make sure I hit 4 miles for the hike. Beautiful day with a gentle breeze stirring branches of creosote ever so slightly.
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1 archive
Feb 02 2016
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Javelina - Ridgeline - Beverly LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 02 2016
black_toes
Hiking5.41 Miles 788 AEG
Hiking5.41 Miles   3 Hrs   56 Mns   2.02 mph
788 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
 
Not the smartest way to spend even a small part of an afternoon, getting up on the Ridgeline Tr with a crisp north wind coming at you. But I was dressed for the cool weather, 55 high in Phoenix. And later, hiking one of my favorite South Mountain Park trails, the Javelina, made up for it.

I planned to hike trekkin gecko's official route but didn't and started from another place. The parking lot nearest the Pima Canyon TH was full (always a bad sign), so I parked back a ways and took off on what appeared to be the the lightly-traveled "West Loop" trail. Passed no one until I got in the wind of the Ridgeline where I ran into two other fools. It was nice finally to get down into warmer climes and into Javelina Canyon out of the breeze. I hadn't done the Javelina in three years, but it all came back to me quickly. The water tanks on the E side of Javelina, the occasional side canyons, the stone bridges and the sign posts. Don't think I've ever been on a trail so posted as this one.

I was in such a good mood that I welcomed the Javelina's diverse traffic: 5 other hikers, several bikers, a jogger, a few dogs and coming up on the saddle, a couple on horseback. At one point, coming out of a ravine up a 5-foot high rock out-cropping, I switched my camera from a shoulder to around my neck so as to protect if I stumbled. Behind me were two men on bikes moving fast. I stopped to see how they would attack the rock "wall," figuring they would get off their bikes and carry them up. But, no, both shot up the rock with ease and as they zoomed away, I spoke to both of them, "Very nice."

This was the most ambitious hike I've done since spraining an ankle in mid-December. It's still slightly swollen and a little stiff, so coming down the steep Ridgeline hills on loose rock caused me concern. Not being able to always place the injured foot where I wanted led to inching down with my trekking pole gripped firmly. That accounts for the slow moving time. Otherwise I breezed through it, no pun intended, even though I did not enjoy the segment coming back to the TH via a small bit on the Mormon Loop, past the stone house and the flat National Tr. It would've perhaps been halfway interesting if I'd seen the owl that was hooting on the east, just below another ridgeline trail, the Marcos de Niza. Pulled out my glasses but no dice, no owl. Still, considering the coolness and even poking along the Ridgeline, it was my best hike of the year.

P.S. My GPS had a distance of 5.67 miles.
Fauna
Fauna
Gilded Flicker
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7 archives
Jan 30 2016
black_toes
avatar

 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 Jan 30 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.96 Miles 319 AEG
Hiking2.96 Miles   1 Hour   53 Mns   2.43 mph
319 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A ramble on mostly unmarked trails. Went off-trail too, trying to avoid the hordes who filled the parking lot on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Visited those neglected stone monuments on SW corner Of Galvin Parkway & McDowell, north end of car-busy Desert Botanical Garden (counted 71 cars going in and only 6 coming out, this on a short stretch), S to Hole in the Rock where the sun birds were out in great number and by the duck pond and on back to the west-side parking lot.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Creosote and brittle bush.
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Jan 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
North Mountain Park - Inner Basin, AZ 
North Mountain Park - Inner Basin, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 28 2016
black_toes
Hiking4.05 Miles 383 AEG
Hiking4.05 Miles   1 Hour   57 Mns   2.61 mph
383 ft AEG      24 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Dam to dam via Figure 8. Done this longest Inner Basin route several times, and always see interesting stuff. Today MetLife blimp flying above North Mountain just S of the park, making for nice photo op. Assume the blimp is here for the Phoenix Open. Beautiful day on the trails, 69 F at start and 61 at end shortly after sunset at 1754. Hiked in shorts and shirt, but as sunset neared the ravines turned almost cold and I considered donning a jacket.
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1 archive
Jan 24 2016
black_toes
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 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Skunk Creek TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 24 2016
black_toes
Hiking3.03 Miles 178 AEG
Hiking3.03 Miles   1 Hour   19 Mns   2.93 mph
178 ft AEG      17 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Part 3, Completion of Trail and Overview. Walked from 69th Av, starting from behind the Home Depot on Bell Rd, to Union Hills Dr. That completes my "attack" on this flat urban trail, done in 3 segments on separate days. I was way off on this middle segment's distance. My estimate of 9/10 mi came in at 1.38 by GPS. I did trundle over to the N side via Union Hills bridge underpass to be sure I have the track to merge three segments into one. Uneventful walk on 8-foot wide concrete path. Points of interest: Skunk Creek Linear Park playground (Shade and Water, a sign says, but no toilets), interpretative signs and another silted-in concrete dam. Light traffic on a Sunday noon hour.

Overview. This 5.76 mi long path is really two separate trails with an odd transition zone along 73rd Av.

The lower SW segment, from 75th Av down to Rio Vista Park and the juncture with New River, is less urban and less busy. A slender channel of water runs through the streambed, carrying the overflow from the Arizona Canal and, in times of flood, torrents from Skunk Creek and elsewhere. The Peoria Sports Complex runs atop the embankment cross-creek on the N with orange groves and some farmland on the S.

The upper segment, on the NE up to the trail's start at 51st Av, is edged by middle-class houses, apartments and condos and seems to primarily serve nearby villagers out for evening strolls, family bike rides and light jogging.

Who would guess, without pre-walk mapping, that you could ever reach the upper segment from the lower? No signage tells you that. From 75th Av, roll the dice. Straight ahead to the Arizona Canal or do the underpass beneath the 75th Av bridge. Never did I see a sign saying "Skunk Creek Trail." Taking the underpass, you arrive with luck on the N side of the streambed, and there you find a sign, "Skunk Creek Linear Park" with a map how to get there, sidewalk-stepping up through tree-lined Cabrillo Point subdivision (the former Las Brisas, I assume) to a small traffic circle and straight north where you pick up the upper segment. Although coyotes and javelina reputedly venture up into Skunk Creek, I saw only desert cottontails and heard Gambel's quail. Flora? Much brittlebush and palo verde with a smattering of "exotics" like Fairy Duster and Santa Rita prickly pear.

By looking down into Skunk Creek's untamed streambed from 15-25 foot embankments, you can imagine what this area looked like before "civilization." Ultimately you do the Skunk for exercise. Or, in my case, rehabbing a sprained ankle. Serious hikers know this is not really hiking. No adventure, no risk. But not boring -- at least on the initial visit. It is not a walk, though, I would like to do again.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Brittlebush, Globemallow, Fairy Duster.
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2 archives
Jan 22 2016
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Lookout Mtn Circumference Trail #308Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 22 2016
black_toes
Hiking2.64 Miles 620 AEG
Hiking2.64 Miles   1 Hour   11 Mns   3.11 mph
620 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
While I've done the Summit Trail several times, the Circumference had eluded my interest. It's an unchallenging path around this little urban area where houses are tucked in close on all sides.

The most interesting part of the hike was seeing a coyote hustle across the trail about 10 yards in front of me. It's been a long time since I've been that close to one. It came down the south slope of Lookout Mtn, about where the cliffs are, then turned around briefly to face me. I was not quick enough with the camera to get a frontal view.

The mileage is a little long since I retraced my steps back to the parking lot at the start, forgetting an essential. But an OK hike with heavy traffic. Didn't expect much and got what I expected.
Fauna
Fauna
Coyote
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Jan 21 2016
black_toes
avatar

 Guides 4
 Routes 51
 Photos 1,545
 Triplogs 348

82 male
 Joined Sep 24 2004
 Phoenix, AZ
Skunk Creek TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 21 2016
black_toes
Hiking6.26 Miles 281 AEG
Hiking6.26 Miles   2 Hrs   48 Mns   2.93 mph
281 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Part 2. Rio Vista Park to 67th Av, about 3 mi one way, then doubled back. Part 1, 51 Av to Union Hills Dr was 1.8. So with Skunk Crk Trail being 5.67 mi total, that should leave me about 9/10 of a mile for Part 3 and the completion of the entire trail. I'll try to finish it up Sunday before the Cardinals game in Carolina. As hikes go, this was pretty easy and lacklustre, but I'm rehabbing so it doesn't make much difference.

The boring part was coming along 73 Av through the tidy neighborhood called Las Brisas Point, the point being the peninsula between the junction of the Arizona Canal on the south and Skunk Crk on the north. But it's only a few blocks walk and then you're back out on the Skunk heading NE. The number of bikers increased at this point of the day, 4 o'clock or so.

Spring training for MLB teams begins next month, and players (minor leaguers, perhaps) were working out in the huge Peoria Sports Complex which runs about a mile along the N side of Skunk. I shot some photos of a ball shagger beyond the outfield fence, clambering down into the streambed on occasion to fetch baseballs hit there. In between shagging, the kid did calisthenics or sat in a metal chair. Pretty Bush League if you ask me.

Rio Vista is a nice park with a kids baseball complex. There's even a pickleball court out there somewhere, I was told. The park lays just below where Skunk Crk joins New River on the way to the Agua Fria. Beautiful day for a hike. Didn't regret this one at all.
Culture
Culture
Bridge
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average hiking speed 2.24 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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