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426 triplogs

Jul 20 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Latigo Trail - MSPNPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 20 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.76 Miles 459 AEG
Hiking8.76 Miles   3 Hrs   57 Mns   2.26 mph
459 ft AEG      4 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
First hike back in AZ and with the heat I decided to head back up to the northern Scottsdale Pima-Dynamite TH and hike some more of the new unmapped trails up there. I mostly hiked the new trails along the Latigo Trail, zig zagging between Powerline Road #1 and Powerline Road #2. Saw a few bikers, most of them at the very start of the hike.

The heat wasn't really so bad, but I was done by 10am. Didn't see any hikers or much of anything else. It's surprising that hiking just a few of the new trails I discovered, I was quickly nearly up to 9 miles. I found a few more unmapped trails and would hike a few feet out and back to mark them with a spur on my GPS track, making it easy to find them when I go back to hike the rest of them again.
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Jul 14 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Deer Lakes ParkPittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Hiking avatar Jul 14 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking5.65 Miles 1,043 AEG
Hiking5.65 Miles   2 Hrs   58 Mns   1.93 mph
1,043 ft AEG      2 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Having had a late night the night before catching up with friends I don't get to see very often, I did this later in the afternoon/evening. The weather all day on Sunday was perfect, and the heat and humidity died down a bit from the week before. This was my last full day in PA, so it seemed like a shame not to get out and get at least a short hike in.

Deer Lakes Park is a 15-20 min drive from my mom's house, so I decided to go there. Most of my time at this park when I was younger was either fishing in the lakes, or kite flying in the fields in the spring. Nine years ago I did a couple hikes while visiting. I had previously checked my routes from those hikes and looked at a park map and plotted out a route on RS.

I hiked the south half of the park, hiking mostly the White Trail, which is marked by white blazes on the trees. The trails in this park are extremely muddy, moreso than even the Rachel Carson Trail, which I found surprising. They're also a bit overgrown in places, and there is some tree fall, probably from the recent storms this summer.

It's mostly "green tunnel" hiking in this park. There are a few fields and power lines that the trail crosses, giving a few views. There was also one spot where there was a clearing in the trees and you could see several miles out. Again I saw another deer, making this the first time I've seen a deer on every hike I did, but again it was gone before I could even reach for my camera.

I had originally planned to take a longer route back to my car, but since I was nearing the 3 hour mark already at 7:30pm, I decided to take a couple short cuts. One was through part of a disc golf course, and the other was directly up a steep hill to where I knew another trail was. The steep hill also had some this vegetation with some serious thorns. It took a little effort to figure the path of least resistance, but I got through it and saved some time.

Everything went without incident until literally the last 3 steps on the trail, where I slid on the mud and landed on my left side, hurting my shoulder a bit and covering most of my left side in mud. I had to go over to a stream between 2 lakes and get the majority of the mud off of me before heading back. The next day I dealt with a sore shoulder while having to fling around suitcases going to the airport to get back to AZ.

This concluded the hikes for my PA visit. I have all my routes saved in my mapping program in my computer and I look forward to continuing hiking more trails and sections of the bigger trails that I haven't done yet on my upcoming visits.
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Jul 11 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Butler - Freeport Community TrailLaurel Highlands, PA
Laurel Highlands, PA
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking7.21 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking7.21 Miles   2 Hrs   47 Mns   2.59 mph
250 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
The very next day after hiking the southernmost section of this trail, I decided to go back and continue further north from the next trailhead along the way. It ended up being the heaviest rain during our trip to PA, with over 2 inches of rain that morning. Along with that was a lot of thunder, but thankfully no nearby lightning strikes. When I got to the trailhead, I waited for over a half hour for the rain to die down a bit before I headed out.

Water was gushing everywhere off the nearby hills and steep walls, draining under the trail thankfully, and into the nearby stream, which was flowing like crazy. While the rain took a bit of break when I started, it soon was on and off with varying intensity. I actually did see 2 other hikers (on their way back to their car) and one trail runner.

Just over 3.5 miles in, the rain was really starting to come down with no signs of letting up. I hiked to a clearance, which I thought might be a road, but was only a power line. I decided to head back before the lightning got worse. For most of the hike back, the rain stopped. I felt bad about that until a half hour after I finished, when another downpour began that lasted for well over an hour. The local highway near Pittsburgh got flooded by the rain and was closed most of the day. On my way back home the halogen street lights were on at 11am. Good choice to call it day, got a respectable hike in considering the conditions.

Saw another deer and got the best pic I was able to get on this trip, which still wasn't much.
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Jul 10 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Butler - Freeport Community TrailLaurel Highlands, PA
Laurel Highlands, PA
Hiking avatar Jul 10 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking12.20 Miles 423 AEG
Hiking12.20 Miles   4 Hrs      3.05 mph
423 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After two hikes along the Rachel Carson Trail, I was in the mood for something a little easier. The Butler-Freeport Community Trail is a Rails to Trails project that runs from Butler to Freeport. It parallels two creeks for the majority of its length, or at least what I hiked. Since it runs along a defunct railroad line, the trail is mostly flat the entire length. The trail is used mainly by bikers, but it's wide enough to accommodate everyone. I didn't expect much from this, but I was pleasantly surprised and ended up enjoying it a lot more than I expected to. I had only planned to hike about 10 miles, but ended up hiking over 12.

There was some like morning fog when I started, but that burned off quickly as the sun got higher. Saw yet another deer on the trail, but was again unable to get a good shot. I got one blurry shot since the camera was in low light mode. By the time I got it switched to normal mode, two bikers were coming up behind me and having a conversation. That was enough to scare the deer off.

Saw a small wastewater treatment plant along the trail and noticed that they have a UV disinfection unit. I took a picture, but no one else is likely to find it as interesting as I did.

Route Scout glitched out big time on this hike, not locating me correctly for most of the way out. I think the way back was more accurate. There trail follows a narrow valley through most of the section I hiked, so that might have contributed. the route I posted is from my Garmin.

Ended about 10:30am, ran an errand and got lunch for everyone at a local pizza joint that makes a unique pie specific to this area.
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Jul 08 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Rachel Carson TrailPittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Hiking avatar Jul 08 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking10.50 Miles 1,625 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   5 Hrs      2.10 mph
1,625 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Went back to where I hiked last week and started another section of the RCT. There wasn't a whole lot of elevation gain at first and not too steep, but that started to change the last mile and a half on the way in. One section went thru a neighborhood, but that was because it goes past the Rachel Carson homestead. Another section of about a half mile was on pavement.

Saw another deer and it stayed still for a picture, but I forgot my camera in the car, so I got what I could with my phone.

The humidity wasn't too bad today. Skies were mildly overcast, making the temperatures not too hot.

Turned around where the trail crosses some more paved roads. Looks like some possible parking spaces for another section to try another day.
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Jul 03 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Rachel Carson TrailPittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Hiking avatar Jul 03 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.90 Miles 1,891 AEG
Hiking8.90 Miles   4 Hrs   11 Mns   2.13 mph
1,891 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Rachel Carson Trail is a mostly urban trail that is nearly 40 miles long and stretches from Harrison Hills Park south to North Park. It's named after Rachel Carson, a pioneering environmentalist who wrote the book "Silent Spring", which I remember teachers telling us about when I was in grade school. It's meant to be hiked in sections, although finding a proper trailhead to park at is a bit of a challenge if you don't know the area. There is a Rachel Carson Trail Challenge that's done every year on the summer solstice to maximize daylight since it's such a long trail with a lot of AEG.

I hiked a short section 11 years ago, and wanted to try a new section to try to eventually knock this one out. It's very convenient that this trail is only a 10-15 minute drive from the house where I grew up. Looking across the Allegheny River valley from that house, you can see the mountain ridgeline that part of the trail follows.

I started from a TH in Springdale, which is actually where Rachel Carson was raised. From there I headed north to where I started hiking 11 years ago and turned back, making for a nearly 9 mile hike. I did my typical early start. With the tree cover so dense, it wasn't until I was nearly halfway done hiking that there was enough daylight to get decent pictures.

The trail is built in some sections through some forested areas, but in a lot of sections it follows power lines, dirt roads, and even paved country roads to connect to the proper sections of trail. There are also no switchbacks. The one section I got through was particularly treacherous, especially with how slick and muddy it is with all the rain this summer. At the very start of this hike, not only do you ascend a very steep and loose hill, but you have to duck under some power lines that are uncomfortably close to the ground.

About 2 miles in, I spotted a whitetail buck with the antlers in felt. I was able to get my camera out, but as soon as he saw me aiming it, he took off. The deer here get very skittish when you aim anything at them. Later on I saw 2 turkeys running, but they were also gone too fast to get any shot.

This trail is actually pretty strenuous, making for a good workout. The scenery is spotty, depending on where you're at, but overall the tremendous amount of green as a contrast to AZ at this time of year made this very nice. The humidity, on the other hand, was oppressive. Within a half mile of starting, my shirt was soaked, and by the end, my pants were totally soaked. I was fortunate enough to not have rain, but other than the lightning, that wouldn't have made much difference.

Hoping to maybe do another section of this before I leave, as well as some other local parks.
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4 archives
Jun 29 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Rock Tank Trail - MSPNPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 29 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking9.90 Miles 564 AEG
Hiking9.90 Miles   4 Hrs   14 Mns   2.34 mph
564 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
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When I hiked the Hawknest/Latigo loop last March, I intended to hike the Rock Tank Trail but then forgot. In the meantime, I noticed a lot of unmapped trails in this area. This time I went back to check some of those out.

I started out on the Powerline #1 Road, then the Hawknest like my last time here. When I got to the junction for the Rock Tank Trail, I noticed that an unmapped trail that seems to also be part of the Rock Tank Trail heads northwest towards the Axle Grease Trail. I took that until it faded away and then headed back to the Rock Tank Trail. At the Latigo Trail, the Rock Tank again continues unmapped farther to the south. I took that spur out and back and headed northeast on the Latigo.

I took the first unmapped trail junction along the Latigo and started following those trails, generally heading in a northeast direction. There were several junctions, and at each one I hiked a very short spur to mark it on my track. If you zoom in on my posted track you can see them.

I eventually ended up back on the Hawknest Trail by the connecting trail to the Axle Grease. I took that spur out and back and headed back along the Powerline #1 Road, taking a few more spurs along the way.

The clouds early in the morning made the weather pretty cool. There were a few breezes that also helped with that. By the time I finished, it was only 96, made it out before the triple digits hit for the day.

Two hawks were sitting on 2 separate powerline towers on my way back screeching at me or each other, I don't know which.

Not an eventful hike, but nice to find as many unmapped and previously unhiked trails on this hike. Also nice to find several more trails to make a return trip worthwhile.
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Jun 22 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Crossover Trail - Estrella Mtn RPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 22 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking11.00 Miles 742 AEG
Hiking11.00 Miles   4 Hrs   14 Mns   2.60 mph
742 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Took another trip out to the Estrellas to knock out another trail there I've never hiked, the CrossOver. I took the shortest route to it, which was Coldwater/Gadsden/Pedersen. Nothing special out this way, other than it's very peaceful. Compared to hiking Camelback and the Phoenix Preserve recently, the remoteness of this park is welcome. Saw one other hiker the whole time, and only two bikers. Once you get up over the saddle on the Coldwater Trail, the views to the south are pretty expansive, and with minimal development.

I went about 1/10th of a mile past the end of the CrossOver into the Estrella Community trail. I didn't feel like hiking another 2 miles minimum to see how far and where it goes exactly.

Finished making pretty good time and finally getting over 10 miles for a change.
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Jun 15 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 15 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.20 Miles 2,210 AEG
Hiking8.20 Miles   4 Hrs   48 Mns   1.71 mph
2,210 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Technically, I've never hiked Piestewa Peak before. The last time I did, it was still Squaw Peak. And that was a solid 19 years ago. I think I've only ever hiked it once. Maybe twice, but I'm honestly not sure.

I figured the closest lot would be packed, so I decided to start from the Dreamy Draw area. It added some mileage as well, which I wanted. There are way too many trails in this area, and I always have a hard time figuring out which trail I'm on exactly. It took a little while to get to the Circumference Trail, mainly because I kept having to check Route Scout to see which was the best way to get there.

Once I got on the Circumference Trail, I headed counter clockwise to the junction of the summit trail. I wasn't really sure I wanted to try to do that trail today. For some reason when I got there, I felt good enough and started up. I think only two people passed me. I was able to stay ahead of many younger hikers and pass a few older ones. :y: Lots of hikers here routinely ignore the etiquette of "downhill yields to uphill", just like on Camelback. ](*,) I noticed that if you don't look up much on your way up, they tend to give you a bit more room : rambo : . I took a break by the one railing at the level spot to catch my breath and get a drink. Then, just before the final push, I had to take another break to rest my legs, which were starting to feel the burn. I did leg presses the day before, so I think tomorrow morning it's going to hurt trying to get out of bed.

At the top, everyone seemed to be on the lower peak. I got up there and noticed that the actual peak was over a bit. I made my way up there, just as much to get away from the crowd as be on the actual peak. Getting back to the trail required having to Honnold my way down a few dicey stretches due to taking a bad angle and having to move around other hikers.

Once back on the Circumference Trail, I kept on the counter clockwise loop and headed back to my car. Took the VOAZ up to Trail 100 to avoid more climbing over the higher saddle.
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2 archives
Jun 08 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Pyrite Trail - Skyline RPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 08 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking9.10 Miles 1,645 AEG
Hiking9.10 Miles   3 Hrs   47 Mns   2.41 mph
1,645 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I decided to go out to Skyline again to hit the new Pyrite and Pyrite Summit Trails. I had a circuit planned out to hike a little over 10 miles. Once I got up to the high point of the Turnbuckle Trail, my knee started to bother me again. Actually it was more on the way down from the high point when I noticed it. So I decided to take a bailout option and head back to the trailhead a little earlier than planned. I still got 9 miles in, so it wasn't shortened by much. Hiked the interpretive Red Tailed Hawk Trail since I never did that before.

The views on the upper reaches of the Pyrite Trails are very nice, especially to the west and north. Very well built trails, hoping they add more.

I arrived at the TH at 6:30am to a packed parking lot. The first half mile there were a lot of people on the trails, but soon everyone was gone as the hot temperatures arrived early in the day. When I got back to the lot, my car was one of about 3 or 4 left, probably that way since about 8am or sooner.
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Jun 01 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Laveen TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 01 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.40 Miles 664 AEG
Hiking8.40 Miles   3 Hrs   38 Mns   2.31 mph
664 ft AEG
 
Partners none no partners
Being the first weekend of the month, Ted and I headed back to the San Juan TH to finish the trail we discovered last month at this end of the park. Not really sure if this is a continuation of the Laveen Trail, but it does seem to connect to it. It's a substantial enough of a trail that it does appear to be deliberately made by the COP.

We first hike a few unmarked spur trails that we missed last month once we discovered this trail, then we headed out on the new trail. It basically goes around the hill and then connects to the Maricopa Trail spur from the National Trail. We took the spur west and then walked through the construction area and picked up what is currently the Maricopa Trail from South Mountain over to the Estrellas. We walked along that for about a mile and a half and then turned back. It just follows an irrigation canal under the power lines, and right next to the highway. If you stop to take a picture, you can hear the crackle from the power lines above you.

On the way back along the Maricopa Spur inside SoMo park, we saw an area that looked like it was excavated along time ago by some industrial equipment, most likely for mining. we saw what looked to be maybe a filled in mine or prospect shaft, but nothing appears on the USGS maps. There's a spur on the southern part of my track that shows where we checked this out a bit.

Finished a little early thinking we might hit 10 miles but didn't even do 8.5. I needed to get some extra chores done at home so I decided to leave it at that. The only other option we considered was the spur to the peak west of San Juan TH, but I did that one a while back, and it was getting a bit toasty.
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May 26 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Lone Mountain 2809 - E J PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 26 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking5.20 Miles 1,082 AEG
Hiking5.20 Miles   3 Hrs      1.73 mph
1,082 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My wife was out of town visiting her sister for the weekend, so I took the kids over to EJ Peak for a quick Sunday morning hike.

I enjoyed this hike alot more than I expected. The trail to the peak is very well defined. It's steep in some spots and has a lot of loose scree, which makes it a little dicey, but not too bad. The climb to the top was rougher than I expected it would be for the kids, but they hung in. The views from there are really nice. When we started there were some hazy clouds around. By the time we got to the top, the haze cleared out and the lower clouds were casting some nice shadows on the surrounding mountains.

From EJ Peak the trail continued a little further along the ridgeline at the top to another peak. It faded away quickly and I headed back. I let the kids sit and rest at EJ Peak while I did this bit of exploring.

I had planned to hike the entire circumference around the mountain. We started hiking counter clockwise once we got back down, but after a mile and a half, it was already nearly 11am. The trail was crossing the ravines in the mountain, so it wasn't level at all. Lots of very steep descents with loose scree, followed by another climb right back up to the next ridge. Right as the trail turned to the north I made the call to bail on that part and go off trail to FR3554 and head back to the car. We still did over 5.5 miles, so it seemed like the right call for that day. The off trail hike to the road was easier than hiking on the actual trail.

Got back to the car before noon and got some lunch. The weather was perfect, cooler temps and lots of breezes throughout the day. This whole area I think is very underrated for the hikes that are here. Didn't see any other hikers all day, just a few campers and 4 wheelers along the road, but the crowds were pretty sparse.
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May 25 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Flume Trail - CCRPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 25 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking10.00 Miles 591 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles   4 Hrs   14 Mns   2.36 mph
591 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Went up to the CCRA to hike some more trails I haven't done in a decade and a half. Started the hike by spotting the famous Michelin Man saguaro. The spur off the Slate Trail is very defined and prominent, which is what caught my attention. I instantly recognized it and took the obligatory pics.

Took the Slate Trail to the Flume Trail all the way to its terminus and beyond. then took the trails that head south, not knowing exactly what to expect. I stopped just short of the Carefree Highway, forgetting that the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve Trails pick up just on the other side. I decided to stop where a sign indicated "Trail Parking" at a gravel lot and figured I could drive there another day and hike from there.

On the way back I hiked some of the Desert Enclave trails and got back on the Flume and back to the trailhead. Once I got back, I hiked just a bit of some unmarked trails that head south of the Overton TH into State Trust Land. the one trail headed directly south, but I found a junction for a trail that went east into a wash. It was in the direction of the hill there that has some mining prospects, so maybe another exploratory hike for another day. Saw a few other unmarked trail spurs that I hiked just a bit to mark them on my track for future reference. Looks like enough for a respectable return visit at some point.
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May 18 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Peak 3004 Loop - Goldfield MtnsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 18 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking4.90 Miles 1,341 AEG
Hiking4.90 Miles   4 Hrs   23 Mns   1.12 mph
1,341 ft AEG
 
Partners none no partners
I had planned to do this hike the week before, but my knee flared up a couple days before from jogging, so I had to give it a rest for a weekend. Once the knee felt better, I was back at it this weekend to do this hike.

This is just basically the Fish Rock loop, only hiking up to the ridgeline from the eastern saddle and hiking back on the Pass Mountain Loop Trail. From the eastern saddle, there is a faint trail that goes all the way to the first peak on the ridgeline. After that, it's pretty much a bushwhack. Nothing too bad, but it was slow going. The worst spot was just below Peak 3004, there are several larger boulders that are very loose. One was loose enough that I could have tilted it enough to make it start to slide and maybe roll. I decided to get away from that section as quickly as I could. On the way up to Peak 3004 there were 2 vultures that sat tight until I got a little too close, then took off. Got some nice pics of them.

From Peak 3004 to the Pass Mountain Loop, I had DixieFlyer's track from his hike last month. The one smaller peak before the trail, he took the north side of the peak. That looked way too steep and dicey for me, so I took the south side of the peak. Just before I got to the Pass Mountain Trail, I noticed another spur trail that was below me. At first I thought it was the Fish Rock Loop, but then I saw that trail further down. I was about to double back a little to head down a more direct route to the spur trail, but then I could hear a rattle. I moved a bit more and heard the rattle again, but couldn't see the snake. I decided to start heading back to the same direction and heard no more rattling. Better to take the more indirect way down to the trail.

Once on the spur trail, I saw where it ends at a shallow cave with some honeycombs at the top. The trail got very faint and continued a little further. It then began a very steep ascent with some very loose rock. I decided against exploring that any further. I got through a mile of off trail hiking with a gimpy knee, better not to push my luck any further.

I was planning to hike the majority of the Pass Mountain Loop around Pass Mountain counter-clockwise, but that off trail section took me a good 2.5 hours to do, so I decided to just head back to the car and call it a day. I hiked a few more spurs near the Meridian TH that I noticed before, then finished up.
Fauna
Fauna
Turkey Vulture
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May 04 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Laveen TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 04 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking10.00 Miles 1,123 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles   4 Hrs   35 Mns   2.18 mph
1,123 ft AEG
 
Partners none no partners
I decided to go check out this trail and the many spurs and unmapped trails in the west end of South Mountain. My friend Ted joined me for this hike. We used to hike more often nearly 20 years ago, but now it's about once a year.

I saw several of the trails mapped out on Google Maps, so I used the Route Editor to make some tracks of them and put it in RS. The Laveen Trail looks likes it's being built further east above the houses. We walked out to the end of it and hit all the spurs we found on the way back.

Once we got back near the trailhead, we hiked up to the top of the hill just north of the trailhead, and then looped around it. I had planned to hike a couple more of the spurs I mapped out, but then we saw a newer trail that heads west around the hill west of the trailhead. It looks like this trail goes all the way out to the Maricopa Trail, making a loop possible. We got to as far as we could see where it started to bend around the hill, but then we decided to double back to the trailhead since we were nearing 9 miles and it was getting near lunchtime.

The scenery here isn't much, but the new trail gives some interesting views to the west and is a little higher above all the housing. Still some new trails around I haven't hiked, plus more look like they're being built.
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Apr 27 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
 Routes 222
 Photos 5,928
 Triplogs 426

49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Camelback Summit - Echo Canyon THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 27 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking6.00 Miles 2,704 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   5 Hrs      1.20 mph
2,704 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
It's been about 16 years since I last hiked this mountain. I'm good for another 16.

Camelback was the 2nd hike I did in Phoenix. It soon became a regular hike for me on Sundays, even in the summer. I hiked it so many times that I came to memorize every part of the trail, finally getting bored and bent on trying to make every hike I do have at least one new section of trail that I've never done. After so many years, going back and doing trails after a decade or more, it's almost like hiking the trail again for the first time. And I can also log it in on HAZ and record it with my GPS, storing the track in my computer.

I arrived at about 6am, finding only 2 spots left in the lower overflow parking lot. It added a little bit more mileage, which I didn't mind.

I think there were railroad ties on the very lower section, or at least big steps of some sort that I remember. That section has thankfully been regraded and is smoother. The railroad ties above are still there.

The steep bare rock section with the railings hasn't changed much. Neither has my approach. I used the railing like a rope if I was climbing, even going back down backwards. Kind of reminded me of Olympus last year just below the summit.

I forgot about the false summit as you get to the top. :pk:

Going down Cholla to the saddle is slow going, I think more so as I age. As I get older, choosing the route down is a matter of listening to my knees and looking for the least steep approach. Ironically, the longest slog of the downhill part is after it levels out and it meanders before reaching the bottom. Going back up seemed to take less time and was more enjoyable. My legs had warmed up by then and I kind of hit my stride. And then reality set in and I had to take a breather once or twice. Snapped a hiking pole just past the saddle and put that away. Got a lot of questions on the way up about going up twice in one day. Using my hands on this section on the way is even more fun than it was 16+ years ago.

Going back down Echo Canyon is the same slog it's always been. Careful with the footing, watch for scree, and get out of the way of the uphill hikers, even though the people behind me don't. :SB:

Still lots of chuckwallas on this mountain. More than I've seen anywhere else. You would think with the traffic it would chase them away. Maybe they're like the squirrels at the Grand Canyon that get used to looking for food from the tourists. :-k

The crowds don't seem to be any worse than they were 16-20 years ago. Noticed a lot of out of state hikers, which I guess is kind of cool. Nice that they get out to hike it. Also shows how well known it is. Very touristy vibe, like a lot of places in AZ. Got some strong whiffs of sunscreen at times. :lol:

Glad that in 20 years, this hike doesn't seem harder to do at all. Other than the downhill sections at times. I never timed myself before, but I think my overall time likely is more than it was in 2000 when I would do this.
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Apr 20 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
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49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Ironwood Ridgeline 3108 Loop - Goldfield MtnsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 20 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking5.60 Miles 1,631 AEG
Hiking5.60 Miles   4 Hrs   58 Mns   1.13 mph
1,631 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The weekend plans were such that a Sunday hike wasn't feasible. then I realized that since my kids are teenagers now, I can once again hike on a Saturday if I want to. I still had some things to get done around the house, so something close to home was in order. This one looked like it fit the bill.

Right off the bat I saw a javelina cross the trail up ahead. I tried to get a decent shot of him but he kept moving. Just as well since they can do some damage if they want.

I saw the turnoff up the hill from the lower trail that's on the official route, but since the lower trail kept heading east, I decided to take that as far as it went. It went not quite another half mile before it abruptly ends. A few hundred feet before that, I trail heads up the mountain. there is also another lower trail that heads down towards the homes below. Maybe a reason to go back and check that out another day with the family, or not.

The trail up the mountain was faint, but definitely still a trail. I stopped following it once I saw a cairn that required my first vertical climb for the day, which I wasn't in the mood for yet. I was already level with the saddle, which is where the track for this hike goes, so I decided to just cut over to that. There was a spot of bare rock that seemed pretty stable. It was really steep, however, and had a lot of loose rock on it, making the footing a little dicey. Once I got to the saddle, I saw the trail from the cairned turnoff.

the description for this hike mentions at this point that it's more of a cairned route on the way up. I don't know if there's any debate on these things, but what I saw at this point was definitely still a trail. I would say it was a faint trail, but as long as there's actual erosion into the ground, to me that's a trail. when it's just a cairn, and some signs of recent activity like matted grass, broken branches or a half a footprint, then I would think of that as a route. That part came later once I reached the ridgeline. but I digress.

the ridgeline portion of the hike was the slowest going. Not too bad in terms of vegetation, but a lot of bouldering, and elevation gains and losses to and from the various peaks. At times it was just easier to walk along the side off the boulders. the second to last peak, which has the point on it, was the hardest to get down from. I just followed the ridge and quickly find myself in a very exposed area. I got down from the exposure at my first chance, but I did have to throw my sticks to my intended destination and use both hands to cling to a rock face as I pulled myself around it. And there was quite a lot of loose rocks and footings all around, making that section rather dicey to get out of. The views up in this area to the northeast are really phenomenal. You can see down into Bulldog Canyon, the rest of the Goldfield ridgeline, and 4Peaks, Superstitions and Mazzies in the background.

Once I got to the last peak, I headed down to the saddle and the Fish Rock Loop. there was once again a trail from the last peak down to the saddle, but it was steep and with very loose footing. Hard on the knees after trudging along the ridgeline. I had originally intended to climb the other ridge over to the Pass Mountain Loop trail, but it was already 4 hours since I started, and I wanted to finish up. Saw a few hikers on my down the trail. Shorter hike, but it still took a lot of effort to make it through.
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Apr 14 2019
DarthStiller
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49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Cougar Trail - Gold CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 14 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking5.00 Miles 501 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   2 Hrs   16 Mns   2.21 mph
501 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Two weeks ago while doing Chuparosa Canyon, I saw a spur off of the Lost Goldmine Trail that headed southeast. Today I took the family out for a quick morning hike and decided to do some exploring to see where it goes. It quickly turns south and then parallels a fence and goes all the way down to the Old Horse Trail. Along the way down there is another spur to east that connects to the Cougar Trail. Along the Cougar Trail there is another trail segment that connects it to the Lost Goldmine Trail. We did all these new trail segments that I haven't ever hiked before, then took the Lost Goldmine Trail back to the trailhead.

Right where we got back on to the Lost Goldmine Trail there was another junction there that headed north up into Chuparosa Canyon. That might be an interesting hike to see if it meets up with the other trail I did last week that fades away as it also heads up into that canyon.

A quarter mile in, Natasha noticed a gila monster in dried grass that I had just walked right by. I got one semi-ok pick before he ducked into a bush. A few miles later we spotted the second one of the day right on the Cougar Trail. Lucky enough to see 2 in one day again. I think 2 years ago in Lost Dutchman park we saw 2 on the same hike. Don't think I've ever seen one on a hike that wasn't in April.

Saw a few other hikers but it wasn't too bad until we got back to the trailhead and the hordes were headed up to Hieroglyphic Canyon as usual. Weather is starting to get warmer, but still not bad. Saw a white Xterra in the parking lot parked next to might that also had a hikearizona.com sticker on the back. Ended the morning with lunch at Rudy's BBQ.
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Apr 05 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
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49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Hermit Falls, CA 
Hermit Falls, CA
 
Hiking avatar Apr 05 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking3.70 Miles 1,111 AEG
Hiking3.70 Miles   2 Hrs   2 Mns   1.82 mph
1,111 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After my last day of training, I got out a little early and had some daylight to do a quick hike. I had originally planned to check out the Monrovia Canyon Park, but since their parking lot closes and locks up at 5pm, that was too tight of a window for me. The Chantry Flat Station area is a recreational area managed by the Forest Service that has picnic areas and trails. I went not really knowing what I was going to hike, just wanting to get a few miles in before sundown.

A paved road that is closed to motor vehicles leads down into the canyon. A sign/map at the top gives a vague idea of the trails that are there. Sturtevant Falls looked like a good option. I headed down the road, and around the first bend, I saw another trail that headed to the south. This led to Hermit Falls. It was a shorter hike, and would obviously involve less pavement as the way to Sturtevant Falls was a good mile of the steep grade paved road. Hermit Falls it would be.

The trail in is nice. Then you get to the bottom of the canyon where the falls are, and it's trashed with litter and graffiti. There are cabins that look like they used to be available for rent, but have been damaged and broken into. There are also some spillways along the stream at the bottom of the canyon. Probably the best to expect for an urban hike close to LA. the vegetation was more dense towards the bottom, so that was nice.

After loading my route and checking the HAZ/Google mapping, I verified that I actually got to Hermit Falls. the trail began to fade away after that and there were several stream crossings that were getting more difficult. I saw one narrow area that kind of looked like a waterfall. Since the conditions got worse the farther I got downstream, I had seen enough and had to make my way back out before sundown. At Hermit Falls, there is a rope if you want to climb down to get a better view of the falls below. With all the graffiti around, I didn't see the point in that.

I talked with a local hiker at the parking lot and the trails to the north,(Sturtevant Falls and other trails), are in better condition and not trashed. something to consider if I ever make it back this way again.

This trail is in a canyon that is directly north of the hotel where I stayed. the next morning when I looked out the window, I could recognize the road I drove in up to the Chantry Flat area. Nice to get a little familiar with the area like that.
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Apr 03 2019
DarthStiller
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 Guides 15
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 Photos 5,928
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49 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Mount Wilson Trail 11W22Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Hiking avatar Apr 03 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.70 Miles 2,801 AEG
Hiking8.70 Miles   3 Hrs   53 Mns   2.24 mph
2,801 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I had to make another work trip to LA for more software training, so I looked into some local trails nearby that I do some hiking and exploring while I had the opportunity. The training was in Monrovia, which is right at the base of the San Gabriel mountain range. The bottom end of this trail is in a neighborhood. There isn't a proper trailhead there, but you can park along the street in several spots. there is a park a few hundred feet downhill, which allows for ample street parking. Not the best arrangement, but good enough for me trying to get a hike in on a weekday while traveling for work.

The trail is very smooth and wide, not a lot of rocks to step over or hard to keep your footing. At first the surrounding neighborhood is well hidden, but as you ascend, it becomes more visible until you get further up the canyon. There was quite a bit of green around, likely due to the rains CA got at the same time AZ did.

the trail basically follows up the left (west) side of a steep canyon. during most of the hike, the sound of the stream below is audible. The weather was mostly overcast across LA, and this led to the top of the mountain range being obscured by the clouds. A few times I was able to get a glimpse of the top of Mt. Wilson and the observatory there.

About a mile in, there is an unsigned junction to a trail that looks like it heads west and might go back down into the neighborhood somewhere. I haven't been able to find much about that online. After that, there is a junction for the First Water area, that appears to be a spring and possibly a campground area. I didn't get a chance to check it out.

About 4 miles in is the Orchard Camp. there is a info sign for it and the foundations of the buildings are still there. After the Orchard Camp, the trail begins to look like trail by AZ standards: narrow and rocky. Just over a half mile past the Orchard Camp, I decided it was time to head back due to time constraints. I needed another 1.4 miles to reach the road to Mt. Wilson. didn't see the point in that for this day. I was proud that in just over 2 hours I had not only done over 4 miles, but also 2700'. Maybe the Cactus to Clouds hike isn't outside my skill set after all :-k . I was even able to pass a couple who looked to be at least in their early 30s on my way downhill. The HAZ hikers keep the standards high, it seems. BTW, Mt. San Jacinto has quite the large cap of snow right now, very scenic from a distance (and up close).

Saw about 20 or so hikers the whole time. Most were going downhill. The majority of hikers were within the first 1.5 to 2 miles from the bottom. Glad to have been able to check this one out. Looks like it leads in to a nice system of trails throughout the mountain range.
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average hiking speed 2.02 mph
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