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549 triplogs
Apr 18 2021
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Tomahawk Mine TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 18 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking4.59 Miles 569 AEG
Hiking4.59 Miles   2 Hrs      2.30 mph
569 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A cool weather forecast in late April means I had to make my push to get the family out on the trails before the heat imposes the family hiking moratorium over the summer. The Tomahawk Trail (road) that I had done last time gave some nice views and was easy to get to. My daughter was getting her 2nd vaccination shot today at 2pm, so we had to pick something shorter and close by.

We hiked on the main road from the trailhead a mile and a quarter in, where there is a junction with a single track. That section lasts just over a half mile, then hits another mining road. We took that road almost down to the Goldfield mining town tourist trap, then doubled back and took another road over the hill back to the trailhead. On the mining road, at the high point we saw some concrete structures, not sure what their purpose was exactly. Found a horseshoe along the lower section of the road by the Hidden Hillside mines.

On the way back I found another short section of a faint horse trail that went to the road that took us up and over the hill to the trailhead. It was very steep in a few sections, but nothing bad. the views up at the top were really nice. Even hiking the mining roads in this area makes for great scenery.

Saw 2 hikers on their way back in along the main road when we started. Later on we saw a side by side crawling along the rough mining roads. Weather was great. Breezy, cool and sunny. Finished in 2 hours and called it a day.
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Apr 17 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Orme Road to General Crook / SR169 - BCTPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 17 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking13.40 Miles 1,426 AEG
Hiking13.40 Miles   5 Hrs   8 Mns   2.84 mph
1,426 ft AEG      25 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
joebartels
The_Eagle
wallyfrack
With the cool weather forecast for this weekend, Bruce asked if I was interested in the next section of the BCT, the north end terminus. I was planning to continue where I left off from a section south of that, but this fit the bill.

We met Bruce at the north end off of SR169. the turnoff from the road is hard to spot until you're right on top of it, and there is no turning lane. No sign of any official looking trailhead there, or even any BCT markers. Not sure exactly where we saw the last, northernmost marker, it might have been near our lunch spot.

As Joe mentioned, this entire section is various dirt roads. The views are nothing spectacular, but they are pleasant and peaceful. And we didn't see anyone else during the entire hike. The newly built trail from the previous southern section ends at Orme Road. I would imagine at some point these roads which are designated as the official BCT will eventually be replaced by singletrack. I just hope they take it easy with the switchbacks on this section. Walking a quarter mile to gain 30' of elevation seems a bit excessive. :-s

I started out able to keep up with this crew, but as usual, they outpace me after a mile or so. I passed them at Ash Creek when they took a snack break, only to have them pass me again just past my 7 mile mark. We saw a total of 3 pronghorn. the first 2 Wally and Bruce spotted first. By the time Joe and I saw them, they were cruising at an easy 40 mph across the plain. I had no chance at a photo. the 3rd one was on top of a hill and didn't seem as bothered by us, so I got a halfway decent shot of that one.

Had lunch at Sheep Spring after we found the only tree that had a minimum of cow patties under it. We had a nice view of a dead cow in the distance. Bruce and Wally took a closer look at that after lunch. Bruce easily adds one to two extra miles to every hike he does with his side excursions.

Finished up with the actual hike before noon. Surprising considering how far away and how long it was. I had one of my faster overall hiking speeds on this one but I still couldn't keep up with these guys.

Bruce and Joe kept insisting they were done with all of the BCT, and seemed a tad annoyed at my corrections that the loop around Copper Mountain is listed as part of the official trail. Even on HAZ. I have to finish up a section below SR69, but I'll leave that segment for last if they decide to change their minds. :SB:
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Apr 10 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
West Pinto Trail #212 - SuperstitionsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 10 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking11.13 Miles 1,671 AEG
Hiking11.13 Miles   5 Hrs   55 Mns   2.04 mph
1,671 ft AEG      27 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Wally and I went back to finish off the east half of the trail to our leave off point from 3 weeks ago. The last time I hiked this part of the trail was back in 2003 or 2004. My only memory for the most part was hiking along the stream bed for most or all of it. It turns out I wasn't on the actual trail, which is high above the stream for most of the time, only making one or two crossings. Glad I finally got back to check this out again and hike what looks like a trail in the Supes I haven't done yet.

Past Oak Flat is the area I haven't done in over a decade. When it started to ascend, it was clear that some work had been done on the trail recently. The trail ascends and then dips again, making a final crossing of the creek before it climbs. After the stream crossing, the trail hasn't had any work. But it's still very hikeable with really nice views. At the high point of the first ascent, we saw 2 whitetail deer. I was able to get a couple of recognizable pics of them, but nothing great. At the turnaround point, we checked out the ruin there a little bit more to see what was there. Just saw some more sherds mostly. Along the trail there is another ruin east of Oak Flat, a whole lot of sherds were right on the trail there.

About a mile and a half from the trailhead we saw a German shepherd down near the stream, but no hikers with it. I threw it one of my turkey sausages, which it took and then followed us for a bit before losing interest. It looked like it was limping a bit and seemed to lose interest at the rocky part of the trail. Wally talked to someone camping at the trailhead who said it was his dog, but it was a rescue and he thought going after it might make it run more. :-k

Overall, this trail was much nicer than I remember it from a decade and a half ago. I didn't expect it to be too hard, but it was even easier than my lower expectations. The burn in this area actually seem to have benefitted it some from a hiking perspective because my memories from before were of it being rather overgrown and difficult to get through. There was still some vegetation (also some of it's obviously burnt), but the more opened up views are rather nice.
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Apr 03 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Black Mesa - Cave CreekPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 03 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking11.07 Miles 3,282 AEG
Hiking11.07 Miles   7 Hrs   22 Mns   1.53 mph
3,282 ft AEG      8 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This hike is a beast, but I was up for it. I had planned to do this a few weeks earlier, but the recent triplogs made me put it off. This weekend was the one I planned for later. The heat in the forecast had me questioning my decision, but I decided to pack some extra water. I figured between the early start and the higher elevation, the heat wouldn't be an issue. It wasn't, although I did drink a full 180 oz of water during this.

I did this hike the last time in the fall of 2005, actually in September. I remember being so spent when I got to the top that I never hiked across the top of the mesa at all. I think the trail is fainter along the west side on the final push to the top, but I'm not really sure.

Once you get past the turnoff for going over the saddle of Elephant Mountain, that's where the hike starts to get real. You're so much closer to the top, but when you look at it, it still seems a ways away, and it is. And this is where the loose lava rock starts to take over, which makes things worse.

After the junction with the trail that takes you to Rondo Spring, the trails dips a bit before the big climb. There used to be a rock or a sign (or both) at this junction. I didn't see it this time. There is a kind of a gate through the barbed wire fence there. i missed the junction on my way up, but saw it on my way back. There are few level spots west of Black Mesa that give you a chance to catch your breath a bit. Then the final push comes. Just before the last final push, I spotted 3 whitetail deer (who spotted me first) that were taking off up the side of Black Mesa and to the south. It was amazing to see how much elevation they could gain so quickly leaping over the loose rock and thorny vegetation. The cliche of "run like a deer" never seemed more appropriate.

the final push to the top was very steep and the trail is very hard to follow. It seems like there's a second trail that has formed a braid from people perhapsh unknowingly cutting switchbacks. This part of the hike required that you look ahead to see where the trail goes (or switches back), look at the ground at the same time to make sure you don't loose your footing, and also constantly check your GPS (or RouteScout) to see if you're still on track. Numerous steps here involved hitting a loose rock that rolled under my foot.

At the top this time I hiked to the south, originally with the intent of making the loop around the top of the mesa and returning on the faint trail. At the south end of the mesa there are the best views to the east of Skull Mesa and the valley between the 2 mesas. Once I got to the south end of the mesa, I spotted the ridge there down towards the trail. That seemed like a very doable route. the trail up was so steep that I don't think this route was any worse. I think I saved some time for sure this way even though it was slow going at times. the descent at the very top was slow since it was rocky. After that, it got less rocky and less steep, although at times the amount of loose lava rock seemed to increase enough that constant attention had to paid in order to not wipe out.

finally got on the actual trail, which wasn't a whole lot easier to hike downhill than the bushwhack, then back to the park trails, which took less time. Saw a few hikers the closer I got to the parking lot, but not a whole lot. Warm temps seem to be keeping people away. Stark contrast from a year earlier when every park was pack since all the gyms were closed. Felt the heat more at the bottom, which I expected, better than on the way up.

My plantar faciitis did not bother me nearly as much on this hike as it did the last 3. Switched out the orthotics in my hiking boots this time which seems to have made a world of difference. Nice to finish up such a big hike with a minimum of pain during and after, especially in middle age. :D
Flora
Flora
Claret Cup Cactus
_____________________
Mar 28 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Tomahawk Mine TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 28 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking6.63 Miles 607 AEG
Hiking6.63 Miles   3 Hrs   8 Mns   2.12 mph
607 ft AEG
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
After yesterday's hike my foot was bothering me most of the rest of the day with the plantar faciitis acting up. I would normally jog on the canal by my house on a Sunday after sleeping in, but I knew jogging would only make it worse. I decided to only sleep in a little (5am by my old man biorhythms these days) and head out to the Goldfields again. I tried to recruit the family again for this one, but they weren't having anything to do with early wake up times.

I had never hiked from the Tomahawk Mine TH, so I decided to do that for a change. It's basically the other end of FR1356 that starts over near Blue Ridge. I hiked that in to the corner of a loop we did over a month ago and then turned to the east. A dirt road continues on, but soon fades and devolves into a pretty gnarly wash. Great for hiking thru, and apparently it's also used by various motor vehicles. When I started on it, 4 dirt bikers zoomed up past me.

I got to the 3.5 mile mark and had to decide whether I wanted to turn back and go the way I came in, or try to figure out a loop option. Thankfully RS now has the option of the preloaded tracks of official descriptions on HAZ. It turned out I was as the north end of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood Trail. I had actually hiked part of this and part of the wash I was now in over a year ago. I thought some of it looked familiar. Frankie was very narrow and rocky, and there were a lot of ups and downs in and out of the wash, but that was preferable to me rather than an out and back hike. I got back on Tomahawk Mine just over a mile before the trailhead and took that back the rest of the way. Nice quick morning hike in the Goldfields. Nice to have that as a nearby option with so many unexplored areas and almost no people the entire time.
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1 archive
Mar 27 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Big Bug TH to Russian Well - BCTPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 27 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking15.49 Miles 1,723 AEG
Hiking15.49 Miles   6 Hrs   5 Mns   2.74 mph
1,723 ft AEG      26 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
joebartels
The_Eagle
wallyfrack
A few months ago I noticed that Joe and Bruce were also doing sections of the BCT. I offered my services to set up a shuttle when they felt in the mood and Bruce picked this weekend. Got a start sometime after 7am after the dropoff and drive back down to Highway 69. I always get discombobulated on shuttle hikes and forgot my sweatshirt. I did somehow remember to bring the extra one I normally wear under the main one. That helped to keep me comfortable in the 38 degree windy weather for the first few miles.

Lots of grassland with mild grades at first, which soon turned into more rolling hills with pinon pines and scrub brush. I was surprised to see as much catclaw as we did. None of seemed as sticky as what we saw last week in the Supes. I think fire only sharpens catclaw.

South of Russian Well we passed several cattle and calves, I spotted 2 bulls at one point. We had lunch at an old cabin ruin at the well which has a "No Camping" sign on it. North of Russian Well, there is a new section of trail that has been recently built that takes you off the dirt road. It's nice, but it adds a good 2 miles or more during this segment. My plantar faciitis has been acting up again lately, and those extra miles didn't help. The trail ascends a good bit at this point, which probably gave the best views of the day. Looking down into the rolling hills and valleys was nice, and there a few good distant views of the surrounding mountains.

Finished up about 1:30ish, completed the shuttle and headed back home to fight the traffic through central Phoenix. Nice to do a shuttle hike again for the social aspect of it. and the shuttle part wasn't bad at all in terms of extra drive time.
Named place
Named place
Stoddard Mine
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Mar 21 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Goldfield Horse Trails, AZ 
Goldfield Horse Trails, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking4.61 Miles 321 AEG
Hiking4.61 Miles   2 Hrs   2 Mns   2.29 mph
321 ft AEG      1 Min Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was able to round up the family for another Sunday morning hike close to home while the weather is still nice. The kids are teenagers now and have an increasingly low tolerance for pre-8am wake up calls. The bribe of a take out lunch used to be an easy way to make things good, now it's a minimum. Only after a mile or so into the hike do their moods improve.

We started from the ATV trailhead that's east of the Bulldog TH, off of Hackamore Road. Getting to the trailhead along this road is always a little bit of an adventure since it's full of surprisingly deep divots. We started up the main road from the trailhead past the big bowl shaped depression, which Radmila has named "the human sacrifice pit". On our way past that we past what appeared to be somewhat fresh ashes from a bonfire, and a broken bottle of Jack Daniels.

Once we got past the pit (which was only about a quarter mile or so), we reached one of many horse trails in this area. They all have numbers in the 300s, this one is 310. We followed that one, which headed north and then east, then south. At this point there was a junction with another trail that headed east, so we to that one. That went north and looped back to one of the dirt roads. We took that road south back to 310 and back to the junction again and headed south. Further south we encountered more markers with the number 311, 312, and 313. Saw several more junctions without markers. With the amount of trails here, it would be very easy to spend an entire morning meandering about without have to hike on the dirt roads much at all. i made sure we didn't veer too far away from the parking area and once we were over 4 miles, we headed back. The last half mile or so we were one a dirt road. Along that section we paralleled another dirt road on the other side of the forest service rails where there were 2 vehicles. One was a Jeep, the other was a UHaul Chevy Pickup that got stuck in a huge washout in that road. Several bad decisions were made. The 20-somethings involved were trying to solve their problem trying to get the UHaul out. I wasn't sure where to start with the jokes.

Saw one mountain biker the entire time. Not even many ATVers on the dirt roads nearby. Must have been a heavy night a partying that they were all sleeping off. Overall this looks like a nice area to go back to and check out the several horse trails and maybe try piece a map together of what's what.
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Mar 20 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
West Pinto Trail #212 - SuperstitionsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 20 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking9.10 Miles 2,721 AEG
Hiking9.10 Miles   6 Hrs   39 Mns   1.53 mph
2,721 ft AEG      42 Mns Break
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I don't think I've hiked this part of this trail since before my kids were born. It was time to go back. I asked Wally if he was interested and obviously he was. He also graciously agreed to do the driving to the Rogers Trough Th at my request. I needed a break from driving for one week, especially on this road.

Made our way up to the saddle by Iron Mountain and got some good views of to the west with the morning light and the shadows. On the other side of the saddle is where the burned area mostly is. This section of trail has always been kind of loose, I remember sliding off it the last time I hiked it, having the manzanita stop me from sliding further. Now the manzanita is mostly gone, which kind of makes for a better hike in some ways. More scenery and less to bust through. There was one loose section where there's a switchback into the heavy brush which wasn't touched by the fire. I had a little fall there and smacked my knee on a rock. From there it was a small climb to the ridgeline, then the descent into the creek.

The descent down the ridgeline was also through a decimated manzanita area. Can't say I miss that much. The views back at Iron Mountain gave us foreboding of what we had ahead of us for the hike out. Things got steeper the closer we got to the creek. Once we got to the creek, the "trail" heads to the left and follows the creek bed for a mile or so. I noticed later that at this point, if he had went to the right upstream a little bit, there is the Silver Spur Cabin that is shown on the maps. I don't know what this is, or if there is anything left of it. But it wasn't far upstream from where we were. Wish I had known that at the time.

The hike in the creek was crummy. Walking over river rock is not fun. But at least the catclaw made things painful at times to distract us from that. At this point I felt pretty fatigued, not really sure why. the Supes always make for rough hikes, but I just seemed overly tired at times.

We overshot where the trail actually left the creek so we made our way back to it and climbed a small hill. It was there that Wally noticed a severely eroded ruin. We poked through and found a few sherds. At this point we had gone 4.6 miles, and it was a long slog back through the creek bed again and back up the hill. From where we stopped, it looks like the trail stays high up out of the creek bed. Not sure if I've hiked this portion of the trail before. When I did this 16+ years ago from either end, I mostly remember the slog through the creek and across the river rock. At that time I followed my Delorme mapping to make my remedial GPS routes, as opposed to what we have available to us know on HAZ. I'll have to make a note to check that from the Miles TH end before things get to overgrown.

The hike back up the hill wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be. We stopped and had lunch just before the big ascent, so i think that helped. Getting some rest and food gives you the energy you need to get it done. I took my sweatshirt off for the hike for the first time since before October. The breezes picked up the closer we got to the saddle, which helped cool us off and not use too much water.

On the way down from the saddle to the TH I saw a junction for another trail below Iron Mountain. Not sure where that went exactly, but i marked it on my RS.

Got done by 1:30 and made the bumpy ride down 172, pavement never felt so good.
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Mar 13 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Bluff Spring Mountain SummitPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 13 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking13.11 Miles 3,075 AEG
Hiking13.11 Miles   7 Hrs   22 Mns   1.83 mph
3,075 ft AEG      12 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
I was originally planning to hike another section of the BCT, but with the weather forecast, I decided to stay off I-17. I heard 3rd hand that there were some traffic issues that day, so it looks like I made the right decision. the Supes have been my go to backup hike for bad weather, so I decided to try the Ely Anderson Trail, which I hiked probably close to 15 years ago.

Got to the Peralta TH after 6am, to a lot that was already half full. Headed up Cardiac Hill to do the Miner's loop counterclockwise. The clouds and low cloud ceiling made for some dramatic views at times, and just a lot of haze at other times. Getting good pictures was hit and miss with the subdued lighting. Still managed to get some nice shots. I've been starting my winter hikes this year with my gloves on, which I normally take off after a mere 20 minutes. Today I would keep them on for most of the hike.

Started heading up Ely Anderson and almost immediately had the idea to bail on that portion of the hike since it was obvious that it was very faint and hard to follow. I almost immediately was off track. Once I got on the trail, it was easy enough to follow, but not so much easier than bushwhacking on the hillside that has most of the vegetation burnt away.

About half way up the wind picked up and a graupel squall hit. It immediately started to accumulate. I was worried about traction and slipping with the bare rock section I was hiking on, but thankfully that wasn't an issue. It almost as quickly started to melt as the temps weren't quite that cold to keep the snow there.

by the time I got to the top, I was fully in the clouds. Visibilty was hampered not only by that, but by my glasses fogging up as well. the last time I dealt with these kinds of conditions was in Serbia 3 years ago on Suva Planina. I could make out a hazy horizon at times, so I would hike to what looked like the high point. Then I would check my GPS track and find I had wondered off track substantially. I zig zagged my way back and forth on and off track like Mr. Magoo until I finally got to the peak. My Magoo imitation was complete with me muttering to myself at going the wrong way all the time. Found a game camera mounted on some kind of stake. the amount of deer scat up there was crazy. I can see how the miners and ranchers used this area for grazing. Still didn't see any actual deer, though. At one point the wind picked up and it was cold enough for my fingers to feel numb, a rarity in the western Supes. I was wearing an extra sweatshirt that I earlier had second thoughts about, but at this point I was glad I had it. Once I got to the top, the clouds were still in full force.

The way down was much easier in terms of keeping on track. Looking down at where you're heading makes things easier to navigate. I still had to stop a few times to check the track, but i was able to know when to do that and stay on track rather than check after I was 1000' off track. Once I got back on the Ely Anderson, I looked back and saw that the clouds had cleared the peak and Weaver's Needle. Murphy's Law was in full force.

Got back on the main trail and finished the Miner's Loop back to Peralta TH. Traffic wasn't too bad. the clouds started to clear a little towards the end, but not too much. Just enough to create dramatic scenery with wispy fog and spotty sunlight on the hillsides.
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Mar 07 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Eagles Nest to Hesperus Wash, AZ 
Eagles Nest to Hesperus Wash, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 07 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking6.28 Miles 499 AEG
Hiking6.28 Miles   2 Hrs   25 Mns   2.62 mph
499 ft AEG      1 Min Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Took the family up to Fountain Hills for a quick Sunday morning hike on a trail I discovered on previous excursions. We started from the Eagles Nest Trailhead at the end of Golden Eagle Blvd. After the walk through the subdivision to the trail, after only 100' or so along the Dixie Mine Trail, there is a trail to the right that heads down into the ravine. I found this last November during my hike back down from Thompson Peak. We took that trail through the ravine and wash, up over the ridge and down into Hesperus Wash. I've hiked the section of that trail from that junction northwest up to where it junctions with the jeep road just below the Dixie Mine. This time we headed southeast to where it ends at the dam just north of Aspen Drive in Fountain Hills.

We didn't see anyone on the connecting trail from the Dixie Mine to the wash trail, but then on the wash trail there were alot of hikers. At the south end were the most. It looks like a lot of residents make their way down to there for morning hikes and to walk their dogs. I think one couple parked somewhere off of Aspen Drive and took a spur trail into the wash trail.

I spotted an owl's nest in one saguaro on our way in. Surprised to see an owl sitting in there. On the way out one of the other everyday hikers told us that there are bones all over the ground around that saguaro from various meal times.

The connecting trail has some ups and downs and is a little rocky in sections. the wash trail is very smooth and has a very even grade, feels almost level.

We made very good time, hiking nearly 3 mph. Ended with enough time to get a to go lunch orde from DJs Bagel Cafe on our way home.
Fauna
Fauna
Great Horned Owl
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Mar 06 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
China Wall Trail w/Bronco Creek #287Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 06 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking12.51 Miles 2,384 AEG
Hiking12.51 Miles   6 Hrs   5 Mns   2.07 mph
2,384 ft AEG      3 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Brian had a good description of the trail in his triplog. After 245 to the corral, it's very easy to follow. From the corral for a half mile to the wash its a bushwhack, but you just follow the fence and the path of least resistance. Then you follow the wash and head to your right towards the end of it, to the north slopes. We headed to the left because I was following the track I downloaded and missed the turn off to the right. Once we got to some serious thick brush, I decided to check the track and saw we were way off.

After the route up the hill to the China Wall is cairned for the most part. The trail is mostly not there, but then visible at times. Most of the time we kept getting off track and off the trail. For most of the hike past the corral I had to keep checking the route to make sure we hadn't veered off, which it seemed like we did constantly.

Brian and I were both on somewhat tight schedules with errands planned later in the day. As we reached the China Wall, we kept ascending on the hill. I wanted to get to the next saddle/summit, and then turn around, but it seemed like it was a series of false summits. Finally we got to the high point, and it was a very nice payoff. The official track continued about another half mile or so, but that all went downhill. We had enough of a bushwhack back, so we decided against that. When I checked the track against a satellite background, there was a visible trail as some sections, but it was on the other side of the wall from where we were. If we had tried to follow, we likely would have been bushwhacking for quite a bit.

Brian ran ahead of me on the way back because he was on a tighter schedule, then promptly veered too far to the right downhill into the ravine and on the wrong side of a hill. After hiking over a mile and a half on the way back, I could see him not too far away trying to find his way. I yelled to him and pointed the way for him to go. He seemed to have already have it figured out by then. The last glimpse of him I got was just before I entered the wash before the corral, which he had passed on his way out.

The weather was very cool and windy the entire time. On the way back home I noticed the difference in temperature as the elevations got lower. Saw no other hikers, bikers, horseriders, etc, for the entire hike. I was rather surprised by that given this time of year. This seems like a pretty popular area normally. Conditions also seemed pretty dry. the big tank off of 245 on the way in was a big grass bed.
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Feb 27 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Hawes Trail #52 - HawesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 27 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking9.95 Miles 1,486 AEG
Hiking9.95 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.23 mph
1,486 ft AEG      2 Mns Break
 
I had some errands to run today, so I picked hiking at the closest trails to my house. I picked a route to hike sections of trail that I hadn't hike in well over 10 years.

I started a figure 8 circuit with the Mineshaft Trail from the parking area east of Granite Reef on the Bush Highway. At the top there, I took the Saguaro Trail all the way down to the Hawes Trail and headed east again. There is a little unofficial trail that goes to the top of Peak 1970. It's pretty steep and loose towards the top, so I decided to bushwhack my way down. Looks like there were signs that others had done the same, the route was pretty easy to walk, not too loose, steep, or overgrown anywhere. at the end of the Hawes I took the Saddle Trail north, then cut to the west on the Upper Ridge and Ridge Trails, and back on the Granite with where I started. At that point I had only done 8 miles, so I went out and back on the Riverview Trail to get my mileage up to 10. The riverview trail has so much ups and downs on it, it's more work than it seems at first.

Looking forward to the new trails they'll be adding this area in the coming year or so.
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1 archive
Feb 20 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Bumble Bee to Government Spring - BCTPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 20 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking13.13 Miles 806 AEG
Hiking13.13 Miles   5 Hrs   4 Mns   2.61 mph
806 ft AEG      2 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Went back and did the next section of the BCT. I started at the Hidden Treasure TH and hiked southbound to where I left off 2 weeks ago at a mining road. This particular segment runs east along the side of Bland Hill, which is very aptly named. Being along the lower part of the hill and right next to it obscured the nicer views of the Castle Creek Wilderness just beyond. It was a very smooth and mostly level trail. At times the road of the 18 wheelers could be heard from the highway.

I noticed that at about 4 miles south of the Hidden Treasure TH, the saguaro line seems to be evident. I remember saguaros all the way up on previous sections, and on my way back on this segment I noticed that they seemed to suddenly be gone as the trail gained elevation.

Once I got back to the TH, I had only done 9 miles, so I hiked northbound on the next segment for another mile and a half and turned around. This segment gains elevation and gives way better views to the west and even to the north and south. the climb was gradual, so it seemed easier than most hikes where I've gotten past the 11 mile mark.

Saw only bikers and no other hikers. Also saw some hunters.
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Feb 14 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Packsaddle TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 14 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking5.51 Miles 498 AEG
Hiking5.51 Miles   2 Hrs   25 Mns   2.28 mph
498 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Took the family out for another Sunday morning adventure. Even before the hike, we noticed clouds at the top of Four Peaks and a dusting of snow from the night before. We went back to the trailhead at the end of Hackamore Road and headed north on the road we took last time to where I saw a trail that we didn't take. Just north of the trailhead along the road is a big crater, almost like an amphitheater that the ATVers and 4 wheelers obviously use.

We got to that trail, which continued north. I didn't know what this trail would do, so I didn't really have a full plan of how to proceed with the hike. It turns out the trail just continues north to FR1356 and ends there. We decided to head east on 1356, and then take 3512 south back to the car. This gave us a loop of about 5.5 miles.

the scenery along 1356 was really great. Three Lesser Peaks is very prominent and at times you can get peeks to the northeast. Saw a few ATVers, which were other families spending their Sunday morning on the roads. Finished up making decent time. The skies were hazy at the start, but everything soon cleared up and made for some really great scenery.
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Feb 13 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Dome MountainPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 13 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking7.01 Miles 1,701 AEG
Hiking7.01 Miles   5 Hrs   2 Mns   1.59 mph
1,701 ft AEG      38 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
@adilling assured me that there was a full, actual trail all the way to the top of this mountain. I checked the descriptions and noticed that no one has done a full one yet for this hike, and that there was Dome Mountain, and Dome Mountain Loop. The hike just to the summit was only 6 miles, and the loop was closer to 10. The loop had a bushwhack, but that looked like it's downhill to the road. I decided to try the loop.

I followed the dirt road in until its endpoint. a little before that, I saw a cairn and a trail. RS has a track at that point that's the Three Lesser Peaks. I headed on following the track I downloaded. At the end of the road, the track headed to the left (west) and into a ravine. The trail seemed faint, but it looked like something was there. That soon faded into nothing. I kept expecting to find a trail or some of the infamous spray paint markings. As I got higher, the terrain only got steeper and the footing looser. If it wasn't scree, it was soil and vegetation. I could see I was just below the saddle between the two peaks. I was completely in the mood to bail a few times, but being so close to the top is the only thing that kept me going. Near the saddle, I could hear voices of hikers across the ravine, but couldn't spot them.

after the saddle, there is a almost a trail. It's very faint, more of a route, but very well cairned. Also very rocky. As I got closer to the top, I could hear the hikers again, but still couldn't see them. I got to the summit just after they did. It was three ladies. They seemed surprised that anyone else was out that far, and wanted to know which way I took to the top. It turns out they took the actual trail to the top, which is the way Andy took 2 weeks ago. He wasn't lying after all. His route is now the official route for this hike, which is an actual full trail, and not the bushwhack monstrosity that I took.

After talking for a few minutes to the ladies at the summit, I headed down the proper route, which was way more enjoyable than the way I took up. I was so relieved to not have to renegotiate the steep slopes and loose scree on the way down. I was never happier to see spray paint before along the trail. I had hoped to bag the other peak up there, which didn't look like much of a bushwhack, but it took to much time going up the way I did.

the skies were cloudy all morning, not giving great lighting for any decent pics. It felt noticeably colder up top than down below. The scenery on the trail portion of my hike was also much nicer than bushwhack portion. Got less mileage, but worked harder for it.
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1 archive
Feb 06 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Crown King Rd to Bumble Bee on BCTPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 06 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking13.23 Miles 1,351 AEG
Hiking13.23 Miles   5 Hrs   4 Mns   2.61 mph
1,351 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Got on the trail about 6:45am. It was very windy and chilly when I got out of the car. Used my headlamp for the first 15 minutes or so, but didn't really need it. Most of this all the way up to where it meets FR59 again is in and out drainages. Grade is fairly level, but downhill gradually as you head north. I didn't notice this grade trend until I was on my way back. From FR59, I kept going north another 1.5 miles approximately, to where it crossed another minor dirt road.

On the descent to FR59 in the last segment and for all of next segment that I hiked, the trail was much smoother and less rocky than most of what I've so far. Helped me to make better than normal time along this segment and get a few more miles in on the next segment. Very enjoyable, and nice scenery. The trail also gets away from the main road and all the 4x4 and ATV traffic, making it more peaceful.

Saw one group of hikers, and few trail runners and bikers along the way, not too much traffic. Very quiet in the morning, but on the way back, lots of traffic on the roads below. Some snow was visibile at the higher elevations. Looks very inviting to take a ride up in there eventually to do some more exploration in the Prescott area and get amongst the pines and forest.
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Jan 31 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
High Ridge LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 31 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking5.36 Miles 883 AEG
Hiking5.36 Miles   2 Hrs   29 Mns   2.26 mph
883 ft AEG      7 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Took the family back to this area again for another quick Sunday morning hike taking advantage of the cooler weather. Decided to check out the High Ridge Trail this time. Last week with the rain, there wasn't a whole lot of traffic on the trails. This week with clear skies and dry ground it was a different story.

We started from the same TH as last week, heading up Alpe d'Huez. At the junction of the High Ridge Trail, I decided to take that trail up hill, making a clockwise loop. Once we got about a quarter mile in, one biker who was headed up the Alpe d'Huez was yelling over at us warning us that bikers would be coming down this trail very fast. I expected and knew this, as there is a sign at the junction advising caution. Then he went so far to tell us that we were hiking in the wrong direction, which I took exception with, declining to respond from a distance. The sign at the junction does recommend to bike only downhill on High Ridge, which makes perfect sense. The trail is so steep and loose in sections that biking up is pretty much impossible. and getting off the trail with a bike quickly while other bikers are screaming downhill is also not going to happen. For hikers, though, it's a different story. Not only can we get off the trail quickly, but by hiking uphill, we can see the bikers coming and have enough time to get off the trail. Hiking downhill on this trail makes getting off the trail in time less likely. I kept an eye out and, in fact, we did have some bikers coming downhill. I was able to spot them in time and told my family to clear the trail and wait, which they were more than happy to do, taking the opportunity for a breather on this trail. No one said anything to us as they passed, other than to thank us for yielding.

Once we got past the switchback section of High Ridge, which poses the greatest risk for traffic conflict, we made our way along the more level section of the trail over to Alpe d'Huez. At the junction there, we decided to once again hike down Iron Goat and Cactus Nectar rather than down Alpe d'Huez again. the views weren't as dramatic as a week ago, but it was still very nice clear blue skies and snow capped mountains in the distance.

Got back to a very packed trailhead and cars parked along Usery Road. this area looks like it's used a lot more by bikers than hikers, but it is still shared used, with several ATVers mixed in at the TH heading over on FR3554. The new trails are currently being built by the Hawes Trail Alliance, which is a group of hikers, bikers and trail runners who have got an approved master plan and an organized group of volunteers who are doing a great job building the trails. i checked out their Facebook page and saw a few more trails on the master plan that have been built. Looks like more local exploring to do in the coming Sundays until the heat lurches in for the summer.
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Jan 30 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Usery Spur - Maricopa TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 30 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking9.10 Miles 1,626 AEG
Hiking9.10 Miles   4 Hrs   22 Mns   2.09 mph
1,626 ft AEG      1 Min Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I decided to stick close to home again with the rain Friday night. Not sure how it might affect the highways heading north. I saw the Usery Spur trail that heads out to Usery Road from the MT spur from the Pass Mountain Trail and decided to make a point of hiking that along with MT and parts of the Pass Mountain Trail.

Started at 6:20am in the dark, but with the full(ish) moon, I never needed a headlamp. I started from the Bulldog TH along Usery Road and headed south on the MT, then did an out and back on the Usery Spur. I followed what looked like an obvious trail and found myself off track after a bit. I followed the wash back to the track, which then seemed to mostly follow another wash after a bit. On the way back I stayed on track.

Got to the Pass Mountain Trail and hiked clockwise over to the pass on the east side of the mountain and headed back. The views to the north and east were spectacular with all the fog lying in the valley and rolling up over the saddles and passes. At the pass I turned around and headed back to the MT.

At the junction of the Pass Mountain Trail and where the MT spur heads north, I took the trail that heads south and east up to the top of Pass Mountain. I stopped short of getting to the top since it was starting to get a little late and I knew that the trail would eventually give way to the route finding of the ridgeline. That seems like another hike to another day from inside the park.

Made my way back down the faint trail and back to the car, negotiating of dicey sections of steep and loose scree. Saw a family with small kids and a dog making their way up which was a bit surprising.

The weather was very cool, but still warm when heading uphill into the sun. Once I was hiking downhill with the sun on my back, it felt very cool again very quickly.
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Jan 24 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
High Ridge LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 24 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking5.05 Miles 888 AEG
Hiking5.05 Miles   2 Hrs   20 Mns   2.23 mph
888 ft AEG      4 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I saw @adenium 's track posted over a week ago and it looked like a great hike to take the family out on. Close by, not too short, and enough AEG for a good workout. The weather forecasters were promising for realsies this time that we would get rain. I awoke at 5am to dry ground outside and by 5:30, started to get up and get things ready. By just after 7am, the rain started to come down at our house, but only lasted a few minutes. I was able to convince them to go thru with the hike before the next wave of rain hit.

We started from the Lone Mt. TH off of Usery Road and headed up the Alp D'Huez trail. It's been rerouted in spots to eliminate the overly steep and loose sections. A crew of trail builders passed us on the way up with their equipment. I think they said they were going to work on the High Ridge Trail, which according to the signs we saw looks like it's been recently opened.

At the start, the clouds were low over the mountains and it looked like it might rain. It did start to rain a little bit, at which point Radmila made the kids put on their ponchos. After we climbed up another mile and a half and 500+ feet in no rain, they took them off.

As we got to the Iron Goat Trail, the sun hit us, lighting up the area around us, and giving some greats views of the clouds rolling by nearby and up north. All the clouds we saw in this area when we started were gone. We got a glimpse over towards Four Peaks and saw some snow on the ridgelines over there. Saw a rainbow down north of the Salt River for a little bit.

As we descended on the Iron Goat Trail, the rain really did hit for a little while, but it wasn't too bad. We made it up to the one peak, and then made our way further down on the Cactus Nectar Trail. By the time we got to the bottom, the sun was out again. the clouds at the top returned now that we were back down.

Fantastic hike with some really amazing scenery from the crazy weather. Nice to hike new trails close to home and be done before lunch. On the ride home southbound on Usery Road a downpour hit us. Looks like timed everything perfectly.
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11 archives
Jan 23 2021
DarthStiller
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 Guides 25
 Routes 352
 Photos 7,341
 Triplogs 549

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Massacre FallsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 23 2021
DarthStiller
Hiking7.53 Miles 1,865 AEG
Hiking7.53 Miles   4 Hrs   57 Mns   1.55 mph
1,865 ft AEG      5 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I originally decided to do this on Wednesday because of all the rain that was predicted all week and into the weekend. As I write this on Saturday night, still no appreciable rain. I didn't feel like deciding on something different, so I stuck to my plan. Interestingly, the last time I hiked up this area was 10 years, 364 days ago (RIP John Scott). I had no idea until I checked my old triplog. Another benefit of regularly logging hikes on HAZ.

Got started about 6:30am in the dark from the Crosscut TH. I had a bit of trouble finding my trail at first, but soon enough was on track. I hiked the unmarked trail northeast of LDSP that fades away east of Praying Hands. I did this trail about 9 years ago with the family, when the kids were much smaller. I think they had an easier time that day than they would now, but that's another story.

When I got up to where we were 9 years ago, I headed up to the saddle and then took the trail over to Praying Hands, and then down to the top of the Treasure Loop in LDSP. After that, I headed back on the same trail to the first saddle. There is an actual trail that heads from this point over to the Massacre Grounds, but at the saddle I saw another trail heading down towards the wash below. I could see the trail continue past the wash, so I decided to chance. Turned out the trail fades away fast and the rest is a cairned route down the trail. Getting through the wash was tricky, but after that it was easy, especially with most of the vegetation burned away.

Once I got on the main trail to the Massacre Grounds, the foot traffic increased greatly. Got up to the top and took the obligatory pics peering over the edge, then headed back to the Crosscut TH. The falls didn't have any real flow as expected, so I skipped that. Took a trail from the main MG trail over towards the Crosscut TH that I had never hiked before. Not sure if that was there before or if it's a new addition. It made it nice to complete the loop without having to hike on the dirt road.

No rain, but very ominous looking sky all day. Low ceiling of clouds over Superstition Mountain made for a spooky look peering at the hoodoos through the fog. Hiked slower than usual with the rocky trails and some route finding, but got nearly 2K AEG, so it was a decent hike.
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average hiking speed 2.17 mph
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