username
X
password
register help
GuidesRoutes
 
Photosets
LabelsComments
triplogs photosets comments more
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 22  Next
438 triplogs

Oct 13 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Thunderbird Conservation ParkPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 13 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.50 Miles 1,257 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles   3 Hrs   55 Mns   2.17 mph
1,257 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I hadn't been out to this area in well over 14 years or more, so it seemed like a good time to go back. Hiking these trails was like doing them for the first time again, I can barely remember them from before. I hiked the one spur at the top of the east hill that isn't on the map. Saw a fire off to the east a bit which made a lot of smoke that hung in the air and drifted through the valley. It was interesting to see the surrounding mountains from a different perspective and try to pick them out.

I was intending to get a little more mileage in, but the rocky trails tended to slow me down some. I think I hiked uphill faster than I did on several level and downhill sections.
_____________________
Oct 12 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Lynx Recreation Trail #311 - Lake LoopPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 12 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking4.70 Miles 556 AEG
Hiking4.70 Miles   1 Hour   52 Mns   2.52 mph
556 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Radmila wanted to take a trip up north to see some fall color and get away for the weekend after the kids' fall break. I know she likes lakes and water, so I suggested Lynx Lake. I had been wanting to check this area out for a long time and I'm glad I finally got a chance to do it.

We left a little earlier than they're used to, but with the limited parking in this area, it seemed like a good idea. the parking wasn't actually too bad, but when we started there weren't too many people and by the time we were done, there were quite a few more.

the fall color was a somewhat limited, mostly shades of yellow and a bit of orange here and there. Still nice to see something, however. My weather app said it was 44 when we started, but it felt like a lot warmer than that. When we finished and had lunch in the shade, it did seem cooler.

we hiked counter clockwise around the lake, starting from the north shore. By the time we got back to the north end again, we decided to take the Johns Tank Trail out and back for a bit to add some mileage, and get away from the loud family hiking behind us whose kids where throwing rocks into the lake while singing/chanting kids' songs.

I stopped on the Johns Tank Trail just a little bit before its terminus. I didn't have a map so I didn't know it junctioned with Salida Gulch just another 0.1 mile or so ahead. that 0.1 mile was down a rather steep hill, and going down just to come back up didn't seem like much of an idea anyway.

Got back and had lunch at the picnic area and headed back to Phoenix. I-17 NB was backed up for several miles from the dreaded Black Canyon Devil's Corkscrew. Not sure if maybe there was an accident. Glad we started early.
_____________________
Oct 05 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Warrior TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 05 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,596 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.00 mph
1,596 ft AEG
 
1st trip
This is the last area of South Mountain where I haven't hiked some trails, or haven't recorded them on my GPS. When I got there, I found out that there are a lot more trails that have been added.

I got to the 19th Ave TH just before 6:30am and got the last spot available. 3 cars were taking up 5 spaces, making a tight parking situation even worse. I started up the Warrior Trail, which is now labeled as the T-Bone Loop Trail with temporary markers. On my way up the ridge, I noticed the lower trail that heads west. This looks to be the trail that Ted and I did last may from the San Juan TH that wasn't finished. From what I could tell by looking how far it went and where my GPS track ended last May, it may be completed now.

Once the Warrior Trail got up to the ridgeline, the T-Bone Loop headed east and the Warrior Trail continued west towards the Alta Trail. The Warrior Trail was noticeably fainter than the T-Bone Loop. I headed west towards the Alta, and then headed down towards the other side. then I took the Bajada Trail over to the Ranger, and hiked some of the lower portion of that along the flat area. Then I took the Los Lomitas Loop around and headed back towards the TH. The lower portion of the T-Bone Trial looks like it's been re-routed. The one section that I intended to take back, which I hiked several years ago, has now been dug up to prevent foot traffic. I headed over towards the parking lot and hopped the wall once I saw the trail continue below. along this area I also noticed a lot of other trails, many of which look unofficial.

Ended up hiking a bit slower than I would have liked. The initial climb helped with that, but then the ups and downs and rockiness slowed me down a bit as well. Looking forward to going back to hike more of these trails, if I can get there before the parking spaces have been taken.
_____________________
Sep 28 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Happy Jack - AZT #28Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 28 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking14.40 Miles 1,108 AEG
Hiking14.40 Miles   6 Hrs      2.40 mph
1,108 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The ride in was a bigger adventure than the actual hike. I talked my buddy Ted into joining me on this one. Once I mentioned cooler weather, level hike and pines, he was all in.

My intent was to drive in to Gonzalez Tank where the AZT intersects FR93 and hike southbound to where I left off last month. Once FR93 takes a sharp right turn from the main graded road, things changed. The road is very rocky, and the recent rains this week made it even dicier to drive with the huge puddles and mud bogs. Adding to this was the fact that my tires are over 4 years old and getting thin on the tread on the rear ones. The last 2-3 miles was very slow going. Google Maps said we were 0.3 miles from the waypoint I dropped when I decided that was enough and we could walk to the trail. We walked over a quarter mile and weren't halfway to the trail, so we bushwhacked across a meadow and thru some pines to the trail, which was just another jeep road.

The whole hike was just hiking along various jeep roads, which I didn't mind at all. They were still pretty faint roads, and I was happy to be taking a nice leisurely walk thru the pines in some cooler weather. Early on we saw a herd of elk running thru the trees, but they were too far away and moving too fast to even try to get any pictures. The only other wildlife we saw was a tarantula towards the end of the hike.

Once we got back to where we would turn back to the car, I talked Ted into hiking a little further north on the AZT until it junctioned with another jeep road that took us back to the car. This turned an 11+ mile hike into a 14+ mile hike. I was very satisfied to do this, Ted not as much. the only single track section of the trail on this hike was on this part of the hike where it connected 2 jeep roads. It started nice and level and then descended. Pretty soon the trail got faint and very rocky. The lava rock is very prevalent throughout this passage of the AZT. The oddest part was where the trail crossed a barbed wire fence and there was no gate. There was a section where the barbed wire was replaced with regular wire, allowing us to climb over the fence. The fence was taut enough to support our weight as we did this, which was surprising. Looks like the maintenance on this passage hasn't gotten this far north for the nice heavy duty swing gates with the slide bolt locks.

We got back to the car and got back home without incident. Getting back on the pavement felt just as good as finally sitting down once we were done hiking.
_____________________
Sep 21 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Lone Mountain 2809 - E J PeakPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 21 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking9.00 Miles 1,110 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   4 Hrs   50 Mns   1.86 mph
1,110 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Last Memorial Day weekend I took the kids out to EJ Peak and was also wanting to hike the loop around the mountain. The loop portion of it turned out to be too much for the kids due to how rugged the trail actually is. I had been wanting to go back and finish this, but I wanted to wait until the heat died down a little. This turned out to the first weekend of reasonable weather.

The east side of the loop is the most rugged, with a lot of ups and downs through the drainages down the mountain. This area took me the longest to hike and at one point I lost the trail and had to get back on it. There was group of horse riders that were also hiking the loop, which I really found surprising. This trail is really steep and loose in a lot of sections, which I thought would be kind of dangerous for horses. On the east side I where I also found what was left of a Gila monster skeleton/remains.

After I finished the loop, I decided to hike the section of the Maricopa Trail that follows the road there. It really isn't much to hike, and the traffic doesn't make things any better. But I needed to get some mileage in and it's listed as part of the official MT, so whatever. Once I did that, I took the mountain bike trails back until I got to the wash that leads back to the trailhead.

As I was hiking the wash back, I looked down just in time to see that I was about to step on a rattlesnake that was curled up in the gravel and shade, taking a nap. He was very docile (probably sleepy) and never buzzed. I stopped and got some obligatory pictures. While I was doing that, I heard some people who were hiking their way up the wash. There were kids' voices, so it was a family. I took my time taking the pictures and looked down the wash to see how close they were. When I turned my head back to look at the snake, I lost it already. It blended in perfectly with the gravel, which is why I almost stepped on it. When I got to the family, I told them about the snake and to be careful, since it was right in the middle of the wash. The dad told his kids "I told you guys we would see something cool!", and then asked me if I could point where it was. I started to point at the tree it was next to, then I just told them to follow me since they weren't going to see it.

As we approached the spot, the dad started to pass me, and I told him to hold up. I pointed out where it was, and his demeanor changed to a bit more somber as he said, "You were right, we would not have seen that. Wow." I told them to have a nice day and let them get their pictures.
_____________________
Sep 14 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Palo Verde Trail #512Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 14 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.20 Miles 1,007 AEG
Hiking8.20 Miles   4 Hrs   32 Mns   1.81 mph
1,007 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I decided to go back and finish off the Palo Verde Trail from when I did part of it with my family last March. Got to hike with Larry and Rowdy for the first time on this hike. The lake was noticeably lower and the water noticeably clearer than it was 6 months ago. Still nice to have a little change of scenery and hike near the water.

The clouds were out early making for nice hiking. by the end, they left and sun and humidity started to kick in. About a mile and a half in, we saw a rattlesnake. It started buzzing right when I walked past him. Larry made sure Rowdy got past it without getting too close. We tried to get some pictures, but between being in the grass, constant buzzing and moving away, we didn't get much of a shot.

Saw a few hawks, and an owl. They were all flying away by the time we were able to get any pictures. also saw quite a few cardinals on this hike.

On the way back, we took the shortcut trail, which is in my track. I was hoping to go back to the Jojoba Trail and hike a spur of that once I got back to the trailhead, but by the time I got back, it was getting late and I was spent. the ups and downs on this trail, combined with the humidity, made for some slow going. About half way back, Larry said he and Rowdy were going to take a break and I could keep going. I made sure they were both still ok, and then headed back.

Didn't see any other hikers the entire time. The lake was busy with boaters and fishers along the shoreline. Lots of family on the beaches having picnics. Nice to meet Larry and Rowdy for this hike.
_____________________
Sep 08 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Peak 2429 - Phoenix PreservesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 08 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.50 Miles 1,668 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles   4 Hrs   41 Mns   1.81 mph
1,668 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I had something else going on Saturday, so I went back to a Sunday hike. The Steeler game is the late game, so I had time to get an early hike in.

I wanted to hike most of Trail 100. I was thinking at first to hike from the small TH off of Tatum Blvd, but when I saw it only has 5 spaces, I thought there was a slim chance there would be any left by the time I got there this time of year. I decided instead to start at Dreamy Draw and head east. When I got to the junction for Dixie Peak, I noticed that the side with the trail on it was still mostly in the shade, so I decided to go for it. It wasn't too hot, but incredibly humid. By the time I got to the peak, even my pants were drenched. There were a few more trails up there that looked interesting to check out, but with the weather, I wasn't up for it.

once I got down off the peak, I was still thinking to try to hike the rest of Trail 100, but I figured by the time I would have finished, it would have been almost noon. There were some breezes and it was a little cooler, but I had enough.

On the way out from Dreamy Draw, I follow the HAZ official track for Trail 100. On the way back, I followed the actual signs in the park. The routes are not the same.

Surprised to still see a lot of hikers out by the time I finished, nearly 11am.
_____________________
Aug 31 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Horseshoe Trail - Estrella Mtn RPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 31 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.90 Miles 961 AEG
Hiking8.90 Miles   3 Hrs   50 Mns   2.32 mph
961 ft AEG
 
1st trip
I wanted to make another trip out to the Estrella park to finish recording the trails there. I hadn't ever hike the newly built Gila and Horseshoe Trails, and there was a section of the Dysart Trail I hadn't hiked recently. Got all those done and recorded on my GPS. Nothing interesting to note. Saw more hikers than bikers overall, which was unusual. After 9am, didn't see anyone. The southern spur on the Gila Trail loop is noted as part of the Gila Trail according to the signage in the park. Finished about 10:30am. Weather was more humid than hot, but it was still hot. Breezes helped a lot, but they were few and far between. Surprised that I almost got 1000' AEG.
_____________________
Aug 24 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Happy Jack - AZT #28Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 24 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking16.80 Miles 1,382 AEG
Hiking16.80 Miles   6 Hrs   55 Mns   2.43 mph
1,382 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
wallyfrack
I was in the mood to do another hike out of the summer heat of Phoenix. The monsoon has been dying down a bit, so this section of the AZT seemed like a good bet as the weather forecast wasn't predicting much in the way of storms. The trail profile looked mostly level and through the ponderosa pines, so that seemed to be the ticket.

Wally and I started just before 7:30am. The weather was cool, and there was plenty of shade with the sun still low on the horizon. I quickly found out that my batteries had died for my camera, so I would be using the phone camera again. ](*,)

The first 5 miles of this segment of the trail heading north is fantastic. Mostly level, easy to hike, and shady. Very peaceful with a few breezes. We made very good time, barely 2 hours. Then at the 5 mile mark, the trail becomes very rocky and it's slower going. It's hard on the feet, and hard to get a good footing sometimes. At a certain point the trail just follows and old jeep road, but it was still harder to walk on than the first section we hiked.

After 8 miles in, we decided to have lunch and call it a day and head back. The rocky section on the way back seemed a little easier after a rest, but still a pain to deal with. Then I looked up and saw Wally walking briskly back on the trail towards me. "We missed a turn. Is there a shortcut?" I looked at my GPS and verified that the last half mile we hiked was in fact not on the AZT. Not sure where we missed or what we were hiking in the meantime. The quickest way to the trail was to head directly south, which meant up a slight hill. Strangely enough, this "bushwhack" was easier to hike than the 3 mile rocky section of the AZT we had just completed. when we found the AZT again, we were happy to be on the quickest track back to the car, but not so happy about the short section of rocks to deal with. Our mistake added an extra 0.8 miles to our hike.

Nearly 3 miles out, I killed my Camelbak bladder. I have 2 more bottles of Gatorade in my pack, but with the weather still somewhat cool compared to Phoenix and an easy grade to hike, I decided to push through the rest of the hike rather than stop to pull out the bottles. By the time I was back to the car, I was spent. I felt like I needed to take a nap, very weak and thirsty. I took my time changing my shirt and shoes, and got an ibuprofen, liquids, and caffeine in my bloodstream. About a half hour later, I was feeling much better with the AC cooling things down and having some well earned rest.

From where we stopped, it looks like it's possible to drive in on FR93 from Lake Mary Road and pick up where we left off. Looks like a long drive to do that, but no rush on when I might plan that. Nice to be up in the high country in mostly cooler weather.
_____________________
Aug 17 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Esplanade Trail - Sonoran Preserve NorthPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 17 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking11.60 Miles 425 AEG
Hiking11.60 Miles   4 Hrs   9 Mns   2.80 mph
425 ft AEG
 
1st trip
The goals for this hike was to finish off a small section of what I think is the Sidewinder Trail (about a half mile) that I never did in my hikes up here 3 years ago. I also wanted to hike up to where I had stopped last Memorial Day weekend when I hiked the Flume Trail in the Cave Creek Recreational Area without know how close I was to this trail system. Got both of those accomplished.

Most of the trails here are very flat, so I made pretty good time. The weather never got all that hot, but I was done before 11am. Saw some hikers at the beginning, but then the rest of the day saw mostly bikers. the last person I saw was at the northernmost end of the loop I did on my way back, just south of the Carefree Highway.

Nice to get some higher mileage in for a change and make better time doing it. the Cliff Walk Trail tends to have the best views because of the overlooks on the cliff, but there's not much else to see out here.
_____________________
Aug 10 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Hangover TrailSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 10 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking12.80 Miles 1,782 AEG
Hiking12.80 Miles   6 Hrs   17 Mns   2.15 mph
1,782 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
wallyfrack
The first hike of my 50s. I didn't get a chance to do an epic memorable last hike of my 40s like I did 10 years ago for my 30s. so I decided to make the first hike of my 50s a nice one. I've been hiking locally in Phoenix the last few months since I got burned out doing long drives. I did a lot of hikes in July, but they were mostly kind of urban hikes in PA. It was beyond time to get in the car and take a road trip. Wally was in as well.

We started out on the Margs Draw Trail, and did a few others, but the main feature of this hike was the Hangover Trail without a doubt. The views along this trail are the best. There are a few steep sections, but they're pretty short. Just enough effort to make it a respectable hike. How this trail isn't considered one of the better hikes to do in Sedona is beyond me. At least I haven't heard many people mention it, or seen enough posts on HAZ.

Starting from so far south was mainly to add some mileage. After Margs Draw we took the Munds Wagon Trail and intended to do the Hangover/Cowpie loop. I looked at the topo and it seemed like getting the climb out of the way early was a good option, so we did the loop clockwise. the big climbs are on the west end of the loop, and they give some of the best views. The trail is mainly marked by spray painted chevrons, so there's that. Some sections of the trail are level while the ground is at a steep slope, which isn't great for middle aged ankles. Which is why there is ibuprofen. Vitamin IB.

the Hangover Trail heads over a saddle between two buttes, and then continues eastward. At some point this apparently becomes the Cowpies Trail, but I didn't the sign which stated this transition. We stopped for lunch along this section and saw a mountain biker coming the other way. we still wonder how he made it down the steep slick rock section of the western end of the loop. The last time I was in this area was in 2005 when I did a shuttle hike on the Jacks Canyon Trail with my friend Ted. It was nice to be able to recognize the area from then and remembering everything very well. doesn't seem like I did that hike 14 years ago.

Once we were back on the Munds Wagon Trail, it was pretty easy. Had some shade and a gradual downhill grade. There were some sections of potato sized rocks to negotiate, but it wasn't too bad. by the time we finished it was a bit toasty, but not as bad as its been in the valley lately.

Saw more jeeps and 4x4s along Schnebly Hill Road than we saw hikers on the trail. also saw more helicopters flying around the buttes and mountains than I would have preferred, but crowds and money will do that. Noticed the helicopters more when we were up at the top.

Nice to get out for a day/road trip. Sedona rarely disappoints.
_____________________
Jul 27 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Verrado PetroglyphsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 27 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.00 Miles 1,390 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   3 Hrs   33 Mns   2.25 mph
1,390 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Ted and I took a ride out to Skyline and Verrado to check out the petroglyphs there and hike some more trails I've never hiked before. I-10 westbound had a closure, so the detour took a little bit of extra time.

We headed straight up the Mountain Wash Trail and the Lost Creek to take the most direct route to the Verrado trails. The heat was kicking from the start, so the beginning of the hike was a little rough, but the shade did help. Walking down Lost Creek after the saddle was steep, but then it leveled out and after nearly 2 miles, we settled in to a pleasant stroll, aided by a breeze.

We hiked straight to the Verrado TH, and then on the way back took the north half of the SOB loop, which goes by the big petroglyph rock. Looks like there was some graffiti damage on a few of the glyphs, so some pretty sturdy protective measures were taken to make sure no one can get within 10' of it.

After that, we headed back to the main trail to Verrado and hiked the long slog back up the Lost Creek Trail and back to the car. The 2nd ascent up Lost Creek was a little rough with the heat kicking in. Of course, at this point the breezes that had made most of the hike not so bad had immediately disappeared as we headed uphill.

Did only 8 miles, but with the elevation gain and the heat, that was enough for us today. Surprised to see as many hikers as we did, especially late in the morning as we here headed in. Went to Rudy's BBQ for another great post hike lunch afterwards.
_____________________
Jul 20 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 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.
_____________________
Jul 14 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 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.
_____________________
Jul 11 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 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.
_____________________
Jul 10 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 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.
_____________________
Jul 08 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 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.
_____________________
Jul 03 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 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.
_____________________
4 archives
Jun 29 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 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
Partners none no partners
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.
_____________________
Jun 22 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 15
 Routes 234
 Photos 6,048
 Triplogs 438

50 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.
_____________________
average hiking speed 2.23 mph
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 22  Next

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

help comment issue

end of page marker