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583 triplogs
May 01 2020
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Westwing/Lake PleasantPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 01 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking11.99 Miles 675 AEG
Hiking11.99 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.66 mph
675 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I arrived at the Aqua Fria Trailhead to find that it's closed. It was a pretty long drive up, and at 6:30a, the traffic was beginning to build on the freeways. Fortunately, across the road is a dirt service road with room to pull off on the side. The road into the Agua Fria Trailhead is also closed, with no trespassing signs posted. I quickly hiked down that road to the beginning of the MT and headed south. When I got to the trailhead, there were two pickup trucks pulled off on the road there, so I'm not sure how strictly the closing is being enforced.

The MT heads under the Carefree Highway, then there is a single track that heads up the hill towards the Waddell Canal. Then, it follows a very faint service road that parallels the canal for the next few miles. The service road is faint enough that it's pretty much like hiking a single track. Saw absolutely no one along here at all. For this stretch, on your left is a cylone fence. The service road goes up and down through some drainages, and also passes under a few sets of powerlines. After the powerlines, the views are actually pretty nice here, other than the cyclone fencing. Saw a few of the lawnmower engine gliders flying about and a few planes landing and taking off from Pleasant Valley Airport.

The service road makes a left turn around where the Waddell Canal meets the CAP canal. The CAP appears to come up from underground somewhere , so while the 2 canals meet, it just kind of looks like the one canal makes a left turn. After following another dirt road for about a quarter mile, the trail turns into a single track again, paralleling the Lake Pleasant parkway. After crossing the 303, it turns into a wider landscaped path that looks to be meant for hikers and bikers.

On the way back, saw a group of wild burros.

Getting back to where I parked, I decided to take a shortcut and climb the slope up the Carefree Highway instead of going the long way through the closed area. Kind of tricky getting up the loose, steep slope, but not too bad. Found my car in good shape when I got back, and headed home.
_____________________
Apr 27 2020
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Scottsdale/GatewayPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 27 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking11.42 Miles 474 AEG
Hiking11.42 Miles   4 Hrs   6 Mns   2.79 mph
474 ft AEG
 
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I parked at the Quartz Trail parking lot off of 104th St and McDowell Mountain Parkway. Followed the sign over to the Quartz Trail and it took me down into the wash where it immediately meets with a designated portion of the MT. The last time I hiked the Quartz Trail was over 10 years ago, just after I had a major ankle sprain. I remember hiking it with @rdavisiii and my buddy Ted. We were all nursing various recent injuries, so it was kind of a rehab hike.

I headed south on the MT to where I left off last Monday heading northbound. After you get past the golf course, the trail follows a service road under the power lines, crosses the CAP canal, and heads east on Cactus Road. There's one little single track segment from the canal crossing to Cactus Road that parallels FLW Blvd, just above the road. Then it crosses right past the entrance of Taliesin West. I should go see that place one day I guess, since I went to Fallingwater 5 years ago in PA.

The trail follows the south side of Cactus Road until it follows the cement bike path, then you cross over to the north side and walk under the culvert and onto the bike path again. That's what the markers seem to indicate. Someone was doing work on some electrical conduits under there, so it was taped off from either direction.

Cactus Road is kind of interesting. There's an actual dirt path along there which is nicer than walking along a sidewalk that's designated as the MT for a few miles. The trees there give some shade, and for a major artery road, there really isn't much traffic. Interesting mix of the homes there, between newer modern looking places, and older, slump block single levels. One newer looking house was for sale and hadn't been occupied for some time by the looks of it.

Finished up just after 10am before any heat really started to kick in. The clouds early on kept it pretty cool.
_____________________
Apr 25 2020
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Grand Avenue/WestwingPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking13.20 Miles 330 AEG
Hiking13.20 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.93 mph
330 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Started at the Trilby TH and headed eastbound. The trail parallels the 303 and some powerlines for a while. The first mile the powerlines are pretty close, but then there's some distance from them and the views get a little bit better, just keep looking to your left. After the first mile, there was a couple of small wastewater plants, then some construction grading for what looks to be a new subdivision. The trail gets close to Happy Valley Road for a bit, with visible and audible traffic.

This is one of the few dedicated sections of the MT that is mostly single track. It's single track for just over 5 miles, then the trail crosses back under the powerlines and by a substation. It's on a dirt road for a little bit through that area. Then it follows the Happy Valley Parkway for a while. I took the parkway to just past the 303 and headed back.

Saw only 5 hikers the entire time, all on the way out. Very peaceful, nice to have some solitude.
_____________________
Apr 24 2020
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Tres Rios/Estrella/I-10Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 24 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking10.90 Miles 283 AEG
Hiking10.90 Miles   3 Hrs   49 Mns   2.86 mph
283 ft AEG
 
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Started from the 91st Ave TH again where I was last Saturday and headed west, towards Estrella park. Since it was a weekday (as opposed to Saturday last week), the lot was empty when I got there and half empty when I returned. I hiked out to the edge of Estrella park and the beginning of the Desert Rose Trail, filling in another bit of the MT.

The first 3 miles of this hike are actually very nice. The trail through Tres Rios Wetlands is just a road, but it has a sandy gravel on it like what's on the Pemberton Trail, making it very easy to walk on. The scenery is pretty nice here, also. Lots of green from the vegetation growing in the wetlands, and a lot of sound from the birds. The water flows through westbound, looks like it's eventually discharged to the Salt River.

After the trail leaves the wetlands, it parallels a canal for a bit and goes through some more industrial looking area. There is one short single track section before it turns southbound and follows a wide gravel road. The stream flows under the road and then under a bridge. Most of the people I saw were in this area fishing.

After the gravel road, the trail goes through a parking lot and then along Indian Springs as it goes around Phoenix Raceway and then to Estrella park. This section is a little over a mile and a half and is one of the least interesting parts of the overall MT. Although the up close views of an empty racing stadium was a little interesting in its own right. Had kind of an ancient ruins feel to it.

Finished up by 10am, before the heat started to kick in for the day.
_____________________
Apr 20 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Scottsdale/GatewayPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 20 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking10.20 Miles 412 AEG
Hiking10.20 Miles   3 Hrs   29 Mns   2.93 mph
412 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Did another quick segment of the Maricopa Trail going through Scottsdale. I started from the plaza I was at last week when I hiked across the Salt River Rez, but this time headed northbound. The parks and green belt area are very landscaped. Not bad scenery at all considering it's urban hiking. Morning light helped with shade and cooler temps. I decided to do this on a Monday so there wouldn't be as many people around. It wasn't too bad. Busier on my way back, but not crazy crowded. I would think on a weekend it's worse. I turned around where the bike path is all concrete and seems to be away from a lot of buildings. Made this a hike a bit shorter than the rest of the segments I've been doing and finished just after 9:30am.
Fauna
Fauna
Canada Goose
_____________________
Apr 18 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Guadalupe/South Mtn/Tres RiosPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 18 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking12.90 Miles 224 AEG
Hiking12.90 Miles   4 Hrs   37 Mns   2.79 mph
224 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Continued the saga of hiking the Maricopa Trail. Started from the Tres Rios area and hiked eastbound to where Ted and I left off on the MT from South Mountain last May. I planned to park at where GoogleMaps says the 91st Ave Trailhead is, but the dirt road to there is closed for now. That entire section of the MT from 91st Ave to the powerlines has been temporarily rerouted to the south bank of the Salt River until May, according the MT website. Not sure why that is. It took a little to time figure out what to do, but there is a main trailhead right on 91st Ave, so I parked there.

the reroute is along a dirt road on the south bank of the Salt River. It has a lot of gravel and river rock, so it's not too comfortable to walk on. and then there's quite a lot of trash left all around, making for riveting scenery. The reroute connects back to the main trail at the north end of the powerline. From there, it's a 6+ mile hike down to South Mountain. Fortunately, I only went to where we left off from last year, which was about 2 miles short of that.

There's a steady stream of water that parallels the trail and powerline, running northwest into the wetlands. When you start on the powerline, you have to cross at the only spot where a road goes over, but then you're on the wrong side because the MT is on the west side. At the next road I crossed the bridge there and got back on track. On the way back I got stuck and had to use a sluice gate as a makeshift shaky bridge. on the east side of the stream is a paved trail that looks like it circumnavigates a new subdivision. Near the subdivision is where the burrowing owls were. Saw quite a few of them and their burrows around.

The MT follows a series of dirt roads under the powerline all the way down to where is heads into South Mountain Park. The stream of water disappears after a couple miles, but the small canal carrying the water remains. Lots of farm fields growing a crop that was very green. The powerlines took away from the scenery, but there were good views of South Mountain, the Estrellas, and even faraway views of 4Peaks, Supes, central Phx preserve, White Tanks, etc.

Saw the least amount of people on this hike than any other I've done in the last 3 weeks. Two bikers coming the other way the entire time. Saw some walkers on concrete path by the subdivision, but they were on the other side of the stream valley. Very peaceful hike.
Flora
Flora
Alfalfa
_____________________
Apr 17 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - East ValleyPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 17 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking15.00 Miles
Hiking15.00 Miles   3 Hrs   54 Mns   3.98 mph
      8 Mns Break
 
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Went back to where I left off last week on the Western Canal on East Valley Segment of the Maricopa Trail. Started at the parking lot for the Ken McDonald public golf course in Tempe and walked back to the spot where I turned around last Friday from McQueen Park. Then I hiked the MT all the way into South Mountain Park to Pima TH and back out. On my way back, I hiked up the Western Canal a mile and a half to add some mileage.

the path along the Western Canal is pretty wide for the most part. right next to the golf course are protective fencing and netting I assume to keep golf balls from hitting people. the MT only follows the canal to Guadalupe Road, and then heads west on Guadalupe to South Mt. It actually follows the south side of the road, but the first marker you see from the canal is on the north side of the road. Later on there is a dirt path instead of a sidewalk on the south side of the road. The need to mark this section better. Crossing I-10 you need to cross to the north side, and that's pretty apparent since there's only a sidewalk on the north side (and a marker). One section crossing the road after I-10 is a little treacherous because there is no designated trail, so you have to walk the street next to some high shrubs going around a blind curve.

North of Guadalupe Road, I found it better to hike on the west side of the northbound Western Canal because there was much less traffic there. Getting quite a bit of the MT done now. I might be delving into some of the other urban canal trails later on.
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1 archive
Apr 12 2020
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Scottsdale/Granite Reef/MesaPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 12 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking15.30 Miles 429 AEG
Hiking15.30 Miles   4 Hrs   57 Mns   3.09 mph
429 ft AEG
 
Linked linked
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I started off in Scottsdale from the plaza at Indian Bend and Hayden Roads. From my parking spot there it was a short walk over to the canal. There are actually 3 different trails adjacent to one another here. The canal path, the paved path that is marked as the MT, and the golf cart path for the golf course. After a half mile or so, the MT path merges into the canal path on the north side of the canal. At Pima Road, the MT officially crosses over to the south side of the canal, where it stays for the remainder along this canal all the way to Granite Reef. There is a bridge just before the river crossing, so if you decided to walk along the north side, you could cross over in time without any significant backtracking involved.

This section provided the best views so far in the east valley :) . There's a lot of infrastructure in your immediate vicinity (power lines, landfill, road crossings), but the majority of the time there are good views of the McDowells, Red Mountain, Superstitions, Four Peaks, Camelback, Piestewa, Estrellas, etc. It's interesting to see all these mountains from different angles than you normally do driving around the valley or from the usual parks. There were clouds off to the east all morning, obscuring views of Four Peaks and Mt. Ord.

After crossing under the 101, the canal goes by the farm fields on the reservation for a few miles. During this section, there are asphalt millings that have turned back into a semi-pavement. There is a transition by a kind of dam in the canal where all the millings are gone and it's all dirt. Sometimes this gets a little rocky and gravelly, but nothing too bad.

Soon the traffic from the Beeline Highway was audible and visible. It was still a good 2 miles or more before the canal crosses the highway since it kind of parallels it as it makes its way around the landfill. The landfill didn't smell bad today. Not great scenery, but as a civil engineer, it did hold some interest for me to see a kind of behind the scenes view of the infrastructure there. 8)

After crossing the Beeline, it's as close to wilderness as any portion of the MT outside a county or city park I've seen yet. Red Mountain is much closer and comes into view very nicely. I think this was the closest I've been to it, and the views are really nice as you get pretty close. It was also interesting to think how far away it was at the start of my hike in Scottsdale. It was surprising that I was able to get there as quickly as I did (4.5 hours) :) . The light and shadows on the mountain made for great views, but the battery in my camera died, of course ](*,) .

I was a little nervous about being able to cross the riverbed with Gilbert Road recently being reduced to one lane to let water run down the Salt River. As I got nearer to the dam, I could the river below and it looked pretty wide and deep :scared: . once you get to the crossing, however, the flow was actually only a trickle that was able to fit under a series of small culverts under a concrete road bridging the gap.

Finished up by 10:30am, just under 5 hours total. My wife met me on the Bush Highway since Granite Reef (and most all Tonto NF sites) is (are) closed. Got back to my car and grabbed some takeout lunch for the family on my way home.
_____________________
Apr 10 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - East ValleyPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 10 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking12.99 Miles 243 AEG
Hiking12.99 Miles   4 Hrs   25 Mns   2.94 mph
243 ft AEG
 
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Picked up where I left off 2 weeks earlier on the Western Canal by McQueen Park. The MT official is on the south side of the canal until it reaches Alma School, then it switches over to the north side. I missed it on the way out, but got it on the way back. I walked both sides of the canal depending on how much traffic was on either side. Views aren't a whole lot with the power lines overhead. There are much wider setbacks along this canal for most of this area, whether it be residential, infrastructure, commercial, or parks. Some areas are easier to walk on depending on how big the gravel is. Saw some more urban wildlife. Finished by 10:30am.
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Apr 06 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Gilbert/Queen Creek/SantanPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 06 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking12.71 Miles 543 AEG
Hiking12.71 Miles   4 Hrs   1 Min   3.16 mph
543 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Finally finished this segment of the Maricopa Trail. Looks like I should write up a full description of it.

Started from the Horseshoe equestrian park and took that spur to the trail. Right at the junction of the MT, I roused a coyote who looked like he was taking a nap. He got moving but had a very bad limp. He paralleled the wash a little as I hiked it, and then dropped out of sight.

Once I got on the Maricopa Trail, there was the official trail, which was paved and/or concrete, and there was a dirt path lower in the wash mainly for equestrians. I decided to stay on the dirt path. It was nicer to walk along that, and I was away from the foot and bike traffic on the paved path. The dirt path was still maintained very well. It wasn't the typical loose soil and sand in a wash, and the higher grass had recently trimmed down where it crossed through those areas.

Took Sossaman Road north to where I left off, just at the endo of a big subdivision that's currently under construction. There are 2 big farms on the west side of Sossaman with pretty big fields. this section wasn't really interesting other than seeing the farm fields, but it was better than the sidewalks through heavily developed areas. The sun low in the morning provided shade. Saw a hawk sitting in the one field like he was looking for some breakfast to sneak up on.

After getting back to the wash, I headed southbound to the Goldmine TH to finish this section. I missed the turn for Hawes Road at first since I was on the lower dirt path, but I doubled back and got on the road and headed south. This section is primarily walking along the road, on the berm whenever there is one. The last mile the trail/road ascends up to the TH, which gives some nice views to the north of the Supes, 4Peaks, McDowells, etc. Found the Goldmine TH to be closed and headed back to the car.

took a shortcut along Riggs Road on the way back since I had already hiked the MT section in the wash on my way to Sossaman. Finished by 10:30am.
Fauna
Fauna
Red-tailed Hawk
_____________________
Apr 04 2020
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Gilbert/Queen Creek/SantanPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 04 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking12.73 Miles 328 AEG
Hiking12.73 Miles   4 Hrs   8 Mns   3.10 mph
328 ft AEG      2 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This segment of the trail still had a lot of sidewalks, but there was also plenty of walking/riding paths and landscaping available nearby that paralleled it to give me an opportunity to get away from the traffic and people.

I headed east from Discovery Park this time along Pecos Road. This was all sidewalk. the trail is officially on the north side of the road all along Pecos Road. At Higley, I headed south. At 6:30am, there was line formed at the Fry's for people waiting to get in. Sign of the times. Just past the plaza, there is a nice walking/riding path that parallels Higley down to Germann. After that, you're back on the sidewalk. The crossing of the canal there is nice. Made me think they should have found a way to incorporate this canal into the trail somehow instead of these sidewalks.

Turned left (east) on Queen Creek Road. Just past the plaza on the SE corner, there is a berm above the sidewalk that gives more respite from sidewalk, traffic, and people. After Recker, the berm is gone, but there is more landscaping to walk along. Just before Power, the trail goes under Power Road into the wash. After crossing under Power, make a hard right and get on the south side of the wash. There are trails/riding paths on both sides, but I saw one sign on the east end at Sossaman that indicated the MT is on the south side of the wash. This area isn't marked very well with MT signs, it gets a bit confusing.

The mile following the wash was probably the nicest part, but also the busiest, which isn't what I was looking for. Still plenty of room to steer clear of everyone. On the way back along the wash, I noticed a roadrunner getting a late lizard breakfast.

Finished up just after 10am, getting nearly 13 miles in. I think I can finish this spur to Santan park with one more trip. Fun seeing the tracks connect, but these sidewalks are not of great interest to me.
_____________________
Apr 02 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Gilbert/Queen Creek/SantanPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 02 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking11.40 Miles 288 AEG
Hiking11.40 Miles   3 Hrs   39 Mns   3.12 mph
288 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I bit the bullet and hiked the next section of the Maricopa Trail spur that reaches down to Santan Regional Park. 4.5 miles of sidewalk. Not much else to tell. Easily the least interesting section of this urban trail that I've done to date. The only part that was like a single track at all was just inside Discovery Park.

I got a very early 5:50am start, even before the sky was completely lit up. Once I got to the canal where I left off before, I decided to head south on it, which is the Paseo Trail, maintained by Chandler. I did just under a mile on that, down to Germann Road, and headed back. The canal was much nicer compared to the sidewalk, even had some shade from the trees and the low morning sun.

Got done just after 9:30am, which has to be my earliest finish time ever.
_____________________
Mar 30 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Gilbert/Queen Creek/SantanPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 30 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking11.20 Miles 336 AEG
Hiking11.20 Miles   3 Hrs   40 Mns   3.05 mph
336 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Continued on with hiking sections of the Maricopa Trail, picking up where I left off. I started at Freestone Park this time and headed southeast, taking the rather long spur from the loop that reaches all the way down to Santan Regional Park. I got to Pecos Road and headed back. The canal along here is much nicer than I expected. Lots of residential areas that it goes thru, but also some open fields here and there.

The canal is paved through most of this section, but it's also wide enough for most of it that you can hike off of the pavement or sidewalk and in the dirt. There is also some landscaping on the canal for a couple miles, which makes for some nice shade and nicer feel. For quite a bit of this section, it appears that the Maricopa Trail is designated as being on either side of the canal. In the northern sections here, that isn't the case. Some of the non-designated sides of the canal will eventually have a locked gate, barbed wire, etc. I stayed on the west side of the canal since for whatever reason, there seemed to be less traffic on that side.

This section goes right by my new beer bottle shop. I forgot to pack my bigger backpack, or I might have stopped in on my way back for a couple 4-packs. Once I got to Pecos Road, the designated trail heads directly east, and for as far as I could see, is basically on the sidewalk along Pecos Road. Looks like I'll have to bite the bullet on that one to complete the trail fully.

Finished by 10am, keeping up a decent pace. Freestone Park wasn't very full of people, likely because it's a weekday
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Mar 28 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - East ValleyPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 28 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking11.60 Miles 294 AEG
Hiking11.60 Miles   3 Hrs   58 Mns   2.92 mph
294 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Picked up where I left off, more or less from the day before. Started out at Harmony Park in Mesa, then hiked northbound to where I left the trail the day before, and headed back south. At the junction where the trail spurs off to Santan Regional Park, I headed west along the Western Canal to McQueen Park, then headed back.

The views along this area were nicer than the day before. The Western Canal is nicer, other than the powerlines overhead. There were a lot more parks, farms, and open areas, rather than just houses on either side. The trail goes right through the northern end of downtown Gilbert. It was interesting walking up to road crossings where I had been before and seeing everything from a different approach angle.

Neely Ranch Riparian Preserve was interesting. Lots of solar panels there. Signs next to the cyclone fence indicated that reclaimed water was being applied. That makes sense since a wastewater treatment plant is directly across the canal to the north.

Saw more people along the canals later into the morning, but no crowded conditions to speak of. Harmony Park had a lot of people when I got back, but I was able to keep distance from everyone.
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Mar 27 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - East ValleyPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 27 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking15.00 Miles
Hiking15.00 Miles   4 Hrs      3.75 mph
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Went back to the Maricopa Trail and did another section of that close to my house. Seems like the best option these days to see the least number of people out and to have plenty of space when you do see anyone. Got an early 6:30am start and headed south this time from where we started on Sunday. Walking south from this spot is walking through the economic strata of where people live. The big money homes are farthest north (with the views of the valley and Four Peaks), and then the decent houses, then to the apartment complexes and trailer parks, then back to nicer, more manicured neighborhoods. This section for the most part is looking into backyards with occasional distant views of some mountains.

I got about a half mile from Harmony Park, near Val Vista and Southern, when I decided to take a detour directly back to my house rather than hike all way back up the canal to my car. Saved a little time and extra walking. Done by 10:30am and got over 12 miles in. Making due with the current circumstances, nice to get a workout done rather early in the day. It's fun to see the routes connect together on my computer as I get more of the Maricopa Trail done.
Culture
Culture
Graffiti
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4 archives
Mar 22 2020
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Maricopa Trail - Scottsdale/Granite Reef/MesaPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking7.80 Miles 263 AEG
Hiking7.80 Miles   3 Hrs   5 Mns   2.53 mph
263 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The weather is nice for hiking and Radmila and the kids were wanting to get out. After seeing the heavier traffic on the Scottsdale trails and seeing even worse on various social media around metro Phoenix, the only reasonable option seemed to be hiking part of the Maricopa Trail, a lot of which is along the various canals. We hiked a section of this 2 years ago from the Granite Reef rec area, so this time I decided to pick a spot from where it crosses McDowell Road and head the other way. We parked at Sheepherder's Park, which provided secure parking and is very close to the trail.

I spotted the markers right away and we followed the arrow, which directed down the bank to an underpass. I realized that this would take us in the opposite direction I planned, so we headed back up to the top of the canal and quickly saw more markers with an arrow pointing to where I planned to go.

The trail follows the north side of the canal. For nearly the first mile, there's a subdivision full of McMansions. I was surprised how big this subdivision is. After that is a big rock quarry, then some citrus groves. On the other side I spotted the beginning of the upper canal that heads south and goes past our house. I jog this canal once or twice a week and spotted where I usually stop and turn around.

Crossed under the 202 and got to our turn around point from 2 years ago, at Thomas Road, right at the entrance for the sand and gravel company.

Saw a lot of bikers and a few other hikers. Probably more traffic than is normally here, but the canal offers a wide berth for everyone for the safety distances needed to prevent the virus spread. Also saw some fishers along the canal. Not the greatest scenery, but not the worst. It was making due with what we could. Might be a nice time to continue sections of the MT along these canals for a while as all other trails seem to be too crowded for comfort.
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2 archives
Mar 21 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Owl Hoot Trail - MSPNPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 21 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking13.70 Miles 655 AEG
Hiking13.70 Miles   4 Hrs   58 Mns   2.76 mph
655 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Finally got a chance to head out here and hike the Owl Hoot Trail. Since it's so remote, it makes for a long hike, so I wanted to wait until the gates are open when I get there and not start later, like after 7am.

Very few people in the parking lot or at the building when I started. Saw one biker early on for the first 7+ miles. Took Brown's Ranch Road to Hawknest and Stagecoach, then took the Owl Hoot Trail out to the Legend Trail Parkway. I didn't feel like taking the same way the whole way back, so I decided to walk along the Legend Trail Parkway down to where the Malpais Trail comes out, then I took that back to the Stagecoach. I then made the choice to take the Basalt Ridge and Upper Ranch Trails back to the trailhead instead of Brown's Ranch Road. I was hoping I might see a little less traffic along that route, but it was pretty busy. The last 2.5 miles I saw more people than the rest of the morning up to that point. Parking lot was also packed when I finished.

Saw a hawk sitting on a boulder on the Malpais Trail just after I got on it from the Legend Parkway. Then later on the other end of the Malpais Trail, I saw a big nest in a saguaro that I hadn't seen on my way out, which was being guarded by a mama hawk.

I switched back to an old pair of boots that are getting to the end of their usefulness, but have still been good for longer distance hikes compared to my older Merrells. Not anymore. My feet were hurting the last few miles of this hike, and there were a few expected blisters when I changed shoes at the end. Nothing too bad. My time was really great starting off, but I got slowed down quite a bit at the end. Oh well.
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Mar 14 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Horse with No Name TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 14 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking10.10 Miles 1,145 AEG
Hiking10.10 Miles   5 Hrs   11 Mns   1.95 mph
1,145 ft AEG
 
Partners none no partners
Every time I come back to this area, the scenery seems even better. Certainly the recent rains and clear weather helped alot. Right now I would say a lot these trails are on par with anything in the western Superstitions.

I started from what GoogleMaps now calls the Horse Trails TH and headed in on the Javelina Mine Trail, then took that to the Willow Connector Trail and headed over to the Horse with No Name Trail. I intended to do that entire loop, but somehow short circuited it and didn't to the westernmost part of the loop. I noticed the one junction of the trail as I got back onto the main trail, but that western tip of the loop looked fainter than the shortcut I was one. I suppose the vegetation may have contributed to that. The climb up to the cliffs and the views up there were the highlight of this trail. Really incredible scenery.

On the way back I opted to take Frankie Goes to Hollywood, as it looked like the most direct route back to the Willow Connector. both HWNN and FGTH were very rocky and at times would follow sections of the washes. the rocks slowed me down, I was stuck at 2mph the whole time. A couple time I lost the trails getting out of a wash or along other parts. Having the tracks was very helpful. It's also nice with the new feature on Route Scout to have nearby tracks available on the mapping if I hadn't loaded them, which was the case with FGTH.

Lots of water throughout the hike, and very green. Still early enough in the spring that it's not so overgrown to be a bushwhack. But the thistles are starting to grow.

Only saw 2 other people in over 5 hours, horse riders. Then on the way back, there was a line of 30+ cars waiting to get into Lost Dutchman park, they stretched out to the turning lane on Rt. 88 and a ranger was directing traffic. Still nice that the hordes don't know about this gem.
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Mar 08 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Ruidoso Trail - UseryPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 08 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking9.70 Miles 476 AEG
Hiking9.70 Miles   3 Hrs   40 Mns   2.65 mph
476 ft AEG
 
1st trip
After hiking over 10 miles and nearly 3000 feet the day before, I wasn't really sore at all. My legs must be in good hiking shape. I decided to take another hike over at Usery Park and took Dmitri again. I wanted to completely hike the Channel Trail and a few other spur trails there. We got down to the area and I ended up finding an unmapped trail heading north. I decided to take that, and then hiked the Noso Trail back down to the Channel Trail. We didn't much farther before I found another unmapped trail going north again. We took that, then headed over to the Ruidoso Trail. On that trail, I found yet a 3rd unmapped trail that headed to the west. I decided against that and kept going on the Ruidoso, on to the County Line, Meridian, and Blevins Trails back to the trailhead. Finished up with 9.7 miles total, which is an other record for Dmitri. He was getting pretty sore the last mile and a half, but pushed through very well.

It was very cloudy to start, but got a little sunny by the end. The first 2 hours, we hardly saw anyone, the last hour and a half, the crowds were out. Finished up before 11am, nice morning on the trails.
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Mar 07 2020
DarthStiller
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 Guides 26
 Routes 385
 Photos 7,717
 Triplogs 583

52 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Bull Basin Loop - Eastern SuperstitionsGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 07 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking10.30 Miles 2,812 AEG
Hiking10.30 Miles   6 Hrs      1.83 mph
2,812 ft AEG      23 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Finally got some new tires on the Stillermobile, so I'm good to dare out on the rougher roads of the eastern Supes. This was one I had my eye on to do for a little while, and this time of year is probably the best. At the end of last week's hike to Broadway Cave, I mentioned it to Wally and he liked it. I told him I would send my usual follow up confirmation email next week to confirm. But, sometimes, things fall thru the cracks.

I arrived at Wally's darkened house at 5:28am, with no Wally outside. Uh-oh. Oh yeah, I forgot to send that email. I decided to go ahead and ring the doorbell, as soon as I could find it in the dark. The door opened just enough for him to stick his head out, no glasses and squinty eyes.

"You weren't gonna do it. It's not on the Wishlist."
"I forgot to email you. I'm sorry. My fault. I almost forgot to message Andy until yesterday afternoon. I kept meaning to email you..." :sorry:
"No problem. I meant to email you."
"Yeah, I was supposed to email you, anyway, my bad, I'm sorry. :doh: "
"ok"

and the door was closed. :scared: Now, if I hadn't known Wally for 13 years now, this might seem rude. But I knew what the abrupt shutting of the door meant. He wasn't going back to sleep. And he knew where we were going. We was going to catch up with us. there was a precedent set for this 11 (OMG, THAT long ago?) years ago. I had to move, Andy was waiting.

Andy said to meet at the Safeway at Ellsworth and Baseline. I pulled in and saw no Safeway. then I could tell after a few minutes that the Safeway had closed. After a few more minutes, Andy pulled in. I drove over to him.

"I forgot to do the confirmation email to Wally, so he might be out. But, maybe not. He's probably going to catch up with us."
"we can call him to see"
"yeah, that's not how this works. :SB: "

We arrived at the trailhead about 7:30am, and got ready. Within 5 minutes, I could hear a car driving up.

"Here he is."
"You guys haven't started yet? I even stopped for gas."
"Oh man, you were right!"

And we did the hike.

Bull Basin is kind of overgrown. Not terrible. Uphill with the overgrowth, loose rock, and steep. At the saddle we all felt pretty spent. On the way up to the saddle, Wally pointed out some not at all obvious ruins and casually found several pottery sherds along way and set them on rocks so we could see them. Andy and I had to concentrate on keeping our balance and breathing. We noticed the faint trail shortcut over Govt Hill to Paradise along that ridgeline. Another day. : rambo :

Downhill felt better at first, then it seemed like a slog until the low point. The lower we got, the worse the overgrowth at points. Finally I reached the bottom with Wally waiting and had lunch while we waited for Andy. He had some work related satellite texts to deal with that held him up, so Wally started to head back up the trail before he found him almost immediately (after I wolfed down my lunch).

The hike back uphill wasn't so bad. We knew we did 1700' out of 2600', this should be a cakewalk. :y: Bit of a slog in places, not very bad. At the 2nd saddle it was all downhill from there. the trail was much less overgrown, but still a bit in spots. A protruding branch smacked me in my temple on the way down at one point. Other than, that, the last mile the soreness kicked in and slowed me down a bit.

Lots of water out there still. Very nice to hear the running water and make the many stream crossings necessary. Several spots on all the trails seemed to follow the stream bed at times, making it a little confusing at first, but easy to navigate. Very fun day in the Supes with great weather and great company. :rollH:
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average hiking speed 2.66 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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