Cloudy but no rain or lightning or thunder. Was 71 degrees at 3:00 in July - can’t beat that! 40000% humidity though Not many on trail. Not much mud or damage from rain - this is a rocky old trail. Doesn’t wash out like the northern sandy ones that get closed after rains.
For variety of reasons, I haven’t done this favorite hike of mine since Sept 2020. Felt good to go this morning. First car in line at the gate. Rained last night. Was watching NBA eastern conference finals in the pool outside TV getting rained on - and thought - I have to absolutely have to hike in the morning. It was 72 degrees at 4:52AM hike start. Almost no one on the trail until about 6:15AM coming down. Preserve closes today at NOON for July 4th will reopen tomorrow sunrise. I was very slow but that’s ok. I went to the gym for the first time in 469 days on Friday - felt amazing. Life going back to normal. Construction around TT new homes is not as bad as I thought it would be - but I’m sure explosion is around the corner. Road improvements almost finished. Happy 4th to HAZ’ers able to find somewhere not closed this weekend! Hopefully the rain allows trails and camping and fishing to open up soon or at least later in the summer.
No flowers at all. Did a little hike that’s a big deal. Have had heart issues for two months. This felt good to be on a trail. I’m fine - not dying - but has been mentally awful to not be able to hike. Rowing machine has been life saver for me. And compression socks and beta blocker. Getting old sucks
What is up with zero wildflowers? Are they not going to happen or happened already or will happen later? What the heck not even basic brittle bush.
Wildflowers ObservationNone ZILCHO zero nothing for flowers. Is weird
Quail hunting in Southern AZ. Stopped into visitor center and took the tiny nature trail. Wish George was with me - we have been racking up federal lands and national monuments/parks since August and his 4th grade #everyKidInAPark .
Made good time to EE junction. Took the day off work to write material for two book chapters. Nice to clear my head before busy day. Not crowded. Nice temp. The sign for the née neighborhood Story Brook is up. Depressing. Maybe I’m just envious. I wish I could invest and buy a little condo.
This is George’s 4th grade year for Every Kid in a Park” to get into al federal lands and water for free for our family for a year. We went to at least 11 for free two years ago when Caroline was in 4th grade. We spent ast night at Maswick Lodge. Got up for sunrise pics and coffee and hot chocolate at Bright Angel fountain shop. Caroline is in a photography elective this semester in 6th grade - and she’s using my old phone as a camera. Weather high is 73, low 37. I found the nook where I nursed Caroline Oct 2009 - and we sat up there again to recognize how important moment was 11 years ago. We re-read all my trip logs of the Grand Canyon here on HAZ last night. The kids like reading our family history here. #HAZitRocks #tenderChickens
Been wanting to do this hike for a while. Traffic was extra miserable on the way up after a wreck on 17. Checked out Mingus lake which is stocked with rainbow trout. Tiny but pretty lake. Too crowded for me. There was some insane / cool annual race going on using some of the loop trails I was on. It’s called “Man versus Horse”. Passed several very exhausted trail runners with numbers pinned to their shirts. Didn’t see any horses - either way ahead or way behind not sure. Fascinating concept.
The switchbacks on the west side hold the best Fall color right now. Zero people on that part of hike. The hang gliding launching concrete pad /run drop zone was cool. I’ve never seen one before.
Was alone today - which is actually nice sometimes - drove back home - was going to car camp but all the legal spots were full and there are too many rules up on Mingus. Thought I had perfect spot - then a sign that these are only for current members of AZ hang gliding club. Probably could have pushed it. But didn’t feel worth it with 90 minute no traffic drive home. #happyFallYall
Autumn Foliage ObservationModerate West side switchbacks have awesome RED maples pre-peak
My work and kid life schedule is always overbooked and rarely open - - but Linda is a planner - and we set this Saturday to hike somewhere together way back several months ago. I thought I needed to be back home by mid-afternoon to get ready for a holiday party - so we started early at 7 with good bit of wind and we both had ear coverage and light layers on. Linda is a curator of cool gear/outerwear, and I always leave a hike with a shopping list after a hike with her. Loving her wool (bien sur) arm sleeves that allowed her to wear short sleeve shirt and not have to shed a heavy layer couple hours later. Side note: I would make Linda "Wool-kopelli" if I was in charge of such things.
The time-saver route (barely breaking any rules to go 200 ft past sign into Tonto Forest) avoided some AEG - which was fine by me especially on the way back when my toes and knees were ready to be done. We had cloud cover for first hours - then beautiful blue sky. Temperature mid-day was lovely - although I don't have pants that serve as catclaw/cactus protectors AND are lightweight. Drank more water than I expected from being over-layered and used some of Linda's extra stash in the last mile.
Was quite the surprise to pick up the two stray hikers who did not find the ruins. Of course I have sympathy for the disappointment they were feeling before we invited them to follow us. I tried to find the ruins 11 years ago triplog. I see why people would camp and then spend a separate day at the ruins - so much to pour over up there - although camping on the edge of Skull Mesa seems like a windy rough spot.
I saw way more petroglyphs in 2008 than I did yesterday (can I add pics to a photoset from 2008? ) but that's probably b/c I was so focused on my own feet and not twisting something or making toes hurt worse. WTH with my toes hurting? Same boots - good socks - same body weight - as usual hiking. Maybe just so much twisty/torque of scrambling or downhill for so long? I wanted a toe-transplant by the last mile. No blisters - and this morning they are fine. Maybe I'm just old and the toes are the canary in the coal mine.
It was a great day outside - super fun as always with Linda - 11 yr closure on ruin finding - and then I ended the day in my jetted tub with AZW beer I picked up (3 yr anniversary cans). Merry Christmas to all! (I swear there was a Christmas tree emjoi smile we used to be able to add???? Reindeer one - what happened to it?)
One of my favorite little trails in AZ! Been many times in the summer but never in the Fall. Aspen changing beautiful yellow with some still green.
By the lake general store more changing aspen.
On the paved road past Big Lake the aspen are WowOHWow lush peak and deep into forest. One side of the road unaffected by fire and other side patchy jumps of fire burn to ponderosa. So great mix of young and old aspen. Stunning drive that section !!!! And almost no one seen for hours anywhere around there.
Autumn Foliage ObservationSubstantial More on the FR 24/25 paved staying straight (not the turn off for the nature trail ).
Gorgeous aspen all new growth since 2011 Bear Wallow fire. I love this little trail and have done it several times in summer but never in the Fall. Perfect spot for family pictures !!!!
Autumn Foliage ObservationModerate Most of the hills in Greer are lit up yellow anywhere there is new growth after fire 2011 - fire line of burned pines will be visible for a long time - but the new growth aspen are short and flush with beautiful color.
Why didn't I download the route for this hike before trying to wing it ? It was late in the day and I thought I knew which hill was Greens Peak. I'm logging under this peak b/c that was my intent and the one we scaled the side of is hop-skip-jump over so close. We went to a saddle between two hills.
Anyway .... FR 117 is GORGEOUS right now with aspen all different colors. Such a pretty drive - and hardly anyone is out here. It's the opposite of Flagstaff leaf-hunters. White Mtns are under recognized for leaf beauty and I hope it stays that way so it stays peaceful and like a true escape.
Autumn Foliage ObservationModerate FR 117 and 117-A and surrounding cinder cone hills are patchy beautiful yellow aspen - some orange/red along roads too.
Linda took me on my South Mountain first hike after 16 years of hiking in AZ! Not sure why it seems so far away from NoSco , but it was only 33 minute drive. I wore pants too thick out of eager anticipation of actual Fall ; however we are now in pseudo-Fall and I was sweatin as the sun got on us in the last mile. The sunrise from up there is 360 awesome. Not many places where you can access a ridgeline so quickly and without much challenge. I liked the mid-loop scramble on the gorgeous varnish/patina rocks - sturdy long stacks of pancake rocks are best kind of scramble. The ocotillo were flush with saturated deep green leaves after the recent rain. Parking lot was a WAR zone when we finished around 9:00am. Definitely will be back !
Sunrise hike with Peds ER friend Lydia - not too crowded. Super humid. Can’t wait to do two car shuttle hikes in McDowells with her as it gets cooler. She hikes at exactly my pace. I love talking shop with Lydia. There’s a lot of decompression that you have to do in medicine. Sharing stories and challenges and trading ideas — it’s nice to have a friend to talk it out with.
Overnight at BF new house - chickens and monkeys - after sip & see house warming pool party yesterday.
Woke up 4:30am. Oldest monkey Will packed up his mountain bike in the truck. He is on his school mountain bike competitive team. Got to TT TH at 5:25. Showed him map for Marcus Landslide. Made meet back plan. Tested cell phones.
I went up part of Hog Heaven route so I could look down on Marcus Landslide trail. Got legs all scratched up without noticing it until I took a break. Saw 3!!!! Great Horned Owls and got some video too. They were sleeping same mesquite tree when I came down. I assume was not 3 must have been 4? Seems weird 3. But I have limited knowledge of owl behavior. They were just so massive. Same wash where I’ve seen Gil’s monster and deer and javalina on previous hikes at dawn.
Humid today. I was completely in the shade except right at top where I took a break. Waiting for Will now . He sent me pics of a bleeding knee but without any call for rescue. He’s close to hitting Eagle Scout - self sufficient smart kid. He has an elk tag this Fall for walk in area. I told him he need to bulk up if he’s going to haul one out even quartered is heavy. He has friends ready to help. Has been two years of dating Christian. I’ve enjoyed getting to know his boys. My tender chickens love to spend time with them. Six of us in small time quantities is good. Then going back to our own home quarters just the three of us - is how I like it.
Friday woke up in Cave Creek - Drove to hospital for newborn rounds Scottsdale Shea - then saw patients in office in Chandler until 5. Drove from work to Linda’s house - changed clothes and she drove us to Show Low to spend the night.
I was treated to her homemade breakfast burrito and we got started at 7am. Wet soggy meadows. Water level high in crossings - fast speed the creek - plan was Baldy loop but the snow around 10,200 feet on East Baldy was too icy compact - met three guys (1 with micro spikes) who had to turn around. So we will go for peak again another time.
Not many people out for a holiday weekend. Second Linda treat was having her clean towel she gave me to clean up at the end of the hike. Is that a love language ? Burritos and clean towels..... thank you !!! My love language is “I will pay for gas and meal out!” Acts of Service is technical category for Linda’s kindness. Perfect weather !!!!! Wish I could stay up here the whole weekend.
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.