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144 triplogs
Jan 02 2021
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Airport Loop TrailSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 02 2021
neilends
Hiking3.30 Miles 358 AEG
Hiking3.30 Miles   1 Hour   49 Mns   1.94 mph
358 ft AEG      7 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Driving up to the Sedona Airport is a popular tourist thing to do these days, and to be fair that's for good reason. The airport is super cute and is now becoming even more famous because it's highlighted in the latest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator as one of only 30 airports around the world to get special details. It's located on a small high-up mesa known as Tabletop Mountain. You can drive up the airport road in minutes and get a spectacular view of West Sedona on one side, with airplanes landing on the runway right behind you. There's a restaurant built into the airport, which looks irresponsibly crowded during the pandemic right now but I look forward to trying it some day. There's also a hotel/resort that I assume has a bar or some place to get drinks.

There's also a trail that loops around the entire airport. I like trails, and I like airplanes, so of course I had to become acquainted. I'd say the trail exceeded my expectations.

Like all popular Sedona hikes, it's crowded, so forget about solace. But despite the airport being a popular tourist draw, the trail was not *as* crowded as I would've guessed. The total loop is about 3.5 miles so that may be one reason why. The trail is also quite precarious at certain high points. The official trailhead was much more crowded than the trail itself, because it's a good spot for scenic selfies etc.

Speaking of the trailhead, parking is a nightmare (again, par for the course in Sedona). I got lucky and found one parking spot as I pulled up. Expect to drive up, sit, and wait for a spot otherwise--if you want parking at the actual TH. However, for $3 you can drive another 30 seconds and go to to the tourist lot at the airport itself which has ample parking. Doing so will make it just a tad harder to figure out how to connect to the trail, but it's really not complicated.

Clockwise or counterclockwise will be your next choice. The more precarious parts of the trail are in the early stages of the clockwise route, but these are coupled with the most gorgeous views. But really, the views are great throughout. By the time I was over 1 mile into the hike, I pretty much had the trail to myself. I encountered maybe 2 or 3 hiker groups going in the opposite direction. I passed or was hiking a similar pace to exactly 2 hiker groups in my same clockwise direction. For Sedona, that's pretty good.

Do not overly rely on the route I have posted. The official trail route indicates that I took the wrong fork toward the end. However, it looks like most tourists/hikers take the wrong fork and I don't think it's a big deal. If you take the left fork, you'll get maybe one more mile of isolated trail before reaching the TH. Most people accidentally take the right fork, which brings you up to the airport tourist lot. If you couldn't find parking at the official TH this will get you to your car more conveniently anyway.

Although the trail looks largely flat on the topos, you can see from my AEG total that I still gained a decent amount of elevation for a good work-out. The Sedona Airport isn't insanely busy but I did catch two airplanes taking off, and one helicopter.

Is this hike worth doing? I say yes. If you're in the City of Sedona, you've already forfeited options for hiking in total isolation anyway. The trail is beautiful, it offers a nice work-out, the views are top-notch, and you can please your inner child by staring at airplanes. Post-pandemic maybe you can enjoy a burger at the restaurant when you're done.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
Dec 31 2020
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Cow Pies TrailSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 31 2020
neilends
Hiking1.20 Miles 144 AEG
Hiking1.20 Miles
144 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
From the end of pavement to the Cow Pies Trailhead it took me about 30 minutes by Jeep. I first came out here last week to check out the area, but didn't have time to hike far because of my schedule. This time, on the last day of 2020, I brought my wife and we hiked about 0.6 miles into the Cow Pies trail, reached the intersection of the Hangover trail, at which point my wife correctly concluded that she could not handle the cliffs and precarious heights to go any further. She is particularly height-averse. I figure the average experienced hiker would probably be okay to handle the Hangover section. Her issue with heights is serious enough that she immediately experiences dizziness and physically cannot handle it. The Cow Pies section is easy.

So I had to make do with one more "just a taste" of this beautiful area. Everything about it is spectacular. The "cow pies" themselves are super cool and my wife couldn't stop taking pictures. I ventured out alone onto the Hangover Trail for maybe 0.2 miles or so, and am salivating for a return trip to finish it. The advantage of venturing out alone for that short jaunt was getting a long-distance selfie as attached.

I did also bring our white fluffy rescue dog Lexi, who is a 15 pound bichon-poodle mix. She did great but we've purchased a "dog backpack" to carry her if she and her tiny legs get tired. At 1.2 miles round trip she was in heaven the entire time though. But just a heads up that Sedona is famous for people bringing their dogs and not keeping them leashed in hiking areas. There is zero enforcement of leash laws, and very poor signage educating the public that leashes are mandatory. (Leashes may not be mandatory in the Coconino National Forest. They are mandatory on Sedona city park land. Either way, expect to deal with unleashed dogs on trails).
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
1 archive
Nov 30 2020
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Devil's Bridge Trail #120Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 30 2020
neilends
Hiking1.80 Miles 500 AEG
Hiking1.80 Miles
500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a pretty horrifically annoying hike, due to crowds (compounded by covid). It felt like I was at an NFL game, honestly. Like I had just parked in "Lot G" and was tredging toward a common goal--Stadium Entrance F--with 75,000 other people. Parking at the official trailhead was jam packed, with cars lined up along the highway to deal with the spillover. I had a Jeep so I was able to drive past the vehicle crowds in the parking lot. I drove up about halfway to the second parking area for 4x4 vehicles only.

Walking up to Devil's Bridge was even more crowded because of the narrower trail. There was a lot of waiting for large groups of tourists to pass as they came down, again compounded by covid concerns. There was zero semblance of any hiking etiquette or courtesies such as who has right of way.

When I got to the actual Devil's Bridge, there was a massive crowd of people who were sitting auditorium-style and looking at the bridge (and the people on the bridge). To get onto the actual bridge, there was a line of maybe 25 people. As for the bridge: meh. The scenery on this moderate-climb hike is gorgeous, but you really need to appreciate that such scenery is in abundance on *many* Sedona hikes. The bridge would probably seem very cool if you came across it in the wild, with some semblance of privacy. But seeing it as though it's a Disneyland attraction, with huge lines and a crowd-conversation level that is as loud as a popular bar or restaurant, strips away 100% of its majesty.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
Aug 24 2020
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Sugarloaf - SedonaSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 24 2020
neilends
Hiking1.40 Miles 350 AEG
Hiking1.40 Miles      40 Mns   2.10 mph
350 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
Nice quick hike from our family home nearby. The views are great. West Sedona on one side; beautiful views of Coffeepot Rock and more on all other sides.

Be careful if you bring dogs: the City of Sedona does a piss poor job of enforcing its leash laws. Total dogs spotted with their owners, unleashed, was 3. One snarled at me. I’ve been hiking this area for a few months now and it’s a regular occurrence.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
Sep 15 2017
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Mt InariAsia, WW
Asia, WW
Hiking avatar Sep 15 2017
neilends
Hiking4.00 Miles 800 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles
800 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We are in Japan and just had a breathlessly unforgettable experience. We hiked to a temple in Kyoto named Fushimi Inari Taisha. There, a network of pathways exists to bring visitors and pilgrims all the way up to the summit of Mt. Inari. Armed with my Garmin GPS, we literally wandered wherever we wanted to along this network of trails. Some were paved. Some were dirt. We went through a bamboo forest. The summit was thickly forested so photos weren't really my priority. This 360 gives you an idea of the area:

kuula.co/post/7lv5k

At one point we stumbled into a woodwork artist's hut. He was a man named Kosh, and he invited my wife and I in to sit down with him. We chatted for 15-20 minutes. My wife and are of Indian (Hindu) origin, and we talked about the many similarities between Japanese and Indian religious culture. He has been to India. His art was mostly religious in nature, including sculptures of Buddha in many different styles.

I've traveled to about 30 countries in my life. I speak 3 languages and have lived on 3 continents. So, this sort of experience is something I've been blessed with before. But my wife has not seen the world. She was mesmerized by every step we took. She'll never be the same again. Seeing the world beyond one's borders has that effect, much like seeing the hidden natural world within our borders affects us hikers.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
Sep 10 2017
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Maricopa Peak via Alta, AZ 
Maricopa Peak via Alta, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 10 2017
neilends
Hiking4.40 Miles 1,440 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles   3 Hrs      1.60 mph
1,440 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
A buddy and I hiked to the summit of Maricopa Peak this morning. The trailhead situation was a little confusing so I got help from the HAZ forum and am glad I did. There still is no official trailhead. The "unofficial" one is also now under construction so it's gone too. We parked on the shoulder of a nearby street. Other hikers were there too and they parked closer to the trail than we did. We played it safe but the others seemed like regulars.

I have to say that the summit was more treacherous than I expected. It's not like hiking to the top of Piestewa, Camelback or Tom's Thumb. One slip of the foot and you'd be tumbling quite a distance. Of course the payoff for such a climb is even sweeter. This is the 360 from the top:

kuula.co/post/7lqMX

My friend found at least 4-5 seashells along the way, which blew my mind. You read that right. He's an avid reader and told me he'd learned about the geology of this area and was actively looking out for seashells as a result. I photographed his find and will add them later. WTH?

Update: To quote @chumley, "Not fossilized seashells! :sweat:
[ Talus Snail ]
[ Squaw Peak Talussnail ]"
Fauna
Fauna
Talus Snail
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
2 archives
Sep 04 2017
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Mount UnionPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 04 2017
neilends
Hiking4.20 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking4.20 Miles
1,200 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
That was awesome. I'm trying to revive my 15-county-highpoint mission and decided to hit Yavapai County's Mt. Union today. I left Scottsdale around 915ish and hit the trail around 1130. Despite the 7000 foot elevation at the trailhead, it was still about 85 degrees. Some cloud cover gave me relief and most of the trail is shaded with trees.

Not familiar with the trail or the area, I got confused by the multiple forks in the trail during the first half-mile or so. Without the HAZ description that I'd printed out and brought with me, combined with my GPS apps (I'm fluctuating aimlessly between Route Scout and Gaia at the moment), who knows how far I would've wandered. I met one group of 3 hikers while they were on their way down. I guess I missed seeing PrestonSands (who authored this trail's description, thanks amigo) by one day.

At the top, I was careful to read the signage about what's permitted in terms of climbing to the top of the lookout. A sign says that visitors can climb to the top but they do so at their own risk. To me, this meant I had permission to enter the station if it was open. What I didn't realize, since I don't climb into a lot of ranger watch stations, is that Ranger John (who PrestonSands reports has been there for 21 years) intends that permission to be limited to the ladders only and not the interior of his station. As I climbed up, I saw that the door to enter was wide open, and after calling out to see if anyone was around, I just popped in. While mesmerized by how lucky someone was to live in a place like this, I took this 360 photo from a window:

kuula.co/post/7lkQg

And right after that Ranger John popped his head up, not terribly pleased that a total stranger was basically in his bedroom. Clearly, though, John is a friendly guy because as soon as I apologized and told him I didn't realize that this was his private space, he insisted that I stick around as long as I wanted to take photos. Nice guy, and what a cool story that he's been there for two decades. John told me I should get some nice shots from the helicopter pad too, so I walked down and did so:

kuula.co/post/7lkQ8

I also experimented with my 360 camera's social media capabilities and was successful in doing a live 360 degree Facebook broadcast to my family. (I am a major dork and the world definitely doesn't need to see me in my full dork mode, so the broadcast was to immediate family only and I won't link to it here.)
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
2 archives
Sep 03 2017
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Camp Creek Jeep TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
4x4 Trip avatar Sep 03 2017
neilends
4x4 Trip
4x4 Trip
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Been a while since I've taken the Jeep out, so I decided to refresh my memory of this very easy, no sweat off-road trail. I plan on bringing some grandparents out here so I wanted to be sure I remembered the route. The cliff walls are really cool to drive by. I wish I could bring a geologist around to explain them. 360:

kuula.co/post/7lk37
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
Aug 26 2017
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Brown's Mountain Summit (MSP), AZ 
Brown's Mountain Summit (MSP), AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 26 2017
neilends
Hiking3.00 Miles 528 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles
528 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Took it easy this weekend after over-doing it last weekend. Hiked to the summit of Brown's Mountain from the Brown's Ranch Trailhead. Hit the trail around 6:20 so it was getting a little warm as I hiked up, but this is a short and easy hike. I of course got my obligatory 360 photo from the summit:

kuula.co/post/7lkGT

Also spotted a desert tortoise. Photos to come.
Fauna
Fauna
Desert Tortoise
Named place
Named place
Cone Mountain - MSP
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
2 archives
Aug 19 2017
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Windgate Pass Trail - MSPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 19 2017
neilends
Hiking7.60 Miles 1,400 AEG
Hiking7.60 Miles   5 Hrs      1.52 mph
1,400 ft AEG
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Made it to Windgate Pass today, but didn't make the smartest moves in general. Reaching the Pass makes it all worthwhile, of course:

kuula.co/post/7lY8D

I also stopped at my favorite two-era petroglyph near Inspiration Point:

kuula.co/post/7lY8X

But I did all this via a late start of 7am. Getting to the top was not really a problem. I took my sweet time and had several breaks. There was a cool breeze above 2700 feet or so. (The Pass is at 3000 feet).

But because I'd started so late, the heat got to me as I hit the last 2 miles or so, on the way down. I brought 3 liters of water and used up all of it with about half a mile to go, which to me was pushing my luck. Made it home fine but learned a lesson.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
3 archives
Aug 12 2017
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Sunrise Peak from 145th StreetPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 12 2017
neilends
Hiking4.40 Miles 1,218 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles
1,218 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Whenever I take a hiking hiatus, trails like this remind me why the hiatus was a dumb idea. Here's a 360 I took from the peak, from which you can see rain clouds moving in:

kuula.co/post/7lPwp

It started out hot, muggy, and gross. Obviously. It's August in Phoenix. But after reaching about 2500 feet in elevation, that changed to an actually cool breeze--something I haven't felt all summer long. And then, to cap it all off, I reach the peak and there was a brilliant rainbow in full view. I would've stayed longer at the peak but it started to rain on me. Felt great. Why am I not doing this every day?

(My trip length is 4.4 because I took a wrong turn.)
Meteorology
Meteorology
Rain Rainbow Stratus Cloud
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
Aug 07 2017
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Gateway Loop Trail - MSPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 07 2017
neilends
Hiking4.40 Miles 838 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles
838 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Haven't logged a hike since 2015. I've hiked here and there in the interim but my routine did in fact fade out in 2015, so it's just as well that I wasn't keeping up on HAZ. I did my old stand-by morning route today, the trailhead being a 3 minute drive from home.

I'm a gadget freak so what brought me out here in the first place is a gadget: in this case the Samsung Gear 360. I have no claimed photography skills but the concept fascinates me, as does the idea of reaching all of my favorite destinations, snapping a 360, and sharing it with my elderly relatives. I took this one today.

kuula.co/post/7lPJ9
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
1 archive
Oct 25 2015
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Bell Pass - Bell / 104th THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 25 2015
neilends
Hiking7.10 Miles 1,520 AEG
Hiking7.10 Miles
1,520 ft AEG
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I accidentally went on a 5-month hiking hiatus. Oops. A federal jury trial is what knocked me off course at first, but that excuse lasted only about 4 weeks in May. What happened next is a blur of self-whining, sleeping in, and months flying by like they were seconds.

Getting back into the saddle was painful but necessary. I chose Bell Pass as my punishment. It was slow going but well worth it.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
May 30 2015
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Bushwhacking near Happy Jack, AZ 
Bushwhacking near Happy Jack, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 30 2015
neilends
Hiking5.80 Miles 850 AEG
Hiking5.80 Miles
850 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Search and rescue mission for Akuma, a 14-year old black lab who got scared away from a campsite due to gunshots, on May 23. This is my second effort at true bushwhacking and I'm gaining comfort with it. The forest in this region was a lot less dense than last time, though, so it was an easier task.

I spotted a galloping elk, which was pretty amazing.

No Akuma though. We did eliminate some decent swaths of territory where he logically should have been camping out, and we wonder whether someone picked him up. Since he had a collar but no identification tag, any good samaritan could have picked him up but have no idea how to find the owner.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
1 archive
May 24 2015
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Old Road Trail, NM 
Old Road Trail, NM
 
Hiking avatar May 24 2015
neilends
Hiking6.00 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles
200 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This story illustrates what happens when you wander off into another state that you're unfamiliar with.

First, I meticulously planned, routed, mapped, and prepared for a beautiful alpine hike close to Taos in the Carson National Forest. On the morning of the hike though, the forecast called for thunderstorms, so I decided to abort.

Second, I quickly plotted out a plan B for something close to my Santa Fe rental condo, and headed out, this time to the Santa Fe National Forest. The trailhead elevation was 10,000 feet and I was not thinking straight, though. About 20 minutes into my hike, I ran into two friendly Texans heading back down. "You headed up to Nambe Lake?" they asked. Yep. "In about 10 minutes, you're going to be up to your knees in snow. That's why we turned around. We're from Texas where we seem to have a different definition of 'summer' than Santa Fe does, I guess." I laughed that I had the same problem as an Arizonan, thanked them, and aborted the hike. Gah!!!

I drive back to the condo to sit down and try and plot out a final attempted hike that would make this quick weekend trip worthwhile. By this time it's about 10am and my ambitions of anything more than a 5-6 mile hike were gone. As I googled and web surfed (there is no hikenewmexico dot com; how do people in other states function without this site?), I set my sights on the Bandalier National Monument. It's not too far off, is in the opposite direction of the bad weather, is lower elevation, and features canyon scenery that makes New Mexico (and our great Southwestern region) the beautiful land that it is. I picked out a trail, plotted waypoints on my GPS, downloaded the topo, and off I went.

Upon arriving at Bandalier, my novice status as a dog-owner shone through as I stared at an obvious, well-planted sign stating, "No Pets Permitted Beyond This Point." I stared at the sign for a good 10 minutes while internally venting and raging at a federal regulation that was probably debated and studied several decades ago. After calming down, I headed back to my jeep feeling totally defeated. Until my fortunes changed: I spotted a friendly dude wearing a U.S. Park Service uniform who was greeting newcomers into the parking lot. Trixie and I walked up to him and I told him that I'd failed at 3 hikes in the day so far, with the current failure being my ignorance of the anti-dog rule in this national monument.

This park ranger saved the day. He explained that the monument is actually surrounded by Department of Energy land, owned by the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The DOE, it turns out, has beautiful trails throughout its vast wilderness that surrounds the land, which are all public, free for use by hikers, and dog-friendly. Even better, no tourists pay attention to them so they are serene, isolated, and untouched except by folks like him. He told me the exact mile markers to use for two of his favorite trails and how to find them.

I followed his advice, and this turned out to be one of the most magnificent hikes I've experienced in a while even though it was only about 1.5 miles one way (I could have extended it further but did not feel up to it). Trixie and I hiked from a simple but clearly marked trailhead off the main road out to the edge of the giant mesa on which we all were. The views at the edge of the mesa were outstanding, and included glimpses of the Rio Grande in the distance. For me, the sign of any good trail or hike is my desire to sit down and then simply be unable to head back home. That's what happened. I was mesmerized by the view, by the beauty of New Mexico's canyons, and by the solitude. We did not see a single other hiker on this trail, on a Memorial Day weekend Sunday.

Thanks, park ranger, for saving the weekend.

GPS coords for this trip log are of the trailhead, which is marked by a Los Alamos Laboratory sign that contains an excellent map. I'm marking the trip log as 6 miles of hiking rather than the 3 for this hike, to account for the portions of the failed hikes I attempted that day.
Fauna
Fauna
Dog
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
May 17 2015
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Bushwhacking near Tonto Village, AZ 
Bushwhacking near Tonto Village, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 17 2015
neilends
Hiking5.00 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles
300 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Trixie and I went on a rescue mission to Find Mick and Casey (viewtopic.php?p=109008#p109008). I did a lot of bushwhacking. It was a lot easier than I'd realized to do so for search purposes by using the tools we're so adept at using for regular leisure hiking.

Due to excellent work by the family, all local residents in the area are aware of the missing dogs. We had two clear sightings on Saturday alone, one where we missed Mick by just about an hour. There are plenty of ATV trails that can be hiked. I helped distribute flyers to a lot of campers. One campsite I strongly suspect was a weekend white supremacist retreat. (I work with law enforcement and am vaguely familiar with their symbols and imagery.) I'm not white so... awwwkwaaard. But they took a flyer so whatevs.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
3 archives
May 09 2015
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Thompson Peak from Dixie Mine THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 09 2015
neilends
Hiking10.50 Miles 2,250 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles
2,250 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Finally did it. Climbed Thompson Peak. After a year of procrastinating, and blowing off the winter months when I should have done this, the forecast called for a high of 75 today. It's like February in May. It was a sign from above. This was my last chance before summer, so I took it.

Trixie the 18 pound puppy blew me away with her endurance. I think she was more concerned about me than vice versa. She could have done this hike 3 more times, I'm pretty sure. At least at my pace.

Petroglyphs finally located. I'm not sure I found the most spectacular ones I've seen photos of.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
May 08 2015
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Lost Dog Wash Access Trail - MSPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 08 2015
neilends
Hiking2.30 Miles 288 AEG
Hiking2.30 Miles
288 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
May 03 2015
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Balanced Rock Trail - MSPNPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar May 03 2015
neilends
Hiking4.50 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles
200 ft AEG
 no routes
Took a group of 6-7 of my wife's friends on, effectively, a guided hike led by me and Trixie. These were folks who live all over the Valley and hadn't really experienced any hikes other than a climb or two of Camelback. They met at our house, from where we led a convoy to the Granite Mountain Trailhead. They loved this experience, of course. The isolation and newness of the MSP itself made it especially novel and fun for them.

My objective was to hike to Balanced Rock and back, in a loop. Bootlegger to Saddlehorn to Granite Mountain Loop to Balanced Rock, and then return to trailhead via Powerline. The minimal elevation climb was perfect for a large group that included a healthy grandma in her early 70s. There are awesome and sweeping views available even without a huge elevation gain, along the way. Balanced Rock is a great destination and turn-around point. Despite a huge bug problem as we walked, everyone was raving about the hike for the rest of the day.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
May 02 2015
neilends
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 16
 Photos 183
 Triplogs 144

48 male
 Joined Jan 29 2008
 Paradise Valley/
Most Annoying Hike Ever, AZ 
Most Annoying Hike Ever, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 02 2015
neilends
Hiking5.00 Miles 250 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles
250 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This was seriously the most annoying "hike" I've experienced in ages. To knock off some ATC segments, I had to take the Quartz up to West World and connect to Taliesin. All of these, of course, feature nothing more than golf cart paths and people's backyards.

To top it off, my dog Trixie and I encountered a hiker who had a large vicious dog that she was almost unable to control. As we crossed paths, her dog lunged at Trixie while snarling and the hiker had to all but tackle her to keep her from getting away. As a first-time dog owner, I now understand what people mean when they talk about what they would do if someone attacked their beloved little family member. If that dog had gotten away and come at us, I would have attempted to kill it unless it backed off. How exactly, I'm not sure. Maybe it's time to start packing.
_____________________
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
average hiking speed 1.79 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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