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213 triplogs
Apr 08 2017
WilliamnWendi
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 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Cliff Walk Trail - Sonoran Preserve NorthPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 08 2017
WilliamnWendi
Hiking3.93 Miles 554 AEG
Hiking3.93 Miles
554 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
It was a perfect day for a hike so we checked up on the owl nests for the season. I'm happy to report one nest with 3 hatchlings and another with at least 2. Some flora but mostly Globe Chamomile so its pretty stinky.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Oct 25 2015
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Kachina Trail #150Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 25 2015
WilliamnWendi
Hiking3.32 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking3.32 Miles   2 Hrs   15 Mns   1.48 mph
700 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Quick little hike for some fall colors. Squirrels were a little cussy but fall was on full display.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Sep 07 2015
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Potato Patch LoopNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 07 2015
WilliamnWendi
Hiking4.40 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles   3 Hrs      1.47 mph
1,500 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Loved this hike. Saw two bucks and several does. Views were amazing.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
2 archives
May 23 2015
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Huckaby Trail #161Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar May 23 2015
WilliamnWendi
Hiking5.45 Miles 626 AEG
Hiking5.45 Miles
626 ft AEG   2 Hrs   30 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Birthday hike for Wendi, nice little treat after taking a jeep tour up Bear Wallow canyon. Saw a yellow bird that kept drawing our attention, Outdoor Lover's photograph of Scott's Oriole that I found right on the homepage made identification easy! Thanks Love. We were contemplating the Hangover trail for the following day but after the bumpy jeep tour ride up Schnebly Hill Rd this day we consider ourselves set for a while. We will come back for that.
The hike was awesome the real show stopper had to be the yucca in bloom, prettiest I've ever seen. Turns out the Scott's Oriole is closely associated with this plant, according to AllAboutBirds.com, so there you go!
We made up to the crossing before coming to Midgley Bridge, sat for a few quite moments to listen to the creek bubbling by and then back to Huckaby th.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Aug 30 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Lenox CraterFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 30 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking3.75 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking3.75 Miles   3 Hrs      1.55 mph
300 ft AEG      35 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Did this hike on the fly, after setting up camp at the Bonita Camprgrounds. We had planned on camping at Lockett Meadow but by 9 am they were already posted full. So we were left to our own means of where to hike. After long discussion we just decided to see where our feet took us... the northeast end of the campgrounds had been calling our names so we just started walking. We followed the Bonita Lava flow east, not on it, if ever a trepid terrain there was, the lava flows it is. We walked along side, our feet crunching in the course to fine cinders, black and drawing the warmth of the sun. The landscape is surreal. After .75 miles or so we crossed a trail outlined by football sized lava stones, they headed south, but we chose to keep heading east. East that is until we found ourselves surrounded by the flow, just a short while later. So we headed back and took the marked route south.
Eventually the trail, following along side the lava flow always, hemmed in by Fire Rd. 545 heads east again flanked by the road on one side and the flows on the other. Disappearing as we approached the pullout/Lenox Crater Th. we followed the road a very short ways.
Wendi, was really the one who pushed us on to summit Lenox crater. It is a short hike but a huffer, bring any asthma medication required. We enjoyed the views. Then headed back.
By the time were back on our private trail again we were getting pretty warm. We found some shade under a pine tree, I noticed a strange phenomena where a rainbow was encircling the noonday sun, so I had to lay down in the cinders to properly view the rainbow. The cinders were surprisingly comfortable and I quickly fell asleep. Wendi, used to my abilities to fall asleep no matter the situation, found herself shockingly amused when I started snoring... in my defense we had been up since 4 am.
All in all it was a good day.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Aug 30 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
O'Leary PeakFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 30 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking9.70 Miles 1,996 AEG
Hiking9.70 Miles   5 Hrs      2.16 mph
1,996 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
SPECIAL NOTE: This hike was done on Sunday, August 31, 2014. Oddly, the HikeAz calender wouldn't let me select that day.

This was our plan B hike, having been unable to camp at Lockett Meadow, we decided against driving in to hike the Inner Basin Trail. We had a feeling that we were doomed to failure from the beginning but that didn't mean we couldn't enjoy the adventure. We know from previous experience that the two of our bodies are not optimized for hiking at altitude so we just hiked as far as we could go, by the time we reached the saddle just connecting Darton Dome to O'leary we were spent but we pushed ourselves on rounding the first switch back before quitting prolly round about .5 miles from the top.
We at lunch commiserating over our decision to quit, but only for a short time. Then we lifted our eyes and just enjoyed the views
The obvious spectacles were of course the lava flows below and the Sunset Crater beyond, but I was more drawn to the lesser hills nested between Darton Dome and Sunset Crater. I couldn't help but think of being inside one of the paintings of one my favorite local painters Philip C. Curtis. I couldn't help but be certain that he had been here and seen these oddly blackened hills bathed in sunlight, and dotted by pine trees whose own shadows were visible only set against their own fallen midden. I dont know that I have ever been to a more surreal environment.
Though we never summitted we were still uplifted as we came back down amongst the shade of the pines, and their cool embrace. We passed a lot of people who knew had no plans to even leave the shade of the pines, and why would they, in truth I shouldn't neglect the walk along side the lava flows. Aspen's grow along side the blackness of the flows, their white bark never whiter. Yellow flowers, mostly Blackeyed Susans blanket the few hill tops that aren't capped in cinder.
Amazingly zen place, maybe one of my favorites.
A little tip for those who dont mind adding another .25 mile or so to both legs, and also who are also camping at the Bonita Campgrounds. Not too far west of the amphitheatre is a path that takes you up to the TH. The path is not distinct but just follow valley where the amphitheatre is, west and it will be obvious what to do.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Aug 09 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Clover Creek CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 09 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking5.00 Miles 1,800 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   1.76 mph
1,800 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Sweet little hike. Prior to the hike Wendi showed me a bunch of pictures of water, cows, and even an owl so I those as a promise, which all turned out to be broken promises for this trip. We did see lots of traces of bovine excess and some signs elk maybe. Despite the broken promises we really enjoyed this hike, especially the cooler temperatures and the rain clouds that rolled by haphazardly through out hike bring welcomed light showers and cool breezes along with sounds of thunder. For a trail I had never heard of there sure was a good flow of folks and apparently very kid friendly. On the way out, probably 1/4 mile from the th, a red faced little 4 year old boy broke away from his family resting in the shade, he walked straight for us pointing us to stop. "Do know where our car is?" I just laughed at the thought. His mom just laughed, he thinks we are lost. Clearly he was done with the hike and was hoping to hitch a ride back with us.
We had another family ask if we ever saw any water. I informed them that there were only small puddles not much else. We did get to where 5' climb down section with the largest pool but it was more pleasant to look at than inviting me to drag Wendi through it. This was around 2 miles or so, so we backed tracked a bit and rough trail of sorts, maybe a game trail but it seemed to follow 100' above the creek on the right side. we followed that for awhile but Wendi was uncomfortable that it might cliff out. So we just ate our lunch enjoyed the sounds of a rainclouds blowing through.
Great hike will definitely come back but try to time it so we'll have some running water.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Jun 28 2014
WilliamnWendi
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 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Thompson Trail #629Alpine, AZ
Alpine, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 28 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking5.00 Miles 360 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   2.22 mph
360 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Plenty of wild flowers but the Wild Iris stole the show. Beautiful hike by a stream. Wendi had more than her share of bites from what we suspect is either a Yellow Fly or a Deer Fly neither of which seemed interested in me.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
May 25 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Cibecue CreekGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Canyoneering avatar May 25 2014
WilliamnWendi
Canyoneering3.10 Miles 240 AEG
Canyoneering3.10 Miles   4 Hrs      0.89 mph
240 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After our GC hike, we're trying to fall in to the same trap as after Havasu Falls. It is hard to match the level of excitement of those hikes. Cibecue seemed to have a little of their flare, but short enough to not require their preparation requirements.
Before we got to the hike we had a few noteworthy experiences. The first were the problems getting permits from WMAoutdoors.org's website, I suspect the site was just overloaded with the Memorial day crunch, because first thing the morning of our hike I checked back and was able to effortlessly acquire the two permits needed. First however we, in lieu of our first failed attempt with WMA website, the night before our hike, we went to the 27th ave Sportsman's Warehouse, and were told that this store no longer carried the permits, only their Mesa Store did. Long story short, if we hadn't been able to purchase permits online, our hike wouldn't have started at noon but probably 1:30. Either way we were glad to finally tackle this trail.
I am not sure why their permitting system forces you to start your adventures at noon, the beginning of the hottest part of the day, but luckily we had fairly mild day with plenty of over cast and cool 82 degree weather. The permit is good till noon following day and includes camping but in all the confusion of getting the permit we gave up on trying to plan camping trip.
The drive on the last 4 miles of dirt road was little stressful in a Altima but in the end proved doable. But we got started right a noon. We saw plenty of people hiking back out. Some had packs and had clearly camped in the canyon. The water was very clear and just cold enough enough to be refreshing but not warm enough to want to swim in. Very beautiful hike, I might compare it to Aravaipa, one of the coves reminded Wendi of the cave on Fish Creek, and parts reminded her of Oak Creek. Some have compared it to Havasu, and it had a little of those blue-green waters.
We could hear the rush of the falls before we ever saw them, and the anticipation did not lead to disappointment. The shadows of the over hangs grew in and out as the clouds danced with the sun above casting their own shadows on the wall to wall waters, broken only by small pebbled islands, that pooled in the final, allowable, fifty feet of the Cibecue Canyon.
We were one of two couples who had reached the canyon at the same time and the 4 of us alone shared falls together. Wendi and I sat on side to eat our lunch of Tuna and jerky, which proved too much for the other couples K9 companion. She left her humans, and ignored their calls, to saunter over and get some pets from us, but no treats. Finally she relented to the calls of her owners but every once in awhile tried to make an attempt to cross back over but sadly we only got the one visit. As cat owners we can only live our K9 dreams vicariously through others.
We didn't see to much fauna. Possibly, a partial bear track, a few schools of minnows, one pesky pill sized breed of bug that looked like a moth. It was grey blue and kept attaching itself to my leg, and I am not usually bothered by stowaways, they can usually ride for free as long as they like, but this was either biting or really holding tight. I kept brushing him off, but for the first 1/4 mile of the hike he would just reappear seconds later often in exactly the same spot. We were able to stay, with the exception of the first crossing from the alternate parking area, dry until we reached Gauging Station, then we had to get wet, after that my little buggy friend seemed to go away. Besides that not much else until I spotted this crazy creature in the water. It reminded me of that ear-thingy in the Wrath of Kahn. I stepped towards it to get a picture, it was clinging to the calcite covered gold rock in the current of the water, and it seemed to lung at my feet before retreating back an inch. I now know that it was Hellgrammite, and the larva of the Dobsonfly which is the same 2" long demon but with wings. I saw pictures of people with these things in their hand! Not me, no thank you.
On the drive home there was a head-on collision blocking Hghwy 77/60, both directions. Sadly, it was a car vs. semi, there was a fatality. For us, it meant a 1/2 hour, sitting there with the ignition off. I guess we were situated close enough the crash in a stretch of highway which they needed to have cleared. Besides the horse-trailer behind us the rest and thirty cars ahead, the rest of the traffic were waiting another 4 hours, both directions. The truck driver looked safe and in good health, if a little distressed.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
May 01 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
South Kaibab TrailNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Backpack avatar May 01 2014
WilliamnWendi
Backpack18.80 Miles 4,790 AEG
Backpack18.80 Miles2 Days   8 Hrs   30 Mns   
4,790 ft AEG1 Day   19 Hrs    Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Fauna included lots of squirrels, plenty of deer at the bottom and elk at the top, a seagull, a giraffe, and a werewolf. The last two were really costumed bipeds on the shuttle but the rest were all natural sightings. Other hikers reported that they spotted a bobcat and a fox, apparently the bobcat may have been hunting the fox.
It's the Grand Canyon! I Always thought that I'd only ever look at it from the top, I was embarrassed when we were at Havasu Falls and another hiker mentioned the steep hike in to Phantom Ranch and I had to admit to not knowing what he was talking about. The idea of hiking into the Grand Canyon had never crossed my mind until that moment, I mean, could it be any more beautiful from inside the canyon. Still the idea was born and Wendi and I had been looking for an excuse to return to where we first got engaged and reminisce.
We got to the park the day before. After dropping off a 30lb duffel at the mule depot, then checking into the Bright Angel Lodge, then eating lunch while the first of many squirrels looked on from our room window which was just inches above ground level, we headed out on tour of the new(to us) shuttle buses. We briefly checked out the Bright Angel TH behind the lodge, lots of hustle and bustle. The trail itself looked intimidating but with an allure that beckoned like a siren.
Once on the shuttles we made our way east stopping where we could admire the best views of the Canyon. When we got to Mather Point I realized I was looking at the South Kaibab, stupefied I tried trace it's path which was mostly modestly steep where it didn't disappear into areas where there surely couldn't be a trail with no obvious promise of shelter from a noon day sun, I am sure I must be the only person , lest it was another hiker, to stand in view of the great beauty all around and was compelled to say "That is ugly" and then also have his wife agree. Once the lunacy of those words were realized I repeated them a few more times for our own amusement, so we could laugh. Tomorrow we hike down that trail, and unlike the BA there was no siren that beckoned.
But for now we were to Yaki Point, we skipped South Kaibab TH, wanting to save that for tomorrow. We were excited to see Yaki Point, where I proposed to Wendi 7 years earlier... only, we didn't recognize it at all. This was not where we got engaged. We got right back on the orange line and road the shuttles from their furthest eastern point, Yaki, to Hermits in the far west, on the Red line. We rode the shuttle stopping at nearly every stop and never found the spot. Seriously how big could this Grand Canyon be? After 4.5 hours on the shuttle we resigned to just being in the vicinity of the spot where we were engaged. Along the way we spotted lots of elk milling about in the woods just shy of joining the herds of people moving from one spectacular scene to the next.
The next morning it was up at 5, some coffee from the lobby, and just made the morning's first Hiker's Express shuttle at 6. We ate breakfast at the top of South Kaibab while watching most of the rest of the shuttled group begin their hike. We were happy for the early morning shade that we had, and tried to take advantage of it. I saw the spot where we were yesterday at Mather Point, the spot where I stood cursing the sight of this trail, but now feeling hopeful and thankful for a cool morning. We quickly made it to the first of 2 rest-houses. Wendi shocked me when she said that was at the 3 mile point but then corrected herself as she recalled that it was actually 1.5 miles and that it was a 3 mile round trip.
We had already passed "Ooh Aah" point and for at least a few minutes I thought that that must be the Indian name.
I was surprised to find that of the 30 or so hikers on that first shuttle, more than half were doing out and backs to the Colorado or coming back up the Bright Angel in the same day. Most of the people we talked to were doing that. In fact we only saw 2 hikers on the trail actually camping at the BA Camp grounds.
From that first Rest-house the trail drops again and is mostly in full sun from here until just past the next Rest-house. From above at Skeleton Point the switchbacks below look ridiculous and then you learn that those switchbacks were hiding more switch backs. I actually started feeling a little dizzy through this area. I think from the exposure from the sun and just switching back and forth. It was short lived nothing a little snack and some more water couldn't handle. I had picked some flotsam on the way down guessing that someone ahead of us lost some gear. It turned out to be good karma at the second rest-house. We arrived just as a mule tour was beginning to dismount so we rushed over before it got to crowded. I found the girl who had lost her gear she was just realizing she had lost it. Then together Wendi and I dropped our packs to use the outhouses. When I came back out there were two people with their hiking sticks defending our packs against the squirrels, thus repaying my good karma. Never again did we leave our packs undefended. We needed two things now, to have some snacks and some shade and though I never thought I would find solace in the shade of an outhouse it worked perfectly, though we should have just continued on because the trail drops again and this time offers some nice shady spots and soon the Colorado River is constant companion. Up until this final drop we had been pretty positive and were beginning to think we would escape infamously pained "Canyon Shuffle". Au Contraire! If weren't for the fact we could practically see the end of the trail we probably would have given up. The sight of the mule train coming up the trail gave us a shot of adrenaline too, that was pretty cool. We just stood off trail and let them pass. It was near a particularly beautiful section of trail that looks like it cut and polished out shear rock very cool. We were practically crawling down the switchbacks the Black Bridge now always present but never getting closer. One of the groups of hikers that started with us were now heading back up, those pumpkin Crossfit pumpkins were practically running back up! I took some solace noting that they didn't have 30lbs of water and supplies strapped to their backs.
Finally we hit bottom and stepped through the tunnel, I was surprised to not be able to see straight through the tunnel but it turns a little, and then finally there's the bridge. Yeah!
We went straight to the camp-grounds and picked #19. Just our size close to the river and though sparse had some shade for our tent.
We had doffed our packs and attacked our lunches while paining over our legs. Our hamstrings were shot. Advil for everyone! Also, my new favorite, shots of Herbal Elements. I also had to admit to Wendi that I had lied about having freshly clipped toe-nails, the price for that was a couple of sore toes which I immediately found relief after a little self-pedi.
We cooled off in Bright Angel creek and watch a little yellow bird gleaning little snacks here and there. Then I went to claim our duffel which was maybe a little easier than I would have liked. Pretty much find your pack and go, I was trying to make it more complicated by trying to find someone to give my claim ticket to and have them recover my pack, silly me. It was strange to strap on the my old sea-bag again, felt like I was back in the Navy.
Back at camp I began setting up the tent. We were expecting some inclement weather so I made sure stake it down good. Every now and again a deer or two sometimes a fawn, paying no heed to activities on this side of the creek, would saunter by grazing on the greenery. A large raven seemed to be intent on harassing them from time to time, as if waiting for them to uncover something of interest.
Around 4:00 the winds began picking up so we made our way to the Canteen for their famous lemonade and that did not disappoint. I was disappointed to find that they were out of hats to buy but we did mail ourselves a postcard. Then we made sure to catch Ranger Mandy's talk on "D.U.D.E. Grand Canyon Rocks!". She asked that everyone tell at least one person D.U.D.E. meant and so I will write it here...Deposition - Undercutting - Downcutting - more Erosion, this is how the Grand Canyon was formed. You'll have to hike down there yourself to hear the rest. She was a lot of fun.
Then it was back to the Canteen for our long awaited Steak Dinner! "Long awaited" for those who don't know means that we placed our order a year ago. Boy, was it good! And of course the Grand Canyon Amber Ale was a good way to finish the meal. We had fun talking to our fellow dining companions, most of whom came by mule. Our hostess informed us that only 1% of the visitors make it to Phantom Ranch and even less than that "Make it back out!"
Back at camp, the winds started building steam. I neglected to yet mention that the camp sites were all layered in sand. We had been happy to see that when we first got to the camp grounds but this became the bane of our existence in very short order. I looked inside our tent and everything was covered in a very fine sand, filtered by the No-Seeum mesh. Immediately we began cleaning it all out but that was futility in the still increasing winds. Soon I was resetting my lines to better brace the tent whose frame was fighting to keep from buckling in the winds. Even still I had to use the Ammo Cans to better brace the lines, I had hoped they would also act as barrier against the onslaught of sand. I never thought I would prayer for rain while camping but anything to stop that sand. We tried to relax with some wine and a little chit-chat but around 7:00 we had to take cover in the tent, after bailing sand one more time. For Valentines day I had put together a grab-bag of hiking supplies for Wendi, which include a Buff. This turned out to be the perfect for keeping most of the sand out of her face, she found she could still see and breathe through the material. I just had a bandanna which worked well but I made Wendi admit that that buff was the best Valentines Day gift ever. I now have my own buff but Wendi is certain that there slim odds we will ever be in a sandstorm again.
Once in the tent I found I was having to brace the frame with my feet whenever a strong gust would come in, the frame rebounded every time but I wanted to reduce the fatigue. My night was spent listening for the gusts building strength either from down the canyon or up the canyon or from the east, once I was alarmed to hear it coming from both up the canyon and down the canyon at the same time, I was sure that was gonna be the end, but they just cancelled each other out. Once the impact was imminent I would once again raise my feet to brace the walls against the winds, finding my self again reminiscing about my Navy days. This was very nearly like some of the exercises they used in boot-camp when they got bored torturing us with push-ups. Wendi, to my utter shock, managed to go to sleep, I was happy to hear her quiet little snores... happy wife, happy life. Finally about 2:30 in the morning the rains came. The winds never stopped but at least the sand wasn't coming in with them. I managed to get some sleep but another thing I was battling was my Exped air mattress. It acquired a slow leak this trip, so I was refilling it every couple of hours. Luckily Wendi's was holding strong. Every now and again through out the night we had to pick out the chunks of sand that had clumped at the corner of eyes, I marvelled at how effective our eyes were at carrying the sediment away.
The winds settled down some by morning. We awoke to the sounds of our fellow campers beating the sand from their own mats and bed linens. I really can't describe the hell that was the "Great Grand Canyon Sandstorm of 2014" but I was there.
Of course our bodies laboured to rise, crippled from hiking in and mine more so from the night's callisthenics. Green Tea for me, coffee for the missus. Wendi had put together an excellent breakfast mix with some granola, brown sugar, cranberries, powdered milk. Just add water! Delish! We had planned to hike the River Trail today. We knew planning this hike that weren't gonna be fit enough for some of the other popular hikes but even the idea of going back up even a few switchbacks we came down was unpleasant to think about. But we forced ourselves into action, we couldn't not see what we came so far to see. Those initial switchbacks were indeed torturous to our hobbled legs but we made it up to the River Trail and manage to enjoy high views of the Colorado river, the intermittent rains, and the clouds that occasionally cleared to blue skies and back to grey. We hoped to watch the boat tours disembark from the beaches but they seemed intent on staying there for hours. We watched a group of deer, mill about near the water treatment area, we would later find them reclined at the BA Corrals, ready for a photo op. When we got to the Silver Bridge we found ourselves wondering what was in store for tomorrows hike out.
Lunch was salami and crackers. More deer, more squirrels. The squirrels are always present if there is food, sans the steak dinner. The raven was back harassing the deer. I noticed the fawn seemed to follow several paces behind Momma. I am not sure but it seemed like the fawn was scenting where the mother had eaten and would follow suit, not directly watching but learning by smelling. We never did see any bull deer the entire trip. Only one deer seemed to ever get spooked. It came barrelling through the campsites along the back wall, stopped for a second as if trapped by us gawkers and then took off again. Not sure what spooked it.
Dinner was another one of Wendi's best, Salmon Alfredo. No joke, delish. We dehydrated some canned corn, white cheddar macaroni mix, and salmon in a foil pouch. Boil some water and you're good to go. I did make the mistake of drinking way too much wine, but if I didn't drink it, I was packing it out. The two cartons were the equivalent to 6 glasses of wine. This insured I was good and hung over for our hike out the next day.
Breakfast on day 3 was a bagel and cream cheese that came from the sack lunch we had pre-ordered at the Canteen. The plan was to be only carrying water and the sack lunches for the hike out but just before morning there was another shot of rain and there was not time to dry out the tent and still have the duffel ready for the mules. This added an extra 2lbs that had to born by us unless we wanted to pay an additional $68.00. My argument that it was water-weight didn't... well, hold water.
We began the trek up at about 6:50 a.m. It was rough but at least this dreary weather became an asset. I can't imagine we would have successfully hiked out if it were much warmer. Our legs still pretty sore, and I with hang-over, we set a slow pace and just tried to enjoy our surroundings. I was a little disappointed that the River Trail dipped back down after taking us up for a ways but the sight of the Bright Angel Trail perked us up. Pipe Creek was a moral booster, I mock complained that no said anything about creek crossings. We were a little surprised by a seagull, possibly injured, taking shelter in the rocks next to the creek. I wondered if it had been knocked of course by the heavy winds the night before last.
A short distance from the seagull, is when I started hearing behind us singing, they would eventually over take us. It was a very young boy, maybe 8, and his grandfather. They both waved cheerfully as they went. The boy singing that song "...Hurrah! Hurrah!", I couldn't make the rest of lyrics to know for sure what he was singing, but it was to the tune of "When Johnny Come Marching Home". He had his own pack and singing away. A few other groups past us then too, we happened to be eating our bagel breakfast at that time. We were within sight of where Garden Creek dumps into the Pipe, just below the first set of switch backs. Close by was some kind of cave that was clearly man-made, but it was off trail and up a short hill, a number of people made a side trip out of it but not me, I wasn't going up any unnecessary hills.
We started up those switchbacks a good fifty feet before I realized I left my ballcap behind. I hated having to go back down but L-N-T. By the time we got to the top of those switchbacks we started seeing people coming down the trail as well as up. What was funny, when paused either for breaks or to let someone pass, often multiple groups would converge on us, and everyone made their own assumptions about which direction we were going and give us advice. I called one girl a liar, for telling us we were almost there, "You can do it!", I didn't catch on that she thought we were headed down until a while later. Another kid advised us to conserve our water, don't make the mistake he once made on this trail. We happened to be 20 ft from trickling water, I had 4 litres of 5 still in my pack alone, a water filter, and the promise of potable water at least 3 different locations. I started realising that I needed to adjust my attitude because these interactions weren't as negative as my brain was painting them. Time to forget about the pain and focus on how beautiful this trail was, we had just come up on the shady confines of Garden Creek so getting in the right frame of mind came pretty quickly.
I had had my Goal-Zero strapped and opened on my pack and it was getting lots of comments and questions about it, especially as more and more down-hikers were passing us. I was using it to keep my cellphone charge for pictures as well as the batteries for my GPS. I have had it for several years but have not really employed it this way before, which is really the way it was meant to be used. In the future I will rethink the amount of rechargeable batteries I backpack with, they are large percentage of my pack weight and I really didn't need may be a couple extra with Goal-Zero doing it's job, of course that is dependant on the quality of sunshine.
We still hadn't reached Indian Gardens, but close when heard a chopper overhead. It turned out to be a Med-Evac, and we hoped that everyone was O.K. We would learn later that a lady had fallen from Mather Point, she didn't survive. We don't know for sure that this chopper had anything to do with that incident but our thoughts were hopeful.
I am still confused at the signage where the Tonto intersects with the BA. "Indian Gardens - 3 miles - and an arrow". 3 miles! I knew this couldn't be right, we needed to be, according to popular wisdom, at the Indian Gardens by 11:00 or consider hunkering down till late afternoon to finish the hike. It was then about 10:15 and by 10:45 were sitting at Indian Gardens, luxuriating in the shade, watching squirrels seek out unsuspecting victims, their biggest score was large bag of gummy worms but that victory quickly reduced to an all out squabble between 3 squirrels in a cloud of dust and squeals until finally one ran out with the bag in his teeth ne'er to be seen again.
I was also surprised to see the Little Drummer Boy and his Grandfather resting with us. But it was just a short time later that they set back out, still singing his song. I was amazed at how many youngster we saw through out this trip. Lots of trail runners too. One of the odder couples was an Asian couple. We first saw them towards the end of the Indian Gardens Campgrounds, they were coming from the top, the lady was running ahead with the husband coming up behind looking pretty winded and carrying a shoulder bag. It was funny then, but later we would see them, as we were near the top, only now she has the bag and now running even further ahead, with the man on verge of collapse, his arm with plaintively groping out in front of him but still managing at least a double-time. As he passed, I jokingly quipped "You got one that's hard to keep up with", he agreed.
Back, standing there, at the southern end of the Indian Gardens we couldn't be stuck by the immensity of the 3,000' obstacle that stood before us. We tried to guess which way, and the how of a trail that conquers this grand wall. But the canyon walls blended together, swallowing the trail, allowing it's secrets to be revealed with each step, one step at time. I was reminded of my first time up to Flatiron, and how the Superstitions seemed to be an impenetrable fortress and how now it failed to measure up to what laid before us. We were grateful that our calves seemed to be recovering, or at least outperforming our expectations, not realizing that going up hill, they were no longer under assault, soon it would be our hamstrings under full attack. But for now it gave us a confidence, naively as it were and of which we would need every last bit, that we could make the next 4 miles of unrelenting ascent.
The beauty of the Bright Angel that was hinted 3 days ago, where we snuck a glimpse before the beginning of this grand adventure, did not disappoint. We were feeding on the adrenaline of it, it was ever changing color and texture. By the time we reached the Three-mile House the trail was getting pretty crowded, a far change from the bottom of the trail. Every one was moving so fast on their unbattered legs. We seemed to be the slowest two on the trail, then, finally, a three person group, composed of a young woman escorting two older women up the trail, the eldest being her 90's and using her hiking sticks as if they could be a walker. Finally we passed someone! But we started realizing that we hadn't considered something preparing for this hike. We had focused on the AEG not the actual Altitude. We were familiar with Altitude sickness from our Mount Graham hike and began to suspect that Wendi was battling the symptoms: Headache(which we realized was big problem the first night in the hotel, it had kept her up), cramps, and mostly wasn't able to get a full breath. We compensated by lots of stops. We then found ourselves battling an even bigger demon, that crazy threesome was gaining ground with that 90 year lady, talking up a storm was gaining ground. Every time we stopped within minutes we could hear her voice and we would force ourselves on. In the end, however, their relentless crawl overtook our relentless crawl. But in the end we finally made it to the top, too tired to even revel in it, but we made it to the top!
It was 3:30, we had met our goal exactly! This left us enough time to unload our packs back at the car, hit the gift shop for some mementos, and still pick up our duffel at the mule barn by 4:00 which meant no $10 late fee.
Driving home that night included a stop at McD's for some chicken sandwiches and fries. By 8:00 we back at home in Phoenix. Recovery time was about a week, the first 3 days were hell, especially climbing the stairs at home. It was all worth it.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Apr 13 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Shaw Butte - North Mtn LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 13 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking5.50 Miles 1,495 AEG
Hiking5.50 Miles   4 Hrs   20 Mns   1.50 mph
1,495 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This hike was less for the pleasure and more for the pain. Getting ready for the GC hike and Phantom Ranch. We're hoping to get two of this loop in one day and will be feeling confident that we're ready. The western ascent up North Mountain is a little sketchy but we have hiked down this side and were prepared for what we were in for.
Saw plenty of squirrels and chippies, no wabbits. The hummingbirds on top of Shaw Butte were showing off for the ladies, driving themselves up really high and diving down. Must be mating season for the hummers, yep spring is in the air.
I identified my first Sage bush. It has been a long time goal of mine, and luckily I literally walked straight into it. The smell was unmistakable. I regretfully stopped myself from clipping some to take home. I decided that if I saw any more I'd collect some but never did. The smell lasted for some time but by the end of the hike it faded away. But at least now I know the plant a little better, I could see some faint similarities to chia so that helped.
The Palo Verde were blooming nicely and strangely one Saguaro was in full bloom above the west trail ascending North Mountain, which is incidentally where I saw the sage.
Flora
Flora
Saguaro
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Apr 06 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Sunrise Trail - MSPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 06 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking6.00 Miles
Hiking6.00 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   1.50 mph
      30 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We had planned to this from TH to TH but we made up to the peak by 10:30, quicker than we anticipated. If we continued on to the Via Linda TH we would be eating lunch at the TH. That didn't sound appealing so we nixed that idea. When we do this hike again we will leave an hour (8:00) earlier so we can be back up top again for lunch.
I overheard a couple of ladies at the TH talk about hiking the Sunrise. Luckily I was right behind them when came to the intersection for it. They headed north when the Sunrise starts south and was able to let them know. I consider the turnoff, though signed, hard to spot, and these two proved my suspicions. I don't think they ever made it to the top. I think I might have spotted them coming off the area where rocky section finally ends but not sure if they ever made it to the first saddle.
The final ascent, switchbacks and all were pretty tight for the amount of people running around so a little patience is required for letting traffic pass. The top was pretty nice, well worth the effort. Tarantula Wasps seem to be kings for the day, at least 20 of them were racing around. Luckily niether of us are tarantulas so other than having to duck from time to time they really didn't bother us. I tried to get a picture of a little hummingbird who, alone, flew among the wasps, but that hummer just mocked me for my efforts.
We decided, only to later decide not, to make a side trip down 136th ST. trail. By the time we got to that intersection, however, we realized that our sunscreen didn't make the trip and we opted to save our skin and head back to our TH.
We are really enjoying this area and will probably revisit again very shortly.
Fauna
Fauna
Tarantula Hawk
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Mar 30 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Ocotillo Trail - Sonoran Preserve NorthPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 30 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking7.26 Miles 699 AEG
Hiking7.26 Miles   3 Hrs   40 Mns   2.18 mph
699 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 no routes
Not quite the trail we set out to do... well the trails were right my understanding of mileage and altitude were confused with another trail. That other trail was Sonoran Preserve Long Loop posted by MEWhiteman which somehow I got mixed up with one of my tracks and accidently posted the track as mine, but studying it trying to put together a triplog and failing to have any memories of successfully convincing Wendi that she wanted to summit two peaks in one hike unneccessarily, I realized my mistake. So though I deleted the errant track that I posted, the bar was still set!
Well we didn't quite match the track we did hit two summits. Though we added another mile and a half and another 100'of gain than we anticipated. Wendi took it all in stride and we survived.
The views were pretty sweet from the Ridgeback Overlook trail, we skipped it the last time we were up here, I wont ever again. Saw a two new lizards to identify, but to fast for pics. Both were above average size for the most common lizards but one a had very distinct pink and black striped tail but mostly black, my first guess on that one was a juvenile Chuckwalla but just a guess.
The bikers were out in force but everyone shared the trails well.
Named place
Named place
Circle Tank
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Mar 22 2014
WilliamnWendi
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 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Sunrise Peak from 124th Lost Dog TrailheadPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking4.90 Miles 1,398 AEG
Hiking4.90 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   1.96 mph
1,398 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Excellent hike! Today's hike was suppose to start from the Via Linda TH but both parking lots were packed so we switched to plan B. The 124th was as busy but at least plenty of parking.
There is about a mile or so of trail coming up out of the was that is rocky, ankle-turning, and a little annoying but by the time you really start ascending it's beautiful, pleasant and fast moving if you're looking for cardio. We were here for cardio so we tried to keep the pace up, but I being me could not resist taking pictures.
Camelback Mountain were unique on this hike, the angle, and the proximity. The flora were showing their colors, too. The way the slope of the terrain on both sides of the trail tighten up and feeling like you're hiking on bridge was fun. Made it seem like there was nothing but trail, cactus and flowers moving to the unseen presence of the wind. Thank heavens for a nice breeze.
We intended to only reach the first saddle and then turn around but the view of the next saddle from across the valley was to tempting so we checked our water, then pushed on. This is the section of trail that can be seen from Shea, and for 15 years I've wanted to be up here looking back. It's pretty awesome. An odd note, right near the switch back in this section there was clearly a packrat nesting just off trail but also shortly after the smell of a skunk?! I am sure there here, but I've only ever smelled them off highways, and only ever seen them up in higher in country, the closest being Prescott.
The extra push for the second saddle paid off. The views to the east probably make for beautiful sunrise here on Sunrise Trail.
Luckily were out of time because the switchbacks going up Sunrise Peak looked like zero fun. We had to get back, because it is that time of year again. It's the Pakistan Kite Festival in Fountain Hills. That was a blast, too! I even managed to get my kite in the air this time. And the MC's always loves singing along to his music, it's good times.
Fauna
Fauna
Bee Fly
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Mar 16 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Overton Trail - CCRPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking4.20 Miles 385 AEG
Hiking4.20 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   2.80 mph
385 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Tried to beat the heat, and got off pretty good. Especially on the west side, the shadows protected us as we hiked the trail clockwise. It is the first time we have hiked it this direction and it is always strange how different a trail feels. I think I found my favorite spot to photograph Elephant Mountain on the Go-John. The brittlebush on the southern end of the hike must have been amazing but looked spent, maybe we will get lucky with another round? I did spot one hedgehog blooming. Watch out for 2 hummingbirds who apparently own the saddle at the top of the switchbacks on Go-John, I almost took 2 beaks to the eyeball. Elephant mountain is becoming like the fountain at Fountain Hills lately, I am seeing it a lot lately but I until now I haven't found a spot that sets it off. Just snapped off quick cell pic for now. I am happy to say that I have finally finished one of my side projects so I can get back to posting my hikes more consistently.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Mar 15 2014
WilliamnWendi
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 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
VOAZ Trail #1BPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 15 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking4.00 Miles 200 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   1 Hour   40 Mns   2.40 mph
200 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Doffed the old ball cap and dusted off the old boonie, to fight the now burning sun. The ocotillo were putting on a show of blooms, though hedgehogs and cholla were only beginning their show, but for the finder who finds them, they are there to be found.
Flora
Flora
Ocotillo
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Mar 09 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Brown Mountain via Brown's Ranch Rd, AZ 
Brown Mountain via Brown's Ranch Rd, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 09 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking3.25 Miles
Hiking3.25 Miles   2 Hrs   20 Mns   2.05 mph
      45 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Had a few things to do so we got a late start. The Brittlebush was joined in blooms by some Globe Mallow here and there. Blooming along side them but no longer very green were the Ocotillo. A couple, this was on the way down, reported a rattler at the bottom of the descent but we happily never saw one. We did however see plenty of other life. Saw my first, for the north side of town, my first Chuckwalla which I have only ever seen on South Mountain and a lot of them. I tried to get a pic but even spotting the guy took me precariously looking over the edge and by the time I got back with the camera he was gone. Besides that Wendi spotted a horny toad, she as always spots them as they dodge my passing footsteps, I never see them. At the top was a variety of insects, plenty of bees and flies kept us entertained during our lunch, but even more or actually entertaining were a mingled group of butterflies, one was a large dominantly black fellow with silvery blue tipped wings. The veiws from up top were phenominal, plenty of sky. There was Bomber flying around, and coming pretty close, we spotted it first early as we left the trail head and it lookes like almost a fly by I was jealous that we had not left earlier. The only interesting sighting was I suspect that we were in the presence of Darth Stiller. I say this only because one of the vehicles had a bunch of Steeler's logos, and there can't many of those fans around. Amongst all those decals was a Hike Arizona sticker. Good hike, beautiful day.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Mar 08 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Dixie Peak 2,429 - Phoenix PreservesPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 08 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking2.50 Miles 924 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles   1 Hour      2.50 mph
924 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
It's been a while since we have been on this trail. Needing to work on our cardio we are looking for some peak bagging. This is still a popular hike but not as much as Piestewa or Camelback. Despite feeling out of shape this hike didn't take the toll that it used to. We were scratching our heads at the post that "Dixie", we didn't know there had been a name change. The views from up top were pretty sweet, especially the view of Camelback's new parking lot which looked packed, so I was happy not to be in that mess. Funny enough the news ran a story on how the police were gonna start handing out tickets for parking violations. Good hike, saw a humming bird, oh, and couple pairs of blister beetles hanging out in some brittlebush gowing near the top. No grand swarms again this year, but they did remind me of the March a few years back, it was my first experience with blister beetles, so I didn't know what to tell this one bike rider who had apparently had some contact with them as he was riding. He must have just started feeling the effects of those touch, he dropped his bike and ran past us arms flailing, yelling "What's happening?". I didn't put it together then because the beetles look and act harmless, but I guess on a bike they're little harder to avoid. I laughed about this story most of the way down, and hopefully the guy on the bike is able laugh about it too.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Mar 02 2014
WilliamnWendi
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
Granite Mountain Sightseeing Super Loop, AZ 
Granite Mountain Sightseeing Super Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 02 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking8.99 Miles 599 AEG
Hiking8.99 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.25 mph
599 ft AEG      30 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This area really is becoming one of our favorite places to hike, of course thats like picking your favorite child, or pet in our case. Not really sure what would classify as a super-loop, so I'll call this my "Sight Seeing Super Loop". This was the hike we attempted previously, but failed, missing the very first intersection with the Dove Valley Trail. I wanted ultimately to see what the "Ampitheatre" was on the official park map, and decided to throw in "Cathedral Rock" and "Balanced Rock" too. The only thing that would really make this "Super" would be to throw in "Brown's Ranch" but we had seen that already so chose not to add this to the trip.
I had no expectations, other than the fact that they were on a map I hadn't seen or heard about any of them. The "Ampitheatre" caught my attention because I was having a personal bet, one with myself, whether it was man-made or a natural formation. I was right, natural. I mean why would they build something so far away from the TH. Comparing with the other two sites however, it probably comes in third. Dare I say the "Balanced Rock" might make a better ampitheater.
I am almost forgetting about the fauna. No rattlers this time, but as I was spotting and photographing a large nest in one of the Saguaro Wendi spotted a nest in the colla right behind me. Inside were two tiny nestlings. Wrens maybe. Another odd thing were the falcons(maybe). We had three differant individuals sitting on top of Saguaros making sounds that I would describe as like the last breaths of a dying witch(?), if anyone knows what that would sound like. It was kind of rainy the night before and into this morning so Wendi thinks they were just cranky. Witches, I say.
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
Feb 23 2014
WilliamnWendi
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 Guides 2
 Routes 58
 Photos 1,253
 Triplogs 213

48 male
 Joined Dec 26 2009
 Phoenix, Az
136 Express Granite Mountain Loop, AZ 
136 Express Granite Mountain Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 23 2014
WilliamnWendi
Hiking7.25 Miles
Hiking7.25 Miles
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was supposed to be a hike around the back of Granite Mountain and looping back on the other side of Cholla Mountain but one buzzworm and a missed turn at Dove Valley Trail foiled our plans. I suspect we were supposed to pretty much touch the Dove Valley TH in order to orient ourselves to the signage but I would swear we followed the 136 St. Express with out any second guessing. The second guessing came about a mile later when we had not started heading west at all. Another chink in the plan was my forgetting our garmin at home, but never fear HAZ-Tracks to the rescue! Luckily I had just this past week discovered HikeArizona's very own Android App. I had started the app back at the beginning of our hike and while I had not grabbed a track I was still able to see how far we had come which was a mile past where we should have turned west according the trail map that we had. Pretty awesome that HAZ-Tracks, thanks HikeArizona.
As far as the other bit of excitement, the hair raising report of rattlesnake came as I was stairing down at an impression that ran across the trail a I thought "Hmmph..that looks like snake trail"
I jumped back and could see the rattler just on the other side of nearby bush. The one thing about the sound of a rattler is that once you hear it you might as well be surrounded by them for the rest of the day, very unsettling to be only a 1/2 mile into a hike and get buzzed. We passed another group a little while later and gave them a heads. A lady in the group seemed down giddy with excitement.
Flowers were putting on a pretty good show, especially around the Saddle Horn Trail.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"
average hiking speed 1.92 mph
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