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429 triplogs

May 29 2020
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Quitaque Canyon Trail, TX 
Quitaque Canyon Trail, TX
 
Hiking avatar May 29 2020
markthurman53
Hiking15.24 Miles 358 AEG
Hiking15.24 Miles   5 Hrs   23 Mns   3.09 mph
358 ft AEG      27 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A couple months ago I hiked along the Caprock Canyon Trailways, the old Fort Worth & Denver rail, to Clarity Tunnel. Today I hiked the 8 mile west end of that route for a 16 mile round trip hike. This section of the FW&D, called the Quitaque Canyon Trail is where the train made its ascent (or descent) up the Llano Estacado. This 20 or so mile section of rail is quite impressive but the walking can be a little mundane in sections. The Caprock Canyon Trailway is a 300 mile trail along the FW&D of which the west 20 miles ascends the plateau, I do not intend to hike the east 280 miles of the trail as it is just flat walking through a lot of farm land.

This is not an exciting trail but the history and engineering of the route kept me occupied most of the time, the rest of the time I was in my head. Sometimes that's a scary place but today it wasn't. I did run into a skunk that I kept my distance from, a couple of deer and one dumb cow that didn't know how to get off the trail to avoid me. This cow was resting in the shade when it saw me coming, got up and started walking along the trail till it got about 100 yards ahead of me then watched and saw I was still coming and took off down the trail. It repeated this for about a half mile before it finally just got off the trail. Hope it wasn't too comfortable where it was at before I came along because it has a long trek back, but then what else does a cow have to do. I noticed in Caprock State Park the buffalo did the same type thing, must be a bovine thing.

The weather was in the mid to upper 80's with a light breeze so sounds like good hiking weather but I forgot to add in the higher humidity factor. Half way into the hike I was feeling kind of yucky and decided to add some electrolytes to my water, seemed to work quite well. It was still hot but I felt better. Lesson learned again, don't head out on a hike with only a light breakfast and lots of coffee. The problem was I thought this was going to be a walk in the park with little elevation gain on a good trail. Being a little dehydrated can make even the easiest stroll a challenge.
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May 20 2020
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Lighthouse Trail, TX 
Lighthouse Trail, TX
 
Hiking avatar May 20 2020
markthurman53
Hiking6.69 Miles 599 AEG
Hiking6.69 Miles
599 ft AEG
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I am back in Texas at Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Opted to do the lighthouse trail again with a little change to my normal hiking. I was with a group of 6 people 3 of which had not done much of any hiking before. The other thing that was out of the normal hike for me was that I was getting Married at the lighthouse. It was not my idea to get married while on a hike but I jumped at the idea when it was suggested. On this hike with me was Virginia (bride), my sister and the minister with her husband and daughter. We wore AZ Hiking Shack matching Tee shirts. This was proof that weddings can be inexpensive and not stressful.

The Lighthouse trail is an easy 3 mile one way hike along a scenic easy to follow trail. The last quarter mile has a 200 to 300 foot steep climb but quite doable by any experience level. The weather for this hike was overcast so it made the hike much more pleasant although the pictures didn't show the colors of the canyon as well. After the wedding ceremony on the return trip the highlight of the hike back was watching a dung beetle rolling it's catch up an incline only to have it roll down and it would chase it and start all over. Did this multiple times. I would of helped it but it was dung after all.

The park was open by reservation only but suppose to be back to normal soon. Check the Palo Duro Canyon website for the latest info.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
May 13 2020
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Guindani Cottonwood Saddle, AZ 
Guindani Cottonwood Saddle, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 13 2020
markthurman53
Hiking8.79 Miles 1,975 AEG
Hiking8.79 Miles   4 Hrs   13 Mns   2.49 mph
1,975 ft AEG      41 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I took another short hike close to home but this time in the Whetstone Mountains. I have not been in these mountains in over 30 years, before Karchner Cavern Park even existed. The Guindani Trail starts in the park and exits almost immediately to National Forest. This trail is a 4.3 mile loop that I did clockwise with a side trip up to Cottonwood saddle. Karchner Cavern State Park was empty with only a couple of die hard campers and one other hiker. It turned out to be a great day to do this hike. My original plan was to take a dirt road north of the park that leads to the Ricketts mine and head south to the Guindani Trail to avoid the park mess. The dirt road was blocked off by a gate so I had to change my plan. This is state trust land so I’m not sure what the story is.

The Guindani Trail is in good shape and appears to get a lot of use. In the clock wise direction the climb up to the ridge is done first and then drops down into Guindani Canyon where it intersects the Cottonwood Saddle Trail. There was water intermittently along this canyon. I made the assumption that the Guindani Canyon is north of the hill that the Guindani Trail goes around and that Middle canyon is to the south.

The Cottonwood saddle Trail, 2.2 miles, is also in good condition with only a few sections on the upper end where it gets vague. There are plenty of rock cairns so loosing the trail except momentarily is not an issue. Near the saddle is a spring box and there was a trickle of water there. Views from the saddle are not terrific with the exception of one good view of Rincon Peak to the north, but you have to locate yourself just right between two tree/shrubs.

Surprisingly good weather on this hike with temps in the low 80’s and a good breeze especially on the high spots. I only brought a quart of water with me since this was a short hike. Probably would be wise to take a bit more this time of year. I ended up with a bit left when I finished and I sampled some of the water in the stream also. Always have to give my immune system a workout too.
Fauna
Fauna
California Sister
Culture
Culture
Windmill
Named place
Named place
The Cape

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Guindani Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Upper canyon near the Cottonwood Saddle Trail. also along stream intermittently on the Cottonwood Saddle Trail
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May 08 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Cienega Creek to Agua Verde Rd, AZ 
Cienega Creek to Agua Verde Rd, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 08 2020
markthurman53
Hiking5.47 Miles 282 AEG
Hiking5.47 Miles   2 Hrs      3.28 mph
282 ft AEG      20 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a short 6 mile hike connecting up Cienega Creek with the Hohokam Trail. There is no trail as such so I kind of made it up as I went. This area is a hodge podge of Private, State Trust and Rail Road land. State trust land isn't an issue with a permit, private land was done on public dirt roads and the train property; well I just stayed off the track. Putting a trail between the Hohokam trail and Cienega creek has been an issue because of this mixture of land. I am not sure why I was compelled to do this route but to me it seemed logical to have a connecting trail between Cienega Creek and the Hohokam Trail.

I started this hike along a section of the Arizona Trail but where the AT turns south to enter Cienega Creek I continued east. A short way along this trail I came across a gate and it had an old Arizona Trail sticker on it and again where I crossed Marsh Station Road. I'm wondering if at one time the AT went this way instead of passing under the Cienega Creek Bridge. There are remnants of a trail that head north and connect up with the existing AT. This would explain that weird loop the Arizona Trail does as it exits on the north side of Cienega Creek. I always thought it went a bit out of its way before turning back toward the bridge. I may have to do an exploratory hike along that old trail.

This in not a real exciting hike but the trains made it interesting. No Gila Monster this trip but I did manage to Pi__ off some wasps and got stung about 6 times (ears, back and hand). The stings hurts a bit more than a bee sting but only really hurts for a few minutes then its just a minor nuisance. Water report, forget it there is none. Flowers are Palo Verde and Ocotillo.
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May 05 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Hohokam Trail, AZ 
Hohokam Trail, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 05 2020
markthurman53
Hiking6.92 Miles 551 AEG
Hiking6.92 Miles   2 Hrs   38 Mns   3.35 mph
551 ft AEG      34 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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Another short hike close to home. The Hohokam Trail is on the East side of Tucson at the McKenzie Ranch Mountain Bike Park. This trail heads west from the Park at Red Hills Ranch Road and continues west for 3.4 miles to Agua Verde Road. This trail is new, developed in the fall of 2018. Easy to follow with no steep climbs. This trail has the feel of a mountain bike trail and I believe it was designed by bikers (no not that kind). This trail follows along the low hills south of Rincon peak and just north of Marsh Station Road and the train tracks. Rincon peak is to the north with the Whetstones to the southeast, Empire Mountains to the South and Santa Rita Mountains to the Southwest. There are two major wash crossings that eventually drain into Cienega Creek.

Not a real exciting trail but depending on the weather conditions the views to the south of the Whetstones, Empire and Santa Ritas are good. The remnants of a wind mill are located in the western most wash, reminder of prior ranching days. Toward the west end the trail comes close to the west bound track and an occasional train could add to the experience. I encountered the same 3 mountain bikers twice, once on the way in and then on the way out. I spent 15 minutes of my 34 minutes of break talking to a local that I met on the trail, he was giving me the low down on the area (good unimportant information to know). The other 15 or so minutes of my break time I spent talking to a Gila Monster I encountered walking along the track at Agua Verde Road. It was heading west walking along the north side of the steel rail. Asked it what it was going to do when a train came by, Immediately it showed me by wrapping itself around one of the rail spikes, not sure what that would do but it seemed to make sense to him. I caught it on video but since I don't do U tube a photo of the Gila Monster will have to do. I never cease to amaze myself at how easily I am entertained. This was a fun hike, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and was able to finish by 0930 before it got too hot.
Fauna
Fauna
Gila Monster
_____________________
Apr 27 2020
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Las Cienegas Creek Upper, AZ 
Las Cienegas Creek Upper, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 27 2020
markthurman53
Hiking11.28 Miles 476 AEG
Hiking11.28 Miles   5 Hrs   9 Mns   2.55 mph
476 ft AEG      44 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I Finished the upper portion of Cienega Creek to E Yucca Farm Road. The creek actually continues on up toward highway 82 but it is just a small drainage in the grass land so I'm calling it done. This will complete the creek form north of vail where it is Pantano Wash all the way onto the Empire Ranch, for a total of about 40 miles. There is no trail just a route along the creek.This is probably the longest non trail stretch I have ever done. There are stretches that are along some of the most scenic Riparian areas in Southern Arizona and then there are a few stretches that are just your average run of the mill desert washes. I was quite impressed with the area and I don't know why it took me 60 years to check it out especially since the last 37 years it was practically in my back yard.

Today's hike was from the Empire ranch road at Cienega Creek to E Yucca Farm Road at Cienega Creek. I took a 1 mile cross country over to Gardner Creek and followed that down to Cienega Creek and returned along the creek. Most of the walking was on either side of the creek because the creek bed is as the name implies, a marsh. The Empire Ranch (Las Cienegas Nature Conservancy) is still a cattle ranch and therefore there are quite a few barbed wire fences to cross, I lost count but at least a dozen. Each of these requires getting on your belly and crawling under, I should be able to count this in my AEG. The route along side the creek was mainly through waist high grass and makes for slow walking, if you're lucky you find a cattle or game trail to pick up the pace. I've been reading the posts about snake gaiters and spent a lot of time thinking about them as I pushed through the grass. When I wasn't thinking about that I was wondering if the Rattle snakes were going to warn me ahead of time or had they all got the memo saying not to rattle anymore. Luckily I saw no rattle snakes but I did see a gopher snake . It had the same effect on me though, got my heart racing at least for a moment until I saw the tail, smooth taper, no rattle. Other wildlife I saw was a couple groups of ducks (do ducks come in groups? Flocks? I know it's not herds), some very large turkeys and a couple of white tail dear. There were also a lot of birds that will remain unnamed except for the golden Eagle and White Tailed Doves (didn't actually see the doves but I could tell it was the White Tailed Dove because they were all saying "Who Cooks for you".

Finished around 12:30 with temps in the low 90's, it was getting a bit warm for hiking. I started at 7:00 when the temps were in the low 60's but should of started an hour earlier. Beautiful area but probably better done in early spring.
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Apr 20 2020
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Los Lingos Trail, TX 
Los Lingos Trail, TX
 
Hiking avatar Apr 20 2020
markthurman53
Hiking2.93 Miles 100 AEG
Hiking2.93 Miles   1 Hour   10 Mns   2.51 mph
100 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was desperate for a hike and Caprock Canyon was closed so I went back to the Caprock Canyon Trailways and hiked another section along the Fort Worth and Denver Rail Way. This time a short 3 mile loop to the Los Lingos Creek Crossing. I was hesitant to call it a loop because the route was actually a straight line with a small tassel on the end. This hike only had an AEG of 100 feet and that was only because when we got to the bridge crossing Los Lingos Creek we headed down to the creek. I got more elevation gain climbing up and down my roof prepping my cooler for this summer. The hike was pleasant and was nice to get out and do something beside cut down trees and mow lawns (glad we don't have lawns in Arizona). I will be glad to get back to Arizona at least for the hiking. It is interesting hiking in different environments though, different plants, and animals. I didn't know there was a different vulture other than the Turkey Vulture, I got a chance to see the Black Vulture. There was lots of wild plumb on this hike and under the bridge it reminded me of our catclaw plants in Arizona, kind of a nuisance. I guess they actually have plumbs later in the year and people make jam out of them.

Texas closed the state parks during this virus but for the life of me I don't know why they closed this park, It is in the middle of no where and believe me there is a lot of that for 200 miles all around Lubbock. The 3 times I have been to the trail along the Fort Worth and Denver Rail there has not been a soul. I guess they would rater we spend our time at Walmart.
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Apr 15 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Clarity Tunnel Loop, TX 
Clarity Tunnel Loop, TX
 
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2020
markthurman53
Hiking4.86 Miles 236 AEG
Hiking4.86 Miles   1 Hour   58 Mns   2.49 mph
236 ft AEG      1 Min Break10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I only had a few options for hiking in Texas since the state closed all state parks, even to hiking and there is very little national forest or BLM land in Texas. I went back to Clarity Tunnel along the old Fort Worth & Denver Railway which is part of the Caprock Park Trailways. Rather than walk along the railway itself which is a 3.5 mile one way to the tunnel, I took a shorter route. This route does involve crossing private property though (ranch Land). I figured I could plead I'm lost if I don't get shot or strung up first. This route makes the hike to the tunnels about a half a mile. This tunnel is a must see if you are ever in the area. Constructed all out of timber, the workmanship is something. This tunnel is also home to the Mexican Free Tail Bat. Didn't see any bats but in the tunnel you can hear them.

Quitaque Creek (Hackberry Creek) was running pretty good, enough so as to make crossing without betting your feet wet a small challenge (no rocks just tufts of grass). The side canyon, Turkey creek, had a little water in sections. There was a small showing of flowers but not impressive (no Blue Bonnets/Lupine).

On the return trip I went back a different route, continued on down the track for about a mile then cross country back to the road. This route not only changed my section of Private property crossing but also took us past 4 silos that were used to hold gravel that was mined in this area. There use to be a spur track that went to the silos and was used to load gravel onto the trains. On my last trip here I only saw the silos from a distance. We returned to the Jeep along a county road.

I recommend doing this hike from Monk's Crossing along Hwy 689, adds about 6 miles round trip to the hike but you don;t have to cross private property. The other option is to contact the rancher to gain access to the land.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Hackberry Creek Medium flow Medium flow

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Turkey Creek Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
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Mar 28 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Las Cienegas Narrows, AZ 
Las Cienegas Narrows, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 28 2020
markthurman53
Hiking11.46 Miles 633 AEG
Hiking11.46 Miles   5 Hrs   10 Mns   2.30 mph
633 ft AEG      11 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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Back to Las Cienegas Creek, this time with my daughter Lisa and heading down stream past the Narrows to a point I hiked to a few weeks ago. This is probably the most interesting part of the Las Cienegas Creek. The Narrows is a rock constriction in the stream formed by the rock beds being tilted up vertically. The water was flowing pretty good in a stream that changed its appearance from a clear gentle flow to marsh areas and in a couple places swamp. Only thing missing were alligators (I can Photoshop those in).

The Empire Ranch road and East Hilton Ranch Road will get you to within a quarter mile of The Narrows and there is a path that starts from the end of the road and takes you directly to the Narrows. The dirt roads are in fair condition and a high clearance vehicle will do unless it is muddy. It is good to have a co pilot to help open and close the 5 gates along this road. From the end of the road I headed straight into the creek and headed toward The Narrows. I only discovered the trail once I was at The Narrows and we returned that way. Like most of Cienega Creek there are no trails, you pick the easiest route as you go. Expect a little back tracking. There are areas where there is a two track that can be followed and usually is along side and up from the creek. We also took advantage of the cattle trails in this area, they have beaten a pretty good path in some areas, and if you are under 4 feet tall you won't even have to bend over in places. Looks like at one time was heavily used by illegals but most of the evidence I saw looked a couple years old. The creek can be a challenge in places to get across especially where it is more like a bog. Later in the year when the vegetation fills in it might be more of a challenge to walk along the creek. The lower 1.5 miles of this hike were outside the Las Cienegas National Conservation area and about 3/4 mile of that was dry.

Lots of wildlife from a Blue Heron, couple of Ducks, Antelope and a number of cows. Other than the cows and antelope none stuck around long enough to get photos. There were also fish in the stream for the heron. There was not a boring moment along the whole 12 mile hike. There is a lot of history along the Las Cienegas and on this hike the boilers for the Total Wreck mine were along side the creek, a nice little 5 minute excursion.
Fauna
Fauna
Pronghorn
_____________________
Mar 26 2020
markthurman53
avatar

 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Lower Las Cienegas Creek, AZ 
Lower Las Cienegas Creek, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 26 2020
markthurman53
Hiking7.45 Miles 305 AEG
Hiking7.45 Miles   2 Hrs   55 Mns   2.55 mph
305 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I continued on another short section of Cienega Creek, this time along Las Cienegas National Conservation Area on the Empire Ranch. Since I haven't been traveling any distances lately I figured this is a good time to finish up Cienega Creek. When done I will have completed Tucson's Southeast waterway from Pantano Wash where I live in Vail up Cienega Creek and tributary Mescal Wash and eventually to Gardner Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains. This creek services 4 mountains, Santa Rita, Empire, Whetstones and Rincon Peak. Cienega Creek is one of southeast Arizona's largest Riparian areas with Aravaipa canyon being the other. Not sure which one is larger but I do no which one is less crowded.

This section of Cienega Creek is located on the Empire Ranch, now a National Conservation Area and is called Las Cienegas for the many marshes along the creek. Before heading out for this hike I looked up the history of the Empire Ranch and was mildly impressed. This is a ranch that was in existence sine 1860 as a 160 acre homestead and grew from there. I suggest looking on line for more details of the history but there is one site; Photos; Historic Empire ranch that I thought was fascinating. The Movie Red River with John Wayne was filmed there and he stayed at the house when it was being filmed.

This hike along with all the other sections along this creek are without trails, so it's find your best route. Sections of the creek are running pretty good and other sections are dry where the water flows underground. Along the Las Cienegas where it is running it is like a marsh or bog, pick your footing carefully. This was a good time of year to walk the creek because the growth along the creek is just starting after winter. Later in the year when the cattails get higher it may not be as easy. Monsoon season may add additional issues. There is a lot of history along this hike of prior ranching and mining.

I really liked this hike it was more than I expected. The Cottonwood trees were green with new growth but the mesquite trees are still holding out (maybe they know something the cottonwood trees don't). The day was overcast and toward the end of the hike a little spattering of rain, not enough to get anything wet. The only people I saw on this hike were near the main ranch site so I pretty much had the creek to myself. There is no fee to go into Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. I am looking forward the next hike which will be the down stream from this hike and is in an area called The Narrows. I also believe I found a road that will take me into the Whetstone Mountains and provide easier access to Apache Peak.

Water report: All side Canyons were dry but Cienega Creek was running with a medium flow. The section of Cienega Creek from fortynine Wash south to North Canyon were dry.
Culture
Culture
Truck Remains/Wreckage
_____________________
Mar 24 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Middle Mescal Wash, AZ 
Middle Mescal Wash, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 24 2020
markthurman53
Hiking10.26 Miles 181 AEG
Hiking10.26 Miles   4 Hrs   10 Mns   2.74 mph
181 ft AEG      25 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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It was a really nice day so I headed out to Mescal Wash again to finish up another 5 mile section (10 mile round trip). This time I headed down Interstate 10 to the Marsh station road exit and parked along the off ramp. This is one of those off ramps that the traffic on I-10 zips by not giving it any thought, maybe a dozen or so people use the ramp every day. Of those dozen or so cars every day maybe one will stop in a year to head down into Mescal Wash, This year I'm that person. Not a real scenic wash but it has its beauty in its serenity and isolation, just a short distance from the Interstate and in between two Union Pacific tracks. This wash services 3 mountains, Rincon to the north, Whetstones and Empire to the south. Appears to be a favorite area for deer because their tracks were everywhere. Lots of Jack rabbits and road runners, and where the road runner is I'm sure the Coyote isn't far behind.

I thought this would be kind of a boring hike but I actually enjoyed it. There are nice views of the Rincon Mountains, Whetstone Mountains, Empire mountains and Snow capped Santa Rita Mountains. Weather was in the 70's with a slight breeze. There is no water along this route but it had flowed earlier in the year packing the sand making it easier to walk. If you are not into sandy wash walking this is not the hike for you. If you like solitude with occasional spurts of interesting then this is a good hike. Don't look to get a lot of AEG it is just slightly better than hiking in Lubbock Texas. This probably is not a good hike to break in boots, sand walking can be hard on the heals.
Culture
Culture
Old Rusty Stuff
_____________________
Mar 20 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Sabino Canyon Phone line Loop, AZ 
Sabino Canyon Phone line Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 20 2020
markthurman53
Hiking9.79 Miles 1,273 AEG
Hiking9.79 Miles   4 Hrs   19 Mns   2.50 mph
1,273 ft AEG      24 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Did a hike in Sabino Canyon along Sabino Canyon Road and Return on the Phone line Trail. I parked in the Overflow lot north of the main parking area. The main parking area was closed so it left a lot of congestion along the road. I am not sure why they closed the main lot, they could of left it open even though the facilities are closed. The creek was running pretty full. all nine bridges required getting your feet wet mid way to the knees, higher if you run. Cottonwood trees were in their new green attire. Great day for this hike temperatures in the upper 50's low 60's. I've done this hike enough times that I was not expecting to be impressed but I was. The large rocks along the Phone line Trail that have come down from the cliffs above always seem to impress me though. There were lots of people along the road at least through the first 3 or 4 bridges then it thinned out. The Phone Line Trail had very few people on it. The trams were not running. There were a variety of wild flowers in bloom, some I know the name of others I don't.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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1 archive
Mar 16 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Cienega Creek lower Empire, AZ 
Cienega Creek lower Empire, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2020
markthurman53
Hiking3.79 Miles 186 AEG
Hiking3.79 Miles   1 Hour   25 Mns   2.84 mph
186 ft AEG      5 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
There was a little over a mile section of Cienega Creek south of Interstate 10 that I had not completed and with a couple hours available this afternoon I decided to finish that section up. Really nothing exciting about this portion. With this portion complete I have finished up the 20 miles of Cienega Creek from Vail to the Narrows in the Empire Ranch. The next section will be the Las Cienegas on the Empire Ranch to Gardner Canyon. That section should be more interesting.
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Mar 16 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
 Routes 553
 Photos 6,642
 Triplogs 454

66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Mescal Creek lower, AZ 
Mescal Creek lower, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 16 2020
markthurman53
Hiking4.67 Miles 147 AEG
Hiking4.67 Miles   1 Hour   45 Mns   2.77 mph
147 ft AEG      4 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
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Mescal Creek is a side creek to Cienega Creek. It looked interesting so I headed up this creek for two miles before turning around. Not really interesting, just a large sandy wash. The entire creek is 9.5 miles long and will have to finish up the rest at another time. At the end of Mescal wash is the western town of Mescal, the film location for Young Riders. You can't drive into the Mescal western town (private property of Old Tucson Studios) but maybe I can accidentally walk in while hiking.

I bought a new pair of boots and I have been breaking them in on these short hikes. The sandy wash is not the place to break in boots.
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Mar 14 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
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66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Upper Cienega Creek, AZ 
Upper Cienega Creek, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 14 2020
markthurman53
Hiking10.83 Miles 355 AEG
Hiking10.83 Miles   4 Hrs   4 Mns   3.04 mph
355 ft AEG      30 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
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Went on another local hike yesterday again along another section of Cienega Creek. This time I was a little further up stream south of Interstate 10 up to Las Cienegas. This is not a real interesting section of Cienega Creek but I had to do it because it's there. The desert flowers were out in full but the mesquite trees still haven't started their spring growth. I saw at least 3 dead cows, probably died within the last year, not sure what is going on there. Two of them look like mountain lion kills but can't be sure. I was thinking that it was good for me that I'm skinny because the mountain lions probably will think I'm not worth the effort. At least that's what I keep telling myself. After hiking in 5 miles I turned around and returned the way I came. I made it to a section called the Las Cienegas Narrows. Next week my daughter and I will do the section in Las Cienegas and hike to the Narrows from the other end. This section of Cienega Creek should be more interesting because it will be living up to its name.

Great day for hiking. There was no water along this section of the creek, pretty much a sandy rocky creek. On the flood plains of the creek there were thousands of yellow flowers, like ground cover. I believe these are Gordon's Bladderpod. Very impressive and added brilliant color to the rather bland color of the surroundings. Did see a couple Poppies, maybe 2 and a couple lupine.

I took the Marsh Station Road off Interstate 10 and headed south which immediately headed west. I kept driving along this two track until I came to the spur track of the Union Pacific, You may have to stop there because it is Union Pacific property. I headed down into Cienega creek from there. I was armed with my State Trust Land permit but not really sure that is required, in fact not sure what is required to hike this area (this area is not part of the Cienega Creek Natural Preserve). The creek appears to cross private property at times, maybe state trust ranching land. Later in the day after the hike I checked out the Little Empire Ranch Road off of I- 10 as an access point but gates are locked. There was a sign there that said for access call Pima County Natural Resources 520-724-5000. I don't plan on hiking this area again (maybe a 2 mile section closer to I 10) so I probably won't check this out but if you have a hankerin to do this area I advise you call for information. The Narrow can be accessed through the Empire Ranch along hwy 83, Sonoita Highway.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Gordon's Bladderpod, Ground cover flower. Flood plains of the wash
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Mar 05 2020
markthurman53
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66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Dome Mountain Deer Tanks Loop, AZ 
Dome Mountain Deer Tanks Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 05 2020
markthurman53
Hiking9.10 Miles 1,701 AEG
Hiking9.10 Miles   5 Hrs   31 Mns   2.27 mph
1,701 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
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On my second day of hiking in the Goldfields I had big plans. Dome Mountain, Three Lesser Peaks and return on Orohai Wash and Blue Ridge. As happens sometimes plans change. My plan changing event was my arch nemesis Dome Mountain. I tried Dome Mountain from the west a couple weeks ago and abandon it because it was too risky for me alone. This time I went up the East end. I made it to Gun sight Saddle but I was ragged mess. My legs were like jello my hands and arms cut up from brush and cactus. Once at the saddle I opted not to go further up to either of the peaks. The saddle would have to do. Besides how much better could the views be from up there I kept telling myself. Looked easy on Google Earth. It was definitely easier than the west approach. Nice views from the saddle. I was actually more concerned with my return trip because going down is usually more hazardous. The trip down wasn't as bad as I thought having made most of the mistakes in route on the way up. I did spend a good portion of it on my rear, it's hard to trip or fall when your on your butt. There are a few cairns toward the top near the saddle but all they really do is tell you some other soul passed this way. The one cairn I found on my return that is a good one to look for is where the route crosses the first big erosion/wash on the upper part of the trail where it turns north. On my way up I went a little too high on the hillside and crossing the wash was a bit tricky but on my return I found an easy crossing and right there in front of me was a cairn, good call wish I'd of seen it on the way up. This hike would be one I need to plan to do just Dome Mountain because it could take a day.

My plans to do Three Lesser Peaks changed because I didn't want to climb another peak no mater how lesser it was. I opted instead to head down from the saddle and head across country to Bull Dog Canyon and visit the Mask Arch. I love cross country in the desert because you can see far enough ahead to plan your route. Made it to Bull Dog Wash with out any issues. Climbing up to the Mask was quite easy. I approached it from the east starting in a small ravine to the east of the hill the Mask is on near the odd looking caves. I got close to the caves but not too close, they looked like a good place for bees to live or something else I didn't want to get to know too well. I crossed low on the south side of the ridge looking for the mask. I finally saw a trail leading up the south slope of the hill and figured the Mask must be close. The Mask Arch is interesting I would of liked to see it when both arches were still intact. The rubble from the failed arch is still there, piled up at the feet of the culprit who probably had a hand in its demise, a saguaro. The scars on the saguaro are evidence that this arch was a constant irritant to the saguaro and probably pushed on the arch till it fell. It appeared to show no remorse.

From the Mask I headed down Bull Dog Canyon to the Deer Tanks trail to Idaho Road. Really nice trail all the way. From the Mask I could see a trail that went south along the east side of hill 2300 that is just across the wash, I was curious as to where this trail went. I continued south on the Deer Tank until I crossed a road that headed east and figured it probably connects up with that trail I saw earlier so I took it. Sure enough it does. So now I am back where I was earlier and once again I take the Deer Tanks Trail to Idaho Road. Deer Tanks had more water in the tanks than was here two weeks ago.

From Idaho Road I take the McDowell Road Trail back to FR 1356 where I started. I did not know this trail was here, I thought I might have to bushwhack it back. Really nice trail. The weather was in the low 80's by the time I finished at 2:00. This may be the last time in the Goldfields this year unless we still have a little winter coming.
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Mar 04 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
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66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Top Hat Horse with No Name Loop, AZ 
Top Hat Horse with No Name Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 04 2020
markthurman53
Hiking13.40 Miles 2,324 AEG
Hiking13.40 Miles   7 Hrs   4 Mns   2.51 mph
2,324 ft AEG   1 Hour   44 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Took advantage of the sort of cool weather to do another couple days in the Goldfield Mountains. The first day I did a loop that included a portion of the Pack Saddle Trail (by Mistake), A portion of Rock House Trail, Top Hat, Horse With No Name and Cottonwood Wash. I think this is one of the more scenic hikes I have done in the Goldfields, much more than I expected. All the hiking was on trails with the exception of a part of the Top Hat. Drove in to within .4 miles of Cottonwood Wash along FR1356. I parked on top of a hill where it might require 4 WD to go further. I didn't feel like putting it in 4WD so I walked the rest of the way, after all this is suppose to be hiking not a test of my ability or the jeeps to maneuver steep rocky grades. The view from on top of the hill was good and also was a good place to eat breakfast and finish my coffee that I bought in Tucson.

I walked FR 1356 to the Cottonwood Wash crossing and checked my GPS as to which cross road to take. I headed out for about 15 minutes and checked my GPS because something didn't seam right, I took the Pack Saddle Trail (FR 3512) instead of the Rock House Trail. Back Tracked to the Rock House Trail (FR1356) and headed west. I guess I didn't have enough Coffee. Followed the Rock House Trail to Orohai Wash and then headed north to go to Top Hat Peak. There was water in pools along the the rocky sections of Orohai Wash and the dirt tank west of Top Hat. The hike up to what I believe is Palo Verde Arch was fairly easy and follows along a trail. I took the ridge from the arch to Top Hat but it appears there is a faint trail heading up to the peak from just below the arch on the west side (marked by a cairn). The faint trail is probably a more direct route because along the ridge you end up climbing a couple small peaks and heading back down a bit in between peaks, wasn't a big problem though. Great views from Top Hat.

From Top Hat I headed back down to Cottonwood Wash following a GPS route I down loaded. Didn't appear to be any trail but was easy enough. Once in Cottonwood Wash I headed down stream past Cottonwood Spring that had a trickle of water flowing. On my return trip past the spring I filled my canteen with water coming from a pipe. Wasn't very cool but it was wet. Gave my immune system something to work on, don't want it to forget what it's there for. I followed Cottonwood wash down to the the Horse With No Name Trail and went counterclockwise on the trail.

The Horse With No Name Trail in spite of the ridiculous name I thought was a fascinating trail. If I had to pick one trail that sums up the Goldfields I think it would be this one. Fairly easy trail through the Beige colored rocks and cliffs with the yellow tint from lichen and also sections through the dark volcanic rock that overlies the lighter Rhyolite. There are also magnificent stands of saguaros. This trail appears to have no destination at all, just goes in a couple of miles and then it's like the person who made the trail said far enough and returns along a wash to Cottonwood Wash. Maybe this trail should be called "a Trail with no destination". What ever you call it, it is scenic and well marked. No issues following this trail.

I took Cottonwood Wash back to where FR 3512 exits the wash (Pack Saddle Trail) and headed to FR 1356. Once at FR 1356 I decided to head down Cottonwood Wash to where the Pack Saddle Trail enters so I could Log the actual Cottonwood Wash route. It was still daylight and I wasn't anxious to get back to the jeep. I would like to write a guide for the Cottonwood Wash route and eventually the Pack Saddle Trail.

Great hike and not real strenuous. Weather is getting a bit warm but the slight breeze at times made it bearable. The flowers are in bloom (the usual ones) but I wouldn't say they were over abundant. Don't rush out here to see a magnificent display of flowers, at least not yet spring isn't even here yet.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Cottonwood Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
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Feb 27 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
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66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Cienega Creek Pantano Station to I - 10, AZ 
Cienega Creek Pantano Station to I - 10, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 27 2020
markthurman53
Hiking5.62 Miles 190 AEG
Hiking5.62 Miles   2 Hrs   9 Mns   2.93 mph
190 ft AEG      14 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
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Last Tuesday I hiked along Cienega Creek from the Gabe Zimmerman Trail Head on the Arizona Trail and went upstream to Pantano Station. Today I went out to finish up the last little section to Interstate 10. Started at Pantano station and went the approximate 1.5 mile to the interstate. The creek is dry all along this section. The community of Pantano in 1880 was on the south side of the creek at that time along with the train track. In 1887 the town along with the track were moved to the north side due to flooding. Nothing remains of this town except a few foundations and a cemetery. When I reached interstate 10 I felt I hadn't walked enough so I continued on up stream toward the Empire Ranch for about a mile. Nothing really earth shattering along this section. On my return trip just north of I-10 Mescal Wash enters from the east, I went up that Wash a bit to check out the train bridge and the Marsh Station Road Bridge. On the return trip I tried to retrace the pre 1887 train route as it would of went before the flood. Only sporadic success on this endeavor though. I included a photo of Pantano station that was taken in 1880 along with one from 2000. Very interesting difference in the terrain. The 1880 photo is a Pre entrenchment photo. Around 1900 the washes and rivers in southern Arizona went through a period of entrenchment where the creeks and rivers cut deep channels into what use to be more like flood plains. They do not know why this occurred but they speculate. This photo is a good example of that. This also explains the 10 to 20 foot fine sediment cliffs along this creek and Pantano Wash and Santa Cruz River also (Common all over southern Arizona).

Today's hike and the ones I did before along Cienega Creek I found most interesting. Recent history, prior inhabitants and Recent Geology are all to found here. I was also thinking that Wyatt Earp passed through this town on the train with his brother on his way to California from Tombstone. Probably when the town was on the south side of the creek.
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Feb 25 2020
markthurman53
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66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Cienega Creek to Pantano Station, AZ 
Cienega Creek to Pantano Station, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 25 2020
markthurman53
Hiking11.91 Miles 400 AEG
Hiking11.91 Miles   5 Hrs   11 Mns   2.54 mph
400 ft AEG      30 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
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My sister and I did a hike close to home again back at Cienega Creek Nature Preserve. This time from the Marsh Station road and Train crossing we went to the east to Pantano Station. Cienega Creek is a real gem of an area not visited by a lot of people with the exception of the Arizona Trail hikers that pass through it, which takes about 10 minutes. With the exception of the Arizona Trail this area requires a permit which can be obtained by going to the Cienega Creek Preserve web site.

Cienega Creek was running pretty good making walking the creek a little more challenging (not wanting to get shoes wet). This creek runs permanently in sections and in these areas it is very much like a swamp or marsh. The Cottonwood trees were just starting to put out new growth so they had a slight green color to them. When the scenery around the creek wasn’t keeping us busy the amazing dirt cliffs kept us entertained. We were like a bunch of kids playing in the dirt. Reminded me of when I was a kid and use to play along the dirt cliffs of Pantano Wash at Broadway. We turned around at Pantano station about 1 mile from interstate 10. The East bound train track which follows just off to the north of the creek had no train activity the whole time we were on this hike so I'm suspecting the east bound or slow track is still under repair. While I'm not one to want to see signs of civilization when I'm out hiking I do take exceptions to trains, the're so cool. I will probably do this last section this week and maybe a little south of I 10 toward the Empire Ranch.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Cienega Creek @ AZT Medium flow Medium flow
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Feb 19 2020
markthurman53
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 Guides 104
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66 male
 Joined Jun 27 2015
 Tucson, Arizona
Goldfield Mountains Loop, AZ 
Goldfield Mountains Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Feb 19 2020
markthurman53
Hiking13.90 Miles 2,194 AEG
Hiking13.90 Miles   8 Hrs   2 Mns   2.24 mph
2,194 ft AEG   1 Hour   49 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Goldfield Mountain Loop

I started this hike near the Cottonwood Canyon Trail Head at the Frankie Goes to Hollywood Trail (what kind of name is that for a trail). I then took Cottonwood Wash down to the route that takes you up into the Goldfield Mountains(Camouflage Tanks). Returned down Black Glass Canyon then to the Rough N Ready Trail then to the Willow connector back to where I started. Also did a side trip along the Anniversary Arch Trail.

The Frankie Goes to Hollywood trail follows an unnamed wash for about a quarter mile before connecting up with the Willow Connector. At this point the trail is well defined and continues on along the unnamed wash all the way to Cottonwood Wash. After heading up Cottonwood Wash for a short distance I realized I was headed in the wrong direction so I stopped, pulled my head out of my rear and continued on heading down stream this time. It is fairly easy walking in the creek, sometimes sandy sometimes rocky. After about 1.5 miles the route for the Goldfield loop exits to the west. There is no trail but finding a route isn’t difficult. The route just before the final saddle is a little slow going finding a steady footing and avoiding the cactus. I just followed the GPS route I downloaded and it lead me to all the places of interest. I thought Black Glass Canyon was the highlight of this hike. There was no water flow so the trech down was a bit easier than if there had been. There were a few pools of water along the lower canyon. I saw a couple arches along this route and other than Pedestal arch not sure what the names are.

It was an uneventful walk up Willow Springs Canyon then Cottonwood Wash on the Rough N Ready Trail (another bazaar name). Lower Cottonwood is more than just rocky it is bouldery, very large bouldery. When I got to the place where the Rough N Ready Trail leaves Cottonwood Wash I continued on up Cottonwood Wash to where I was earlier before exiting for the Goldfield Mountain Loop. Call it an OCD thing but I just couldn’t have this small half mile section of lower Cottonwood Wash that I hadn’t explored. Having rid the bee in my bonnet I headed back to the Rough and Ready Trail. Where the Quartz Crystal Arroyo Trail intersects the Rough N Ready Trail I filled my hat with water and doused my head it was close to 80 degrees and I’m sure hotter in the sun. At the junction of the Anniversary Arch Trail I took a side trip to see what this trail had to offer. Nice views looking west into Cottonwood Canyon and to the northwest of the Goldfield Mountains. The rest of the hike on the Rough N Ready and the Willow Connector was uneventful or so it seemed, maybe I was just tired and hot.

I got the Pass for the locked gates for Bull Dog Canyon Recreational area and I’m glad I did because it cut 2 to 4 miles off each days hiking, most of which was along 4WD roads. Great to be back in the Goldfields and I hope the weather cools off again before summer because there are a few more trails I want to do.
Named place
Named place
Pedestal Arch - Stewart Mtn Quad
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2 archives
average hiking speed 2.55 mph
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