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53 triplogs
Oct 19 2021
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Lost Dog Loop, AZ 
Lost Dog Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 19 2021
tdwood
Hiking4.25 Miles 642 AEG
Hiking4.25 Miles   2 Hrs   1 Min   2.20 mph
642 ft AEG      5 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Any day on the trail is a good day. Having said that, I wish I had done this one on Monday when there was more cloud cover. Obligations must be attended, however, so it was noon Tuesday before I was free to hit the trail. Since today's obligation was super close to the Lost Dog TH (how convenient!), it was a no-brainer to visit MSP, my favorite hiking place in the valley.

Had the clouds been with me, I might've chosen Sunrise Peak instead but I could feel that sun pretty intensely before even setting out so I decided to go with something less AEG-y. While the scenery was its usual spectacularly Sonoran self, the trails on this route aren't among my faves in the MSP system. It was pleasantly quiet, though, with just a handful of hikers and no cyclists or equestrians. On the return leg, I opted for picking up the shorter Sunrise return to the TH in order to tend to a grumbly heel.
_____________________
Sep 21 2021
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Watson Lake LoopPrescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 21 2021
tdwood
Hiking5.05 Miles 550 AEG
Hiking5.05 Miles   2 Hrs   45 Mns   1.84 mph
550 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
tl;dr: a stimulating hike with minimal human encounter.

Editor’s Note: Some portions of this triplog (and the author’s sense of self-importance) have been embellished slightly for dramatic effect.

Having been a frequent visitor to Prescott over the last 15+ years, I’d always been curious about the Granite Dells. A camping trip with family at the nearby Point of Rocks campground afforded me the opportunity to finally cross the Watson Lake Loop off of my One of These Days I’ll Hike That list. I set out at a healthy clip, anticipating a sort of urban trail experience.

Had I only known of the myriad dangers that awaited me.

I wasn’t but a mile or so into my journey when I came face to face with the meanest, biggest, most ferocious grizzly bear I’ve ever seen in Arizona! After sizing each other up, and feeling like I might be overmatched this time, I gestured wildly in the direction of the lake and yelled, “Trout!”

Works every time.

There was no time to congratulate myself on my quick-thinking skills. From a safe distance I could see the menacing side-glances of a gaggle of geese—maybe even TWO gaggles—guarding their turf in an asphalt clearing.

Grizzlies are one thing. Geese are quite another. Sticking faithfully to my route, I was carried right into the middle of the danger when, quite unexpectedly, they yielded to my advance. I was feeling pretty good about the outcome until I saw they had laid a clever trap in the form of dozens of piles of excrement. Ever seen a fresh goose turd up close? Just…wow. I managed to make it safely through the minefield of manure, rattled but undeterred.

The hither swarms of mosquitoes seemed intent on changing that. Flushed from the monsoon-enriched grasses, they seemed bent on harassing me and eating out my substance. Fully expecting to emerge from the encounter looking like a medical text curiosity, I was genuinely surprised to see I had passed beneath them virtually unscathed. Had they seen the masterful way in which I dispatched with the geese and surmised it best to not mess with me? I would see no such concentrations of them again for the duration of my journey.

At the point where the trail joins the railroad right of way, I was surprised to see the volume of both freight and passenger trains on this stretch. Prescott really is growing fast, I thought to myself. As I made my way further along this portion, the trains got older as I went. By the time I reached the point where the trail again diverges (which I nearly missed because of the spectacle!), I was completely dumbfounded by the sights of the grand old steel horses. And cabooses! So many beautiful cabooses! I was moved nearly to tears when the emergence of Apache warriors from the east, train robbers from the west, and Pinkerton detectives from the box cars reeled me immediately back to my senses. Sensing the sort of danger for which I was completely outgunned, I made a hasty retreat into the labyrinth of the dells.

It was there that I first spotted them. The mysterious white dots. One after another. Where could they be leading to? I was immediately entranced and carelessly followed them along. It was some distance later when it occurred to me to check my GPS route and, to my surprise, I had not wavered from it one bit. It seemed that the dots, coincidentally, followed the same route. What luck!

Dropping into the Granite Creek canyon, I was led into a lush valley of knee-high grasses pressed up against either side of the narrow single track. Crossing the modest footbridge, I was treated to the sight of a magnificent plume of water cascading from the lake above, sending refreshing mists swirling around me while a host of uncommonly handsome Sirens beckoned me close with their chiseled pecs and their flowing beards, singing an alluring sea shanty. Feeling the overwhelming urge to succumb to temptation, I plugged my ears with the last two gummy bears from my hip pocket, returned my gaze to the curious dots and trusted them to lead me from temptation evermore. My heart pounded and my breathing became labored as I fought my way past them upon weakened knees, such was the burning in my loins.

When safe at last upon the ridge above the valley, I endeavored to take in the magnificence of the coral blue majesty of Watson Lake expanding outward as if to reach each horizon. Humbled as I was by the experience, I wept at the sight of a white-winged dove as it flew overhead singing “oooh, baby, oooh, ooooh.” Invigorated anew, I let my feet carry me swiftly along until I found myself suddenly returned to where my epic odyssey had begun, grateful for the challenge and eager to share the incredible tale.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Watson Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full
Even though a "bathtub ring" is visible, water is being released over the dam.
_____________________
Apr 18 2019
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Pine Mountain - AZT #21Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Volunteer avatar Apr 18 2019
tdwood
Volunteer3.00 Miles
Volunteer3.00 Miles   18 Hrs      0.17 mph
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Spent a beautiful couple of days with Regional Steward, John, clearing catclaw and other aggressive trailside flora from the section between Boulder Pools and FR 422. So nice to see everything so alive and wet -- for now. Even got rained on a little bit Tuesday night and hiked out under a foggy cloak more reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest than central Arizona. Clear and refreshing water still flowing nicely in Boulder, Sycamore, and Kitty Joe creeks. It's FREE while supplies last! Go get you some!
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
My colorblindness won't permit me to delve into specifics (and I'm certainly no botanist) but I can say there are very colorful flowers to see out there.
_____________________
Mar 24 2019
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Mesquite Willow Loop Alt - WTMRP, AZ 
Mesquite Willow Loop Alt - WTMRP, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 24 2019
tdwood
Hiking10.36 Miles 1,795 AEG
Hiking10.36 Miles   4 Hrs   58 Mns   2.20 mph
1,795 ft AEG      16 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This one's been on my list for a long time. A beautiful day to be out there. Go soon and you will have colorful wildflowers beckoning you down the path, though they're not (yet?) "waist-high" as the description indicates.

In following the route, I used the park map and started from the MQ trailhead in the parking area on Wildlife Way, near the horse-staging area. This adds an extra mile and a half of fairly flat hiking.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Poppies and lupine along much of the Mesquite Tr past the loop junction.

dry Willow Spring - White Tanks Dry Dry
If there was any water, I didn't see it.
_____________________
Dec 17 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Lost Dog Wash to Taliesin OverlookPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 17 2018
tdwood
Hiking5.32 Miles 708 AEG
Hiking5.32 Miles   2 Hrs   36 Mns   2.36 mph
708 ft AEG      21 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Way too many visions of wrapping paper, airport security checkpoints, and family overload were dancing in my head. This short, easy ramble was just what I needed to recenter before the holiday appearance schedule really kicks into gear for me. Sunny wintertime hiking is why I tolerate our summers. And the landscape never gets old.
_____________________
Nov 17 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Mountains Ramble Phoenix, AZ 
Phoenix Mountains Ramble Phoenix, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Nov 17 2018
tdwood
Hiking6.98 Miles 1,135 AEG
Hiking6.98 Miles   3 Hrs   28 Mns   2.10 mph
1,135 ft AEG      9 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Nearing the finish line of his first semester at ASU, my Son Devil asked his old man to take him on a hike with "some elevation". Being a Saturday, and given our late start, I opted to stick close to home and show him the scenic majesty that is the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. We set off from Mountain View Park in the direction of the North Mountain summit.

I must be the only one left in the hood that didn't know the North Mountain tower road is closed.

Given the hour of the day, and our desire to avoid the Saturday crowds, I suggested my standard go-to; the Shaw Butte loop. At the top where the spur road leads up to the towers, we were greeted by Phoenix Mountain Preserve stewards inquiring whether we needed our passports stamped.

"This border security thing is getting serious," I thought to myself.

Turns out Shaw Butte is part of the Seven Summits challenge happening that day. Missed the memo on that one, too.

The loop, coupled with the aborted attempt at North Mountain, amounted to a seven-mile afternoon; more than my son had hiked this semester and just enough to make my hips and knees take note. As always, it was a perfect distraction from the punch list of to-do items awaiting me and that basket of laundry that will not long be denied.
_____________________
Nov 06 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
AZT-Pusch Ridge Wilderness Volunteer Vac, AZ 
AZT-Pusch Ridge Wilderness Volunteer Vac, AZ
 
Volunteer avatar Nov 06 2018
tdwood
Volunteer18.50 Miles 5,681 AEG
Volunteer18.50 Miles4 Days         
5,681 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
A crew of ten hardworking individuals spent a beautiful four days in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness doing brushing and some serious rock moving between Sycamore Reservoir and Palisade Trail #99. Accomplishments include tread widening and rock cribbing in several spots where erosion was narrowing the corridor on the switchbacks above the Palisades trail junction, as well as mitigating some drainage issues. In exchange for our labors, we were extremely well-fed, entertained, and lodged in a fine backcountry setting adjacent to the historic Sycamore Reservoir.

Much remains to be done. For information on how you can get involved in this and other volunteer opportunities on the AZT, please visit volunteer.aztrail.org


water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Sycamore Reservoir 76-100% full 76-100% full
Plenty of clear water above spillway and where trail crosses Bear Creek.
_____________________
Nov 01 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Barnhardt Trail #43Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 01 2018
tdwood
Hiking6.67 Miles 2,416 AEG
Hiking6.67 Miles   4 Hrs   19 Mns   1.55 mph
2,416 ft AEG      1 Min Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Left in the dust by most of my crew of volunteers, and with a team of five goats and two dogs (and their handlers) on my heels, I ascended into the Mazzies for a four-day stay at Chilson Camp while conducting maintenance on my segment of the AZT.

Big water at Big Kahuna. Could hear the waterfall.

Trail past Big Kahuna needs some love. Back slope is encroaching on the tread, leaving little room for navigation on horseback. After recent October rains softened things up, the tread bears evidence of a horse (and, presumably, its rider) having come dangerously close to plunging off the downslope edge at numerous points.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Big Kahuna Falls - Mazatzal Wilderness Medium flow Medium flow
Water in pools. No visual, but could hear waterfall.
_____________________
Nov 01 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
AZT Passage 23 Fall Brushing, AZ 
AZT Passage 23 Fall Brushing, AZ
 
Volunteer avatar Nov 01 2018
tdwood
Volunteer31.00 Miles 6,050 AEG
Volunteer31.00 Miles4 Days         
6,050 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners none no partners
The battle to keep the AZT clear and navigable in the Mazzies continues!

From November 1-4, 11 humans, five goats, and two dogs worked at brush clearing on two separate mile-long sections of the Mazatzal Divide Trail #23; one between the southern junction of Brody Seep Trail #264 and Barnhardt Trail #43; the other segment proceeding a mile north of the northern junction of Brody Seep Tr.

Other accomplishments include signage replacement and maintenance, brushing and tread work at the top of Brody Seep Tr (above Chilson Camp), and removal of old spring works scrap metal from the vicinity of the recently rehabilitated Chilson Spring (no more mud hole :y: )

The weather couldn't have been finer. It's a great time to be up there. If this route is in your hiking plans in the near (or not-so-near) future, I appreciate hearing about trail conditions you encounter.

Thank you to all volunteers everywhere working to keep our trails in shape. If you'd like to learn more about volunteer opportunities on the AZT, visit volunteer.aztrail.org

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Chilson Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
This source has been rehabilitated and is now a reliable, consistently producing source of water. Some algae present.
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1 archive
Oct 18 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Alamo Canyon - AZT #17Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Volunteer avatar Oct 18 2018
tdwood
Volunteer11.44 Miles 1,292 AEG
Volunteer11.44 Miles   14 Hrs      0.82 mph
1,292 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
October rains scoured out a small section where the Arizona Trail crossed the wash just south of the trailhead. A crew spent the day clearing brush and rehabbing tread for a new, more sustainable alignment for the southern approach to the wash. Other work included installing a livestock gate at Arboretum Tank on the new Legends of Superior (LOST) Trail.

For more information on how you can volunteer on the AZT, please visit volunteer.aztrail.org

_____________________
Apr 04 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
AZT Mazatzal Divide Trail Work Event, AZ 
AZT Mazatzal Divide Trail Work Event, AZ
 
Volunteer avatar Apr 04 2018
tdwood
Volunteer13.50 Miles
Volunteer13.50 Miles2 Days         
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
scatdaddy
I am pleased as pumpkin pie to report that, with the tireless effort of a hearty band of Arizona Trail volunteers, the section between Peeley and Barnhardt junctions has been cleared of 64 deadfall trees.

But who's counting?

Thanks to the reports of @desertadapted and others whose HAZ identities are unknown to me, other points with deadfall obstructions have been noted between Barnhardt and Red Hills junctions and will, weather permitting, be addressed as soon as time, conditions, and able-and-willing bodies allow. While this particular event focused primarily on deadfall removal, stewards noted areas requiring routine (and not so routine) maintenance. As we all remain infinitely patient during the region's fire recovery process, maintenance needs will be many while available hands will be comparatively few. In short: we're paying attention and working hard at keeping this route clear, safe, and enjoyable for all. If you would like to join in the effort, PM me or visit aztrail.org/volunteer to learn more. And, as always, I appreciate the reports of those of you with boots or hooves on the ground in this passage. Keep 'em coming.

Donovan
Steward, AZT Passage 23c



water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Bear Spring - Fisher Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
Spring is full and deliciously cool

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Big Kahuna Falls - Mazatzal Wilderness Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Three to six inches of clear, standing water in pool just above trail. Dry above that point.
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Mar 15 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Granite Mountain Loop Trail - MSPNPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 15 2018
tdwood
Hiking4.90 Miles 373 AEG
Hiking4.90 Miles
373 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Finally! A hike that didn't involve work!

My first visit to this part of the Preserve. My intention was to hike counter-clockwise around Granite Mountain, approaching from the east off of Bootlegger. After going north as far as the junction for Coyote Canyon Tr, the increasing wind and darkening skies forced me to reconsider my plans. Believing I would be happier staying on the eastern flank of the mountain, given wind direction, I turned around. Definitely looking forward to coming back. I think the Preserve must be my favorite hiking spot in the valley.

_____________________
Mar 08 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Highline - AZT #26Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Volunteer avatar Mar 08 2018
tdwood
Volunteer
Volunteer   9 Hrs      0.00 mph
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Put in an honest day's work in an impressive location. Departing at 6:00 am from Fountain Hills, John and I detoured to Goldfield to pick up a trail sign before heading north to Washington Park to put the finishing touches on this long-term reroute project (sredfield offers a more comprehensive recap of all its components in his separate triplog). I can now add the skill of mixing and pouring concrete in a backcountry setting to my resume. lf you'd like to learn this skill too, PM me or visit aztrail.org/volunteer



_____________________
Mar 04 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Rincon Valley - AZT #8Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Volunteer avatar Mar 04 2018
tdwood
Volunteer
Volunteer   5 Hrs      0.00 mph
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Spent a few hours doing some brushing and drainage work as part of a weekend conference of Arizona Trail stewards. Had time to watch a few mountain bikers navigate the improved sections. I think they (the drains) should hold up well. Grubbed out some of the prickly-scratchies that were waiting for distracted users.

As an added bonus, the stewards were treated to a private tour of Colossal Cave. Always nice to find yet another something special about Arizona, be it above ground or below.
_____________________
Feb 01 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Saddle Mountain - AZT #22Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Volunteer avatar Feb 01 2018
tdwood
Volunteer4.50 Miles
Volunteer4.50 Miles   6 Hrs      0.75 mph
 no routesno photosets
Partners none no partners
If there can be an upside to the dearth of precipitation in these parts, it's that it's allowing a lot of work to get done in areas that might otherwise go untended this time of year. This week, we spent time brushing and benching along two sections of trail. While there's still a bit of a short, steep climb north of the West Fork/Cornucopia junction, the tread is now wider and (for now) less slippery. Don't miss out on your chance to be a part of the fun! PM me or visit aztrail.org/volunteer to learn how to get involved.
_____________________
Jan 27 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Saddle Mountain - AZT #22Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Volunteer avatar Jan 27 2018
tdwood
Volunteer5.00 Miles
Volunteer5.00 Miles   7 Hrs      0.71 mph
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
scatdaddy
Haven't been out on the trail a whole lot this month as I've been focusing on getting my house ready to paint, so it was with glee I ditched the scraper in favor of a rock bar and went out to work again with regional steward, John Matteson, @scatdaddy, and others. Our crew convened at the Cross F TH. The goal this trip was to place a sign at the junction of Little Saddle and Sunflower trails, which should help clarify for users which route the AZT follows. Proceeding north along Little Saddle, crew members traded off carrying a second sign; one of the iconic (and heavy) five-sided USFS wilderness "gateway" signs alerting users to the point (AZT mile 393.1) at which they enter the Mazatzal Wilderness. Section steward Tim Colby worked at clearing the trail of a couple of downed trees. Others performed routine brushing and tread repair as needed. As with previous events, I learned a lot while having a great time doing stuff that feels a lot more like fun than work. To find out more about how to get involved, PM me or visit http://www.aztrail.org/volunteer

_____________________
Jan 04 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Saddle Mountain - AZT #22Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Volunteer avatar Jan 04 2018
tdwood
Volunteer5.50 Miles
Volunteer5.50 Miles   6 Hrs      0.92 mph
 no routesno photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
mazatzal
scatdaddy
Sredfield
My first visit ever to the Mazatzals :y:

A picture-perfect day spent with a crew (about ten of us, if I recall correctly) brushing the upper stretch between Potato Patch and McFarland Canyon. Also replaced signage at the wilderness boundary. Some, or all, of us will venture to other AZT passages in the Mazatzal or Four Peaks Wilderness areas weekly through April (weather permitting) to tend to the ongoing punchlist of tasks. To get involved, PM me or visit http://www.aztrail.org/volunteer
_____________________
Jan 01 2018
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
7th Annual New Year's Day Hike, AZ 
7th Annual New Year's Day Hike, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 01 2018
tdwood
Hiking2.90 Miles 1,700 AEG
Hiking2.90 Miles
1,700 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners 7 partners
HAZ - Event
jochal
joebartels
Nightstalker
Oregon_Hiker
outdoor_lover
SpiderLegs
tibber
One of my 2018 Hazolutions was to hike with at least four HAZ members sometime during the year. This morning, I did it with ten (including three whose names I couldn't locate in the partner list). Once atop the mountain, our group toasted the new year with champagne (or fizzy apple cider) and tasty snacks all courtesy of outdoor_lover. I enjoyed meeting and hiking with them all.

For myself, it was a challenging hike to start the new year. Generally, I'm not a peak bagger. I tend to look for long scenic routes that allow me to keep a leisurely pace without having to spend a lot of time watching my next step. This is NOT that kind of hike. Given my abilities, I never felt out of my comfort zone but I did slip and slide much more than I care to. There's some incredible views from the ridge, which was good considering I barely took my eyes off the trail the rest of the time. The return trip was slow going and quad-crunching but wholly worth the effort. Both the ascent and descent afforded glimpses of bighorn sheep; the first time I've ever had the pleasure of seeing them in their natural habitat.

Overall, the hike and the company did not disappoint. I'm looking forward to 2019. Happy New Year, everyone!

_____________________
Dec 11 2017
tdwood
avatar

 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Spur Cross Double Loop SCCA Cave Creek, AZ 
Spur Cross Double Loop SCCA Cave Creek, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 11 2017
tdwood
Hiking9.07 Miles 1,580 AEG
Hiking9.07 Miles   5 Hrs   54 Mns   1.80 mph
1,580 ft AEG      52 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
From time to time, I appreciate a humbling hike. I find it helpful to have my complacency punished, my self-reliance tested, and my attitude checked.

Hiking here in the valley, I too often become a lazy observer. Valley trails are so well trod, I reason, that it's not really possible to get disoriented. There will be signs. Far too often I mentally check out on my hikes, forgetting I should be paying closer attention.

All was well until, on the Limestone return leg, just past the first spring (which was full, half-choked with grass and mostly covered in algae blooms), I suddenly lost the trail in a small field of volcanic rock. A couple of backtracking attempts got me situated only to lose it again.

This shouldn't be an issue, I can hear you saying, because surely you have your official HAZ route open in Route Scout, right?

Right?

Noooooooooooo! That route is safely tucked away in the cloud, laughing maniacally at me. I know because I put it there the evening prior. And out here, Verizon ain't letting me have it.

What I do have, however, is a map, a compass, and my live route I'm creating against a nifty HAZ wallpaper backdrop where a topo map should be.

I sit. I snack. I reason. With Sugarloaf mountain on my right, and my position close to the proper elevation, I continue to head in the direction I know the trail should be, intending to follow the contour. Six steps later, I rejoin it. Confidence returns, carrying me swiftly along...

...and right past my junction with the Elephant Mountain-Limestone connector (this would make a great jumping off point for a digression into how all official HAZ routes should have trail junctions waypointed but, as noted above, I did not have the benefit of said route and at present I'm too tired for advocacy).

Pressing on, I reach a sizable drainage. I elect to follow it south, somewhat parallel to my missed route, meet the Elephant Mountain Trail, and resume my return to the trailhead. This is better, anyway, I smugly proclaim, as this whole Limestone portion has been feeling somewhat like a death march anyway. This drainage, by comparison is wide and shady. Kind of like getting a free ride on a private parkway. Confidence meter begins to climb once again, propelling me without further failure back to my ever-so-patient car.

Lessons learned, until next time.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Cottonwoods are looking mighty splendiferous.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Limestone Spring - Spur Cross Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
No water observed coming from fill pipe but tank is full, grassy, and algae-covered.

dry Page Spring - Spur Cross Dry Dry
Appears decommissioned, as tank looks to have been intentionally filled with sand and gravel.
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Nov 24 2017
tdwood
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 Guides 2
 Routes 35
 Photos 36
 Triplogs 53

52 male
 Joined Jul 04 2016
 Phoenix, AZ
Windgate Bell LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 24 2017
tdwood
Hiking9.39 Miles 2,150 AEG
Hiking9.39 Miles   4 Hrs   5 Mns   2.30 mph
2,150 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
DarthStiller
JimmyLyding
wallyfrack
I've had my eye on this hike for quite sometime and had actually planned to do it solo on Thanksgiving Day. Instead, after seeing it on the calendar, I tagged along with a few other HAZers for my very first group hike. Though I was soon left in their dust for that first ascent up to Bell Pass (we went counter-clockwise), I did manage to catch up at times and had a very enjoyable hike with fun people. The views and weather were near perfect and we encountered few others until the last stretch on the return to the trailhead. It's days like this that make suffering the summers so worthwhile.
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average hiking speed 1.63 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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