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112 triplogs
Apr 25 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Camelback Summit - Echo Canyon THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking2.41 Miles 1,951 AEG
Hiking2.41 Miles   1 Hour   56 Mns   1.33 mph
1,951 ft AEG      7 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Camelback mountain Echo Trail with Victoria. It was our weekly fitness hike to get us ready for the Grand Canyon.

Not much to report, parking was easy to find as we got a late start and the early morning crowds were long gone.
_____________________
Apr 11 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Piestewa Circumference - Freedom Trail #302Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 11 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking5.18 Miles 1,918 AEG
Hiking5.18 Miles   2 Hrs   58 Mns   1.90 mph
1,918 ft AEG      14 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Piestewa Circumference trail and Summit trail with Victoria.

We are getting ready for a Grand Canyon Trip in early May and were looking to up the difficulty of our weekend hikes to get ready for it. So this weekend we figured we would do a new trail (Piestewa Circumference) and tie in the Summit trail at the end for some extra difficulty.

Circumference trail wasn't too interesting until we got about 1.5 miles in. Then there are some decent views of the Dreamy Draw area and other less populated parts of the Phoenix mountain park.

There were also fewer people on this trail than the Summit trail although both trails were less populated than normal. It is starting to get hot (~95 F) and it seems that people are looking for cooler hikes.

We ran into another couple on the summit trail that were struggling quite a bit. They were from out of town and had not packed enough water. We gave them a spare liter or so from our reserves to help them through.

It looks like there are a few more trails in this section that we haven't done before. We'll have to come back later and explore this area to more.
_____________________
Apr 02 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Lake Patagonia Overlook, AZ 
Lake Patagonia Overlook, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 02 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking1.51 Miles 329 AEG
Hiking1.51 Miles      37 Mns   2.59 mph
329 ft AEG      2 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Lake Patagonia Overlook trail with Victoria during a weekend of camping at the lake.

Intro
Sonoita Creek Overlook Trail one one of several hiking trails located in the vicinity of Patagonia Lake State Park. It is a short trail that gives a superb view of the Lake from the top.

Logistics/Getting there
The trailhead can be accessed by car by turning left immediately before the Lake Patagonia entrance and Ranger station. There is a parking lot down a short dirt road for accessing several nearby trails. The trailhead is also accessible to boaters/paddlers (which is how we got there) by going ashore on the left hand side of the spillway (boat up campsite 118 is also in the vicinity).

Permit
No Permit is needed to park in the parking lot. If you are accessing by water, Lake Patagonia day use permits or camping reservations are required to access the park

Navigation
The trail is somewhat faint, it doesn't look like it gets much traffic. However each trail intersection was marked with signs so navigation is not difficult.

Trail Conditions
The surface was mostly packed dirt and larger rocks, nothing very technically challenging.

Weather
We did this hike at the early April in the afternoon. It was warm but not uncomfortable.

General Comments and Musings
The landscape on this trail was interesting. The earth and rocks were an orange/clay type color. Not quite the red you see up in Sedona but not the usual desert tan either. The vegetation was almost exclusively ocotillo, I don't think I have seen another place with quite this high a concentration. While we were there they were starting to flower in some cases but were not green yet. This was unfortunate as I imagine that the green leaves would contrast the orange earth quite nicely.

The views of the lake from the top were spectacular. You can see the entirety of it from the top and there is a bench up there to relax and take it in. A plaque is also on the summit.

If you are camping at the lake this is a good spot to stretch your legs.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
Apr 02 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Sonoita Foothills Trail, AZ 
Sonoita Foothills Trail, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 02 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking1.04 Miles 153 AEG
Hiking1.04 Miles      26 Mns   2.40 mph
153 ft AEG8 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Sonoita Foothills Trail with Victoria during a weekend of camping at the lake.

Intro
Sonoita Foothills Trail is a connecting trail that runs from Sonoita Creek Trail to Horse Corral Trail in the Patagonia Lake State Park.

Logistics/Getting there
The trailhead can be accessed by car by turning left immediately before the Lake Patagonia entrance and Ranger station. There is a parking lot down a short dirt road for accessing several nearby trails. The trailhead is also accessible to boaters/paddlers (which is how we got there) by going ashore on the left hand side of the spillway (boat up campsite 118 is also in the vicinity).

Permit
No Permit is needed to park in the parking lot. If you are accessing by water, Lake Patagonia day use permits or camping reservations are required to access the park

Navigation
This trail is pretty faint, it doesn't look like it gets much traffic. There are also a number of social trails in the area so it is possible to get off track. Each of the actual trail intersections i.e. not social trails, were marked with signs.

Trail Conditions
The surface was mostly packed dirt and larger rocks, nothing very technically challenging. The trail was a bit overgrown in places with thorny vegetation so we had to duck in a few spots

Weather
We did this hike at the early April in the afternoon. It was warm but not uncomfortable.

General Comments and Musings
This trail wasn't too impressive, unlike the overlook trail that we did earlier in the same day there wasn't much to see. My impression is that this trail is primarily used by equestrian hikers to access the lake or explore a bit (there was quite a bit of manure on the trail). So unless you are looking to use this trail as an alternative route or short cut between trails or the parking lots it doesn't have much to offer.

There are better hikes nearby that are more interesting to explore.
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Mar 28 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Hog Heaven Loop - McDowell MountainsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 28 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking4.38 Miles 1,712 AEG
Hiking4.38 Miles   3 Hrs   15 Mns   1.47 mph
1,712 ft AEG      16 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked most of Hog Heaven Loop with Victoria and a couple friends.

We were looking for a new challenging trail to try out in the McDowell Mountains and with the climbing gyms starting to open back up we figured this was a good choice as it afforded the opportunity to scope out some outdoor rout locations at the same time. This trail definitely fit the bill.

It ran right past one route where we could see people climbing and we were able to spot several other access trails (most of which were marked with signs) so there is definitely some potential here.

The trail itself was fairly challenging. It was very steep and slippery with small rocks/sand. The trail tended to go around the edges of the mountains so a lot of the time you were traversing. The descending sections on this sort of terrain were uniquely challenging. Several members of the party opted to descend in a sitting position one of whom suffered from a case of "cactus butt" as a result. There were also quite a few sections of rock hopping over washed out areas or chasms (although these fortunately were short hops).

Navigation is definitely a challenge here even with a GPS. The trail is very faint in sections and although there are cairns these tend to be no more than 2 rocks and are less than obvious. There are also a lot of social trails that lead to nowhere and can be misleading. We got held up for ~10 minutes while I tried and failed twice to find the correct path forward (if you are stuck at a cave the trail goes right past the mouth).

After completing the 2/3 of the route and having made it to the intersection with the Tom's Thumbe summit trail we opted to descend by the route more traveled as we had already been out much longer than we had been expecting.

This was a very secluded and remote trail that was also very challenging. I don't think we would do it again a hike but we might use it to get to some climbing routes.
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Mar 14 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Canyon Lake TH to Peralta Trailhead, AZ 
Canyon Lake TH to Peralta Trailhead, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 14 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking9.08 Miles 1,037 AEG
Hiking9.08 Miles   4 Hrs   39 Mns   2.08 mph
1,037 ft AEG      17 Mns Break33.5 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Backpacked Boulder Canyon from Canyon Lake to Black Top Mesa with Victoria and some friends (party of 5 altogether) as the last day of a 3 day backpacking trip.

We retraced our route in on the way out, the conditions were much the same as before although we did not have rain threatening and had clear skies, sun, and some heat the entire way.

We saw a few more day trippers and backpackers (including some boy scouts at 1st water) than we saw on the way in. Likely thanks to the more favorable weather.

Everyone did well on the way out although there final ascent with the heat was a bit challenging for some.

Overall this was a great trip and I would definitely do it again hitting one of the other spots (Weaver's or Battleship) as the day trip location next time!
_____________________
Mar 13 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Black Mesa - Superstition MountainsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 13 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking3.59 Miles 1,228 AEG
Hiking3.59 Miles   2 Hrs   47 Mns   1.72 mph
1,228 ft AEG      42 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Day 2 of our Boulder Canyon expedition. The general consensus was that people were pretty tired from the hike in (one opted to stay behind on account of sore knees and less than optimal weather). So of the 3 possible day trips; Battleship mountain, Black Top Mesa, and Weaver's Needle we opted for the easiest; Black Top Mesa.

Unfortunately, while I did download the route for the hike in/out I forgot to download the day trip routes so navigation was going to be a bit of a challenge. I did have both digital and paper topos so we went for it.

We weren't sure if there was an established trail to the top (or if it was bushwhacking) so when we got to a relatively gradual approach we went for it. This is how we managed to do Black Top Mesa "the hard way".

The going was not difficult initially with the ground a bit crumbly from the recent (and occasionally continuing) rain showers. We were able to manage about half the ascent very quickly before it started to get a bit scrambly. At this point we consulted our maps and seeing how far we had come figured it would be easier to keep going than try to go back and find an easier way.

The loose gravel slope turned into more or less continuous granular stone that required the use of hands as well as feet but was quite grippy and otherwise not difficult to climb. There were smooth and generally loose black colored boulders in increasing concentration as we approached the summit. These were a much more prone to getting kicked or pulled down the slope than the other material and we made it a point to avoid using them as holds and spaced out a bit after a near miss.

The weather began to turn sour again with hail an sleet joining in with the rain. At this point we were very neat to the top and the difficulty level increased again. The final push definitely strayed into class 4 climbing territory. We were not equipped to do actual rock climbing so we took shelter in a nook to wait for the weather to let up and to scope out the best route forward.

After eating some snacks and waiting for a break in the weather we went for it. The first attempt ran into a dead end and backtracking but the 2nd found a relatively easy way up. The face had a convenient ledge so we were able to break up the scramble into 2 sections with everyone piling onto the ledge before the final ascent to the top. The last stretch had another of those loose giant black boulders in the perfect position for a handhold. Avoiding it made for a challenging obstacle.

Having got to the top we immediately found a campsite and established trail which ended up leading down the north (rather than south) side of the mesa (so much for re remembering roughly which way the route went). We took this trail and looped back to our basecamp for an afternoon of card playing out of the weather (which finally cleared up that evening).

Despite the accidental nature this was actually are really interesting and fun little off trail ascent. The views of Weavers Needle on the way up were excellent ad the mesa provided a good 360 degree vantage point. If I were in the area in the future with a willing group and the weather were drier I would definitely do Black Rock Mesa "the hard way" again.
_____________________
Mar 12 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Canyon Lake TH to Peralta TrailheadPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Backpack avatar Mar 12 2021
KingLeonidas
Backpack9.80 Miles 1,961 AEG
Backpack9.80 Miles   5 Hrs   46 Mns   2.03 mph
1,961 ft AEG      56 Mns Break36 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Backpacked Boulder Canyon from Canyon Lake to Black Top Mesa with Victoria and some friends (party of 5 altogether) as the 1st day of a 3 day backpacking trip.

The plan was to Hike along Boulder Canyon in search of reliable water sources somewhere in the vicinity of Black Top Mesa. We would camp wherever water availability would allow (preferably between 5 and 8 miles in) and use this spot as our basecamp for the remainder of the trip.

We all met up at the parking lot (no Tonto pass needed for boulder canyon parking) and went through the usual exercise of distributing the weight of shared gear and discarding items that were not absolutely necessary once people realized exactly how heavy their bags were.

Once everyone was set up we began the initial ascent. This was a bit tough as our bags were pretty heavy with extra water (as contingency against all the springs being dry) and the food for 3 days. The views of Canyon lake and Boulder canyon ahead from the top/ridgeline were pretty cool though.

Beginning the descent into boulder canyon we came across some old foundations (and a metal bed frame) of what was probably a miners' cabin of some sort which we spent some time exploring. Further down we encountered our first water source at Boulder Creek which had some algae contaminated pools with some flow that were large enough for filtering. This was a big relief as I have a history of failed Superstitions backpacking trips where we hike in, find no water, and then have to hike out the same day (with all the unused gear and food having become pointless dead weight). So the trip was already off to a good start.

At around this point we found ourselves leap-frogging with another group of backpackers which one getting ahead when the other took a break and vice versa. The trails were relatively crowded (for the Superstitions) and we saw no fewer than 8 different groups backpacking throughout the entire trip. There was still plenty of room and we didn't have any neighbors at the sites we selected for camping.

The weather also held together for us. The forecast for this day had variable % of rain in the 25 to 30 % range but we managed to complete our entire hike, get to the desired campsite, and pitch our tents before having any significant precipitation.

Navigation and route-finding were also pretty straightforward. The trails were generally clear. where we had to cross the creek bed there were usually multiple cairns making it apparent where to go. There were quite a few trail junctions though. they all had signs and we only once briefly made a wrong turn which we were able to quickly correct with the gps app.

Of the my preferred camping locations the first (Boulder Creek) was dry, the 2nd (Needle Canyon) had water but not much space, the 3rd East Boulder-Weavers Viewpoint was perfect. It had pools with some flow, flat spots with room for multiple 2p tents, a fire pit (which we improved upon), and a excellent view of Weavers Needle.

We pitched our tents, cooked up some tacos for dinner and planned our next day's adventure. The weather cut our festivities a bit short by starting a rather serious downpour after dinner. We retreated to our tents and called it a night at that point.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
A few isolated patches, too early in the season for much

dry Boulder Creek - Superstition WA Dry Dry
shallow pools not enough to filter

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Boulder Creek at #103 / #236 Jct Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Green Pools with some flow, plenty to filter

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max East Boulder - Weavers Viewpoint Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Plenty of pools with some flow just north of the campsite


water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Little Boulder Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
some pools, enough to filter

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Needle Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Pools with plenty volume for filtering, cleaner than Boulder Creek at #103 /#236 junction was

_____________________
Feb 27 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Saguaro Cove #3 to the PointPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 27 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking5.02 Miles 734 AEG
Hiking5.02 Miles   2 Hrs   4 Mns   2.49 mph
734 ft AEG      3 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
See Route Guide for trip details, new route/guide
_____________________
Feb 21 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Hidden Valley via San GabrielPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 21 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking5.38 Miles 1,336 AEG
Hiking5.38 Miles   2 Hrs   35 Mns   2.12 mph
1,336 ft AEG      3 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Hidden Valley via San Gabriel with Victoria.

Another of our South Mountain exploration hikes. We did this one as an alternative and less crowded way to access Hidden Valley.

This one was a bit easier to find street parking for although the initial foothills area was popular with mountain bikers. The trail itself was initially populated but thinned out to nothing by the time we got to the top. It seemed that many/most of the people hiking San Gabriel don't go all the way to the hidden valley but rather stop at some of the viewpoints along the way.

The trail was good and steep, an excellent workout, it was clear all the way to the top. The short descent into the hidden valley was a little more challenging. The destination was clear (we could see people hiking the loop most of the way down) but figuring out how to get there required some pathfinding and short easy scrambles on rocks. The GPS route was very useful for staying on track.

On the whole I liked this route, it is solid less popular way to reach the hidden valley.
_____________________
Feb 14 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Corona de Loma East - AKA Old Man TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 14 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking4.91 Miles 1,435 AEG
Hiking4.91 Miles   2 Hrs   25 Mns   2.12 mph
1,435 ft AEG      6 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Corona de Loma East with Victoria and two of our friends.

We continued our weekly local fitness trail exploration with a trip up Corona de Loma east. It was our first time hiking this spot.

Parking was a bit of a challenge. We used the trail access point near "Santy Partners" i.e. 11616 S Equestrian Trail as it gives the shortest access trail distance (~1 mile) to the actual trailhead. There is no parking lot here (the access point is between two houses) but it isn't too popular a spot. The real problem is this is a very nice neighborhood and almost every house has a "no parking" sign in the street in front of it. The only places where you are apparently allowed to park are the empty lots which are few and far between. So be prepared to add a quarter of a mile or so to your hike to get to the access trails from your car.

Navigation was not too difficult, but was at least worth mentioning. Follow the access trails southwest, taking a right at the only fork you have to pass and ~ a mile in, at a long left hand sweeper (for the mountain bikers), the actual trail begins off on the right. It is easy to find with the GPS route.

The trail conditions were variable. The access trails were mostly dirt and dust and were heavily trafficked by mountain bikers. We were stepping off the trail to let them by constantly on the way in. Most of the mountain bikers were not interested in going up Corona de Loma so this becomes a non-issue once you get to the actual trail. The trail is steep, similar to Piestewa, and the ascent is nearly continuous. Most of it occurs in a single prolonged section which is a great workout and a lot of fun if you are up for the challenge. The terrain is a bit more technical though. A good potion of the ascent is covered in talus and we tended to slow down a bit to avoid slipping on the loose rock. The more challenging conditions actually make the trail seem less strenuous because you aren't able to go quite as fast as you might otherwise.

The high point on the trail (towards the end) affords a pretty spectacular view. It looks to be one of the highest points on the eastern side of South Mountain. It provides great views of Tempe, Phoenix, and Ahwatukee.

We really liked this trail and given the ever increasing popularity of Camelback, Piestewa, et al. will probably make return trips here for fitness hikes to avoid the crowds.
_____________________
3 archives
Feb 07 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Geronimo Trail - South MountainPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 07 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking5.10 Miles 1,248 AEG
Hiking5.10 Miles   2 Hrs   17 Mns   2.45 mph
1,248 ft AEG      12 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Geronimo Trail with Victoria and a friend

Another "Exploring South Mountain" weekend fitness hike! We picked this one as an alternative to Mormon Trail to try something new with a similar difficulty.

We followed the directions in the guide to parked at Mormon and walk along the street to the trailhead. The guide advise indicating that there is no parking at the Geronimo trailhead does not appear to be accurate anymore. The entire northbound shoulder of the street was full of cars, at least some of which were from hikers.

The trail was quite similar in appearance and difficulty to Mormon but unlike Mormon it was far less popular, indeed it was nearly empty. We did pass a group or two of mountain bikers but this wasn't too common of an occurrence. Most of the traffic was either near the top at Buena Vista or near the bottom in the form of dog walkers getting off the sidewalk for a bit.

There was a curious looking adventure course near the beginning of the hike that looked like it would be fun to explore. I imagine this is part of the Scout facility near the bottom. On our way back down we made a wrong turn and came down at the scout pueblo this wasn't a problem as it ended up pretty close to the trailhead anyway.

This was a decent hike, not quite as interesting as Mormon and hidden valley but the lack of crowds made up for it. A decent option with some replay value.
_____________________
Jan 31 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Tom's Thumb Trail - MSPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 31 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking4.93 Miles 1,659 AEG
Hiking4.93 Miles   2 Hrs   44 Mns   2.28 mph
1,659 ft AEG      34 Mns Break5 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Tom thumb trail with Victoria and a couple friends.

The trail was ridiculously crowded. It looked like everyone was taking advantage of the good weather and the rain having stopped to get outside.

We were hiking with a couple friends on one of our usual fitness hikes. It was good to get some conversation in and break up the cabin fever.

There wasn't too much wildflowers yet but I imagine the rain we had last week will help with that soon.

Otherwise not too much to report.
_____________________
Jan 17 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Corona de Loma TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 17 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking8.02 Miles 1,600 AEG
Hiking8.02 Miles   3 Hrs   4 Mns   2.62 mph
1,600 ft AEG8 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Corona del Loma with Victoria as a fitness hike. We were looking for a new spot in South Mountain and figured we would give this route a shot.

The trailhead was pretty popular but we didn't have any problem finding street parking. The lower regions of the trail were fairly crowded. In particular there were a lot of mountain bikers. The crowds thinned out a bit as we got higher up.

Navigation was a bit interesting. There are many trails in the area allowing for a lot of hike options. Each of the trail junctions was obvious and many had a post marking the spot. However, they tended not to have any signage so you needed a map or GPS to know which way to turn. This wasn't too much of a problem but we did manage to make one wrong turn and add an extra mile to our hike.

The terrain was mostly packed dirt with some larger rocks. Nothing too difficult or challenging. There was a somewhat narrow spot near the saddle but it was nothing to write home about.

The landmark noted as the "Chinese wall" was interesting. The rock formation definitely had a passing resemblance to the great Wall of China, it would probably be more apparent during the greener times of the year. I actually thought the portion on the west side of the trail had a better resemblance (Rather than east side which has the pin).

It looks like the area got some rain recently all the octillo were nice and green.

This was a nice spot and a good route for a weekend fitness hike.
_____________________
Jan 10 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail #300Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 10 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking2.92 Miles 1,293 AEG
Hiking2.92 Miles   1 Hour   43 Mns   1.86 mph
1,293 ft AEG      9 Mns Break5 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Piesatawa peak with Victoria as one of our routine fitness hikes.

It was pretty crowded as usual and we had to park way out near the gate. We were happy just to find a spot. Otherwise it was a nice day hike to get us out of the house.
_____________________
Dec 30 2020
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Zona Arqueologica de TulumQuintana Roo, QR
Quintana Roo, QR
Walk / Tour avatar Dec 30 2020
KingLeonidas
Walk / Tour1.29 Miles 71 AEG
Walk / Tour1.29 Miles   1 Hour   19 Mns   1.09 mph
71 ft AEG      8 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Logistics/Getting there
The Tulum Ruins can be found immediately (~a mile) north of the town of Tulum and are on the right-hand side of the highway. There is plenty of signage to guide you to the spot. They can be reached by car, bus, or if you are staying at a hostel that rents them; bicycles. If you drive a rented car, be prepared to pay (and negotiate a reasonable price for) parking. There is an additional ~1/2 mile walk from the parking area to the park's entrance. Tourist busses run this 1/2 mile for those not inclined to walk it. Tour guides can be hired at any point from the parking lot to the actual park gate. We did not hike with a guide for this site, but the ones at the park entrance seemed more professional (and more reasonably priced).

Fees (as of 2020)
The entrance fee is 80 pesos per person, the optional (you can walk) shuttle from the parking area is an additional 20 pesos. Parking can vary quite a bit but is generally around 120 pesos. Tour guides also vary in price but can be had for ~600 pesos.


Trailhead
The entrances to the ruins are at two gates on the north wall of the complex. Several interconnected paths can be taken to see various structures, but the general route is from North to South along the coast. The exit is a gate in the south wall.

Navigation
No challenges here, just follow the paths. If it is open, the beach is lovely to visit, and it is behind El Castillo. The Iguanas like to sun themselves on the west wall (well away from the tourists and well-trafficked structures) if you are looking to see some local wildlife.

Weather
We explored Tulum at the end of December, arguably the coldest part of the year, and it was still quite hot. We did have something of a warmer day but the recommendation of going early in the morning, preferably when the park is opening, to beat the heat (as well as the crowds) was still valid. I would not want to visit this spot in the summer. The beach was closed when we were there on account of high winds and rough (at least by Caribbean standards) surf.

Trail Conditions
The paths around the site are clear and smooth. Sensitive areas are roped off, but the more inland sections allow for a bit of wandering.

General Comments and Musings
The Tulum ruins are a cool beachside archeological zone. It is not a large site and doesn't take too much time to explore. Most of the structures are in a restored state and are in close proximity to each other. Access to the interior of the buildings is restricted, and in most cases, a few feet around each structure is roped off. The area is very popular (often crowded), and it is best to get there as soon as the park opens to avoid the crowds and high midday temperatures. There is a beach at the site, which is a good place to cool off after exploring when the water conditions are calm. This site is easy to get to, hence its popularity, but other sites nearby are more interesting and less crowded. It's very picturesque and worth a visit if you are in the area and have never been there before.

Site Video:
[ youtube video ]
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Dec 30 2020
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Zona Arqueologica Muyil, WW 
Zona Arqueologica Muyil, WW
 
Hiking avatar Dec 30 2020
KingLeonidas
Hiking2.19 Miles 351 AEG
Hiking2.19 Miles   1 Hour   10 Mns   1.90 mph
351 ft AEG      1 Min Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Logistics/Getting there
The Muyil Ruins can be found a short drive (~15 miles) south of the town of Tulum and are on the left-hand side of the highway. There is plenty of signage to guide you to the spot. They can be reached by car or taxi, but bus options may be more limited than those available at the Zona Arqueologica de Tulum. Also, unlike Zona Arqueologica de Tulum, parking is free. We did not hike with a guide for this site, but they are available at the park entrance.

Fees (as of 2020)
The entrance fee is 50 pesos per person. Guided tours and access to the Laguna de Muyil are extra (we did not opt for either).

Navigation
No challenges here; follow the paths. The route consists of a large loop with a few spur trails going off to different points of interest. One such trail is an access trail to the Laguna, where there are boat tours. The farthest outset of ruins was not accessible while we were there. The trail was blocked off, and despite our attempts at some bushwhacking, we were unable to find the last sites indicated on the site map; the jungle may have reclaimed them.

Weather
We explored Tulum at the end of December, arguably the coldest part of the year, and it was still quite hot and humid. This area is well shaded by the jungle but is extremely humid. The shady nature makes it more suitable for the afternoon than the Tulum ruins, but it will still be very warm. We did this one the same day as Tulum after lunch.

Trail Conditions
The paths around the site are clear and smooth. Sensitive areas are roped off. This site is on the edge of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere and is covered with jungle foliage and botanicals. There were 4 separate locations with major structures still accessible at the time of our visit.

General Comments and Musings
This site is, in many ways, the polar opposite of the Zona Arqueologica de Tulum. It was almost empty when we arrived and stayed that way for the duration of our visit. There was no fighting the crowds, lines, or locals trying their best to extract money from visitors. The site is also much more spread out than Tulum and features more pyramid-type structures instead of the smaller stone residential-type buildings found in Tulum. The ruins aren't the largest and most spectacular in the greater region but probably the easiest to access. The natural environment at this site is also spectacular. The Tulum ruins have a section with native plants, but most of the site is turf grass or beach. Muyil is a proper jungle, with some of the trees being so large that they were left growing on some elements of the ruins to avoid damaging them. It is a much more calm and pleasant place to explore. It is well worth the short drive it takes to get there. We liked it much better than the Tulum site.

Trail Video:
[ youtube video ]
_____________________
Dec 20 2020
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Camelback Summit - Echo Canyon THPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 20 2020
KingLeonidas
Hiking2.55 Miles 2,023 AEG
Hiking2.55 Miles   1 Hour   40 Mns   1.56 mph
2,023 ft AEG      2 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Camelback Mountain Summit with Victoria

The camelback Christmas tree was up but the Camelback Santa was not in attendance (at least not while we were there). The trail was quite crowded.

We ended up giving some emergency snacks and half our water to two middle aged ladies from Colorado. They appeared to have bitten off much more than they could chew and had only brought a small water bottle each (long depleted) for the hike. We passed them on the way up and then again on our way back down and they had not progressed far in their descent in that time. The water especially seemed to do them some good. After reaching the trailhead we let one of the park rangers know what happened and roughly where we left the struggling hikers, the rangers started preparing to hike up themselves to render aid.

Hopefully they made it out alright, Camelback can humble the unprepared even in the mild temperatures of December
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Dec 13 2020
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Massacre FallsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 13 2020
KingLeonidas
Hiking6.03 Miles 1,259 AEG
Hiking6.03 Miles   2 Hrs   49 Mns   2.18 mph
1,259 ft AEG      3 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Massacre Falls with Victoria and a couple of friends.

We were hoping that the recent rain during the week would be enough to get the falls moving. This turned out to not be the case as the falls were dry. Also quite a few people had the same idea and the trail was busier than usual.

The weather was cold and windy, the friend that decided to wear shorts regretted their decision immediately and had to borrow a jacket.

We got a good tip on a nearby backpacking destination: boulder canyon from a local so we'll have to give that one a shot in the near future.

dry Massacre Falls - at Massacre Grounds Dry Dry
Bone dry despite rain earlier in the week

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Dec 05 2020
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 13
 Routes 45
 Photos 196
 Triplogs 112

31 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Mustang Mountains High Point 6469Tucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 05 2020
KingLeonidas
Hiking5.51 Miles 1,792 AEG
Hiking5.51 Miles   4 Hrs   11 Mns   1.52 mph
1,792 ft AEG      33 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
This one was a whopper! Victoria and I did Mustang Mountains High Point 6469 as a bit of morning entertainment prior to our day of wine tastings in Sonoita. It was supposed to be a quick hike before lunch but ended up taking far longer and being far more difficult than we expected.

We were able to find the spot pretty easily. We parked at the 3rd gate and walked from there even though we could have easily driven another ~1-1/4 miles. It was a beautiful morning and we didn't want to make the hike too short (I know, more the fool us). The dirt road was passable for our small 2wd pickup although we did go slow and have to maneuver carefully around some larger rocks. After walking to the end of the dirt road we came across a camper that was the temporary hunting lodge for a group of quail hunters as well a a pickup and side-by-side that was transportation for a group of deer hunters and their guide.

Shortly after beginning the trail in earnest (marked by a sign indicating that no motor vehicles were permitted past this point) we came across the deer hunters. They had several sets of binoculars on tripods set up on a small rise and were glassing the area for deer. They had seen some and the guide and one of the hunters had gone down into the valley to attempt to get an angle on them. The hunters were not pleased to hear that we were intending to go hiking through their prospective firing range and we hung about for a few minutes waiting for the guide and hunter to return so that everyone could get on the same page. The guide was less concerned, they had scared up the deer which had left the immediate area we were going to be hiking and he was planning on relocating the party anyway. We were also wearing bright colors (white and blue) so there was little chance of being mistaken for a deer. After discussing and showing the guide our planned route we parted ways and had no further issues with the hunting parties. Their preferred scouting position is noted on the route.

Continuing on, we decided to explore the old dam before starting the ascent. We quickly found that the trail was more of a vague suggestion than a route. There were numerous very faint an non-continuous paths that were likely either game trails or social paths carved up by hunting parties but no actual trail was apparent to either the dam or the summit. It was almost entirely bushwhacking (off trail hiking) but there was relatively little in the way of foxtails or other prickly vegetation (by Arizona standards) so this aspect wasn't terribly unpleasant (at least initially).

Navigation was fairly easy but somewhat misleading. We found the dam without issue using the posted GPS route but during the ascent it was less useful. Attempting to follow the exact path was not practical or particularly efficient as it meanders around thickets and other obstacles. It is much easier to simply target the peak and pick whatever path of least resistance presents itself. We attempted the "nose in the GPS" method for the first part of the ascent in the hope that some semblance of a trail would present itself, to no avail. When we abandoned attempting to follow the precise GPS route things went a bit faster.

The initial ascent out of the valley was straightforward and, despite the lack of a clear trail, not to difficult. That changed about halfway up. The angle of the slope increased significantly and at the same time the terrain became much more difficult. What was previously well secured dirt became a combination of very loose dust and scree on a 30+ degree angle. Each step was likely to dislodged rocks and dust and send a hiker sliding sliding anywhere from a few inches to a few feet back down. Testing each foot placement was necessary and even then was not a guarantee of success (some rocks would hold your full weight only to give way as you were testing the foothold). We basically had to step-kick our way up the peak and later semi-glissade our way down. Both of us took minor spills, acquiring scratches and bruises, on multiple occasions on both the ascent and descent of this section.

There was also a high concentration of dry shrubs and trees near the summit that added to the misery. The branches were generally too large to simply push through but at the same time too small and dry (liable to snap) to be useful as handholds. Each thicket had to be either navigated around (where possible) or carefully climbed through (adding stepping over and under branches to the unstable ground challenges).

The only thing that went relatively well on this portion was that the terrain was so uneven that whatever large rocks you did manage to dislodge did not go far and present a hazard the the person following. We were able to avoid rockfall issues by maintaining a spacing of ~10-15'.

It took us so long to ascend that we did not stay long at the summit to enjoy the view of Sonoita (the view was quite nice). The aerostat that is stationed over the border in this area was also clearly visible from the summit as well as the whole of Sonoita Valley and the surrounding areas.

We made a beeline down the peak to start our wine tasting tour (quite belatedly). On the way out we passed by the quail hunter's camper where they asked if we had seen any quail on our hike. This was a bit surprising considering the number of shotgun blasts we heard on the ascent, we figured they had been pretty successful. We hadn't seen any quail (that I could tell) but had scared up numerous other birds. A bit later, while walking on the road portion back to the truck, we heard 3 rifle shots in quick succession (the first we heard that entire day). So the deer hunters we inadvertently displaced might have been compensated later on as well.

I don't think we would do this hike again, mostly because Victoria doesn't like off trail hiking. It would definitely be a good idea to check to see if there is a hunting season in effect when you want to hike this peak so that you can avoid possible issues of that sort. As far as off-trail hiking goes this was probably a good introductory route. If you drive all the way to the end of the dirt road the actual route is quite short. Even though the terrain is steep and challenging it isn't ridiculous or terribly dangerous. The nuisance factor of foxtails or prickly vegetation is also minimal so it's not a bad place to get your feet wet. The dams (both the old one we went too and the two newer ones we skipped) make potential points of interest or places to explore along the way. So this is a solid off trail hike option for those looking for that sort of adventure.
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average hiking speed 1.98 mph
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