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122 triplogs
Sep 12 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Holbert Trail - South MountainPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 12 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking4.35 Miles 1,175 AEG
Hiking4.35 Miles   2 Hrs   11 Mns   2.21 mph
1,175 ft AEG      13 Mns Break6 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Holbert trail with Victoria as a weekend fitness hike.

It was pretty warm so very few people were on the trail.

There was lots of greenery and wildflowers (specifically daisies) from all the monsoon rains and quite a few butterflies as well. We saw several red tailed lizards, some quite large, and what looked like a baby rattlesnake (although he went down a hole in a hurry before we could get a picture).

We did the Dobbins extension instead of the normal route, it was a good weekly fitness hike.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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Sep 06 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Horseshoe Bend Overlook TrailNortheast, AZ
Northeast, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 06 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking1.29 Miles 356 AEG
Hiking1.29 Miles      38 Mns   2.67 mph
356 ft AEG      9 Mns Break6 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 Horseshoe Bend Overlook with Victoria and YSP as part of our Glen Canyon trip.

On the way back from Glen Canyon we stopped at Horseshoe bend for pictures. It looks like they have finally finished the trailhead renovations and are now charging $10 per vehicle to park (which is a pretty steep price given how short the hike is). On the plus side, it does seem to have reduced the crowds somewhat compared to the last time I was here (although covid could be contributing to that as well).

We got lots of pictures and enjoyed the view for a while. We did not stay long as it was pretty hot and most people were tired from the trip.

Given the new steep price, I probably wouldn't go back unless I was bringing someone new who had never been there before (which was also the case with most of the YSP people on the trip this time)
_____________________
Aug 29 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Tom's Thumb Trail - MSPPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 29 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking4.57 Miles 1,393 AEG
Hiking4.57 Miles   2 Hrs   1 Min   2.36 mph
1,393 ft AEG      5 Mns Break6 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Hiked Tom's Thumb with Victoria and some friends as our regular weekend fitness hike.

The monsoon rains prompted a 2nd spring of wildflowers and the trail was unusually green.

otherwise not much to report
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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Aug 22 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Massacre FallsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 22 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking5.75 Miles 1,424 AEG
Hiking5.75 Miles   2 Hrs   37 Mns   2.27 mph
1,424 ft AEG      5 Mns Break6 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 few friends.

I thought that with us having had a strong monsoon season this year and having had a major storm in the week prior, that the falls would be running. As usual the Superstitions proved me wrong and the falls were dry.

lack of water notwithstanding the trail was very green and we had a good time.

At the falls there was a tomatillo growing where the water normally runs (with fruit on it no less). This was curious (no idea how it came to be there, possibly from somebody's snack?) but I don't expect it will survive there long.

It was a good weekend hike as usual
_____________________
Aug 15 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Hidden Valley via Mormon TrailPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 15 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking3.88 Miles 1,007 AEG
Hiking3.88 Miles   1 Hour   51 Mns   2.18 mph
1,007 ft AEG      4 Mns Break6 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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Hiked Hidden Valley Loop via Mormon Trail with Victoria and a few friends.

With all the monsoon rain the valley was quite green and there was actual running water in places.

Our Friends Juan and Alyssa had not done this trail before in the normal direction so we had fun showing them fat man's pass and the two stone slides.

It was a good fitness hike with the added fun of the hidden valley
_____________________
Aug 07 2021
KingLeonidas
avatar

 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Norris Geyser BasinYellowstone, WY
Yellowstone, WY
Walk / Tour avatar Aug 07 2021
KingLeonidas
Walk / Tour2.96 Miles 445 AEG
Walk / Tour2.96 Miles   1 Hour   50 Mns   2.07 mph
445 ft AEG      24 Mns Break8 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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Explored Norris geyser Basin with Victoria as part of our (her first) Yellowstone trip.

This was our first (of many) stops.

Norris was as good as usual, notable geysers included vixen (which was also good last time I was here), Echinus, and Green Dragon Spring. The Porcelain basin was, as always, breathtaking.

The geyser near the descent into the porcelain basin was unusually active and made a point of misting and fumigating anyone descending or ascending the main stairs.

The lower water table levels (of late) do not appear to have significantly affected this geyser basin. It remains a superb example of what Yellowstone has to offer.

Victoria was very impressed with the basin and we continued our 1st day in the park in high spirits.
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May 31 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 31 2021
KingLeonidas
Backpack7.12 Miles 1,598 AEG
Backpack7.12 Miles   3 Hrs   12 Mns   2.50 mph
1,598 ft AEG      21 Mns Break28 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Day 3 of a 3 day backpacking trip on the Cabin Loop - Mogollon Rim. We heard some odd animal cries last night, I suspect a mountain lion in the vicinity upstream but we didn't see anything.

Again we had a leisurely breakfast, we were slowly getting better and got underway at around 10am.

This was the last and easiest day of the trip. The water was more prevalent in this section and there were a few pockets of wildflowers. We saw few other hikers on this day. Likely because everyone going clockwise would be at the General Crook Trail by this time and few people would be starting their trip with the weekend/holiday almost over.

The trails:
The days hike was the entirety of Fred Haught Trail #141. It was mostly through pine forests. All of the water sources had deep pools at the very least (if not actual flow). At a section that crossed a forest road we saw a mother elk and a calf which was pretty cool.

At FR-95 (I think) the road was washed out. By washed out I mean completely gone the ~6' diameter culvert running under it appears to have gotten plugged by a tree during a flash flood effectively creating a dam behind a bend in the road. Given that it was not designed to be a dam the road and ~20 of earth from where the road was to the top of the culvert was washe away completely. All that remains in the Culvert, ironically, still crushed and plugged up with a tree. Needless to say there were barriers in place and a social trail had developed and was apparent around the unexpected obstacle. It was a pretty apparent display of the power of nature.

Other than that it was a tranquil walk in the woods back to General Springs Cabin and the cars.

On the whole this trip was not the most interesting or exciting it definitely had its moments but I don't think it lives up to the hype. I saw this route listed a good introductory backpacking route, I would believe that. If anything were to go wrong you are never far from a forest road and could probably flag down help without too much trouble. There were a couple of pretty spots that I would likely return to for a an overnight but camping on edge of the Mogollon Rim has more appeal.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Box Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Pools all along the trail

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Fred Haught Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Lots of pools

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Fred Haught Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
lots of pools
_____________________
May 30 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 30 2021
KingLeonidas
Backpack12.39 Miles 2,005 AEG
Backpack12.39 Miles   5 Hrs   57 Mns   2.43 mph
2,005 ft AEG      51 Mns Break29 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Day 2 of a 3 day backpacking trip on the Cabin Loop - Mogollon Rim. As the first of the group awake I got to see a herd of deer on the east side of the meadow we camped in by Barbershop Creek. Sadly I left my camera and phone in the tent and did not manage to get any photos.

As with the first day, we had a leisurely breakfast (still too leisurely, we didn't get underway until ~11), broke camp, and started our 2nd day of hiking. While we were breaking camp and getting breakfast another group of backpackers came by looking for water they liked the conditions of Barbershop spring and stopped to filter some. We also took the opportunity to get some details on our planned water sources for that night namely Pinchot (near the cabin) which they confirmed had plenty of water. Between our own water making the night before and the morning top off of both groups Barbershop spring was visibly lower in level than it was when we arrived and did not seem to be refilling.

We saw several other groups once we started hiking and for some reason every single one of them were opting for a clockwise route of the cabin loop (rather than counter clockwise as we were doing). I am not sure why (perhaps there is a description on alltrails or some other popular site that suggests going clockwise) but for the entire 3 days we were the only ones going in this direction.

Our plan for day 2 was to hike the remainder of Barbershop trail #91 and the entirety of U-Bar trail #28 to Pinchot Cabin and spring.

The trails:
I am actually going to group these two trails together as the conditions were similar. Basically the day's hike involved descending and then re-ascending the ravines containing Barbershop Canyon Creek and Floyd Spring (or its tributaries at least), hiking in parallel north for a few miles alongside them, and then turning east and hiking back down and up them again. This was challenging but at least predictable and was the most strenuous of the day's 3 hikes. This wasn't helped by the fact that I made a wrong turn right at the end and added an extra 3/4 of a mile to the day's already long run, oops.

We also noticed several game/trail cameras starting with one at Coyote Spring (presumably to capture wildlife stopping to drink). Further on the trail cameras seemed to be directed at the trail specifically so I am not sure if they were trying to capture shots of wildlife or get a headcount on the number of hikers doing the loop. Naturally we smiled for the camera each time we passed one by.

Near the beginning of U-bar we saw an area alongside the trail that was fenced off with high fences (presumably to keep deer out). The enclosed area wasn't large and there didn't seem to be anything unusual in it which was curious. our best guess was that there was some sort of experiment wherein some particular type of (probably native) vegetation was being grown and they didn't want the wildlife to interfere with the experiment. It also could have been a clandestine pot farm but it was a bit too obvious and accessible for this (and we didn't see anything like that growing there). Anyway curious.

The prettiest part of the hike was the part where we Crossed Barbershop Canyon Creek. This was a large running source with lots of water and even a few minnows swimming about. It was really pretty and fairly easily accessible from FR-139 with multiple campsites along the creek. I will have to revisit this spot in the future for some car camping. We were sorely tempted to stop here for the night.

Pinchot was also full of clear water and was, as expected, a good place to end our day. We were not entirely alone at the cabin. Another couple were camping there intending to tart the loop the following day and there was another vehicle parked there that presumably belonged to another thru-hiker.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barbershop canyon creek Light flow Light flow
lots of clear pools with some flow. Some minnows swimming in it.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Coyote Spring Dripping Dripping
very little flow but a clear pool suitable for filtering. also a trail camera for some reason.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Dane Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Decent flow from the pipe, certainly enough to gather and filter for drinking.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Pinchot Spring Gallon + per minute Gallon + per minute
nice clear pools with a gradual flow
_____________________
May 29 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Cabin Loop - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 29 2021
KingLeonidas
Backpack8.09 Miles 1,465 AEG
Backpack8.09 Miles   4 Hrs   35 Mns   2.26 mph
1,465 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break31 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Day 1 of a 3 day backpacking trip on the Cabin Loop - Mogollon Rim. Out party of 5 started the trip by car camping Friday night in the meadow in front of the General Springs Cabin. After some mishaps involving forgotten sleeping bags (replaced with surprisingly good bags from the Payson Walmart) we all got together around 11 pm.

The following morning we had a leisurely breakfast (a little too leisurely, we didn't get underway until noon), broke camp, and started our 3 day loop hike.

We planned to do the larger loop in a counter clockwise direction. Day 1 would follow General Crook Trail #130 along the rim, Houston Brothers #171 north for a bit and then start on Barbershop #91 to either Barbershop spring or Coyote Spring farther on. We ended up camping at Barbershop Spring on the first night as we were pretty tired and there was enough water for filtering.

The trails:
General Crook Trail #130 was a complete pain navigation wise. I downloaded the official GPS route and on the map had an alternate historical route overlaid. Neither was even remotely correct for a significant amount of time and we initially wasted a lot of time picking our way of difficult terrain hoping things would get better if we stayed precisely on the gps marked route. They didn't so I eventually started disregarding the gps and doing regular pathfinding. This worked better. The trail in general is faint to non-existent in this area with forest fires having altered the forest significantly. We were able to spot some white metal chevrons nailed to trees which were apparently the trail markers. These helped somewhat as in theory you could generally spot the next chevron while the nearer was still visible. There were some sections where the fires had taken out the trail markers and some sections with no trail markers at all. Path finding was definietly more efficient than following the GPS though.
I was hoping this trail would wind along the rim an give us great views off the edge but it generally kept farther inland and we had to go off trail to get any good pictures. On the whole, this portion of the trip wasn't that great and I certainly wouldn't look the hike a more extensive section of the General Crook Trail if the conditions are likely to be similar.

Houston Brothers #171 was refreshingly straightforward after the navigational shenanigans that was General Crook. The path was clear and had some pretty steep inclines which were a good workout (a bit too good for some of the group). We stepped across some water draining from springs at the bottom of some of the ravines near Barbershop so we were optimistic bout finding water there. There scenery changed from rocky and sparse/burnt pine forest to thicker canopy with some broadleaves (particularly in the low areas). It was nice to get some shade and have a walk in the woods.

Barbershop #91 was similar to Houston brothers for the short distance we were on it and as hoped, we did find water at Barbershop spring where we opted to call it a day and pitch our tents. Ironically if we had gone a bit farther we would have fond much more water at the bottom of the canyon draining from Barbershop Canyon Creek but the campsite at the spring was nicer and had better shade.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Barbershop Spring Dripping Dripping
There was very little flow though the water was nice and clear. Between our group and another that came by we basically drained it filtering water for the next day's hike

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Dude Lake 1-25% full 1-25% full
Water level was pretty low and there wasn't an easy way to to collect some for filtering without wading through deep mud. best to look elsewhere

dry General Springs Dry Dry
just some wet mud
_____________________
May 09 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 male
 Joined Oct 23 2017
 Tempe
Rim to Rim: South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trai, AZ 
Rim to Rim: South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trai, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 09 2021
KingLeonidas
Hiking17.46 Miles 6,164 AEG
Hiking17.46 Miles   9 Hrs   1 Min   2.21 mph
6,164 ft AEG   1 Hour   7 Mns Break15 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
Intro
South Kaibab Trail to Bright Angel is the "easiest" way to do a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike in a single day. I say the "easiest" (with quotations) because this is still an extremely difficult hike that requires training in advance, good weather during the right part of the year, good physical conditioning, proper equipment, and preparation. The hike covers 17.5 miles and over a mile of accumulated elevation gain; it is breathtaking in more than one way. The logistics of this particular route are much simpler than other Rim to Rim Grand Canyon routes in that you don't need reservations in advance, shuttle vehicles, or a support team to meet you on the other side. It is relatively popular i.e. we weren't the only ones doing this route on the day we went (we made some friends at Phantom Ranch).

Logistics/Getting there
South Kaibab Trail is readily accessible via the shuttle busses or regular car (someone will likely have to drop you off as parking is limited). When we were there, they had blocked off the pull-out entirely (not sure why, it may have been Covid related), so we had to walk an extra 1/4 mile to the trailhead. Likewise, Bright Angel Trail (where you ascend) is also on the shuttle bus route, and you can easily get to Mather Campground in the park (where we stayed) or to the various parking areas if your lodgings are outside the park.

Permit
An advance reservation or permit for this hike is not (at the time of writing) required. The National Park entrance fee (paid at the gate on a per-vehicle basis) is required.

Navigation
Navigation is the one part of this hike that is easy. All the trails are clear, and there is signage at almost all of the intersections. There is also an alternate River Trail route that can be used if one of the suspension bridges is down for maintenance.

Trail Conditions
The trails conditions are typical for the Grand Canyon National Park. They are generally packed dirt with wood erosion control ledges which inevitably act as steps. It is usually a bit dusty but only noticeable if a big group or a mule train just went by. There are a few sections on the river trail area and bottom of Bright Angel where the trail is sandy and tiring due to your feet sinking in but these areas tended to be short. There are also sections below Indian Gardens where you will have to rock hop across a few springs, but these tended to be shallow and not very wide. Mule trains operate on both South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails so you will need to yield the right of way when you come across them. You will also need to watch your step and avoid stepping in the "mule dirt" and "mule mud" when you come across it.

Weather
This hike is best done in late April/early May in the spring or late September/early October in the Fall. Even then the weather can make your hike pleasant (if it is relatively cool) or significantly less so (if it is a hot day). An early start is absolutely critical as the temperature in the canyon goes up by ~2 F for every 1000' of elevation dropped so the general strategy is to get to the bottom well before noon and begin the ascent before it gets too hot. This way the temperature increase from the sun coming up is counteracted by the temperature drop from the increasing elevation gain of the ascent. We had a relatively late start time of ~7 am at the trailhead. The group we hiked with normally starts this hike at 6-6:30 and has started as early as 3 am (if the weather is going to be really hot). We had a relatively cool day and are pretty fast hikers so we didn't run into any temperature/weather-related issues.

Water
Water and water logistics is one of the primary reasons to choose this particular set of trails for a rim-to-rim hike. South Kaibab is a completely dry trail, but it is also one of the shortest routes to the bottom, which is why it is used for the descent. Technically there is a rainwater collection system at one of the outhouses, but that would need to be purified and is only useable if it has rained recently.

Conversely, Bright Angel Trail has reliable water at Indian Gardens and the Phantom Ranch area (the latter actually has bathrooms with running water). There are also spigots at the 3 mile and mile-and-a-half resthouses although these are less reliable and you have to check with the rangers the day of your hike to verify if they are operating if you plan to rely on them. The status of the latter water sources changes daily. The day before our hike we were told that the water was off but on the hike itself, we found that they were running. The Colorado river is, of course, a reliable water source though it has to be purified and often allowed to settle first if it is muddy.

The relative reliability of water sources on Bright Angel Trail is why it is chosen for the ascent. You do not need to carry excessively heavy quantities of water or cache water with this trail selection. With the right weather, adequate speed, and all the spigots running, it is possible to do the hike with only 2 liters of water carrying capacity. This is definitely not recommended though, we did it with 4 liters of capacity per person but deliberately did not fill everything completely to save weight once we found out that the rest houses had water.

As usual, the water supplied at the various spigots in the Grand Canyon Nation Park tastes like it has been sitting in a plastic tank in the sun for a week (which is to say awful, and may actually be occurring lol) but it is safe to drink without additional purification.

General Comments and Musings
The Grand Canyon is beautiful, no matter which path you take to get to the bottom. Of the trails I have hiked (Hermit, Bright Angel, and South Kaibab, so far) South Kaibab was my favorite route to descend. There are lots of places that offer superb views and in particular great views of the Colorado River as you descend. South Kaibab was also fun because it is less popular and crowded than Bright Angel, likely due to our early start time and the lack of water on the trail. Of the corridor trails it is definitely my new favorite.

The hike overall was superb, and I was very glad to have finally done it. Previously I had hiked to Indian Gardens and Plateau Point as day hikes with different groups that got turned back from a full rim to river and back in a day hike for various reasons. I also did a 3-day backpacking trip to the Colorado river down Hermit Trail and was eager to get redemption for the past unsuccessful attempts. This was the day, and it was excellent. I would do it all again in a heartbeat and look forward to exploring the Grand Canyon some more in the future.

Hike Video:
[ youtube video ]

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Garden Creek Light flow Light flow

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Pipe Creek Light flow Light flow
_____________________
Apr 25 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 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.
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Apr 11 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 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
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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
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 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
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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
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Apr 02 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 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
 
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Linked none no linked trail guides
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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
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 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
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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
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 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
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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!
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Mar 13 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 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
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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.
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Mar 12 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 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

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Feb 27 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 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
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Feb 21 2021
KingLeonidas
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 Guides 14
 Routes 46
 Photos 208
 Triplogs 122

32 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.
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average hiking speed 2.16 mph
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