|I hiked a spastic looking figure-8 that included seven trails. If you want to follow my route, see the attached route. Or you could just wing it: With all the signage in Phoenix’s city parks, you have to try to get lost. (That said, the day before a rescue chopper was airlifting some doofus off North Mountain, across from my office window.) |
All the trails were in great shape!
Brittlebush predominated — as they have for the past month throughout Phoenix — but there were also some lupine along Hawk's Nest Trail.
The flowers along this short section of Dixie Mountain Loop included desert chicory, blue dick, lupine and brittlebush.
While Hawk’s Nest Trail and Dixie Mountain Loop existed when I first hiked the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve [ photoset ] , the next five trails were either under construction or in the planning stages.
The flowers along Valle Verde Trail included lupine, globe chamomile, blue dick, fiddleneck, owl clover, scorpionweed and lots of Mexican gold poppy.
Cactus Wren Trail is also rated moderate, but other than a few wash crossings was also flat. It should be rated easy. I continued to find Mexican gold poppy and scorpionweed, while the owl clover and lupine density increased. I took some really nice photos with multiple flower species mixed tightly together.
Cactus Wren Trail is where I had my first rattlesnake encounter of the spring: A small, maybe 30″, western diamondback with indistinct diamonds. A retired couple, completely unaware, were resting in the shade a few yards away. That’s the thing about rattlesnakes: They are all around you, all the time, you just never realize it because they don’t feel threatened enough to make you aware of their presence.
As elsewhere throughout the Sonoran Desert Preserve, there is very little shade on Great Horned Owl Trail. I tried to make myself small under a palo verde while I swapped out water bottles.
I was tired enough I wasn’t sure I wanted to even try Union Peak Trail, but I made it.
South past Deer Valley Airport, I could clearly see Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, North Mountain and Shaw Butte. The only summit flowers were the sole desert globemallow of the day.
After an extended break on Union Peak, including a hiking beer — Hofbräu Dunkel — I headed back down to the saddle, then west on Great Horned Owl Trail, where I found large, dense patches of Mexican gold poppy.
On Desert Tortoise Trail, I was in no mood to take pictures or even much notice what kinds of flowers it had, other than the ubiquitous brittlebush. (Besides the climb up Union Peak, I was under-watered for higher than expected temperatures.)
Hike Video: [ youtube video ]