|MT - Guadalupe to Trilby, AZ|| |
MT - Guadalupe to Trilby, AZ
|Backpack||84.43 Miles||4 Days |
|4,741 ft AEG||25 LBS Pack|
Day 1, 20.1 miles, 2618 AEG
My wife dropped me off at the I17/Happy Valley Park & Ride where I took the I17 RAPID bus downtown, then hopped on the light rail east to Tempe, then got on another bus (62 South) to S Hardy Dr & W Guadalupe Rd where I exited the bus and started my hike. The transit worked really well except where I messed up in Tempe and missed the 62S bus and had to wait a 1/2 hour for the next. From there, it was a short walk west to the canal where I met up with the Maricopa Trail. I noticed the first MT sign approaching the I10 overpass. The MT continues to the Pima Canyon Trailhead, South Mountain. The trailhead is currently closed for construction but should be reopening soon. It was easy enough to skirt around the construction, there just wasn't access to the parking, restrooms, and water.
Most of this day was hiking the National Trail across South Mountain. My plan was to camp right around where I would exit the park but by the time I reached Telegraph Pass, I knew I would need more water before camping. I had about half a liter when I left the park. I turned south and walked to a house hoping to get water but no one answered so I continued along the MT to 51st Ave where I turned south and stopped at another house where I was allowed to get water.
After getting water, I went back and continued along the MT for maybe half a mile where I stopped to camp. I wanted to get far enough away from the busy road where it wouldn't be as loud during the night. After setting things up, I was just about ready to start dinner when a tribal policeman saw me and stopped. Evidently I was on Gila River tribal land and wasn't allowed to camp there, so I moved my camp about 400' to the other side of the road. The road is the reservation boundary: west side is Gila River Indian Reservation land.
Day 2, 21.6 miles, 875 AEG
There was a lot of traffic noise all night and construction going on north of me so I didn't have the greatest sleep and had trouble getting going in the morning. It was a bit past eight when I continued walking NW down the MT which is the power line road here.
The MT continues down the power line road most all the way to Tres Rios. The east part of Tres Rios is abandoned and parched now. It used to be a heritage site and was a really nice area to walk around but now it is wasteland. Interestingly enough, there is a pair of bald eagles nesting in a dead tree here. The Tribal Policeman told me about the eagles and said to just be quiet as I walked past. The nest was easy to spot and I watched one of the eagles flying around.
West of 91st Ave, there's an MT sign pointing west next to a City of Phoenix sign saying No Trespassing. I decided to trespass as the two signs were contradicting eachother and, well, I'm walking the MT. The "closed area" probably extends to 97th Ave. This whole stretch is along a two lane wide dirt road that was actively being used, though it is gated at least from 91st.
From there the MT continues along Tres Rios to PIR. Most of it is tiered wetlands to the north of the trail (dirt road). Along this stretch two policeman cruised up and talked to me. They patrol the area for people illegally shooting, fishing without a license, and for not having a Tres Rios access permit. At the time, I did not know a permit was needed but it is free, is good for a month after issue, and is available at https://www.phoenix.gov/waterservices/t ... ontactustr.
Once past the wetlands portion of Tres Rios, the MT is a little more difficult to follow but manageable. I was nearing PIR and was getting low on water too, so I stopped to get a couple liters of water at a pond. Tres Rios is wetlands created from City of Phoenix Waste Water Treatment Facility. All the tiers of the wetlands help to filter and clean the water so I wanted to wait as long as possible before getting any water, if at all. Unfortunately I had to get water. The water in the pond was a bit stagnant so it wasn't the best tasting. Fortunately a short distance later, I crossed the Gila River where the water was flowing, so I dumped out what I had got and replaced it.
From Tres Rios, the MT continues past PIR along Indian Springs Rd. There was a lot of construction going on at PIR. The MT then turns south on the east entrance road into Estrella Mountain Regional Park. From there, it first follows the Desert Rose trail and is easy to follow the MT signs to the park's Nature Center.
When I reached the Nature Center, it was after five so nobody was around to ask about camping. I decided to camp at the large ramadas that were nearby with both water and a restroom and power outlets at the tables. About 3 AM, I was awoken by people talking. After a bit I noticed a police car arriving. Awhile later a deisel truck arrived. I believe it was a tow truck but didn't look to see. Finally after 4, the truck left and the police cars started to leave. I thought, good, I'll be able to sleep now, when the police parked their vehicle pointing right at me. Wonderful. I got up and talked to the police, they took my ID and I imagine checked for any outstanding warrants and whatever else they check. We talked for a bit and they left me since they decided I wasn't a bum and wouldn't freeze to death. It turns out a man was threatening suicide and once that was taken care of, they needed the ramada number to place their location on the police report and that is why they happened to see me.
So finally I thought I could get some sleep but then the coyotes lit up. They were yelping and barking and howling like crazy. There must have been well over a dozen of them and they were very close. The kept the racket up off and on for the next hour or so. Ugh.
Day 3, 23.8 miles, 651 AEG
The MT was very well signed on the Estrella Park trails, but once I passed the Nature Center, I wasn't spotting any and wasn't sure exactly where to go. From what I can tell now, there is no MT from the Nature Center to the Beaver TH, which I missed. From the Nature Center I went east on Casey Abbot Dr until I reached an old bikepath heading to the left (west) and took it until it ended, then followed Vineyard to Estrella Pkwy. While along the path, I saw one of those noisy coyotes. It turns out if I went a short distance farther on Casey Abbot Dr, I could then have turned north and crossed Vineyard at Bullard (there may be a fence so I'm not even sure that would work), then the Beaver TH would have been just to the east. As I was entering the bridge on Estrella Pkwy, I saw where the MT came up to where I was, along with an MT sign.
The MT continues north on Estrella Pkwy for about 1.8 miles. When it reaches MC85, I think I was supposed to cross to the east side of Estrella Pkwy, but missed that. When I reached Bullard Ave, I saw an MT sign pointing to the east side. I continued north but think I should have turned west onto Bullard. Instead, I turned west onto Wood Blvd, then crossed a fallow field to where I was able to pick up the MT where it headed north to Yuma Rd.
Here the MT follows Yuma Rd west for 5.7 miles, then turns north on Jackrabbit. The road is busy for a ways and it is noisy and a true urban experience. On the west end, it gets rural as you pass by cotton fields. There's about a 1.5 mile span of "no trail" as you cross under I10 on Jackrabbit then turn west on McDowell. McDowell is closed as you near Bulldozer Wash, which is where the MT is supposed to pick back up. I continued west into Verrado where I stopped at Culver's for a burger and fries and a cold drink. After my break I returned to Bulldozer Wash and tried to pick up the MT. I was hoping to see some signs but I didn't. I walked north up the dirt that started at the power poles, then crossed over to the Verrado paths west of the wash when I reached some fencing. I think I should have crossed over earlier around where the power poles turned to the substation.
I followed the Verrado foot paths up to Indian School Rd where I turned east back to Jackrabbit. At Jackrabbit, I followed some paths north where I started seeing MT signs again. Yeah!
I thought I saw a QT on Jackrabbit on Google maps but I was mistaken so when I reached the last houses before getting to the desert, I knocked on doors until someone answered and let me get some water. Actually, I only knocked on two doors. The first no one was home, and I picked the second because there was three cars in front of it.
So it was nice to get off the roads and onto some trail again. Unfortunately it took me almost all day for that to happen. As the day ended and it grew dark, I found all but one of a "Maricopa Trail" series of geocaches, saving the last for tomorrow.
Unless you're hell bent on walking all of the MT, I suggest either cycling this day's section or just skipping it altogether.
Day 4, 18.9 miles, 576 AEG
I slept pretty good especially since I was tired from lack of sleep the night before and despite some all night partiers a few hundred yards away. I was delaying getting up but then I looked to the east and could see the sunrise was going to be exceptional so up I rose. If you've never seen a sunrise from the White Tanks, I encourage you to do so. The valley stretches out uninterrupted to the east for miles and when the conditions are right, the sunrises are as good as they get. This morning's was truly spectacular.
I had a couple miles before I entered White Tanks Mountain Regional Park. I took a quick side trip to the Nature Center where I wanted to see where the last water was before leaving the park. There was a volunteer I asked while pointing to a spot on the map. She replied that there's no water in the park. I guess she's not familiar with the park as there is lots picnic areas and camping with water in it. So she asked someone in a room behind here and there was water at the place on the map I asked about, maybe two miles farther. The area was a nice picnic area with restrooms and ramadas and a playground. I stopped and got water and had some food before continuing.
I've been on all the MT from where I exited the park to where I stopped for the day previously, either walking or cycling. The trail is very flat except for where it crosses some washes. Most of it is good tread though the dust was very thick in places since it's been so long since rain. The area is not that spectacular though there are some good views of the White Tanks, Estrellas, and the mountains to the north, such as the Heiroglyphics.
I finished up at the Trilby Trailhead. Basically the trail crosses Grand Ave at 163rd ave, then turns right past the train tracks and follows the road a short distance to the trailhead. Not long after I reached Trilby, my wife showed up and shuttled me back home.