Good hike in the McDowell Mountains this morning! Linked Gateway, Windgate, the Lookout, East End, and Desert Parks trails. Good trainer hike, beautiful, and and quiet coming back on Desert Parks. Fun!
Nice weather for the first hike of the winter, wasn’t sure how long I would feel like hiking so chose this due to loop options. For a weekday the parking lot was busy just not weekend mobbed. After turning on to Bell Pass Trail only encountered 3 couples coming down and one runner that passed actually on the last steep part before the saddle. Feeling pretty well after Bell Pass so decided to head up East End Trail , the top teasingly in view makes progress seem discouraging but taking a look back reveals what you gained. Started seeing some other hikers once heading toward Tom’s Thumb quite a few school aged children running around. On to the Lookout Trail only a half dozen others there, moved to a perch for a snack break. Once back on Tom’s Thumb Trail the steep switchbacks started on this well maintained trail. No water seen at the Mountain Spring but didn’t look for the spring box, before this I did go off trail about 100 yards in thick vegetation to look for it but realized later it was further down the trail Shortly after the junction of the Gateway Loop Trail spotted 3 deer on a ridge below one buck with 8 to 10 points. Pointed them out to a couple of hikers heading out who were appreciative. If I had stayed awhile may have gotten some better photos but by now I was ready to be done. Otherwise an uneventful finish to an enjoyable hike.After going up Tom’s Thumb Trail and down East End the other time I did this loop I prefer the loop in the direction I took today.
I was way overdue to do this one again. And it did not disappoint. Tons of wildflowers for pretty much the entire loop. There’s an especially nice showing of color on the east end trail. I highly recommend this one right about now.
Denny and Bruce invited me along on their end of year hike. It was chilly and breezy for most of the hike, but the beautiful blue sky more than made up for the chill. This hike has it all: fun scrambles, lots of up and down, tremendous geology and variety, beautiful views with a few nice stretches where you can actually take advantage of the views.
This is not an easy hike. In fact, it kicked me sideways. It was a struggle to finish, but the scenery and company more than made up for it. I had an absolutely wonderful time.
Bruce and Denny, thank you again for the invitation. Dave, John, Joe and Wally, great to see you all again. Happy New Year!
It was chilly at the start but the steep climb got our blood flowing. Once the route hiking was done the trail seemed easy. There are sections in the sun with no breeze that felt warm then around the bend it the shade with the wind it was cold again. There were goji berries everywhere. While not everyone is a fan of the berry train, I likem. In summary a tough hike with good people and good views to end 2018 and usher in 2019. Happy New Year!
Sat 7:31 am
We contemplated a new rule. When in doubt or lost... split up
Sat 8:02 am
The hog route doesn't dine on pequeño cacahuates, bring your grande huevos or go home!
Conversation goes downhill and the hike goes UP
Sat 10:14 am
East End grippy, not loose and rocky as sign stated.
Well... everything is relative after being high on the hog.
Wally tried pushing the lycium berries. About as tasty as a lithium 9 volt battery
Sat 12:19 pm
Tom's Thumb trail from Windgate up is a great trail. I'm not a huge McDowell's fan due to the drive but this is worthy.
Sat 12:29 pm
Mica in several areas. Trail goes over a huge discolored quartz vein too.
Sat 1:50 pm
Finished. Great to see everyone. Hog was the lure and enjoyed finally getting to tackle it.
Nice day so I hit up Pie & Echo too. After the tedious footing in the McDowells it was great to be home on solid footing. Busy. Jim & Scott heading down so I got to meet the world famous Gummo!
Sat 4:47 pm
24 hikers @ camelback summit.
Roughly the equivalence of a fifth lap. Picked up the saddle in 6:01, 4:00 is outta my league now. Held fair though the rails. Then slowed it down since I rely heavy on pre/post hike hydration.
Frank, Jamie and I went out to show Jamie Tom's Thumb. Nice short and easy morning. We ended up being bombarded by human people things at the Thumb so quickly moved on to the Lookout where we saw not a soul!
I recalled hiking part of Windgate trail once before. Frank voted we add on the extra 7 miles or whatnot.
So we did.
A lot of people ask me what a good grand canyon training hike is and after completing this loop I could easily suggest it. There is just enough downhill to simulate hiking a few miles down the main corridor trails and just enough plane noise to simulate hiking Hermit trail or the Tonto.
Once we left Lookout and headed down toward windgate I was instantly reminded of cutting down the switchbacks from clear Creek trail toward phantom. All that desert life and cool air and gorgeous rock.
For me, today, this hike was perfect. Not hard at all, not too much mileage and the elevation changes were enough to get me sweating and my heart pumping. I'd do it again for sure.
I definitely don't regret spending the winter back in the Valley.
Did not seen any fellow HAZzers either, though a guy did comment on the HAZ bumper sticker on my car.
Decided to try a hike outside the Goldfields and Superstitions as the nice weather departs. Had hiked to Tom’s thumb and the lookout from the Tom’s Thumb trailhead and its definitely more difficult from this trailhead. The lot was packed except about a 1/2 dozen spots when I arrived at 9am.Trail was crowded until the junction of Windgate Pass trail and Tom’s thumb. The springs was going like a firehose, quite surprising considering the lack of rain . On arriving to the useful digit it was apparent spring break is in progress,I don’t think the falcons are getting much rest. Took 2:20 to get to the thumb took a long snack break there.Skipped the lookout since I had been there ,on beginning the east end trail the crowd disappeared and saw no one else until near inspiration point.The east end trail was a fall waiting to happen and I went quite slowly down this ,but did enjoy the views toward Fountain Hills,Weavers Needle and the Superstitions.The last of the hike was tedious as I developed a back spasm near inspiration point that caused me to list to the right,even carrying the pack on the left shoulder only a short ways did not help. Kept feeling like I might drift off the right side of the trail.Overall enjoyable hike in the mild temps until the finish on Gateway loop.as I was having trouble walking by the end.
haven't done this combo in two and a half years
it's a good one
needed double digits with some aeg as i'll probably be working the next two sundays
'tis the season
got going around nine
gateway loop bell pass east end the lookout tom's thumb windgate gateway
counterclockwise so i could go up east end
temps were fine, but the wind added some chill at the passes and high points
couldn't stay at the lookout
wasn't very crowded once off gateway loop
had fun on an old favorite
forgot to mention that i came up on @darthstiller and his family hiking gateway loop
how could i tell? no one else has pants like that
nice to meet you, chris!
Tried to tempt Joe into doing Weavers Needle with me today but he wasn't a taker. Working on some software updates or some other lame excuse like that. So I resorted to this oldie but goodie! Weather was perfect and the trails were in excellent shape. I see they put up some new signs since my last visit.
Needed to stay in town. This is my go to area for in town, time crunched hikes.
Temps were nice to begin and a bit warm at the end for this cowboy.
Breezes kept it decent most of the day.
All the beautiful people were out today.
Saw a young couple with 2 toddlers in baby backpacks in 100 degree temps, 3 miles from the TH going up as I was going down.
Not sure how smart that was. But didn't see them on the news last night.
The spring was just about dry, I didn't see any water but still plenty of visitors there looking for water.
Made really good time all the way to Windgate pass, just a little over 2 hours. Had an annoying knot in the muscle I strained a few years back playing kickball that caused me to pull up the rest of the way.
Started off around 5:45. I think this might be my go to summer distance hike as the shade afforded by the mountain is invaluable during the climb. The spring was just puddling today; only sound coming from it was from all the wildlife hunkered over it.
That little mountain spring was going. I have only been out here once before, a few months back, but I don't recall seeing it before. Ran into John on the way down and we chatted a bit about our upcoming Kilimanjaro trip; it is getting close. I made the same mistake again when hopping onto East End. I turned at the signed intersection and followed the trail a short ways but then quickly realized the trail was about a 100 feet to my right. Ah well.
Saw lots of folks when I started around 8:40AM including Sam a couple miles in. Saw very few on the second half of the loop and almost nobody when I finished up around 12:30PM. Maybe because it was 101 degrees out at that time?
Had to take care of some business this morning up at the Scottsdale JJ's. Afterwards it seemed like a good day to do something in the McDowell's. I was originally just going to go to Tom's Thumb as an out and back but decided to make the loop plus hit the lookout.
Apparently the Falcons are nesting right now so signs are up to be quiet around the base of the Thumb and no access to the North side.
Trail maintenance crews were out working on the various trails and they are doing a fine job I might add.
Had to do a little maintenance on the Scottsdale Restaurant this morning. Afterwards I took advantage of this amazing weather and did the Tom's Thumb Loop. Still lots of wild flowers and the brittle bush is in full bloom.
Looks like they are doing some trail maintenance out there on the East End Trail.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.