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Sunday, December 1, 2013


McDowell Sonoran Preserve

With its boozy moniker and fresh-cut course, this trail, which departs from  Fraesfield Mountain trailhead, is an intoxicating trek.  Meandering through a seemingly endless expanse of yucca-studded “horse country” the well signed network of trails enables carefree hiking for experts and greenhorns alike. Whiskey Bottle begins with a brief climb along the east flank of Fraesfield Mountain.  Below, a yawning vegetation-rich wash where rain lingers in mud-fringed pools is a favorite “pub” for thirsty bands of local deer, javelinas and coyotes.  The trail’s high point provides a platform to wrangle your bearing by checking out views of surrounding mountains---Four Peaks to the east, white “golf ball” topped Humboldt Mountain to the north and to the distant southeast, the iconic spire of Weaver’s Needle in the Superstition Wilderness cuts a muted lavender silhouette.  The trail scoots along the preserve’s southern boundary passing an upscale golf course near the Dixileta Trail junction.  Although the route’s name suggests otherwise, the only relic of trailside imbibing is a rusted can of Modelo lodged in the roots of a mesquite tree.  However, members of the golf community might get a Manhattan at the club after 18 holes.

Jiding Javelina

LENGTH: 5.8 miles roundtrip
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION:  2540’ – 2764’

GETTING THERE: Fraesfield Mountain Trailhead,
From Loop 101 in Scottsdale take the Princess/Pima exit 36 and go 6.5 miles north on Pima to Dynamite Blvd./Rio Verde Dr.  Turn right and go 5.6 miles to the trailhead on the left. No facilities or water. Trailhead is open daily from sunrise to sunset.


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