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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Video: Barnhardt Canyon waterfalls

Mazatzal Wilderness
The waterfalls along Barnhardt Trail #43 were running wild today. I'll be posting a trip report and photos from today's hike later, but, here's a video of the waterworks in the big grotto.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New & improved Arizona Trail maps now available.

JOIN THE ARIZONA TRAIL ASSOCIATION to gain access to these high-value trekking tools.

The Arizona Trail Association has announced a new series of online maps and elevation charts for each of the 43 passages along the Arizona Trail. The former maps have been replaced by these custom topographic Passage Maps with the Arizona Trail clearly defined, nearby trailheads, access roads, and more. They are available for viewing, downloading and printing under the Passages page.
Additionally, elevation charts for each passage have been reworked and are available to members only on the same Passages page. After you login as a member, just click the “YES” icon under Passage Profile. They are an excellent resource when planning your next Arizona Trail adventure.

The new maps and elevation charts are just a few of the useful tools available in the new Trail Resources page of the Arizona Trail website. Water sources, loop hikes, a contact list of trail stewards, and much more are available for your use. And if you haven’t used the Interactive Trail Map and explored all its features, that should be at the top of your list of next (virtual) places to visit.
Arizona Trail Association:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Now blooming: Phoenix Sonoran Preserve

Phoenix Sonoran Preserve
Summit of Union Peak

Some friends just sent me photos of their hike yesterday in this northwest Valley preserve, , and WOW.  Now is the time to go see the wild poppies covering the slopes around Union Peak and Dixie Mountain!

Mexican Gold Poppy
Blackfoot daisy
chuparosa a.k.a. hummingbird plant

LENGTH: many trails, refer to trailhead sign for options RATING: easy-moderate ELEVATION:  1,600' – 2,200' DOGS: dogs must be on leash and handlers must pack out poo
FACILITIES: no restroom or water. plenty of parking, trail map sign, and there’s a special lot for horse trailers
HOURS: 6 a.m to 7 p.m.  GETTING THERE: 
Desert Vista Trailhead:
From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to Jomax exit.  Go 0.2 mile on Jomax to Norterra Parkway, turn left (north) and continue 1.2 miles to North Valley Parkway.  Turn right (south) and go 0.2 miles to Copperhead Trail.  Turn left and go just a few yards  to Melvern Trail.  Turn left on Melvern and go 0.1 mile  to Desert Vista Trail on the right .  Follow Desert Vista through a gate that leads to the trailhead..

INFO: City of Phoenix, Phoenix Sonoran Preserve

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Superstition Mountains wildflower hike

Tonto National Forest
Brittlebush: March 9, 2013

Blessed with a beveled topography leaning into sun-drenched exposure, the open rangeland of the western Superstition Wilderness is choice property for spring wildflowers. In addition to its fortuitous floral fortitude, the Crosscut Trail is very easy to get to, making it one of the most popular hikes for viewing annual blooms. A backdrop of abrupt volcanic escarpments that have been photographed and filmed to death (think, Jerry Maguire) add to the allure of this Apache Junction tourist magnet. 
Wild hyacinth & cholla cactus
Crosscut trail, which wanders 4.5 miles from First Water Road to Broadway in Mesa, also connects with a bevy of routes just outside the boundary of Lost Dutchman State Park.  The Treasure Loop is a favorite because it gets nice and high, brushing the base of geologic landmarks like the "Green Rock" and the "Praying Hands".  For flower lovers, the 500 feet of elevation gain and entry into damp drainage gullies, produces a variety of moisture-loving plants (Dainty Desert Hideseed) as well as those that thrive in more open and arid micro climates (Mexican Gold Poppies).   March and April are the best months for to see the blossoms before impending heat takes them out for another year. 
view from the trail
Follow Crosscut Trail (aka Jacob's Trail #58 and Jacob's Crosscut) 1 mile to the junction with Treasure Loop #56 and follow the signs.

LENGTH:  3.5 miles
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 2580'- 2060'
From Phoenix, travel east on US60 to exit 196 (Idaho Rd/AZ88).  Go left at the off ramp and follow AZ88 7 miles to First Water Road (FR78) near milepost 201 on the right. Go 1 mile on FR78 to the signed Crosscut trailhead on the right. There is NO fee to park here.
Alternate access:  For access with restrooms, maps and picnic tables enter via Lost Dutchman State Park and use the maps posted at the trailheads. The park charges a $7 daily fee per vehicle.
INFO: Tonto National Forest, Mesa Ranger District, 480-610-3300
MAPS: Lost Dutchman State Park