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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rocks, ruins and excellent views.

McDowell Sonoran Preserve
The Ampitheater

Strewn with relics of an early 20th-century ranching operation, the flat, sandy acreage of North Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve is besieged by an arc of rough-edged peaks. The weathered rock mounds rise abruptly as skyscrapers in molded cones and awkward heaps of mixed stone scattered like wayward gendarmes on a spent battlefield.  Noteworthy among these peaks is Cholla Mountain.  A brand new trail with two scenic viewpoints circles the north-south-running ridge. At the south end is a little place called The   
Cathedral Rock
Amphitheater--a bend of beveled granite showcasing a feature presentation of Verde River Valley views.To the northeast, grottos within the impossible-to-miss stony bastion of Cathedral Rock frame saguaro-studded views of Sonoran Desert bluffs and basins.
Cathedral Rock

Maps at the trailhead detail numerous ways to hike around Cholla Mountain.  Here's what we did:
Hike north on Brown’s Ranch Road to the Corral Trail junction. Go right and hike to Dry Gulch Trail. Follow Dry Gulch to Cholla Mtn Loop Trail. Hike the loop and retrace your steps back to the parking lot. 
LENGTH: 7.7-mile loop
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 2710' - 2855'
FACILITIES: water, restrooms, bike racks, horse trailer parking, maps

Brown's Ranch Trailhead, 30301 N. Alma School Pkwy. Scottsdale 85262
From Loop 101 in Scottsdale, take the Pima/Princess exit 36, travel 6.5 miles north on Pima to Dynamite Road.  Turn right and continue 2.7 miles to Alma School, turn left and drive 1 mile to the trailhead.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve MAP:
McDowell Sonoran Conservancy

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Adopt a shelter dog hike

Saturday, November 3, 2013 

Hikers, I'll be leading this public event featuring adoptable shelter dogs from Maricopa County Animal Care & Control on an easy, barrier-free trail in Usery Mountain Regional Park. Owned, leashed dogs that are at least 6 months old and current on their vaccinations are welcome to join the trek. Don't have a dog? No problem. Here's your opportunity to "test drive" potential canine hiking partners to see how they behave on leash and get along with other dogs while learning about trail ettiquite and safety. Bring water, sun protection, sturdy footware and an open heart for a possible new best friend. 
WHERE: Usery Mountain Park, Mesa. 
WHEN: FIRST SATURDAY THE MONTH, NOV- APRIL Meet 9 a.m. sharp at the Merkle trailhead. $6 per vehicle park entry fee.