Archive for January, 2009

The Palo Verde Trail #512

Friday, January 30th, 2009

[Part of a series of beyond the page info of the hkes covered in Day and Overnight Hikes in the Tonto National Forest.]

The Palo Verde Trail wanders along the shore of Bartlett Lake (though it is actually a reservoir), connecting Rattlesnake Cove with SB Cove. Both coves are fee-use recreation sites. Forest Service information here. Info on Salt River Project in general and Bartlett Dam in particular here.

This easy hike actually took two seperate attempts, where I learned two different lessons about guidebook hiking.

In my first attempt, in early November, I tried to tack this onto a family canoing expedition. But, because of a shortage of able-bodied adults to handle the canoes, I couldn’t break away to hike until I had less than two hours of daylight remaining. A got about a third of the way down the trail, before I had to retreat, following the track by flashlight.

The hike needs to be the primary focus of the trip, otherwise, you’re just costing yourself time and fun.

The second attempt, December 12th 2007, I hiked under rainy conditions, which made it hard to take notes on paper. Alas, I had lost faith in my DVR on a previous adventure, and so, at the time, prided myself that I could get by with the methods of yore.

You bring the notebook to back up the DVR. You bring the DVR to back up the notebook.

This is also why it is best to write a draft of the hike description ASAP following the hike. The DVR and the notebook both back up your brain, but as long as the brain works, you can still describe the hike.

I dubbed the giant saguaro “The Ettin”. That did not come from any published source.

An ettin is, of course, a two-headed giant from British folklore.

I also concluded that a real raincoat is so far superior to any garbage-bag “backpacking poncho” that is is – to me – absolutely worth the extra weight, especially when the skies are grey to begin with.

One last note, Palo Verde is capitalized here because it is a place name. After a few rounds with the copy editor, we concluded the the name of the tree, palo verde (Spanish for “green stick”) does not need capitalization any more than pine or oak.

Butcher Jones Trail #463

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Going around the shores of Saguaro Lake.

Tonto NF Services description here.

Flickr set here.

Round Trip 5.25 miles

Date hiked: 5 January 2008

Companions: Ben and Julie

Notes: The overcast day did not lend itself to photography. We were sprinkled on, but te weater was otherwise mild.

This was Julie’s only hike for the guide (she was 8). Our actual hike time was just over 4 hours.

This is the shortest and probably the easiset hike in the guide.

Ben and Julie going down into Burrow Cove

My Buddies at Hike Arizona

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

As valuable as this blog might become as a hiking resource, if you need to know about a trail or hike or other extreme pedestrian scheme in the wilds of Arizona, there is no better resource than HikeArizona.com.

You need to set up a (free) account, but once inside you’ll find a searchable database of hike descriptions written by members who have actually done the hikes, along with photosand often maps and GPS routes. These descriptions are better quality than one normally expects from volunteer sites, and often more accurate than professionally produced sources (my own work being the exception – though not by much…)

They also feature a chat board where you can organize hikes, and chat, kvetch, remimnisce, gossip and whine about a multitude of subjects.

Four of the hikes* in the Tonto guide were organized through HikeAZ, and most of them were informed to some extent through material on that site. In particular, I used the site to help identify some plants, which is not (yet) a strength of mine. My book would have been three times harder without their help, and in return, I plug them at every opportunity.

So hit `em up soon, because this is the time to get out in the lower deserts. More on that (much more) next week.

* Hell’s Gate, Four Peaks, Mazazatl Divide and the East Superstitions Superloop.

Ben’s Hiking essentials

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
Today's Guest Blogger

Today

My son, Ben, has prepared a list of hiking essentials (reprinted here with his permission).

LET US BEGIN WITH THE TEN ESSENTIALS. (LISTED BELOW)
1.FIRST AID KIT
2.JACKET
3.LUNCH
4.RAIN PONCHO
5.FLASHLIGHT
6.MAP OR G.P.S. (GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM)
FIRST AID ESSENTIALS
7.BANDAIDS
8.TWEEZERS
9.PAIN PADS
10.SPIRIT
IF YOU HAVE THESE YOU ARE PREPARED.

FIRST AND FOREMOST BE CAREFUL WHO YOU BRING! THE LAST THING YOU WANT IS A RUINED TRIP BECAUSE OF SOMEONE YOU BRING! SO YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER EXCLUDING MEAN OLD UNCLE JOE WHO HATES SUNSHINE AND BUGS.

Now, for some adult guidance in correlation with the above.
By “pain pads” he means molefoam padding, which is how we got him and his bruised foot out of Cave Creek.
Obviously, a lot of those items could be assumed to be in a good first aid kit.

The line about mean old Uncle Joe came more-or-less from the Tonto guidebook camping tips. That, in turn, was adapted from a template based on Kim Lipker’s Day and Overnight Hikes in the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Add water to your list. If you’re out in the desert – add more water than you think necessary.
I have humped up hills with more water than I really needed, and I have run out of water with miles left to go and the afternoon only getting hotter. There is no question in my mind which I prefer.

These are the adult 10 essentials:
1) water
2) food
3) first aid kit ( band-aids
4) flashlight
5) jacket/rain poncho (or at least one extra layer)
6) knife or multi-tool
7) map/compass and/or GPS
8) bandana
9) sunscreen (I always forget this)

10) Spirit!

(Or, alternately, a signal device such as a mirror or a whistle).

Tonto Hiking Guide Numbers

Monday, January 5th, 2009

This is the official web page for

Day and Overnight Hikes in the Tonto National Forest

from Menasha Ridge Press, and written by me.

I update every Monday.

The cover for my book.

The cover for my book.

The Numbers:

Number of Hikes in Book: 34

Total numbers of trails covered: 54

Some hikes were loops composed of multiple trails.

Total miles covered in guidebook: 327

Number of separate trips: 44

Tires flattened: 3

Good ($100+) hiking boots destroyed: 2

Total number of hiking companions: 9

Most constant companion: My son Ben (now 11) – 11 hikes

Links:

The Tonto National Forest
	The Forest Service website. For trail info start here.

HikeAZ.com
	These site, and the folks assosciated with it were extremely helpful in compiling this guide.
If you're hiking anywhere in Arizona, check it out on this site first.