Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.
At 0612, it was 45 degrees, no breeze. Frickin’ cold 45, it was. I could see fresh snow on the Bradshaw Mountains. I did the hike again as I had to turn back last time due to using too much time wandering seriously off track. This time I was ably assisted by the Garmin 60 CSx I purchased with Turf Paradise winnings from the afternoon after the last trip out here. It all comes together.
I couldn’t take a whole lot of pictures due to my dumb self forgetting to recharge the camera battery, but I did get a few of dawn over Lake Plesant.
I proceeded a couple hundred yards to the first wash crossing, then turned into the wash: I wanted to find the petroglyphs. I was taking my time, but I did not spot any likely stone walls. I did find an old piece of sheet metal in the middle of the wash. Just about a mile into the hike, on a boulder in the middle of the wash, there they were: Petroglyphs. Sweet!
I continued up the wash a bit, then rejoined the trail just before the fence. The meadows of short grass were brown and dying, but there was like a wheat grass (for want of a better) term that really grew alot since two weeks ago. A bit better variety of flowers, but still not a lot. (Two weeks ago there were only a few strawberry hedgehogs.)
Next time the trail crossed the wash was where the cows were last time, and it was in working my way around them that I got off track. A word about the scat: Some of the burros, or maybe it was cows, must have got some really nasty chili. No lie. Not firm lumps, or even patties, but splatter. Gross. In fact, the whole trail is thoroughly poo strewn.
I crossed over, heading out the way I previously returned. An hour into the hike, I crossed the jeep trail, which had been my bail out last time, and where I had previously seen two guys target shooting with bow & arrow. Due to having good visual memory, I could have done all this without the GPS, but from here on it came in very handy, as the “trail” continued to regularly disappear all way ’round until it rejoined with Little Jim. I would not want to do the full Walkin’ Jim, or Big Jim, without a GPS. Route finding skills definitely required.
So, on one of my meanderings off trail, I was ducking under a tree, but did not see the longest, thickest, sharpest branch that was right at crouch level. What a doof. WHAM! Ow! Bleeping bleep bleep mother bleep. Caught me just above the rim of my hat, and good thing to. Probably saved me from wearing the Crimson Mask. Still got a large welt though.
I saw two herds of burros. First was about a half dozen, and as I saw them from a way off, thought they were cattle. Got a bit closer, losing sight, and heard the burro snort. I saw them maybe 25 yards away. I took off my pack to get my camera, during which they ran about 100 yards further, into a wash. I tried circling down on them, but whenever I got closer, they would snort. I finally decided discretion was the better part of valor, and continued on my way.
It was on the horseshoe shaped loop about a mile from the trailhead that I saw a large herd of burros in the wash, not too far from the petroglyph boulder.
I got back to the trailhead just after 10, and the buggy haulers were out in force. The area that was so peaceful at 6:00 a.m. was like Hwy. 51 at rush hour. Guess it is that time of the year when Phoenix gets away from it all by collectively shifting en masse 30 miles northwest to Lake Pleasant. Oh well, at least I did not get accosted by a friendly dog with a dip stick owner, like last time.
Total damage? Cactus scar, heel blister (wet feet due to walking through the post rain storm dewy grass early in the morning), cut toe (and that was after trimming my toe nails on Saturday) and head lump. In other words, a good day!
Distance: 7.20 mi.
AEG: 1,400 ft.
Time: 4h 00m