Day 344 ~ Scenic Trail ~ Hike for the Homeless Fountain Hills, AZ

March 4th, 2017 ~ Day 344

The Happy Hikers along with Trail Mix, are out here today at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park for St. Joseph the Worker Hike for the Homeless. An amazing event to support a wonderful organization!

I found out about this event when I was volunteering for the Phoenix Summit Challenge as I sat on the side of the trail waiting to stamp a passport for one of the Summit Challenge hikers. Someone happened to walk by with an event t-shirt for SJW Hike for the Homeless.

The words “Hike for the Homeless” stood out for me. What a great cause doing what I love! I had to do this. I had to bet part of an amazing event. I immediately looked up the information on my phone. Registration wasn’t open back in November, so I took a screen shot to remind me. Fast forward to January when I was going through my screen shots, and I was reminded of the event and I signed up right away.

Recommending this event to my fellow Happy Hikers, we created our group and 7 of us signed up. The a Happy Hikers raised over $2000 for an amazing cause and our group came in 8th place for the total amount of donations! I’m so grateful to have helped contribute to a wonderful organization. 

We we graced with the presence of Phil, @PhilTheGoatAZ, who was brought out today for the hike. How awesome is that? I’ve never seen a goat on a trail. There is a first time for everything!

The hike for this event began at 9am. It was a beautiful day for a hike! The sun was shining brightly. My energy was high! I felt great and I was ready to tackle this 4.5 mile hike.

We started out at the back of the group, in the back of over 300 people. I should have learned from last weekend, trying to pass groups of people like this is so difficult. I know everyone hikes at their own pace, I’m just a little bit faster than some here today. I ended up having to run past people off the side of the trail. I felt bad, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to handle a thirty plus minute mile. I was having fun and making it an adventure, determined to push myself as hard as I could.

The Scenic Trail is a beautiful trail in the McDowell Mountain Regional Park. I did a portion of this trail a few months while hiking the 100 miles in 100 days challenge. I didn’t finish the loop back then. I had turned around when I heard the coyotes. I was hiking alone in unexplored territory. I am grateful to have the opportunity to complete this trail today. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to finish something I started.

Soon we were heading up the Foothills. The line was long and people moved slower as we headed uphill. There was no room to pass, so I settled in for a relaxing uphill hike. Saving my energy for when I’d have the opportunity to pass again. Somewhere along the way I lost the rest of my group. 

Hiking slower allowed me the opportunity to take in the beauty that surrounded me. The amazing view were so spectacular! With stunning views like this, I can see why this is called the Scenic Trail.

More amazing views from the top of the Scenic Trail. So amazing!!!

A sea of cacti alongside the trail. It was at this point, I ran into the other two guys who joined the event from Trail Mix. I hiked the remaining mile or so of the event with them.

We headed downhill a short half mile and then it was a flat trail the last mile or so. An easy 4.5 miles or so it seemed. It only took me an hour and twenty three minutes to do the hike at eighteen and a half minutes per mile. I didn’t think I had that type of speed in me anymore. I felt so accomplished.

Over 370 people signed up for this event, with an additional 150 people at their satellite location (Thunderbird Mountain). All together, over $70,000 with 753 donations was raised for an amazing cause!

It was such a beautiful day for a hike, an amazing event and a absolutely perfect trail. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I can’t wait until next year when I can bring even more friends and raise more money for SJW.

Join me on my journey of hiking everyday for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook and for more photos follow me on Instagram!

Day 289 ~ Pemberton Trail to Tonto Trail Fountain Hills, AZ

January 8th, 2017 ~ Day 289

Our morning began by not taking the right turn. We were able to capture the beautiful glow of the sunrise. A beautiful scenic view to get the day started. 

Heading to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park with a few of my fellow Happy Hikers, our plan was to hike nine miles on the Pemberton and Tonto Trails. When asked if anyone was interested in doing this hike, I jumped at the opportunity, trying to get as many miles as I can on this 100 miles in 100 days challenge. 

From the moment we began this hike, the views were breathtaking. The last time I was here it was raining, today there was nothing but sunshine. A beautiful day for a hike!

Soon after we began, we found and old homestead just off the trail. The Pemberton (P-Bar) Ranch. We could see the cement from where a house once stood and off in the far corner stood the frame of and old windmill, laying on its side. A little piece of history. ❤

Also on the ranch there was a well. Reading up on it, the well was artesian water pushed up from the ground. I’m not sure if this little pond is part of the well, but it was nice to see water in the middle of this desert, with a mountain in the background. What a beautiful place to live. 

A beautiful, leafless tree, surrounded by green grass. With the blue skies and white clouds, a beautiful sight to see. Finding something so simple yet amazing is the reason why I love hiking. 

We hiked a good seven miles on the Pemberton Trail before turning onto the Tonto Trail. Just as we began the Tonto Trail, we had to walk through this rustic fence. So much history here, I love that I’m getting the opportunity to explore, to see all that I can see. 

The sun beginning to shine brighter as we continued on the Tonto Trail. It was starting to get a little warm out. My legs were getting sore, but I continued on without complaint. I was almost at my twenty miles for this weekend. 

Finally after 9.4 miles, we were done. A great group of ladies to join me on this hike. The McDowell Mountain Regional Park is another one of my favorite places, I really can’t wait till the day I have time to get out here and explore the entire park. One day!

Join me on my journey of hiking everyday for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook and for more photos follow me on Instagram!

Day 281 ~ Tortoise Trail to Pemberton Trail to Scenic Trail Fountain Hills, AZ

December 31st, 2016 ~ Day 281

From the moment I arrived to begin this hike, I was in awe. Driving through the park there was a vast expanse of desert with mountains surrounding me in all directions. The landscape damp from all the recent rains. An absolutely beautiful place to be!

I have never been to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park, nor had I ever realized it existed until I looked up some information on the 100 miles in 100 days challenge. I knew there were ten Maricopa County Parks and I want to explore each one for this challenge, even if only in a few short miles. So for today I headed to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park, driving an hour from my house to the trailhead to explore new territory.

I parked at the Visitor Center on the main road a couple miles from the park entrance. My intent was to do the Scenic Trail Loop. I had no idea where I was going so when I stopped at the visitor center, I found out I could get to the Scenic Trail from Tortoise Trail, which happened to begin from the visitor center. So I grabbed my bag and headed out on the sandy trail through the desert just as the rain began.

I hiked the Tortoise Trail for a half mile or so through intermittent sprinkles. The scenery surrounding me was spectacular. The creosote bushes were so tall. There were patches of grass all throughout the desert. Different plants that I have never seen. I even saw a jackrabbit along the trail.

I soon turned onto the Pemberton Trail and cut over through a parking lot to get onto the Scenic Trail, my intended hike. As soon as I got on the trail I saw this fence and took a picture. This has to be one of my favorite pictures. I just love all the colors displayed.

Hiking along the Scentic Trail there was so many colors to see. The rain had stopped but the sky stayed overcast. I continued to see patches of grass. I have never realized in the nine years I’ve been in Arizona, how green the grass can be in December. It’s the last day of the year and we have grass growing! Amazing!

The trail was made of small sandy pebbles, a well maintained trail, and with the rain it made it much easier to hike through rather than the mud. I came across a few puddles from the rain and had to dodge them. Beautiful in their own right, especially when there isn’t much water to see here. The sun was beginning to peak out through some of the clouds too. 

I continued on and as I took a photo of a drop of rain on a branch, I heard them, coyotes howling. Frozen in fear, I listened, the sound coming from the direction I was headed. I stayed there for a moment deciding what to do, until I decided to turn around and head back to the trailhead. I have heard coyotes won’t bother you, but being alone in the middle of the desert isn’t where I’d like to find out. 

I made it back to the trailhead in one piece as the sun started peaking out even more. I’m grateful for the three and a half miles I was able to complete. Today was just the beginning of what I plan to explore in this park. I can now say that this is one of my favorite places to hike!

Join me on my journey of hiking everyday for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook and for more photos follow me on Instagram!