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Barnhardt Canyon Day Hike
Mazatzal Mountains
April 15, 2017
by Tamar Gottfried
  GPS Map 

Twelve trailblazers met two more at the Barnhardt trailhead after an hour drive from Fountain Hills which included 4 miles on a pretty good dirt road. We set off by 7:45 with 60 degree weather and a trail almost all for ourselves.

The trail climbed pretty quickly and we gained elevation and beautiful views of the valley below. After a short while, we began walking though patches of lush green vegetation around every switchback corner.

We also heard running water in many spots, but had to glance over the edge of the trail to see the little waterfalls.

A butterfly joins us. [photo by Debbie]
The trail climbs and climbs. [photo by Tom]
trail trail
It doesn’t faze either Tom or Debbie. [photos by Tamar]
trail rocks
trail rocks
The trail leaves to go up a side canyon. [photos by Darrell]
Rocks and trees along the trail. [photo by Tamar]
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. [photo by Tamar]
This seems like a good spot for a break. [photo by Tom]

After 3 miles and 1.5 hours, we reached our destination, the Big Kahuna falls, set back from the trail and with pools of running water to rest and snack by.

Water cascades down the falls and into a pool. [photo by Tamar]
water water
It’s always good to see water in Arizona. [photos by Tamar]

A few braver souls began climbing the rocks behind the falls up to the ridge while the rest of us enjoyed the views and then started back on the trail. Those four ended up meeting the trail as it continued on, and took a hairpin trail, adding elevation and 2 miles of distance to their hikes.

What? We have to start down? [photo by Tom]
The trail is a well-chosen route. [photo by Tom]
Tom is definitely out in the sticks. [photo by Debbie]
The trail goes all the way up to the Mazatzal ridgeline. [photo by Debbie]
You’ve come a long way. [photo by Tamar]
The pastel colors of Barnhardt Canyon. [photo by Debbie]
Veins of quartz form a zigzag pattern. [photo by Darrell]
Veins of quartz form a zigzag pattern. [photo by Debbie]
Closeup of a zigzag quartz deposit. [photo by Darrell]

The majority of us got back to the cars and hung out reading old National Geographic magazines and discussing the current state of politics until the waterfall climbers joined us an hour later.

After a tiring drive back to Fountain Hills, a group of us checked out Munich Gyros, where we got great service, hot and tasty fries and hearty gyros. A satisfying end to a good day of hiking.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated April 15, 2017