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

butterfly
A butterfly joins us. [photo by Debbie]
trail
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
Rocks and trees along the trail. [photo by Tamar]
woods
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. [photo by Tamar]
break
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.

falls
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.

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