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Rio Salado Habitat Day Hike
October 28, 2017
by Tamar Gottfried
Trailblazers at the 7th Street Trailhead
Jim, John, Dana, Dave, Biljana, Lance Deidre, Terry, Barb, Tom, Judy (not pictured: Joe, Tamar).

Thirteen Trailblazers met at the 7th Street Trailhead and were pleased to find adequate, well-lit parking and a nice restroom facility there. After introductions and a photo, we started on our way on the South Trail going eastbound and easily jumped down to the dirt terrace path from the paved one.

Trailblazers on the march. [photo by John]
This is the place. [photo by John]
Can it be Phoenix? [photo by John]
Yes, folks, there’s water here.
Hmmm, somebody put in these towers.
This seems to be the trail.

As we walked alongside the riverbed, the trail wandered from dirt to pavement and back. I was under the impression that the official trail went to 28th Street, but as we passed 24th Street, it was apparent that the only road crossing in the area was the I-10, not really appropriate for pedestrians.

We saw a truck down in the riverbed and what looked to be a concrete bridge, so we proceeded down that way. There was a fisherman down there. The river had water in it and there was no guaranteed dry crossing to the other side. I made the executive decision to not risk an unplanned water crossing, so we backtracked to 24th Street, took a nice protected pedestrian lane on the road and took another path down to the North Trail.

Reflections on the water.
Lots of greenery. [photo by John]
Quack. [photo by Barb]
Mural delights us. [photo by Barb]
Arizona. [photo by John]
Trailblazers pause in the shade of an overpass. [photo by Barb]

The trail again varied dirt and pavement. Sometimes it was a little challenging to find the dirt path. At one point, we scrambled down the the river bed through some thicker brush and crossed a stream on a slimy concrete bridge. We had to navigate up a dirt slope to rejoin what we thought was the trail. It was a pretty oasis there, fortunately.

We continued on our way and noted that the river became considerably more verdant, with a nice riparian zone at Central Avenue. We had to look for a passage to the right of a bridge there to cross down to the dirt path. There were some man-made pools and water features there as well as some nice murals on the concrete walls under the road. As with other bridges , there were also some “campers” sleeping underneath.

We walked close the the river for most of the path to 7th Avenue, and even though it was pretty there, we decided that after 3 hours of hiking and 7+ miles that we would turn around at 7th ave and not continue to 19th Ave as planned. The bridge at 7th afforded a nice view of the river valley and its greenery.

A little scrambling was required to find the dirt path from the paved one, but we were able to follow it. We saw some rabbits and quail on the trail. We followed the trail back to 7th Street and our cars. Unfortunately, by staying on the dirt trail, we bypassed the Audubon Center.

Signs of civilization.
We get a better view from the bridge.
Trailblazers enjoy brunch at the Farm at South Mountain.

A group of us continued on to the Farm at South Mountain for an outdoor brunch. Food was fresh and delicious and the live music and farm environment was relaxing and a perfect way to end the morning.

In retrospect, I would have done the hike starting west instead of east, since the prettiest part of the river with water and greenery and critters is the part near Central and to the west. It was interesting to go to 28th Street, but was a little dry.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated October 31, 2017