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Usery Mountain Park
January 20, 2018
by Tamar Gottfried
Tamar’s    GPS Map 
Tamar’s Elevation
Ted’s GPS Map

Over 30 Trailblazers, ranging from founding members to members who joined this month, gathered at Usery Park Ramada C to hike and feast and celebrate the club and those who make it great.

We ventured to the Pass Mountain Trail, marking the area where we would exit at the end with a few well-placed pink ribbons, then hung a left at the Wind Cave Trail, pausing to take a group photo. We proceeded up the popular trail at a variety of paces.

A group of us congregated at the Wind Cave, grateful that the weather kept the bees uninterested in us. After a brief break, a hearty group of 6 took the mostly unmarked path to Peak 3127 while the rest of us started down, encountering a few of our fellow hikers still coming up on the way.

The path down was much busier even though the clouds were menacingly dark, as we stopped for many dogs, babies in carriers and mini-hikers along the way. When we transitioned back to the Pass Mountain Trail, we even started to see groups of horses and riders participating in a race.

Those of us who reached the ramada first set up for the meal and dug into the snacks, including John’s amazing Hatch chili guacamole. We were soon joined by the peak baggers and even a few members who joined us late. We all enjoyed an amazing array of soups, chilis, salads, and desserts.

As we gathered for the awards ceremony, so did the clouds. We were relatively dry under the ramada. Congratulations, as well as REI and gas gift cards, were distributed to our top carpool drivers, hike leaders and hikers.

As the rain winded down, so did our event as everyone cleaned up and went their separate ways. What a fun morning!

→   More pictures, by Tom

Supplemental Report
by Ted Tenny

What a colorful sunrise! Some of us met at Red Mountain Park and got to the trailhead just in time. Then it clouded up.

Sunrise in Usery Mountain Park.
Trailblazers arrive in the early morning light.

Our hike was on the C-D Trail, the Pass Mountain Trail, and the Wind Cave Trail. As usual, fast hikers surged ahead while slow hikers lagged behind. I’ve slowed down with age, but didn’t want others to have to stop and wait for me. So I decided to take it at my own pace but turn around when I met anyone in the club who had hiked to Peak 3127 and was heading back down. Made it almost to the Wind Cave before I met Dave M. and Andy. They had been to the peak, so I headed back down. My hike down was scenic but uneventful.

Turn northeast on the Wind Cave Trail.
Wind Cave and Peak 3127, above the Geronimo Head formation.
Little Teddy Bear cholla has a great view.
Bright lichens liven up a boulder.
Teddy Bears along the Pass Mountain Trail.
The trail junction is marked with cairns and ribbons.

Tamar gave out the awards, with speeches by Michael encouraging new hike leaders and by John announcing his planned camping trip.

Tamar hands out the awards.

Except for a few drops here and there, the rain held off until we were done hiking. Then just as we were finishing the awards, the temperature dropped to the 40s, the wind blew fiercely, and it rained. What perfect timing!


Supplemental Report
by Michael Humphrey

We had over 30 persons at the awards hike and potluck. We headed on up to the Wind Cave for a good workout. A few of us decided to go to the top of the mountain that is above the Wind Cave. Up here you can see the Superstitions and many other places in the valley. On the way down there is a cactus that is all arms.


Trailblazers at the junction with the Pass Mountain Trail.
Made it to the Wind Cave.
Superstitions from Peak 3127 on a cloudy morning.
Debbie made it to the top.
Saguaro of many branches.
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated January 26, 2018