Bill, Lisa, Wayne, Karen, Brock, Alexis, Elizabeth, Wendy,
Michael [photo by Bill]
We did this hike as a two-car shuttle. The drivers dropped off the
cars at the far end of the trail and spotted three wild turkeys on their
way back to meet the others. On a windy but beautiful day, nine hikers
started out in 57 degree temperatures at the Lower Bigelow Trailhead
in honor of National Trails Day. The beginning of the trail is the
trickiest, as there are a few unsigned junctions with other trails.
We took one wrong turn to a dead end, but quickly found our way back
to the actual trail.
Once we climbed the first half mile through the Ponderosa forest,
we were rewarded with great views. Though a bit early in the season,
we did see a few butterflies on the trail of the same name.
Some of the wildflowers were just past
their peak, but others seemed to be just coming into bloom, including
Columbine, Verbena, Indian Paintbrush and Hedgehog Cactus flowers.
Lush, large ferns carpeted the forest mostly towards the end of the
trail, and blue seemed to be the color of the day, as we saw blue
beetles, caterpillars and a lizard with a blue belly
(These caterpillars will end up turning into the Lycaenidae Lepotes
butterfly, I think).
Amazing views from many points along the trail
Plenty of shade and cool breezes
We also found a horny toad.
Then we proceeded on a long down hill section of single track trail.
We had lunch at the bottom of the ravine, where there was a small
amount of water, significantly less than just 2 weeks before.
There was a group of bikers that passed by as we ate, only they were
not riding the bikes, they were carrying them at that point due to
Some of our group went to explore the site of the wreckage from the
1957 crash of two F-86 Sabre Jets.
A trickle of water at the bottom of the ravine
Bill found the wreckage (Bill Zimmerman photo).
After that our group split up a bit, as I either had a little bit of
dehydration or ate something that didn’t agree with me, so I had
to slow way down for the remainder of the hike out of the ravine.
I gave instructions to those in front as to which way to continue at
the junctions up ahead.
Two of our hikers graciously remained with me in the back of the group
and we radioed our whereabouts every so often to keep the others posted.
Since a few of the hikers had to get back to Phoenix right away, we
had a comical moment where the remaining six of us piled into a tiny
car for the short drive back to get the other car at the beginning
of the trail.
Think of the old gag bit where an endless number of clowns keep
getting out of a tiny vehicle!
A greeting to the back of the group from our youngest hiker!
Unfortunately, that turn of events
brought us back to the trailhead a good two hours later than it normally
would have, so the restaurant that we wanted to go to was closed by
then, but we did happen upon a fabulous Italian restaurant called
Zona 78 which was very tasty.
We had a very long day, but overall a pleasant and beautiful hike.