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Cross F to Bushnell Tanks
Sunflower
April 16, 2022
by Tamar Gottfried
  GPS Map 
Elevation
group
On the Arizona Trail. [photo by Rodney]
Rob, Rodney, Michael, Tom, Chris, Ken Tamar, Amanda, Li

Ten hikers convened in Fountain Hills and assembled into 3 vehicles for the drive to Bushnell Tanks. At the first trailhead, 4 of us left a car and piled into the other 2 cars for the short drive to Cross F. We started hiking in optimal weather, and quickly ascended to the junction with the Arizona Trail.

sign
Apache Maid is that-a-way. [photo by Rodney]
hikers
Hmmm, that looks interesting. [photo by Rodney]
Tamar
Tamar. [photo by Rodney]
hikers
Michael leads the way up to the Arizona Trail. [photo by Rodney]

After a quick group photo, we took the left turn and started South. The hike was a mellow series of ups and downs with wide desert grasslands, sweeping vistas of Mt. Ord and the Mazatzals, shady trees and few fields dotted with wildflowers.

view
What is it? [photo by Tamar]
Debbie
Debbie. [photo by Rodney]
Ken
Ken. [photo by Debbie]

Before we knew it, we were crossing a bone dry Sycamore creek and reaching the underpass of the highway.

hikers
Tom and Debbie. [photo by Li]
view
What scenery! [photo by Li]
view
Under the highway. [photo by Li]
view
The Arizona Trail goes under the Beeline Highway here. [photo by Tamar]
hikers
Hmmm, that looks interesting. [photo by Tamar]
mixed
Wildflowers. [photo by Li]

The longer hikers used this as a turn around point, while the 4 shorter distance hikers went under the highway, emerging on the other side for another ¾ mile on the Arizona Trail to the junction with the side trail to the trailhead.

We went down through the gate, crossed the narrow and stinky stream and followed along the water until we reached a trail leading us up to the Bushnell Tanks road.

Once we reached the road, we took a short detour to the place where the creek was running strong and the fall colors were vibrant back in November.

In April, the creek was but a large trickle. After a quick examination of the water, we followed the road back to the trailhead, happy to see the Jeep waiting for us.


Supplemental Report
by Tom Simonick

The long group of Li, Debbie, Michael, Ken, Chris and Tom said good bye to the one-way hikers at the tunnel that passes under the Beeline Highway. We turned around and hiked quickly to rid ourselves of the highway noise. It wasn’t long until we were back into a meadow area filled with wildflowers.

As we walked we spread out, but everyone came to a halt when our trail was taken over by a rattlesnake. Li and Tom first heard the rattle, and took one step too close before the sound and snake crystalized in front of them on the trail. However it was a polite snake and we were well out of the snake’s strike zone. After pictures and letting the rattler decide which way we should go, we continued our hike.

Wildflowers of all kinds had fully opened in the early afternoon and we enjoyed the color. Micheal had mentioned going left at a road, rather than crossing and continuing back the way we had come. However, some of us forgot that suggestion and continued on the trail, while others walked the road. Using our radios, we kept in contact and realized one hiker, without a radio, was missing.

We decided that three hikers would stay on the road and two hikers on the trail. In this way we should come across the our missing compatriot. The road group caught up with the missing hiker, informed the trail hikers by radio, and we all regrouped at the junction of the Arizona and Saddle Mountain Trails.

From there it was downhill to the Cross F Trailhead. We had enjoyed a beautiful day, comfortable temperatures and encountered very few hikers on the trail. Even though this was an easy hike, carrying radios proved once again to be important for hiker safety.

snake
Stay away. The snake has rattles. [photo by Debbie]
Rod
It was this big. [photo by Debbie]
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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated April 24, 2022