At our condo in Phoenix, I often see some interesting looking hiking trails in a small section of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve just north of Northern Ave. The trails appear to have no name but they are clearly used and visible so I decided that I needed to find my way in and explore. Driving into a residential area, I found a sign for the preserve at a dead end spot on 16th St. parked my car and headed off into a smaller section of the preserve west of the 51, north of Northern, east of 12th St. and south of Dunlap. Surrounded by city but a desert paradise with mountains to climb, I spend a Friday afternoon exploring.
The trails are well defined but unnamed and easy to follow. I spend two plus hours and hike over four miles and gain 400 feet of elevation in and around with only a few encounters with other hikers. Beautiful views of the city and just a great day for stumbling around in the desert without leaving the city.
Saturday rolls around and I have decided to take Carolyn to the area that I had explored on Friday and added some different routes. It was so beautiful out and to think it was literally just down the road. On Saturday’s hike, there were only two people we encountered, social distancing without even trying. The trails are unnamed and none of the climbs to the peaks are named that I can see. That keeps the non-locals away I’m thinking.
It’s Sunday and we decided to return to NE Scottsdale to hike in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The weather is beautiful and we get a late morning start from Lost Dog Wash Trailhead. Carolyn has decided that I needed to get up on Sunrise Peak. Our hike is an out and back hike that starts at the busy trailhead but the further you go the less number of people you encounter. The trail is much smoother without to many jarring rocks to pound your knees, hips, and back. The views at the summit are great, looking out towards Four Peaks, or looking back to the city. Once again you can even see the Cardinals stadium out in Glendale. We even see some deer looking down on us, thanks to Carolyn’s observation skills. On all my hikes, I haven’t seen many deer in the desert.
My hiking attire includes a Packers’ hat and as we approach the summit, we meet a group that was hiking from the eastern side of Sunrise and they were all big Packer fans so it was quite fun conversing with the group. Our total elevation gains are over 1200 feet so it was a great workout on a beautiful day. Our hike back to the trailhead has few hikers until we get close to the start. Social distanced was not a problem.
A great day of hiking leads to the pursuit of craft beer and we decide to hit up a new to us brewery located off of Shea Boulevard in the Fountain Hills area, Bone Haus Brewing. What a great find. Carolyn had brought home a prickly pear ale from Bone Haus several weeks ago that she had found and we liked it but had no idea about the brewery. Our Pub Pass had a stop at Bone Haus where you can acquire a pint for a penny. It is a great stop where the theme is skeletons and they have some great looking logos on their cans. The people that work there are friendly and eager to serve. Plenty of open and outdoor seating areas with some tasty brews. Food truck was setting up as we were leaving.
We have to head west on Shea to get back to our Phoenix condo and we just happen to have our recoupon book from Arizona Craft Brewers Guild that gets us 20% off everything at Fate Brewing (North Scottsdale Pub). Social distancing is not an issue with some outdoor seating and indoor seating. We order us a pizza, the Jess, and the Farm Salad, to go with our drafts. I get something called the Hatch Chili Gatos and I was pleasantly surprised on how it was. Described as Bronze Medal 2020 Great American Beer Festival & Gold Medal 2018 World Beer Cup! Oh my Gatos Golden ale with the addition of roasted Hatch Chiles. Huge Chile aroma, mild flavor and very little heat.
What a great weekend of hiking and craft beer. January has got us off to a good start as my basketball season of officiating begins which is limiting for our adventures together. We shall make the most of it when given the opportunity.