Our friends, Debbie & Ken, who we had volunteered with in Florida last year, have been staying in Scottsdale for the last couple of weeks, so we made plans to do some hiking together before they leave town and head down to the Everglades.
Usery Mountain Regional Park, in Mesa, has a lot of hiking trails to choose from, so we met them there, in the staging area, where most of the trails originate.
The Blevins Trail is a 2.9 mile loop through the desert which covers a wide range of landscape, crossing washes and getting close to the base of Pass Mountain. It’s a fairly easy, level trail with lots of interesting views, so we decided to start out with that one.
It was just after 11am when we started out, and the day was already beginning to warm us into the mid-70s. It was a beautiful day for a walk in the desert. The boys were wishing that they had brought bikes, because the trails here at Usery are great for mountain-biking, but they were good for walking, too . . . you just had to watch out for the cactii!
Most of them we know to stay away from, but some look so pretty and tempting . . .
the boys just couldn’t resist trying to touch them!
We found out later why they call them “jumping cholla” . . . we had stepped to the side of the trail while we talked to some folks on horses,
and I felt a stabbing pain in my heel . . . a piece of cholla cactus had embedded in my foot! Bryce was able to pull it out, but after a warning that they could go right through the soles of shoes, we all checked the bottoms of our shoes. Almost all of us had spikes stuck in our shoes! Luckily, Ken had a pair of pliers that we could use to pull them out. After that, we made sure to stay on the trail – no shortcuts!
We continued on along the trail, enjoying the diversity of the desert landscape, sometimes looking at Pass Mountain,
and at other times we were looking at the Superstition Mountains in the distance.
I’m not sure what Tom and Ken were talking about,
but they just kept walking and talking, and soon we were making the turn that would take us back to the picnic area.
It was such a great day for a hike, and the desert offers more beauty than we expected!
We arrived back at the staging area after about an hour & a half, and claimed a picnic table for our lunch.
The boys wanted to tackle the Wind Cave Trail, a 1-1/2 mile trail up the side of Pass Mountain, but the rest of us weren’t quite up to that challenge. We decided to try the Vista Trail, which involved climbing over a smaller mountain,
and offered some great views of the surrounding area.
While Nicolas, Ken and I took our time and enjoyed the view,
Bryce and Debbie made a bee-line for the top of the mountain,
and Tom found an interesting cactus!
These rocks looked like a nice spot to stop for a group picture!
We finished the hike to the top, stopping for a 360 degree view,
before making our way down the other side, and back to the Meridian Trail which circled the base of the mountain.
By the time we got back to the staging area, we had hiked a total of about 4.5 miles and were ready to call it a day. We were all pretty tired, but it was a great day and we really enjoyed it!
Debbie and Ken had invited us back to their buddy’s house in Scottsdale for a BBQ and swim in the heated pool and hot tub, so we followed them back to his house. What a great way to finish off the day! Thanks guys!