Friday, August 29, 2014

Sawmill Potluck Loop - 8/29/14

Sawmill Trailhead with Blooming Rabbitbrush

Pre-Hike Gathering

 The Sun City Anthem Hiking Club and the Around the Bend Friends Hiking Club got together today for a potluck picnic at the Sawmill Trails on Lee Canyon Road in the Spring Mountains NRA. We offered two hikes to work up appetites, a shorter one and a longer one. This entry covers the longer exploratory hike attended by thirteen hikers. After we circled up and introduced ourselves, Chris led the longer hike out through the regular trailhead. From there, we hiked up to the ridge which affords mountain views on both sides. The view in front of us gave us glimpses of the desert playas of the nearby military base.

Maybe this makes sense to someone. (Found along the same trail area.)
 The Sawmill Trail system is marked by color coded signs. These can be very confusing since there are so many different trails and the signs are not always present nor complete. As a result, some of our club members have begun hiking and memorizing and mapping some of these trails.

Hiking the Sawmill Ridge

 Today, we took a left turn down the second trail that was marked green and red. We soon passed another junction and continued straight. The trail that turned down to the left had been previously explored to no avail as yet. Our trail led up and over a ridge to the right and started down a nice small canyon. The wooded shallow drainage offered a bit of shade on this very warm late summer day. Nevertheless, we were all prepared with plenty of water, wide-brimmed hats and sun block.

Enjoying the Small Canyon Trail
 We stayed in the drainage for a little over half a mile then Chris started feeling that the trail would never turn back to where we wanted to go. After later checking on the map, it was clear he was right. Eventually the trail would go where we wanted but the potluck was waiting so the trail would have to be revisited at a later date.

The Canyon Begins to Open Out

 After our half mile, we bushwhacked up to the ridge to our right on an easy slope. As expected, we found a ridge trail, abeit old and untrodden, that led us back in the direction of the main trail that we had turned off of a while back. The ridge trail was followed easily and, soon, we realized that this was a ridge trail that we had checked out on a hike last year. We ended up at a familiar spot where we had once taken our snack break and happily returned to the main trail.

Bushwhacking up to the Ridge
 We turned left on the main trail and followed the old Blue Tree Road down to a trail junction area. Here, the Sawmill Wiggles turns off to the left and our route for today turns off to the right.

Following the Ridge Back to the Main Trail

 Following this trail, we headed back in the direction of the trailhead. The trail swings out at one point and Chris decided to go ahead and bushwhack down to where the trail comes in again. Maybe he was hungry! Anyway, we came into the picnic area where the other group was already putting the food out. All together, we probably had around twenty-five attendees. Thanks to all who brought food and had a great day!

5.5 miles; 1000 feet elevation gain; 2.5 hours

They Look Hungry!

Absolutely Gorgeous! A Ghost Burro!

Sawmill Trails Collection

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