Corral Trail: This is so green only because of the recent rain
This was another training hike in preparation for Troop 131’s 20-mile hike in March. Over the course of four hours and 10 miles yesterday, we covered much of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve’s northern region.
We started at the tail end of 24 hours of drizzling rain and the sky was still overcast. There were very few others on the trails. Our course was fairly flat. All the trails are very well marked and are mostly gravel. Take a map or you’ll get lost.
They call this “Balanced Rock”
I carried a 10-lb dumbbell in my pack to enhance my workout.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Details: We started at Brown’s Ranch Trailhead, taking the Upper Ranch Trail to Corral Trail, then Dry Gulch Trail, a detour up to Cathedral Rock, then
Cholla Mountain Loop Trail to Balanced Rock Trail to Powerline Road #2. Then 118th Street Trail to Latigo Trail back to the Brown’s Ranch Trailhead.
Update Feb. 3, 2013:
The day after this hike, I was mildly sore in my hips, thighs, and legs. I like that because it’s proof I stressed my body, which is a necessary for improved fitness. Also, I’m impressed by how sore my feet were during the last three miles of hiking. I hope I can toughen them up. The 20-mile walk is starting to look intimidating!
This bedrock metate was used by Indians (aka Native Americans) for grinding maize, acorns, and other foods. Rainwater fills this 4-inch deep rounded depression in granite.
The Amphitheater (all natural)
Half-way up to the highest point
This was just a one-hour training hike covering 2.5 miles and 523 feet of vertical elevation. I started at the west end, walked to the highest point of the trail, then turned around and came back. I carried a 10-lb dumbbell in my knapsack to make the hike tougher.
Typical trail appearance: mostly gravel
Mostly locals use this urban trail. You’ll see lots of 20–40-year-olds jogging it.
The west trailhead elevation is 2366 ft above sea level
The weather was sunny, 76° F. I thank God for another day in paradise.
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: I start my mileage at the closest road near the west trailhead; it’s about a quarter mile to the formal trailhead marker.
Update Jan. 26, 2015:
I hiked the entire out-and-back trail today, starting from my front door. Carried a 15-lb dumbbell in my pack. Took about two hours. Probably five miles total.
This granite hill is similar to the geology of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma, over a thousand miles away
East Trailhead, where most people start their hike