Maricopa County Parks

I’ve gotten to email the trail manager a couple times now. Chris Coover  sent me a map showing what parts of the MT are hikable.

The purple lines are hikable. Plus, some of the red down in Chandler, Gilbert and Tempe are hikable, but not official yet. He said an update map will be out this fall. If you need to contact him, his info is below.

Chris Coover

Maricopa Trail Manager

Parks and Recreation Dept.

(602) 506-8719

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Western Canal or Passage 6

Passage 6 is right after passage 32 on the Maricopa Trail. They don’t go in numerical order on the MT. The first 10 passages are part of the older Sun Circle Trail. When the MT was first created, the powers to be picked passage 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the old Sun Circle Trail to be part of the new Maricopa Trail. Here’s a map of the entire MT to make it easier to figure out. Click on the photo to get a larger image.

I’ve completed passage 32 at the bottom of the map. My next passage is 6 the runs from Freestone Park in Gilbert west past Chandler and into Tempe. It ends at South Mountain Park, a Phoenix City park. This is almost all canal hiking with a bit of street hiking at the end (miles 11-13).

Heres’ some info on this passage hiking east to west.

It starts at Freestone Park. Freestone has water, bathrooms and picnic benches (WBP) plus it has a recreation center with showers that you can join for the day. The Western canal or trail is at the SW corner of the park on the other side of Lindsay. The trails head in all four directions, so make sure you’re going west away from Lindsay Road.

One mile west gets you to Gilbert Road. Downtown Gilbert is just to the south with lots of food choices. Joe’s BBQ is a must for any MT hiker. You can eat at picnic tables on the lawn. At McQueen (south only), Arizona, Alma School, Dobson, McClintock and Rural roads you’ll find food and water. Bathrooms too. When the canal turns north you’ll find Ken McDonald Golf Course. It has a restaurant and bathrooms. You’ll get to hike right thru the golf course as well as many city parks along the way.

After the canal turns north you’ll find Guadalupe Road. Turn west and do some street hikin’. Or continue on thru Kiwansis Park to get to Baseline (off MT), turn west to get to the Arizona Mills mall, hotels and restaurants. Kiwansis Park has a Rec Center with showers too.

Back to the MT, you’ll go west on Guadalupe thru the town of the same name. At the corner of Guadalupe and Avenida del Yaqui is the San Diego SeaFood Restaurant. I hear it’s mexican food at it’s best. Three blocks north is Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. I haven’t been in it, but you’ll feel like you are in the heart of Mexico. On the SW corner is a farmer’s market. Then, you’ll head west on Guadalupe and cross over the bridge. A small path on the north side of the bridge is all you get. Be safe. After the freeway, you’ll want to take the first left, first right and then the first left into South Mtn Park. Unless of course you want to go to the Arizona Grand Resort. See the directions below.

As far as beds for rent goes, you probably won’t get any more luxury than the Arizona Grand Resort at the end of this passage. It’s at the entrance to South Mtn Park after you’ve crossed over I-10. Coming from the east, you’ll want to walk along South Pointe Parkway east, heading north will get you to this huge resort. From the west you’ll take 48th street north. However, there is a gate you’ll have to go past. If you take a left right before the gate and go around the pool, you can take a route over the golf course. Not sure it there’s a way around the gate going to your right. Or, you could wait for a car to open the gate.

If you don’t want to spend resort prices, you can check out the hotels on Baseline about a mile north of Guadalupe. To do this, just stay on the canal over Guadalupe Road past Kiwansis Park until you get to Baseline. Then head west to the hotels near Arizona Mills Mall. To get back to the MT, head south on any major road or head west to the resort and hike south thru the resort to the park entrance. There’s no camping in South Mtn Park and all the hotels seem to be on the western edge of this passage.

Over 13 miles of hiking on this passage.

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Done Before I Started

This is passage 32 of the Maricopa Trail. It’s about 10 miles long and is on the Consolidated Canal that runs from Chandler, AZ in the south up to Gilbert’s Freestone Park. Chandler calls it the Paseo Trail and Gilbert calls it the Heritage Trail.

I’ve trained on this portion of the MT for my first half marathon back in 2006 and for all three of my full marathons, so I did this portion of the MT, before I even started.

My favorite parts are running past the llama sanctuary in Chandler and the corner of Warner and Gilbert roads. Because, it has lots of food and bathroom choices.

Here’s a south to north preview of the trail.

It starts at Ocotillo road, just west of McQueen Avenue. On the hill above the canal is Mt. Chandler or the Paseo Vista Recreation Area, a park that was built on top of a landfill. Bathrooms, water and picnic tables (BWP) can be found here. No camping.

Just a little over a mile north is the Chandler Airport. There is a diner at the entrance off Germann Road, but that’s at least a mile round trip. To the west is Tumbleweed Park. You get the BWP, but there’s also a recreation center. And rec centers have showers. Anyone can buy a day pass to the rec center for about $4. There’s, also, a commuter parking lot on the far west side and you might be able to catch a bus, if you need it. Tumbleweed Park is about a 1 mile round trip from the MT.

It’s a 2 mile hike on the canal from Germann to the next facility. A gas station on Chandler Blvd. I think the llama rescue is on this section of trail. Look for it on the west side.

Another 2 miles takes you to Warner Road and all the restaurants. Fast food, sit down and everything in between. There’s also a Lowe’s for any repairs you need, a movie theatre and bowling alley if you need a break and a running store. RunAZ is to the east near Lifetime Fitness. I wonder if the health club might let a tired hiker use the showers?

Another mile and a half gets you to the north trailhead of this passage. It’s Freestone Park. Again you’ll find WBP, but it has a fitness center like Chandler does. Just go to the northeast corner of the park.

If you need a post office (137 East Elliot Road, Gilbert, AZ‎ – (480) 539-6815‎) on this passage you’ll find one on Elliot Road just west of the canal. If you are hiking from north to south, just go west on Elliot. If you are hiking from the south, you can take a short cut on the railroad tracks. Hotels seem to be 2 or more miles off the trail. There’s a bunch of them near downtown Chandler. Just go west on Pecos or Chandler Blvd. Then head north between Chandler Blvd and Ray. There’s no place to camp legally on this passage. There are some large open lots just south of Warner Road near the new town center of Gilbert, south of the freeway and some grassy neighborhood parks all along the passage. None are legal campsites. If anyone lives along this passage and wouldn’t mind the occasional tent in the backyard, please leave contact info in the comments.

I call this the first 10 miles of my Maricopa Trail.

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Workin’ Out

3 hikes of about 5 miles each this week. My favorite neighborhood walk is from my home to Desert Breeze Park, around the lake, ballfields and down toward the police substation. Two loops around the park (or more) and then back home. Makes for a nice 5 miler.

No, this isn’t the walk. This is San Tan County Park and is along the Maricopa Trail (sort of). As of today, I don’t think they have the trail to the park, so I’ll have to do some road work to get there. And there’s no camping at the park, so I’ll have to hike in, hike around and hike back out for a long day.

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Cooking on the WhisperLite

What you see is the failed attempt at cooking with my WhisperLite camp stove. I wanted to test my camping gear, so I thought I’d cook me some ramen. I got this stove as a gift a few years ago, but had not used it. First I went to Bass Pro Shop in Mesa, a great store to get some fuel. I brought it home and got my stove out of the garage camping supply cabinet. Since I had half of the garage floor open, I figured I’d start the stove in the garage.

I put fuel in the canister, went to get a pot of water and some ramen from the kitchen and a lighter.  I pressurized the canister, plug the whisperlite into the canister, opened it up to get fuel to go from the can to the stove and tried to light the top of the stove. Nothing happened. I then tried to light it below the stove top and that worked. I had a fire about 10 inches high, but it seemed like it was 10 feet high. I figured it would shrink down to a managable level, but it didn’t. The fuel can was opened up pretty good, so the fuel then started spilling onto the concrete. With that the fire spread. I wish I had a picture of this, but I didn’t have the time to go get the camera and take a shot. Now, I’m worried and I’m thinking this is how my house goes up in flames.

But, wait. I have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. We bought it with our first house in the late 1980’s. Yeah, it’s 20+ years old, does it work? I run to get it. While I grab it, I let my wife and daughter know that there’s a fire in the garage. I run back and the fire hasn’t grown. I think the fuel was burning faster than it was coming out of the can.

Like a pro, I had already taken the pin out and was now ready to point and shoot. The fire was out fast. My family was behind me to see what went down. In the picture you can see the white stuff from the extinguisher on the ground and you can see my plastic ice tea cup from McDonalds. The next picture shows you the cup was just to close to the fire.

Now, I’m of the ‘get back on the horse’ mentality so I grab the stove, canister, ramen, pot and a lamp and go to the back yard. And I grabbed the fire extinguisher too.  But, before I do all this, I youtube the directions. Now that’s helpful.

I open the pressurized can to let a little gas fill the small holder on the stove. I close the can and start the stove. Once the flame starts to die down, I open the can valve until I get a nice even blue flame. I put my water on and wait for it to heat up. Ten minutes later I’m eating ramen.

Today, we bought another fire extinguisher. You can never have too many of those.

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Some Walks I’d Like to Do.

I’ve read Bill Bryson’s book, “A Walk in the Woods” about the Appalachian Trail and I’m currently reading “Walking The Appalachian Trail by Larry Luxenberg. I’ve been reading about other thru hikers that hike for months at a time.

So, I have the ‘Dream List’ and I have the ‘Other List’.

Dream List:

Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Arizona Trail, American Discovery Trail, Continental Divide Trail, The Grand Canyon Rim to River to Rim, Great Enchantment Trail, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Shasta.

Other List:

South Mountain (AZ), Mt. Humprey’s (AZ), Superstition Mtns (AZ), Sedona Trails (AZ), The National Parks and all around Phoenix.

Ok, so all those are going to happen. At least in their entirety. The AT is over 2100 miles long, the PCT is over 2600 miles long, the AZT is over 800. You get the picture. I just don’t have the time to walk that much. But, I can do portions of each hike. and just maybe I could do one thru hike (the entire trail from beginning to end) in my life.

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Hello world!

I’ve decided to end my running blog and move to a hiking/walking/camping blog. I still plan to run some, but not run in as many races. I’ll run some trail races, half or full marathons and the occasional 5k.

But, I will start preparing for taking a walk into the wild, long and short. Near and far. A walk everyday.

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