Thursday, February 16, 2017

The McDowells

About two weeks ago, I was scheduled to run in my first trail race. When I woke up the morning of the race, I wasn't feeling it. I was tired and not sure if I wanted to go, but I sucked it up and headed out the door. I clicked on the address a few time the night before to have an idea where I was going. That morning, as I approached the end of my map...I realized I was not in the right place. It was beautiful and it was the McDowell Mountains, but I was at a dead end road in a residential area. My friend, Erma, and her family were headed to the same race, but they ended up on the other side of the valley! {Damn google map}! At this point, I would never make it on time. I was frustrated, had to pee, and still wanted to get a run in! So, I drove around.  I couldn't believe my luck when I reached another dead end...this time there were restrooms and a trailhead!!
 I met this nicest couple who guided me towards some trails and told me a little bit about the area. I was excited! Ready to explore something new!
 The dead end {where I parked} took me to Golden Eagle Trail Head, which took me to the Sonoran and Dixie Mine Trails.

 It was beautiful out there! {And very nice restrooms}.

 The following day, Erma and I headed out there. I had to show her what I found!!

 We saw amazing cacti, interesting birds, and green hills on our 10 mile hike!!!

{love this. found on a bench on the trail}.
 A few days later, we decided we needed to find the actual location of the race we missed. It ended up being a little further from where I had found the other trailheads.

This trailhead was at the main entrance of the McDowell Mountain Regional Park. We took the Scenic Trail to the Pemberton Trail. This trail was flatter...perfect for mountain bikers {which we saw a lot of}. The Pemberton Trail is a 15.5 mile loop, but we didn't know that at the time. We hiked for almost 10 miles. {Turning around at one point}.

It is beautiful out there. You could hike for miles and miles. It is greener than my beloved South Mountain, but flatter. There are camp sites with restrooms and showers and a visitor's center with critters and live feedings. {We didn't take the time to check out any critters, though}.

You can find more information on this vast and beautiful park and preserve here.

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