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Alta Trail Loop
South Mountain
January 2, 2021
by Chris Everett
  GPS Map 
by Tom Simonick
Group. [photo by Quy]
front:  Quy, Tom Li, Chris, Billie, Neil
back: Debbie, Ken, Kelley, Mohammed, Heather, Randall, Cindy, Ramona, Nancy

We started this Hike on a cold Sunday morning. A few members had problems, but we waited for everyone to show up. The group decided to do the hike backwards than planned, to get climbing and warm up. We all headed up the Alta Trail, and before long were shredding the first layer of clothing.

Morning clouds. [photo by Debbie]
Peak 4512. [photo by Mohammed]
Cindy is on top of the world. [photo by Quy]
Cactus growing in black rocks. [photo by Quy]

We had a very large group so we kept spread out and close at the same time, to practice social distancing. We all stopped at the first peak to admire the views from both sides.

The trail took us to the back (north) side of the mountain, so we were in the shade most of the time. The club made it all the way across the Ma Ha Tuak Range and took a short food break before going down. Now we descended down the mountain, where we all had great views of the inner park and Gila Range. I remember thinking how wonderful it was to be hiking with so many faces I hadn’t seen and new faces.

Onward, to the ridge. [photo by Li]
We’re mostly shaded on the north side of the ridge. [photo by Tom]
Let’s stop and talk this over. [photo by Li]
Debbie and Ramona, at the top. [photo by Li]
We did encounter some bicycle riders on the trail. [photo by Li]

Tom, Li, Mohammad, Billie, Neil, Ramona, Kelly, Debbie, Ken, Heather, and Quy are main photographers. Also Randall, Nancy, Cindy and myself, Chris.

Heading back to the trailhead. [photo by Quy]
The cacti are doing fine. [photo by Quy]
Hikers on the ridgeline. [photo by Quy]
Merrily, Merrily, down the trail we go. [photo by Quy]

When we got to the bottom we then took the Bajada Trail, that has several rolling points so it isn’t really flat at all. I think some of us were getting a little tired by this point, but it was still very enjoyable. We then had to take the National Trail back to San Juan Lookout.

Meanwhile, back at the trailhead ... [photo by Tom]

We had 9.0 miles for this trail, about 1812' elevation change. 15 wonderful hikers finished this hike. That was good, because we started with 15. This hike took 3 hours and 54 minutes. Pretty fast for a group this size.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated January 4, 2021