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Saddle Mountain
March 5, 2022
by Tamar Gottfried
  GPS Map 
Made it to the Arizona Trail junction. [photo by Tamar]
Lisa, Ron , Julie, Les, Anna, Alan

Seven Trailblazers assembled in Fountain Hills after a rainy week, and caravanned to the Circle F trailhead across from Mount Ord. As we started on our way the weather wasn’t too cold, but it was quickly apparent that this trail had soaked up a lot of water in the past few days.

Sign at the beginning of the hike. [photo by Alan]
There’s plenty of water. [photo by Alan]
We must be in the wilderness now. [photo by Alan]

As we walked up to the Arizona Trail Junction and beyond, mud clods aggregated on our boots and made each step tedious. We did get to hear the lovely sound of running water not too long into the hike and after a short while, we walked up about the stream on a relatively dry area where we could kick off some mud.

Tread carefully—there’s lots of mud. [photo by Tamar]
Ever climbing, march we onward. [photo by Tamar]
This part of the Arizona Trail looks drier. [photo by Tamar]

This part of the trail was nice with stream crossing and rocks to walk on, but we eventually climbed up out of the creek area to encounter more mud. Even as we reached the area with 360 degree vistas of the hills and leading across to Mount Ord, we found mud of varying degrees of stickiness. At the 2.5 mile mark, two of our hikers chose to start back to the trailhead.

Woolley Worm? No, just an uprooted cactus. [photo by Alan]
Good picture weather. [photo by Tamar]
Along this part of the trail, the rocks have interesting shapes. [photo by Tamar]

The rest of us kept going, in view of our stopping point at the trail junction, but were plagued by increasingly sticky mud. Eventually we gave up trying to move ahead, just shy of the planned turn around point. After a brief rest, we headed back the way we came.

Gooey mud sticks to our shoes. [photo by Julie]

Around this time, we were passed by at least 14 dirt bikes, at least one with Canadian license plates. We tried to tell them that the Arizona Trail and this land in particular was for unmotorized vehicles only, but they didn’t seem too interested in the information and we followed their tracks the entire way back.

We reconvened the group at the cars and shook some mud off our boots. Despite the mud, it was a nice day in a mostly remote area with spectacular views and we all had burned a few extra calories.

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updated March 28, 2022