Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hike #32: Butcher Jones Trail, Tonto National Forest

Length: 5 miles

On my last visit to the Butcher Jones Trail, I had considerable trouble locating the correct path. I believe the lake's level was significantly raised due to the draining of a dam upstream, resulting in a crudual segment of the trail being submerged below the lake and reeds. Fortunately, on this trip, the lake was again at a normal level, and the trail was easily followed.

The first half-mile of the Butcher Jones Trail merely traces the western shoreline of Saguaro Lake, which is extremely popular with anglers on most weekends. Fortunately, the trail soon leaves the shore and begins working its way into the more secluded surrounding hills.

I was completely amazed at the number and variety of wildflowers growing along these hills. With the wildflower season beginning at the end of February when the Valley is still cool and relatively wet, the presence of so many flowers took me by completely surprise; in fact, I would say there is an even large abundance of flowers now than existed a month ago! I'm glad to see the warmer, drier weather hasn't effected everything in nature the way it's knocked me out the past couple weeks (darn these allergy/sinus issues!!!)

Once the trail enters the hills above the lake, the surroundings become more and more like those one would expect to see in the Phoenix Valley; however, the lake is never far from sight, and the trail eventually leads down to the shoreline once again. After enjoying the beautiful flowers and scenic views, return to the trailhead along the same path you've been following. (However, be forewarned that if you descend from the first set of hills to the second area of shoreline, it will be a fairly steep hike on your way out!)

To view more photos of the Butcher Jones Trail, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Do you think you will be able to keep the hiking thing going all summer or will it get too hot? I can't imagine hiking midday in Houston. Yuck!