1.06.2013

Eliminate This

K and I had planned on doing our annual New Year's Day hike, but we didn't make it out that day. We made up for it the following weekend by exploring a couple of seldom used trails in the southwest corner of South Mountain Park. We started up the flat portion of the Pyramid Trail, then up a bit of the Ruins Trail until we spotted the faint beginnings of the Eliminator Trail. This trail makes no attempt to hide the fact that it rises sharply from the desert floor up to the spine of South Mountain where it connects to the west end of the National Trail.

The views are stunning, but don't ogle while you walk! We past by a few mineshafts from years gone by, stopping to catch our breath. Near the top K was ready to head down the mountain, so we hung a right and skirted down the Lost Mine Trail to complete the loop. While on the two trails going up/down the mountain we saw about 6 people. It's a total of 5 miles from the Chandler Blvd trailhead with 1000' of gain. It'll make you sweat if you want it to.

Not sure if I'd take my bike on either of them, but I know a few of my downhiller friends ride them. They weren't all that chunky, just steep/loose & sketchy in sections, just not my cup of tea.

One of the handful of mines on our way up the mountain.
Here's a nice view of the Bursera Trail, aka Bees Knees and the Gila Valley Trail below.
Gila Valley Trail crests the saddle high above the ruins.
On our way up Eliminator we can see our path downward on Lost Mine Trail.
K starting to realize we're very close to the top.
Black Hedgehog.
The top of Lost Mine looks innocent enough.
At the junction with National Trail looking west.
K deciding how to approach a sketchy loose section of trail.
Lower Lost Mine Trail with the spine of Pyramid in the background.
Look closely to spot the switchbacks on Pyramid Trail.
A view of the switchbacks that we climbed on Eliminator.
A rare sighting of lichen.
Pyramid looms for another day.
On the final piece of trail, clouds finally giving way.

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