Friday, February 1, 2013

Trail Tech III

For this third installation of my Trail Tech series, I ventured over in Deem Hills Recreation Area, where reference posts were installed every quarter mile or so along the 8+ miles of trails.  Nice idea, but what the heck do they mean?  Is it 4.98 miles or 5.9 miles?  And to where? And how many miles will the Palisade Trail go to wherever that is?  Should I go left or right?  Or is really the exact middle point on a loop trail?
Does the trail really go up? 
And which trail am I on...the Basalt Trail or the Palisade Trail? Or are they the same one? Help!!!
I finally cracked the code by visiting the East Trailhead at the end of Pinnacle Vista Road, where a faded map of of the area is displayed. In the corner of the map, the cryptic numbers are explained in a handy "Trail Post Marker Guide." The only problem is that there are two major trailheads for Deem Hills, and if you've started on the west side, the mileage on the trail markers is confusing at best.
Fortunately, you're never far from civilization in the Deem Hills, so it's tough to truly get lost.
View from the Circumference Trail along the south ridge of Deem Hills.


David Bickford said...

I'm not sure if these questions are rhetorical or not, but I've actually found the Deem Hills signs clear once I figured out that the circumference trail is considered to begin and end at the 39th Avenue trailhead. Considering that most of the older preserves near me have barely any signs at all, I welcome what Phoenix has done in its far northwest corner.

Katherine Darrow said...

Not rhetorical. These signs are useless if there is no reference to where the mileage is measured from. There are two trailheads. Which one are they referring to? Or are they referring to both? What' the code? Unless you have a map, it's very difficult to make sense of the trails using these posts. Fortunately, I have a mental map of the place, so don't need any help from a map or these posts. Peoria's system in West Wing, however, is somewhat useful!
Plus, I really do like the cairns, when placed at reasonable intervals. But that was in the old days when they were used to help you FIND the trail!