Sunday, September 30, 2012

Serene & Sunny Sunday

Hike time: 37 minutes to summit

 Weather: 101°, sunshine, slight breeze

 About this hike:  Trailhead was very empty on a hot Sunday afternoon.  Most of the trail is shaded this time of day, and with the helpful breeze, this hike wasn't too bad.  The heat slowed me down a little, hence the sub-35 minute time.  I also forgot my gloves, which absolutely sucked climbing on those disgusting hand rails and over jagged rocks.  Ran into one of the drivers from Park 'n Hike near the summit—we die hards know best...when heat drives the crowds away, it's the best time to come out and play!

A crazy man (delusional from the heat?!) was singing and whooping at the summit.  I spent a lot of time thinking, reflecting, and enjoying the view up there today.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Take Yourself to Higher Places...

Hike time:  32 minutes to summit

Weather:  87°, sunshine, windy

About this hike:  First time in over a month that I had to use Park & Hike shuttle.  Started at 8:45, and Echo Canyon lot was not only full, but there was a traffic jam.  The trail was crowded with novices.  I bet I would've made it to the summit in 30 min. if crowds (and incessant text messages!) hadn't slowed me down. At the summit a helicopter came and hovered for a minute...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sometimes Things Go As They Should...

Hike time:  32 minutes to summit

Weather:  83°, sunshine, breezy—perfect!!

About this hike:  Nabbed a parking spot at the busy Echo Canyon Trailhead!!  Lots of novices out today made for a somewhat aggravating hike, as they slow everybody down, stare at you with deer-in-the-headlights as you're coming at them, etc.  Sept. 11 Memorial is gone from the summit.  Spent about 20 minutes on top.  Views were fabulous, although marred by some hazy smog.      

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Perfect Mid-September Weekday Hike

Hike time:  35 minutes to summit

Weather:  90°, sunshine

About this hike:  Took advantage of a comped half-day of work and cooler (by PHX standards!) temperatures.  Was a great hike, and of course, the trail was quiet as could be at 2pm on a warm Wednesday afternoon.  New at the summit was a September 11 memorial:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Camelback Courtesy of the NFL

Hike time:  37 minutes to summit

Weather:  90º, party cloudy, breezy (perfect!)

About this hike:  Parking lot was nearly empty when I arrived at just after 2pm.  It wasn't that hot, and with the breeze and cloud cover it was actually a perfect day to climb Camelback.  NFL Sunday may have had something to do with this.  I'm not complaining; this was an perfect late-summer hike, and I hate football...

King of the Mountain...the summit was void of the usual hikers

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hell or High Water Won't Keep Me from Climbin'

Hike time:  Guesstimated at 35 min.

Weather:  ~95º, sun, wind, rain, hail, thunderstorms

About this hike:  Driving to Echo Canyon, the dark clouds to the north began to unleash rain drops.  I wasn't stopping.  Last night's hike got railroaded, and I wasn't having this again.  Got trailhead parking no problem tonight!  Thunder crackling over head, I started up the Echo trail, wondering why I'm stupid enough to climb a mountain in a thunderstorm...especially a mountain where one must hold onto metal handrails part of the way up.

About halfway through, the downpour started.  I crawled into one of the small caves that pockmarks the red sandstone.  After spending at least 15 minutes in my cave, the rain and soft hail began to slow to the point where I could continue on, albeit very carefully.  Wet rocks can be slick!  I was having flashbacks to getting caught on Superstition Mountain in a hail/snow storm last fall.

Luckily the rain soon passed, and the warm sun broke through again.  Thanks to gusty wind, the rocks dried quickly.  My hike was certainly enriched by this experience, and the views of the thunderclouds now to the west, along with the soaked and steaming Valley, were awesome to say the least.  Come heat of hell or high water, I won't be stopped...

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's a Labour of Love...

I went up to Echo Canyon park around 5:00pm.  I expected it to not be busy... after all, it was 102º out and it's a holiday.  Was I ever wrong...

Parallel parking on Echo Canyon Drive was not to be had.  Hopeful hikers were actually queuing up in a double-parked formation.  Surprisingly, rangers weren't giving them a hard time, although the security guard at the Echo Canyon Estates guard house waddled out occasionally.

Problem was, the main lot was closed as fire trucks were everywhere and one of those infamous "Mountain Resuces" was in progress.  I've had hiking plans complicated (but never defeated) by at least four of those now in 2012.

I drove around several surrounding neighborhoods hoping just one might not have the infamous "P" with a slash through it.  No such luck, although a few bordering streets did have signs stating, "No parking sunrise to sunset".  I just got a new hiking headlamp...could a night hike be in order?  (Echo Canyon lot forbids just the opposite:  parking sunset to sunrise.)  I'll need to research the legality of this first, but the city lights from the Camel's summit would be amazing.

So after labouring away at finding parking, I had no luck.  This was the first time I ever went home without accomplishing what I had set out to do.  Probably a good thing too.  News reports stated that the rescue didn't complete till after six.  That would have put the better half of my hike in the dark, with no headlight, and my car would be illegally parked at Echo Canyon.          

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Camelback Climb

Hike time:  35 min. up, 20 min. on summit

Weather:  101°, sunny, hot!

About this climb:  Arrived just before 10am expecting parking to be a non-issue.  Was very wrong!  However, I was fortunate to be the only car circling Echo Canyon at the time and a car in front of me backed out.  Got a great spot in the main lot!

Summit was absolutely beautiful, no swarms of flying ants like two weeks ago.  I spent 20+ minutes enjoying the view before heading down.