Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Record is Official - Piestewa

Weather:  93° sun/clouds and humid

Time to summit:  26 minutes

About this hike:  I know I said I made it in 26 minutes last week, but that was factoring in stops for slow hikers, etc.  I ended up taking just over 27 minutes on the stopwatch.  Today the stopwatch was officially less than 27 minutes.  So new record is set!!

The summit wasn't as gross as last least at first.  I spent quite a few minutes up there.  Then I got up and moved, and suddenly the flies descended upon me, and hence I descended the mountain.  No mountain rescues this morning and no drama.  Just a good hike.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

New Record for Squaw Peak

Weather:  87° sun and humid

Time to summit:  26.5 minutes

About this hike:  New record set!! Actually the stopwatch said 27:11, but there were a few slow hikers and I had to pause briefly a few times. I decided my adjusted time is sub-27 minutes and therefore a record. While cooler this morning than in the past, it was grossly humid. Rain must've fallen on the preserve last night, as evidenced by numerous large puddles on the trail. This led to swarms of flies and bees and made for an unpleasant stay at the summit, hence why I didn't rest long before heading back down.

Within 5 minutes of my arrival what seemed like the entire Phoenix FD arrived for one of those infamous mountain rescues. There was an older man near the summit who was covered in blood, but conscious and talking.

From bugs, to bloody rescues, to high humidity, this was a gross hike.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Slow Sunset Hike up Squaw Peak

Weather:  105° and sunset/dark

Time to summit:  ~40 minutes

About this hike:  Went with a friend for this uneventful hike.  He slowed me down considerably, and I didn't even take an accurate time; 40 minutes is a guesstimate at best.  There was a nice sunset, and at dark I realized I forgot my headlamp. So I learned how to be extra careful hiking down Squaw Peak in the dark.  Hopefully this will serve as a lesson learned, like forgetting hiking gloves for Camelback.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday at Squaw Typicality

Weather:  97° and sun

Time to summit:  ~28 minutes

About this hike:  Stop watch reset shortly after I started!! So the 28 minutes is an approximation, but close to accurate.  This was a quiet, uneventful Saturday Piestewa/Squaw Peak climb.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Patriotic Duty - Piestewa on the Fourth

Weather:  105° and dark

Time to summit:  ~40 minutes

About this hike:  This was my Fourth of July climb to see fireworks.  Surprisingly it wasn't very crowded.  I parked in a surrounding residential area, but probably could've nabbed a spot in the parking area directly in front of the Preserve's gates.  Speaking of, these were shut, but hike-in access was available (trails stay open until 11; it's parking that closes at sunset).

Once at the summit I could see fireworks from all over the Valley.  Scottsdale/PV had some nice ones, while Surprise, Glendale, and other West Valley cities could be seen off in the distance.  Indian Steele Park in downtown Phoenix had a decent show as well.

Trouble with watching fireworks from a distance is the lack of sensory experience.  They're small.  They're drown out by city lights.  You can't hear the booms and feel the reverb in your chest.  You can't smell the gunpowder (and have ashes rain down into your eyes!).

Am I glad I did this hike on the Fourth once?  Absolutely.  Would I do it again?  Not so sure.  On the way down I met some interesting people whom I assisted by lighting the way with my headlamp.  This scored me  a ride back to my distant parking spot in a Jag XF.  But that's another story...definitely a Fourth not to forget...

Indian Steele's Fireworks

I park far away--making sure I'm legal :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Camelback Cholla - Third Time's a Charm

Weather:  100° and sunny, minimal breeze

Time to summit:  35 minutes

About this hike:  Did this one impulsively.  I chose not to take my Saturday morning Piestewa hike due to the day's record heat warning.  Today wasn't much fact, a dust storm last night, fires to the north, and high heat makes for a bad air quality day.  But I'm stubborn.  The heat markedly slowed down what is otherwise a hike so easy I usually avoid it.  Regardless, it felt so good to get my boots back on Camelback Mountain and even better to enjoy that zen summit.  There were a few other diehards like myself on the trails.

Only my third time up Cholla, and I'm glad I took advantage of this Monday off work to go climb.  Until Echo re-opens...