Saturday, September 27, 2014

Monsoon Rains, Black Labs, Parking Woes & More

Weather:  83°, humid, partly cloudy, breezy, overnight rain

Time:  32.5 minutes

About this hike:  This one felt like a bonus...mentally I was prepared for the gully washer of a Saturday Fox10's accuweather kept forecasting. I awoke to sunny Phoenix skies and puddles from overnight rain.

Of course the Valley was very humid this morning, but I was undeterred from my hike...apparently a lot of other people got the memo too.  I took multiple circles around the parking lot before I  could score a spot.  Naturally a crowded trailhead parking lot means crowded trails. The time taken accounts for a large handicap.  We had children freaking out at the rails this morning.  I'm all for instilling kids with the joy of nature/hiking, but couldn't you choose something more suitable for their skill level, like South Mountain?!

Spent a lot of time at the just felt so zen and spiritual up there today.  I watched airplanes approach from the north/northwest and land at Sky Harbor. I took some panos of the mountains and crazy monsoon clouds to the north and west.  I tried to play with an (off leash, not permitted in the park) adorable black lab puppy.  I met some interesting hikers and we shared war stories about climbing the Superstitions.  All in all today was an awesome hike.  Can't wait to do it again :)

Looking north at Piestewa Peak, Mummy Mtn, McDowells

Looking south at Sierra Estrellas

Glad it waited til afternoon--but here comes the monsoon!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Back to the Camel!

Weather:  89°, humid, partly cloudy, RAIN

Time:  Not taken

About this hike:  Felt so good to be back at Camelback after being out of town the last 2 Saturdays.  I am recovering from a cold and decided I wouldn't even bother taking my time as I've been fatigued a lot lately.  Now I wish I would've.  While I made plenty of stops, once I got going the hike made me feel a lot better and I moved pretty quick.

My time at the summit was cut short by a rain shower. I knew it was coming as I could see the Valley to the east had a fine mist over it.  Rain didn't last long, but made the rocks incredibly slick going down.  Nothing I haven't experienced a few times before, but just the same I was having gory visions of a broken ankle. Gratefully I made it down ok; in fact the trail was dry and the sun back out by the time I reached the trailhead.

I had my old Skecher Punisher hiking boots on today.  Even though I replaced these back in March, I got it in my head that they were still good.  The soles are nice and cushy; the bottoms have very poor tread.  That made the slick rocks even more fun.  Rather than let myself be tempted to wear them again, they didn't go home with me.  (I trashed them--I don't condone littering!)

Near the bottom a guy and girl in front of me commented about a recent hike at Diamond Head in Honolulu, HI.  Totally random--exactly a week ago today I was climbing Diamond Head in Hawaii.  Was an awesome hike and one I'd go back to Honolulu just to do again!

With daytime highs only around >100, fall is here in the Valley.  Here's to many more hikes, crowded trails, and tourist season!

Not the view from Camelback...but as long as we're talking about
Diamond Head on Oahu...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor of Love

Weather:  97°, sunny, HOT

Time:  33.5 minutes

About this hike:  The crowd was as expected for a holiday. Parking was still plentiful. Have I mentioned how grateful I am to the City of Phoenix for 1) building the new Echo Canyon parking area and 2) not putting up parking meters?

Heat was rough today.  I definitely stopped more than expected to catch my breath and chug Powerade.

At the top I was summoned (just like on Saturday!) to be everyone's personal photographer.  I took some pix of one couple who insisted on returning the favor.  I've got some goofy shots of me on the west side of the Camelback summit looking toward Piestewa Peak.  None of them are worth posting on here.