Saturday, October 25, 2014

Busy Saturday at Echo Canyon

Weather:  90°, sunny

Time:  35 minutes

About this hike:  Really disappointed in my time this morning.  Not sure what the problem was.  The mountain was crowded but I didn't experience any bottlenecks until on the way down.

Ended up parked off site again.  Added a lot of extra time waste and made me wish I had done Piestewa this morning.  Despite that, I did enjoy my time at Camelback.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Morning

Weather:  85°, sunny

Time:  32 minutes

About this hike:  Nice hike to begin a nice Saturday.  Ended up parking at the hotel that shall remain nameless.  First time I haven't been able to nab a spot in the main lot since this spring.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Saguaro Down @ Echo Canyon

Weather:  92°, sunny

Time:  34 minutes

About this hike:  Disappointing 34 minutes.  Wasn't terribly crowded on this warm but pleasant afternoon.  I expected an empty mountain as the Cardinals were playing, but apparently there are others who don't care about football.

There's a big saguaro down about halfway up the trail and numerous branches and scrub strewn about.  I'm guess this is remnants from the big monsoon 2 weeks ago?

Anyway, was an uneventful but enjoyable hike.

Saguaro down

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Midweek Stress Relief

Weather:  85°, overcast, increasing humidity

Time:  32 minutes

About this hike: I can only think the heat and increased humidity slowed me down today.  I really expected a better than 32 minutes.

There were a lot of kids up there today, which I blame on the public schools being on fall break.  I realize instilling a love of nature/hiking in your kids is a good thing, but seriously, couldn't parents/scout leaders go to South Mountain or Papago--preferably trails that aren't double-black diamonds?!  Kids freak out at railings.  Kids fall and get hurt.  They're nearly as bad as dogs (which people continue to bring despite the ban).

Anyway, I'm just being a grumpy hiker.  I am continually thankful for our city's trails, mountains, and preserves, and the fact that parking at trailheads remains unmetered!

Overall an enjoyable hike and I got to watch the crazy clouds building in all around the Valley.  Word is there's a monsoon on the way this week...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

First Camelback Climb of October

Weather:  80°, sunny, lower humidity

Time:  30 minutes

About this hike:  I don't know if it was an even 30 minutes. I always round down a bit as a handicap to make up for bottlenecks along the trail, which there were plenty of this morning.  Surprisingly the worst hold ups were near the summit and then on the descent near the trailhead past the railroad ties.  The usual trouble areas such as the railings weren't bad.  At one point on the descent there was no one else around me and I just enjoyed the serenity and spirtuality of the red rock cliffs surrounding me.

Parking wasn't too bad this morning, despite over-eager park rangers having the "Lot Full" sign on display.  I had no problem scoring a spot (last Saturday there was no sign and it took me ~3 laps to get spot).  By the time I left (~10:40) the main lot had plenty of open spaces.  Must enjoy it...winter's coming with all it's tourists (and Superbowl...ugh).

On the ascent I discovered a side trail to the left of the main trail that is actually easier for getting to the summit.  Found this by accident trying to get around a bottleneck of slow hikers.

The ocotillos are blooming and look absolutely beautiful, testament to all the rain we've had as recent as one week ago.  Today was honestly everything I could hope for in a Saturday morning hike.