Weather: 70°, sunny
Time: 22.5 minutes
About this hike: I arose early from a (rare) refreshing night of sleep. Anxious to get going, I arrived at the Camelback Echo Canyon parking lot just before 8:30am. It was full. There is no rhyme or reason to the traffic patterns here. It wasn't so full that rangers had put up the sign yet, so I did a lap around but had no luck. I probably could've kept circling and nabbed a spot. Gas prices may be the lowest in years, but I'm still not willing to waste fuel driving in circles. To Piestewa I went!
Never mind fuel waste, this hike may have cost me dearly. I have a perfect driving record. Today I got caught up in a bad situation with being cutoff and simultaneously passed. This all came to a head as I approached the intersection of 36th Street and Lincoln Drive in ticket-happy Paradise Valley. The guy who was tromping it to pass me in the left lane was now just slightly ahead of my bumper and that's when the camera at the intersection flashed. He earned the speeding ticket, but what if it picked me up mistakenly? So now I'm stressed about this and will be anxiously watching the mailbox. Oh, and doing some research on how to fight camera-issued tickets...just in case.
So maybe it was a stress-fueled adrenaline rush that spurred me to just about tying my record up Piestewa this morning. Admittedly the ascent went by in a blur. My mind was elsewhere (mainly replaying the speed camera incident).
I should mention that parking was pretty full at Piestewa as well, but the trail was not over-crowded. I'm glad this hike is over and I can count my blessings...even a camera-issued ticket isn't as bad as say an injury and mountain rescue. Speaking of, the City Parks & Rec Department put up very helpful new signs at the Piestewa trailhead. Signs include graphics, safety tips, and maps of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Let's hope tourists heed the warnings on there.
P.S. - time to stop deferring investing in a dash cam!