Friday, March 4, 2016

Piestewa to the Rescue (again!)

Weather:  71°, sunny

Time:  Not taken

About this hike:  If I had a mulligan on today, I probably would not have gone hiking this morning.  My intent was to hike Camelback.  Northbound traffic on 44th Street was horrendous.  Typically the Echo Canyon lot fills up by 10:00am on a weekday, and I got there right around 9:00am.

Myself and many other disappointed drivers went around the circle at Echo Canyon and McDonald.  Some chose to head down McDonald (likely intending to pull a u-turn and try again) while others (like myself) headed back to Tatum.

But today was no ordinary day where the lot is just full.  No, a new sign blocked the entrance.  It read "Rescue in progress, parking area closed."

I headed to my secret location because during these mountain rescues foot traffic is still permitted in.  I was blocked again today by big gates (darn it—they're finally on to me!).  For the second time this week I headed west on Lincoln to Piestewa Peak.  So there you have it—an entire week with no Camelback hike.

I wouldn't describe Piestewa as crowded so much as there were frustrating bottlenecks at times.  Despite not officially recording my time to the summit, it was in the average 23-24 minute range.  I passed an older, overweight guy on the way up carrying 25 pound dumbbells on each shoulder.  While admirable that he wants to push himself, what if one of these things fell off, and fell on another hiker's foot?

So that was my excitement for today.  Not sure it was worth driving all over Paradise Valley, but just the same I'm grateful for the chance to get out and hike.

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