I am VERY proud of myself (and Cindy) because yesterday we did the hardest hike we've ever done!
It wasn't really on purpose, and if we had known how difficult it was going to be, we wouldn't have done it, but we DID do it, and we deserve a celebration!
Cindy lives in a different town now (about 45 minutes away from where I live, sadly), so we decided to try a hike near where she lives. The mountain is called Picacho Peak, and there are number of hikes around and on it. We didn't realize that this trail went straight to the top!
It started innocently enough . . . we just hiked up to this wind cave. It took about 30 minutes.
A wind cave is not really a cave as a normal person would think of a cave. It is a place in a rock wall where the wind has carved out a portion so there's an overhang and a nice shelter from the hot sun.
This one was neat because Martins were living in holes in the rocks and eating the annoying little gnats
that were getting stuck in our sweat.
From inside the wind cave to the north.
You can see some of the holes
in the rocks where the birds live!
From inside the wind cave towards the east (and the freeway).
You can see the lovely cool shadow of the overhang!
We were still feeling happy.
As we kept going, we discovered that the trail went up and around the back side of the mountain, where there was a precipitously steep descent and then an even more precipitously steep ascent up to the peak!
Rebar was drilled into the rock in order to make hand rails for climbers. In some places, there were little wire fences so climbers wouldn't fall off the mountain altogether.
At the flat part above the wind cave, there was a little bench with a Gideon's Bible and a brick holding down some gardening gloves, donated to the cause by previous hikers/climbers. They were for preventing blisters when grasping on tightly to the rebar.
They were man-sized, though, and I didn't take one because it would have hindered me more than helped me. I thought the Bible was an amusing touch, as if someone was saying, "You are about to undertake a frightening endeavor. Take some time with God before you continue."
From this angle, it looked as if this metal support was just dangling off side of the mountain!
First major descent:
You can see how steep this trail was, and this is a part with NO hand-holds;
imagine how steep it was in the parts where the metal supports were installed!
Me, being brave:
Cindy, on the piece that looked from afar as if it was just dangling off the mountain:
Me, feeling thankful for the little wire fence:
As you can see, at this point we are getting pretty high up.
We saw some very interesting wildlife - lizards I have never seen before!
This one was molting. He looked pretty grumpy. He was probably about a foot long (maybe a little more).
This guy was little. I thought he was a Horny Toad at first, but they don't have that pretty striped tail!
I didn't get photos of the scariest part because I was focused on survival and keeping a good attitude!
And eventually we got to the top. THREE HOURS LATER.
As we ate our lunch, I realized that the mountain was in the middle of a large crater.
These pictures just show the west side of the view from the top because it's where we sat to eat our lunch.
The big (probably 2-5 miles in diameter) crater encompassed the Picacho Peak park, the freeway, and some mountains to the east.
I did not take pictures from the other side of the mountain because it was less pretty and because I didn't do any unnecessary walking around, and it's a good thing, because this is the only hike I've ever done where I had to stop about 100 feet from the car because I couldn't go anymore right then.
Obviously, after a short rest, I did make it the last 100 feet! SIX HOURS AFTER WE STARTED.
Obviously, it was a little much.
Both of us decided that we are glad we accomplished this amazing feat, but that the payoff wasn't great enough to do it again. There are much less strenuous hikes that are more beautiful and less crowded.
However, this is the only hike I've ever done where my arms and shoulders got a workout, too!
My foot after removing my shoe and sock:
I am not as sore as I expected, and my abdominal stuff isn't causing me much trouble. I am TIRED, though.
A few other photos from the past week:
|Claude is a bibliophile like her Mommy!|
|A cactus flower that bloomed in our garden!|
|Beautiful blue Arizona sky!|
Hope you had a wonderful weekend, full of adventures!
UPDATE: I wasn't even that horribly sore after that crazy wild hike! My calves were tender for a couple of days and my shoulders felt it a bit, but not bad - yay!