Walnut Canyon National Monument

Walnut Canyon National Monument

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Never stop exploring!  That needs to be my motto, because every time I think I know what I will see when out hiking, I am surprised by what I find. Case in point, Walnut Canyon,  I have been to the  city of Flagstaff, Arizona  area numerous times and yet this unbelievable ancient settlement was just over 10 miles from the city.  I decided to check it out on a whim while I was picking out high altitude training spots.  I am so glad I chose this amazing place! Continue reading “Walnut Canyon National Monument”

Back In The Olden Days We Read Actual BOOKS

Back In The Olden Days We Read Actual BOOKS

IMG_8492Remember what we used to do before we had the internet?  We actually went to bookstores and bought actual books.  Like the majority of people I have fallen into the  habit of just going online and ordering whatever I want to read and getting the digital version for my kindle or or computer.

Continue reading “Back In The Olden Days We Read Actual BOOKS”

Lowes Ventana Canyon Resort Tucson, A Perfect Weekend Getaway

Lowes Ventana Canyon Resort Tucson, A Perfect Weekend Getaway

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Golf Anyone?

Tucson is one of my favorite places to visit for an easy weekend getaway.  It is located only 2 hours south of Phoenix and has beautiful resorts that offer everything you need for a fun weekend.

After  long week  hiking and camping, my favorite way to recharge is check into a great resort.  This week I chose  Lowes Ventana Canyon Resort.  It was exactly what I needed.

Continue reading “Lowes Ventana Canyon Resort Tucson, A Perfect Weekend Getaway”

Havasu Falls, A True Treasure of the Southwest

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Havasu Falls Turquoise Canyon Oasis
Havasu Falls plunges into a deep blue-green pool, with Cataract Canyon behind lit by the morning sun, on Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon.

Hiking to see the waterfalls of Havasu was one of the toughest yet  most amazing experiences of my life.  The waterfalls are located deep in the Grand Canyon and are part of the Havasupi Tribal Lands.  Havasupi is  translated as “people of the blue-green water.”  The water is a beautiful turquoise, unlike anything I have ever seen.

Continue reading “Havasu Falls, A True Treasure of the Southwest”

CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN, A Graduation Hike

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I knew months ago that I had a lot of work to do to be physically ready for a 5 day hike through the Grand Canyon and Havasupi Falls.  What I didn’t know was that it was going to be a lot harder than I thought.

I had to figure out how to balance a lot of traveling during the months of May, June and July,  work through some back pain issues and practice hiking during the months of August and September in Phoenix when the average temperature is over 105 degrees.

My final test for physical readiness was climbing the largest mountain in Phoenix, Camelback Mountain  . This is a mountain that is famous for hikers and people come from all over the world to hike it.  There are two ways to summit this mountain, the Cholla Trailhead and the Echo Canyon Trailhead.  Both are rated extremely difficult.

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This sign wasn’t kidding!

I climbed the Echo Canyon trail.  The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department  describes it as  ” an Extremely Difficult, incredibly steep, very rocky, out-and-back trail that requires the assistance of handrails and other aides to reach the summit. To add to its extreme difficulty,  Echo Canyon Trail is completely exposed to the elements, and offers very little shade and few places to rest. Starting as a relatively light trek, the trail quickly escalates to a strenuous climb that increases in difficulty as you ascend along the mountain’s western slope. As hikers approach the top of the trail it becomes less defined as you enter extremely rocky areas, and in certain sections hiking gives way to climbing.”

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We started a half hour before sunrise
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Sunrise View!

We arrived before sunrise and made it to the first viewpoint in time to watch one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen.  I’d like to say I sailed through this hike but the truth is I had to stop a few times to catch my breath, take some sips of cool water and fight of a little nausea.  The good news is that I made it to the top in under an hour and did it with a 10 pound weight in my backpack!

The view at the top of this mountain is beautiful.  There is a full 360 degree view of the entire valley below and it is worth the exhausting effort to get to the summit.

OK, Grand Canyon, I’m ready for you!

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My Team

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Looking East as the sunrises

 

One of my favorite apps for any hike I have done, especially this one, is the  REI Hiking Project,   This app is easy to download to any phone and has excellent maps and information for any trail.   This is the link to  Echo Canyon Summit Trail Map & Tips

 

 

My Own Episode Of Fear Factor!

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A few years ago I remember watching the T.V. show, Fear Factor.  I thought the contestants in the show were insane.  I couldn’t figure out why anyone would ever put themselves in such stupid, dangerous and disgusting situations.

Last week I survived my very own living episode of Fear Factor.  Hiking in the Arizona Desert during the summer heat is scary enough.  Add to it some poisonous snakes and wild animals and you have a show. 

Beware Rattlesnakes Sign does not encourage hikers to explore off trail
They aren’t kidding!

Continue reading “My Own Episode Of Fear Factor!”