If you have followed my blog for a while, you have probably noticed that I like to mix up fashion with some really fun hiking adventures. What you may not know is that I am the least likely person to begin a serious hiking hobby at the age of 57 then most people.Continue reading “Angels Landing & Facing Fears”→
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.
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.”
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.
I did It. I committed to a hike I am really not sure I can do….. To the bottom of the Grand Canyon and beyond………….
I have never camped in my life. I am a girly girl who just happens to like seeing pretty views from high places. I hate the heat, I like hot showers and functioning plumbing. I am the least likely person you will ever meet to do a trip like this. As I write this blog entry, I’m trying to figure out how to not die of heat stroke and if it is wise for a 57 year old woman to do something so far out of her comfort zone?
My Top Fears so far
The trip out of the Canyon, it will be a full day of going up hill (over 10 miles)
There are no restrooms along the trail…………(ladies, I’m sure you can relate)
There is no running water to freshen up at the beginning or end of the day
You carry out all trash with you, (ahem, toilet paper, wipes, e.t.c.) What???
I will be the person who falls behind the group and slows everybody down.
Poisonous snakes and scorpions are under every rock I may want to sit on.
Will I be able to sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag or will I toss and turn all night?
The Havasu Falls hike is an advanced hike. There are no hotels, restaurants or wineries around the corner. Did I mention it is in September and training for this hike for the next 3 months will take place between vacations and when it is over 115 degrees in Phoenix????
In full disclosure, the Sedona hike was really an introductory hike perfect for my skill level. Yes, I trained for it for about 3 months but the training was relatively easy. I have a lot of local hiking trails close to my home and the weather was perfect for being outside. Winter in Arizona averages between 60 to 75 degrees. In Sedona we stayed in a lovely Air B & B . We ate delicious meals and drank wine. We rested and relaxed between hikes during the day and had soft beds to sleep in and hot showers to take at the end of the day.
I’m sure during the next few months I’ll add to my list (these things usually occur about 2 a.m.) But you know what? 2018 is the year I said “Yes To Adventure!” I’ll figure out how to deal with each fear in due time. In the meantime, I’ve got to figure out how to train for this thing! Stay tuned for progress reports…
To think this whole blog was inspired by a night of drinking wine with girlfriends that lead us to the adventure of a lifetime is ironic to say the least. We are all of a certain age where getting in shape is not easy and we dread going to the gym. A friend suggested we sign up for an adventure hike and start training for it as a group. After my 3rd glass of wine that sounded like a wonderful idea.
In full disclosure, I was an avid couch potato, I have joined and quit so many gyms, yoga studios and pilates classes that I have lost count. My main athletic ability was walking, as in through shopping malls and finding quaint little restaurants on vacation. I’m not sure how I thought I was going to do this, but I signed up for the training anyway.
And it was a challenge! Getting up early when I definitely wanted to keep sleeping, dealing with sore muscles I didn’t know I had, and pushing my lungs to keep functioning even when they were screaming at me to stop were all challenges I had to face and we weren’t even hiking yet!
But during those three months, I discovered something about myself — I actually like being outside! My body is stronger than I gave it credit for and I am much more goal driven then I realized.
The training was not all bad. I am fortunate to live in Phoenix, AZ close to beautiful mountains I used to train. Each week I saw a little progress and knowing the reward of being with my friends and seeing some of the most beautiful scenery in the country was enough to keep me motivated.
The other fun part was figuring out what kind of equipment and clothing would work for me. My typical exercise attire usually consisted of some old tee shirts and baggy sweatpants. I decided I wanted to up my game. If I had some great workout clothes I would at least look like an athlete in training.