There is nothing like a big hiking trip with a looming deadline to motivate me to get back into prime hiking shape. To be honest, I really slacked off during the holidays and once I realized my trip to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon in Utah was a few short weeks away, I knew it was time to get serious. I needed to consult experts to help me update my equipment and plan my training schedule. Continue reading “HIKING Advice from the Experts”
Winter hikes in Sedona can be breathtaking! Recently a good friend of mine and I decided to take a girls weekend and explore the red rocks in the snow. We hiked an area on the northern part of AZ State Route 89A along Oak Creek Canyon and found a gorgeous and historical trail, West Fork of Oak Creek. Continue reading “Sedona Winter Hiking”
During the last few months I have gotten a number of messages asking me questions about what kind of gear is needed to start hiking. The simple truth is not much! When I started I really had no idea what I was doing and managed to wander around some local trails with just my regular sneakers.
Earlier this summer I had the thrill of driving through Moab, Utah on my way back from Colorado. I had a day to explore and that was not enough time! This place is famous for hiking, jeeping, biking and river rafting. It is the gateway to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. What a gateway it is!
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.
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.
OK, Grand Canyon, I’m ready for you!
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