Saturday, January 10, 2009

My weekly hike....
I started out doing the Wind Cave trail in the Usery Mountain Recreational Park. It was a nice trail with about 860 feet of elevation gain and about 3.2 miles long; took me about 2.5 hours to do. But there were about 5000 people hiking that trail today, so it did nothing to fulfill my need for solitude and peace. Here are some pictures of the beautiful area and views.

So, just so I know, Phoenix is that way, right?

Really? Do you have to be so explicit??

Sorry, this just cracks me up so I had to put in one more picture!!

Beautiful view from part of the way up the trail.

Part of the way up the trail.

View from the Wind Cave

Other side of the wind cave.

I spy a whole bunch of hikers hanging out below me!!! Dive bomb!!!

Nice framed view from the top.

My camera battery died halfway through, so I had to use my cell phone camera....Not the best quality!

It was a really nice hike but kinda short. I felt like I needed more....more hiking and more solitude. So, I set out to find the oldest Geocache in Arizona which was only 4 miles away. I was only 3 caches away from my 200th find, so I thought that would make a nice one for my 200th. There were several trails that were kind of pointing in the same direction toward the cache and about the same distance away from it, so I picked the most likely, the Great Western trail. This is a road that actually starts in Canada and makes its way down to Mexico via backroads. It's a dirt road that is traveled by 4 wheelers, atv riders, horses, and hikers. I set my GPS to the coordinates of Geocache (the oldest one in AZ) and I started off. I walked for about 1.75 miles before I realized that I wasn't getting any closer than .6 miles to the cache and the number was starting to go up more. I decided that I had apparently chosen the wrong trail...bummer. But look at the beautiful views I saw along the way! Still with the camera phone, but you can still see how pretty it was....

The sign explaining the trail.

Beautiful rocky hills in the distance.

The desert is so green right now!

More green desert

The road.

More road with pretty hills in the background.

So I started to head back and figured I'd pick up whatever caches were on the way back. The first one I found was called Looking North. It was a pretty view, so I stopped here and had a little lunch. I was going to put on some sunscreen at this point since I could feel like I was starting to get a bit toasty, but I couldn't find it, so I guess I'll just have to be a bit burnt. After lunch, I went to Veintisiete (I think that's supposed to be 27 in Spanish). Finally, for my 200th cache, I found We Proceeded on. Kind of fitting, actually. Here is the cache description:

named after the overly used motto of the lewis and clark expedition.they wrote it in their journals rather often.

I may actually be related to Meriweather Clark, so that's kinda cool. So, I will "proceed on" and continue caching....200 is just a stopping spot along the way! So, however inadvertant this was for a 200th cache, it actually is kind of fitting for this caching adventure. For this little hike, it was about 4 miles long and took me about 2 hours. It was fairly flat, though.
So, after a long day of caching and hiking, a total of 7.2 miles and 4.5 hours, I headed home with a couple of stops along the way for sustanance. Good hike!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Had a fabulous hike yesterday. I had a co-worker and his wife and dog join me this week. Went to Chipotle afterward to refuel. Yummmmm. The pictures below are from the hike in the McDowell Mountains - Gateway loop trail.

Tom's Thumb

A bunny or mouse amphitheater - can you believe this is Arizona???

Beautiful blue sky and stately cacti

The Gateway Saddle

The's so green!

My co-worker, Will, and his wife, Adrienne, and dog, Sydney

Looking out from the Saddle

It was a great day for a hike. Strangely enough, soon after we were done with lunch, the sky clouded up and it got a bit chilly. Weird that it waited for us but the weather must have known that I really needed that hike! I've been a bit sick with a cold and was in the cough stage so I got a bit winded (that and probably because I hadn't hiked in a month) but was able to make it through.

On the way home, I decided to stop at REI to get properly equipped for the next hike. I got a set of trekking poles that shrink up small enough to stick in my backpack! Got home and watched the Cardinals game (yea! Cardinals win!!!!) and then I headed off to the mall to exchange some Christmas presents and then to Whole Foods for some cat food and people food. A very long day but so much fun to be out in the wilderness for awhile. Hoping next week we'll have a few more participants in the weekly hiking club!