Today I left my best friend Kelly at home and took my friend Patrick hiking up at Picacho Peak instead. On leash dogs are allowed but Kelly is not well enough trained or possibly I am not trained well enough to prevent her from pulling me into another butt drop and this trail was both steeper and riskier than last weeks Catalina hike.
Picacho Peak is well known for its spring wild flower display but we were a week or two early for that. Here is a view of it getting ready….
These will be a very intense yellow when they are in full bloom. If you can see the chunky gravel under the flowers you will understand another reason to think twice about bringing a dog. The trail is covered with that granularity of rock which can be hard on a dog’s paws. Of course todays hike was about more than flowers.
There are 2 trails – the Hunter and the Sunset Vista. The Hunter is both shorter and harder. We chose the Sunset Vista. It starts out on the west face of the peak and then slowly wraps around to the south face and up. There is no shade so not a trail to hike in the Arizona summer. We had excellent weather – upper 60’s (maybe low 70’s), overcast and a steady breeze. The trail did lots of uphill and then suddenly you are hiking down to go through a gully and then back up again . At the end, my fit bit said we had climbed the equivalent of 97 flights of stairs. (not that I totally trust the fit bit’s accuracy).
As I said, the trail was covered with gravel to help prevent erosion with periodic stairs made from railroad ties pounded in to further secure the trail. We didn’t go all the way to the top as the only way to do that is to haul yourself up hand over hand up a cable. We did get up into the switchbacks until Patrice said his legs were feeling rubbery – okay, I admit it, I would have quit slightly before that but he had outpaced me going up a bunch of those stairs and I had to catch up before I could admit to being done in.
After a rest we headed back and I appreciated the views even more than on the way up.
That’s looking south.
And looking more westerly.
We didn’t make it to the top but Patrick’s and I felt like it was a good workout. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and as my car approached its home port, I heard my patio calling….
For my beer loving friends, the cold one is a Founder’s All Day IPA.