April 9th, 2016 ~ Day 15
The temperature was in the mid-seventies, as I began my hike. What a beautiful day for a hike! I was excited because it was the weekend and I would be able to get more mileage in today than I could get during the week.
I began my hike at 59th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road, starting out on The Coach Whip Trail making my way to the Arrowhead Loop.
The desert is dry and barren. All the brush is dried up. As the temperature of the valley begins to heat up, the plants begin to dry out. Although I can only see a beige hue, I still see beauty in the blue skies, the white clouds, and the mountains that surround me. To be outdoors is one of the utter most pure joys of life. To be one with nature, listening to the bird’s chirp and the sounds of the rocks crunching under my feet as I hike a trail, I am in heaven.
I call hiking my serenity. It give me so much peace. With all that I have to do in life, coming to the trails calms me, and although I am exerting myself, it relaxes my soul. I’ve used hiking to give me peace during my divorce and to help heal me with the death of Jimmy, my children’s father. I pray my legs will always give me strength enough to make it to a trail, to continue on my path of peace and serenity,
As I climbed up the switchbacks of Arrowhead Loop, I received a view of the other two mountains at Thunderbird, along with a glimpse of the White Tank Mountains in the far off distance.
An amazing cloud display in the sky. A slight breeze and big white fluffy clouds to cool me down on this seemingly hot day. I almost stepped on a lizard as I was hiking up to the peak. It scared me when I saw it, but then again, any sudden movement on the trail scares me. You never know if it’s a snake.
My view from the top of the first peak, looking south over the valley. South Mountain laying sleepily in the distance. That is one mountain I need to hike on this journey.
I made my way down the mountain on Arrowhead Loop coming back to the Coachwhip Trail. I then headed over the bridge to hike the second mountain. Following the Coachwhip Trail north, I made my left onto the Cholla Loop.
Hiking up the switchbacks on the north side of the second mountain on the Cholla Loop, I was greeted with even more beauty, along with some serious shade. After already having hiked three miles, I was getting a little warm. I embraced every ounce of shade I could find on this hike.
A beautiful cactus looming over me, beginning to bloom its spectacular flowers. Springtime is here and I love our Arizona desert blooms. As I climbed higher up to the peak, I listened as the bees were buzzing all around me. Taking caution to keep my distance. Besides the snakes, bees are one of my greatest fears while hiking.
Yet another remarkable view of the valley from the peak of the Cholla Loop. From this peak, it was downhill the rest of the way, with two miles to go, I was happy for the downhill, thanks only to the heat.
Finishing this hike out on another section of the Coachwhip Tail, I made my way back to the trailhead. I ended up doing two of the three mountains today, making for a 5.82-mile hike with 1071 foot elevation gain, averaging a 22 minute mile. Even though I always come to the same trails, the beauty of Arizona still amazes me each time I am here.
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