Day 219 ~ Bright Angel to Plateau Point Grand Canyon, AZ

October 30th, 2016 ~ Day 219


Planning to hike the Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point for a day hike, Eric and I left in the early morning to drive up to the Grand Canyon. Only three and a half hours away from Phoenix, I feel like I should be doing this more often. Today would be Eric’s first time in the Grand Canyon. I’m so excited to be the one to share this adventure with him.

It was chilly when we arrived. I pulled out my down jacket to keep me warm. With the top of the south rim being at 6860 feet in elevation, it is always cooler than when you are at the bottom of the Canyon.

We started down the Bright Angel Trail, a 4.5 mile downhill with 3800 feet in elevation to Indian Gardens. Downhill is easy, unless the switchbacks become steep, and lucky for us the Bright Angel Trail isn’t too steep.


Our first stop on the trail was the mile and a half house. Named for being one and a half miles from the rim. I had to get this jacket off. The temperature was beginning to rise and I was starting to sweat. Also, stopping I had to stare in awe at the magical wonder this place holds.

There is really nothing like this place, at least none that I have ever seen. The canyon is so massive, grand doesn’t even describe the enormity of this place.


I love the Grand Canyon for so many reasons. The rich colors of the earth are so deep red. We hiked down through the colors of the cliffs could see off in the distance. I’m assuming erosion and time, rushing waters from the Colorado River are what has carved out this beautiful magnificent place, but I really don’t know exactly. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to hike and enjoy all that surrounds me.

We stopped for our second break at the 3 mile house. It’s nice that they have these stops to guage how far you have come, or better yet when you’re climbing up, how much mileage you have left. 😊


Our third break, Eric and I stopped at Indian Gardens. The temperature read 80 degrees and we had cloud cover, yet it felt really warm. Maybe because we are hiking.

We sat at a picnic table next to the creek to listen to the water flowing. Indian Gardens is one of my favorite places in the Grand Canyon. With so many trees, it offers shade in the desert. The creek is a great place to cool your weary feet on a hot day.


Heading out from Indian Garden to Plateau Point, we saw the helicopter pick up the cargo left behind, possibly by hikers who paid to carry their cargo out. Not something you get to see everyday. Of the six times I’ve been in the Canyon, I have never seen a helicopter before today.

The hike from Indian Gardens to Plateau Point is another mile and a half. An easy, mostly flat hike with more amazing scenery.


Once you arrive at Plateau Point, you receive the breathtaking views of the Colorado River. The green color is a beautiful sight. Since the first time I touched the Colorado River back in February, here in the Canyon, I’ve been in love. So many things to love about the outdoors.


After taking in the breathtaking views from Plateau Point, we began our journey heading back up the Canyon. Stopping again at Indian Gardens for a moment before we headed uphill.

The first mile from Indian Gardens seems pretty easy. It’s a gradual uphill climb. After that first mile it gets tough.


Exhausted I laid on the ground every chance I got, putting my feet in the air to give them some rest. I read somewhere it releases the toxins from your legs while hiking.

We stopped often to catch our breath. I was pretty proud of Eric, I let him lead the way, and his stops were far less than mine were the first time I climbed up the Bright Angel Trail.

Just before the three mile house a helicopter came flying above us. It landed at the three mile house. After speaking with some other hikers, they said someone was dehydrated and needed to be rescued. They also said it was the fourth rescue today. Dehydration is no joke!


As we were making our way to the top of the Canyon, the sun began to set. The colors and the shadows of the Canyon were so vibrant!

We made it! Almost seven hours in 12 miles. I loved every single minute of this day! Another amazing hike in the grand Canyon! What a beautiful life!


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Day 217 ~ Piestewa Peak Phoenix, AZ

October 28th, 2016 ~ Day  217


It was an unseasonably warm October morning, I was already sweating before the hike even began. Darkness surrounded me at the trailhead where I was meeting Cindy and Kim for our 5 am hike. We began our climb up Piestewa Peak. A 1.2 mile hike straight uphill with 1200 feet of elevation gain.

The clouds were covering the sky, which may be why it was so warm, usually it’s the clouds that keep the heat in.

We saw a little mouse on the trail. He was digging a hole, not scared of us humans, he ignored us and kept working.

It was difficult in the dark to climb up the mountain. Piestewa Peak has a lot of high steps and jagged rocks. Climbing over them in the dark was hard to manage. This mountain kills me every time I hike it. It’s always something different. I slowed down the higher we went.


We made it to the top in about 45 minutes. Still dark, we used Kim’s green light for our picture. The girls were going on to do a second summit for the Seven Summits training. I on the other hand, had to go get my babies to school. One hike was enough for me today. 


Climbing down, the sun began to rise to beautiful shades of red and orange into the skies. It was as if there was fire in the skies. I don’t believe I have ever seen the colors so rich and the view surrounding Camelback Mountain, was jaw dropping. 

When I’m tired and worn and don’t feel like getting up in the morning, I get the opportunity to see things like this, and it makes me grateful to have gotten out of bed. 

Starting at the sunrise took more time than I realized. I had to leave the girls if I was going to make it home in time to get the kids to school. 


It was becoming daylight just before the end of the trail. Snapping a picture of the city, which seemed so much closer in reality, with a little bit of pink clouds left just hanging in the air. I hurried to my car trying not to be too late and headed home. 

It was a great 2.4 mile difficult hike. I conquered the beast, yet again. I doubt this mountain will ever get any easier for me.
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Day 213 ~ North Mountain Phoenix, AZ

October 24th, 2016 ~ Day 213


With Eric in California, I decided to do a Meetup with Mike from HHH. There were supposed to be five of us, but it only ended up being him and I. Our hike began at 6 am, and with the kids having a late start for school today I wasn’t pressed for time, so I was able to make it to the top of North Mountain this time.

Our hike began at the North Mountain Visitor Center. Starting on Trail 100 we headed over to Trail 101 to then make it up North Mountain Trail 44. Both trails were dirt trails until you reach the pavement on Trail 44.


Halfway up the mountain you get the opportunity to view the City of Phoenix. I love seeing Phoenix from the top of any mountain and you can see the city from so many mountains around here. One of the blessings living in a valley.

Growing up in Illinois, I would visit Chicago once in awhile. It was so far from my house. Here our little downtown is so close to us. Still as an adult, I only go to visit the city once in a great while. I’m not a huge fan of crowds, seeing it from the mountain is enough for me.


The clouds and the colors in the in the sky were setting up the scene for a beautiful sunrise. Even from this vantage point, it was amazing. With the mornings staying dark longer, I’m afraid I won’t be seeing many sunrises. Soon I may have to switch to the evening hikes so I can catch the sunsets. Mike and I made it to the top of North Mountain, touched the fence and turned around to head back down.


From our view off in the distance, behind the McDowell Mountain Range, you can see the Four Peak Mountain Range in the center of this photo. The tallest peak in Maricopa County, Brown’s Peak, and to think I climbed it yesterday. Very cool to have the opportunity to see it from here.


Heading down the mountain we caught the sunrise and of course it was spectacular. I love our Arizona sunrises! I am grateful for the opportunity to see it in the morning. Even if I happen to miss it on the trail, taking the chance that I may get to see the sunrise, is something I don’t want to miss.

Mike is a fast hiker, we kept a good pace averaging 18 minute miles. It took us just over an hour to do three and a half miles. Another great way to start my day. Love this life!


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Day 212 ~ Brown’s Mountain Peak Four Peaks, AZ

October 23rd, 2016 ~ Day 212


Today’s hike was in the Four Peaks Wilderness with a few of my friends to hike/climb Brown’s Peak, the tallest of the Four Peaks. I hiked this mountain about four years ago, but I didn’t make it to the top of the peak. I was talked out of it by the people in the group. This hike involves climbing up a chute about a half mile long and they wanted me to make sure I could get down, so once I came to the hardest part, I decided to turn around in case I couldn’t make it down the chute. That wasn’t going to happen today, today I was going to finish what I started years ago.

Samantha, Dominic and Kevin met up with me at the Target in Fountain Hills and from there we headed to the trailhead. We drove the Beeline Highway for about twenty minutes before turning off on the dirt road up the mountain to the trailhead. Today’s drive was worse than yesterday’s, it was two hours uphill dodging rocks and boulders on the dirt road. Luckily Samantha was driving today. I don’t think I could do a repeat of yesterday and one that would be three times longer.


Our hike began in the woods with the trees towing over us. I could see bits and pieces of color on the leaves off in the distance and there were boulders scattered about. So instead of staring at the clouds imagining what they looked like, we did the same imagining with the boulders on the mountain.

The trailhead begins at 5700 feet of elevation. The two mile hike up to the chute is a fairly easy trail. The 1900 feet of elevation gain really comes when you begin to climb the rocks. I was getting excited!


The manzanita trees were beautiful with small red berries growing on them. Walking through a trail of manzanita, it was like they were overtaking the trail. These are my favorite trees, and I have never seen them so tall. I love the colors the manzanita has to offer. The branches have a red bark that twists and becomes grey. The contrast is gorgeous to me.

It wasn’t just the manzanita that were taking over the trail either, all the brush was overgrown. I’m glad I wore pants today. My legs would be a battlefield of scratches had I not worn them.


The little bits of color I had seen as we began our hike was more than I expected. After the leaves of yesterday’s hike being on the ground, I was ecstatic to see leaves covering the trees. So many leaves, so many colors and still on the trees! Amazingly beautiful. I love the Autumn Season.

I’m grateful to finally see the leaves having colors. I’ve been given glimpses of the colors, from when I was in Illinois and Wisconsin where I was too early in the season, to being in Flagstaff where I was too late.


As we continued on, Samantha saw a tarantula crossing the trail. A tarantula, say what?! Never have I seen one in the wild. This is by far the craziest animal I have seen on the trail during this journey. Though spiders scare me, I’m grateful to have seen one in the wild. I never would have expected this and I love the surprises.


After our two miles of easy hiking, the hard part of climbing begins. Approaching the chute, it looked intimidating standing high above us. I was determined to make it to the top. The climb seemed easier than it looked. A class 3 scrambling up a scree filled collier.

Learning some terminology for climbing from my friends, I learned what a bomber is. A bomber being a rock or boulder that is secured to the ground, making a good hand hold to pull yourself up the side of the cliff. It wasn’t too difficult to find good rock’s to grip as I was climbing up .


Learning more new words, I had to pull what was called a beach whale. Climbing over a ledge, I had no place for hand or foot holds, so I used my belly. Luckily that only had to happen once.

The one thing that seemed the most dangerous to me on this climb was the loose gravel. Knocking a rock over the edge could hit anyone climbing up below, and it was easy to knock the rocks off accidentally. Depending on how big a rock is, could depend on how much damage that could be done. Yelling “rock” anytime you kicked one off the ledge, helped to warn the people below.


After the climb, we made it to the top!!! Now I can say this was easy stuff! I didn’t make it last time, but I wouldn’t be stopped today. Officially we were at the highest point in Maricopa County at 7657 feet. I’m so grateful to have this hike completed on this journey of 365 days of hiking.


The views from the top were stunning! From here you can see one fourth of the state of Arizona. Seeing Lake Roosevelt with the Payson Mollogon Rim behind, amazing! We sat at the top of the mountain for a half hour enjoying the scenery. I didn’t want to leave. It’s these moments where I wish I could stay here awhile if not forever.


Coming down the chute was easy enough. My biggest concern was kicking a rock and having it hit someone in the head. There was a father and son climbing out below us, the kid was scared, so we patiently waited for them to get out of the chute. Waiting on them it took us longer than expected get down.

Hiking the two miles out was easier than coming up. Downhill, I’m always faster. We finished our hike and drove the long drive down the mountain. I’m so grateful to have come on this journey today, to finish what I started all those years ago . Just another beautiful day in this life!

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Day 211 ~ Abineau-Bear Jaw Loop Flagstaff, AZ

October 22nd,2016 ~ Day 211


My friend Jamie came into town from Colorado, and were planning to do a hike today. I’ve seen this hike for the Abineau-Bear Jaw Loop posted a few times on Meetup, but I’ve always had other plans and haven’t been able to make it to any of the events. Part of the San Francisco Peaks, Abineau-Bear Jaw Loop has all the write ups of being one of the best hikes in the Peaks. So when Jamie asked me what was on my bucket list, this is what I chose.

Driving from Phoenix, we made it to the turn off onto FR420, about 15 miles north of Flagstaff. From here we had another 9.5 miles up a rocky dirt road. Luckily I have a Subaru Outback, because some portions of the road are quite rocky with huge boulders and deep crevasses. They did recommend a high clearance vehicle for this route, going slowly I was able to make my way through.

Reaching the trailhead, we snapped a picture before beginning our hike. Initially you begin walking on a bed of crushed lava rocks for about .3 miles before coming to the actual loop. Starting out on the Abineau Trail first we began our climb.


The leaves of the aspen trees have fallen to the ground. I’m sure the beautiful golden colors of the leaves against the white tree bark would have been amazing. Maybe next year. I seem to be too early or too late during this journey to see any of the leaves changing colors. Even though we came a little late to see the leaves on the trees, seeing this golden color littering the trail, was just as impressive.

Choosing to hike the Abineau Trail, and starting at 8536 of elevation, we climbed the 1900 feet of elevation in two and a half miles, getting the hard part done first. It was difficult for me to catch my breath as we kept climbing higher. Going uphill was a slow 30-45 minute mile. These climbs seem to be getting tougher every time I do them. It’s not going to ever stop me, but one day I’m going to need more time.


Growing up in the Midwest every Fall the leaves would change colors and fall to the ground. As a child, I loved to play in the leaves. We would rake them into a pile and jump into the leaves, over and over again. Phoenix doesn’t get the changing colors of the leaves so we have to visit Flagstaff, Payson, or anywhere the temperature gets cooler than here in the desert. Since the leaves have already fallen, it was fun to play with them again today. Who says hiking isn’t fun?


Barren aspen trees, mixed in amongst the conifer trees, had an alluring beauty in itself. White against the green with the clear blue sky, such an breathtaking view. These trees must be forty to fifty feet high towering above us into the heavens.


Coming to the top of trail, we came to a clearing. Fallen trees lay strewn about from an avalanche that happened about ten years ago. The vastness of this area was enormous. It’s amazing how much damage this had caused and how we can still see its effects. Even with the destruction, the beauty still had me in awe.


Climbing to 10,284 feet we were at the top. Not quite above treeline, but to be able to see through the tops of the trees was spectacular! The one thing about climbing to the top of a mountain, you get to see for miles around you! These are the moments I live for. I love being in nature enjoying the moments of peace and serenity. The quite calm that surrounds you. Nothing can compare, and knowing you can only get here by taking a hike makes it that much better.


From the clearing, we were able to see the Grand Canyon. It was windy up here, as we were in the valley. It was all downhill from this point.  Jamie and I decided to take a quick break once we were back in the trees, to avoid the wind.


The trail became a road through the aspen and pine. I’m not sure what the road is used for, but it was nice to have such a wide trail. The trail, littered with golden aspen leaves and pine needles, was made of packed dirt. Somehow, this still seemed soft under my feet. With the pine needles scattering the earth, the smell of pine was strong. One of my favorite smells in the wilderness.


After climbing 1/3 of the trail uphill, the first half of the downhill was easy, the second half had a few tricky spots. Rocks on the trail along with loose gravel and dirt made some parts of the trail a little difficult. Climbing over and under branches that had fallen. It was fun though, especially with Jamie hanging like a monkey from the tree. Going downhill, we were able to pick up the pace a little.


As we were meeting the end of our hike, more beauty surrounded us with the beautiful golden color of the dried grass along with the white aspens and green pine. The trail was again lava rocks. We decided they must have brought this here, it was too fresh and not packed in to have been here naturally. It added a little bit more to the beauty surrounding us though.

We hiked just over seven miles in three and a half hours. Not planning that extra hour drive through the dirt road, we were pressed for time getting home. It ended up being a thirteen hour day with seven hours of driving and it was worth every moment. I was able to spend the day with a great friend and we were able to go hiking in a beautiful place. I can’t wait till the next time!

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Day 210 ~ Deem Hills Phoenix, AZ

October 21st, 2016 ~ Day 210


Complete darkness when we arrived at Deem Hills this morning at 5 am. It was a warm seventy-two degrees with a slight breeze. A little eerie being in total darkness. The only people out there this early in the morning. Hearing noises across the parking lot I was a little scared, but luckily I had two other women with me so I wasn’t alone.

I met Kim and Cindy from the Happy Hikers for another Seven Summits training hike. Rebecca who was running late would meet us on the trail. I was the happy hiker when they posted this hike at 5 in the morning, rather than in the evening. I was actually going to be able complete the entire hike. Although they were headed off to do a second trail of the Seven Summits, I was grateful to get one summit in.

We started exactly where we began last year for the event and headed off to the peak with the headlamps on.


Hiking in the dark isn’t so bad, you just have to watch where you’re walking. When I was here a couple weeks ago, we watched for snakes. I’m not sure if they’re out at this time of the morning, but I was watching for them anyway.

The trail starts out relatively flat then begins a gradual uphill climb. It’s pretty well maintained, but there are always rocks on the trail for you to trip over. After about a half mile, the climb gets a lot more difficult. It’s a 1/4 mile or so straight up just before you reach the saddle. From the saddle you have another 3/4 mile uphill, which I feel is moderately difficult compared to that climb just before the saddle.

We kept a good pace and made it to the peak in no time. It was really windy along the top of the ridgeline. Stopping exactly where they were for the event last year, we took a picture with Kim’s green light and since we were still in total darkness, to me it made us look a little eerie.


Still dark, we began our downhill ascent. Coming back down the colors along the skyline were beginning to emerge. Having the sunrise later each day and being out here each morning, trying to guage the timing of my hikes seems impossible. It may help if I actually looked to see when the sun is rising.


Reaching the saddle again, the horizon began to get more colorful. The city lights glowing even brighter, or so it seemed. It was still too early to catch the actual sunrise.

Shortly after the saddle we ran into Rebecca, who finished out the last mile with us. Glad to have finally found her. I was a little worried.

We made it back to the trailhead and I felt great. A great early morning hike to start my day! My GPS registered 3.15 miles in an hour and fifteen minutes. Not too bad considering the breaks we took. With the event only a few weeks away, I’ll be able to get a lot of good training hikes in to build up my mileage. Today I hit 652 miles. Only 848 to go to accomplish my goal and I have five months to do it. I better step it up. 😉


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Day 209 ~ North Mountain….almost Phoenix, AZ

October 23rd, 2016 ~ Day 209


There were six of us in our Trail Mix Meetup this morning. Rene, our amazing leader, was taking everyone up North Mountain from the Visitor Center . Everyone, that is, but me. I was again on a time constraint.

We had another great group of people today. One thing I’ve found while hiking with these Meetup groups is that hikers are always good people. At least everyone I’ve found so far has been.


Parking at the North Mountain Visitor Center, we began shortly after six a.m. Starting out on the Trail 100 and turning off on Trail 101 after about a half mile, we made our way to North Mountain. Taking Trail 101 leads you back towards 7th Street and up to North Mountain.


I caught a picture of the girls climbing uphill around the one mile mark. In the background you can see Shaw Butte. The mountain I was just on yesterday. It’s pretty sweet that there are so many mountains so close to me and the fact that we’re in the middle of a city, is fantastic. Being that I’m from the Midwest, seeing mountain ranges surrounding this Valley still keeps me in awe everytime I catch a glimpse of one, which happens pretty much anytime I’m outside.


This was the of end my trail. I put my feet on the North Mountain Trail 44, just to say that I was there, before turning around to head back to the trailhead. Time wouldn’t allow me to continue on.


Before I left, Rene took another one of her super terrific silhouette photos. An amazing gift she has taught me, that I will continue to carry on for all of my hiking career. They really do make amazing pictures.


Heading back to the trailhead, I intended to go the same way from where we had come, but instead as I was heading down I came to a T in the trail. It looked like a direct shot along 7th Street, so seeing as how I was short on time, I took the chance. I may have hiked this trail about six years ago, something seemed familiar, but I wasn’t positive.

Hiking along this portion of the trail, one of which I have no name for, you could hear all the traffic from the street below. It was a clean well maintained trail and the entire portion was on the side of the mountain just above the street.


I didn’t catch the sunrise as it was again behind another mountain, but you could see along Shaw Butte where the sun had risen. Turning the mountain into an orange-red, the brightness of the sun shining on the mountain.

I hiked a total of 1.84 miles. My shortcut was about a half mile shorter. I’d have loved to get a little more in, but sometimes it’s more about the people that make the hike enjoyable. I do love our early morning hikes and I wish I had more time in the morning to enjoy my friends.

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Day 208 ~ Shaw Butte Trail Phoenix, AZ

October 19th, 2016 ~ Day 208


Not wanting to hike alone in the dark, I came to the Shaw Butte Trail at 6 this morning. A little brighter out at this time of the day. The parking lot was almost full and there were lots of people on the trail too. I only had so much time before heading home so my goal was to hike up the mountain as far as I could go in 25 minutes before turning around. Juggling work, kids and hiking can be difficult sometimes. I have learned to manage it all and it seems to run smoothly, most days.

Having had the sun rising behind the mountains the last few days, I wanted to see it today. I was hoping by choosing Shaw Butte, I’d get the chance to see the sunrise.


Parking off Central, you immediately start to climb straight uphill on an old paved service road. I say old because the road is crumbling. Broken pieces of asphalt and rocks from the mountain cover the wide road. The climb is tough and can take your breath away. Going up or down the mountain, you have to be cautious as to not trip over the many rocks covering the trail.


I made it to the level part of the trail, just before the last uphill climb to the peak. I caught the views of the City of Phoenix before turning around and heading back to the trailhead.

The sun still hadn’t risen at this point and as I climbed down the mountain I was beginning to fear that I might be missing the sunrise again. At one section where I could tell it was beginning to rise, I wanted to stop and enjoy the view, but that wasn’t going to happen as I didn’t have time to wait. I was headed behind another mountain. Luckily I caught the tail end of it’s ascent and that was enough for me. I had to hike a little faster to see what I wanted, and the little bit of sunrise I did catch made this hike all the more worth it.

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Day 206 ~ Trail 100 Phoenix, AZ

October 17th, 2016 ~ Day 206


Meeting Eric at the North Mountain Visitor Center and arriving at a quarter to five this morning, we still are seeing what looks to be a full moon in the sky… yet again. I love that he has the day off today and I’m not hiking alone in the dark.


We began our hike along Trail 100 and took it as far as time would allow. Heading west on the trail, I had to turn around to capture the beautiful skyline and the colors from the sun beginning it’s ascent into the sky.

These are the moments I live for each morning. Hiking in the city on the same trails everyday can get boring, but when you get to see these amazing views, you don’t tend to think about how boring it could be seeing the same thing over and over again. Everyday is a new day and I always seem to find something new or see something spectacular on the trail.


We continued on the trail and every time I would turn around, the view became more beautiful. I considered walking backwards. Although tripping over a rock when I’m looking behind me wouldn’t be fun.


As we came closer to 16th Street, you could see South Mountain off in the distance along with the city lights, and a little bit of the colors from the rising sun. We made it about a mile and a half before turning around and heading back.


Heading back to the trailhead, the sky was lit up with a beautiful array of colors. Usually I would take the Trail 306 back to the trailhead, but today I decided to stay on Trail 100. One day soon, I plan to hike the entire ten miles in and then back out for a total of twenty miles. I’m excited to tackle this adventure.


The moon was still hanging in the sky along with the colors from the sunrise. We didn’t get to see the actual sunrise as the mountains were in our way, but the colors in the sky made it all okay. We hiked just under three miles today. It was a cool crisp morning hike and a beautiful way to start the day.


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Day 205 ~ Dixie Mountain Loop Phoenix, AZ

October 16th, 2016 ~ Day 205


Arriving at the trailhead the moon was shining brightly in the sky. It looked to be another full moon, but I doubt it. I don’t really know if it actually is a full moon, it just looks that way to me. I don’t believe the moon would stay full for four our five days.

Eric and I made it just in time to begin our 5:45 a.m. hike. This mornings hike is with the Happy Hikers, the same group I hiked with yesterday. Only a few of the women came who were on yesterday’s hike and a few more came for today, along with Mike. We had a total of eight people in our group this morning.

The plan, to hike the Dixie Mountain Loop along with going to the Dixie Summit Peak and the Western Vista Trail Peak, for an approximate total of 5.5 miles. Once I heard that, I didn’t think I wanted to climb anymore. Especially after yesterday’s hike. I figured since both peaks are in and out, I could wait at the bottom.


The city lights were still glowing in the dark. I love how hiking at the same time in a different part of the year can give you an entirely different view. In the summer it is light out at five in the morning, this time of year the sun’s not rising until after six so you are surrounded in darkness. One thing about hiking everyday, you get to actually notice little changes like these on the trails.


Hot air balloons were all over the sky today. I think we saw at least ten total by the time the hike was done. Usually hiking Thunderbird Mountain, or anywhere around Phoenix, I see them off in the distance to the north. Today, I am in the north and I get to see the balloons from a much closer vantage point. One day Eric and I plan to take a ride in one. Something I’ve never done.


Coming to the Dixie Summit Peak I decided it didn’t look too bad, maybe a half mile uphill climb, so I decided to climb it. Especially since it was a group decision that we would only climb this peak and not the Western Vista Trail Peak.

Eric sitting at the top of Dixie Summit Peak staring off into the horizon, a great picture. We made it to the top of the mountain just as the sun was beginning to rise. Perfect timing! I’m so glad I decided to climb it.

I sometimes have to remember that I am here to see all that I can see. I want to experience the most out of life and all of these adventures. So, no matter how tired I am or how slow I become, I am going to continue hiking to places that I have never been.

Having never been to this part of the trail before and never climbing the Dixie Summit Peak, I’m grateful I chose to do the summit. My legs were tired and I was slow, but it was a good uphill climb. Sometimes it is about the destination and not the journey. Seeing the sunrise from the top of this peak was spectacular!


Once down the peak and continuing hiking the far north side of Dixie Mountain Loop, the hot air balloons came into view again. This time they were even closer to us. Had we been a littler faster, we may have been able to be directly under them. Some of our hikers were yelling hello and waving to the people in the balloons and they would wave back.

I took a video of this balloon flying across the mountain. From my vantage point, it looked like it was going so fast it was going to smash into the side of the mountain. So of course I had to record it, just in case. I had watched it a short while before recording. Grateful they didn’t crash!

We continued to see the hot air balloons along the way and even ran into the old rusty car in the wash. The hike was easy at this point, until we came to the last push uphill. A gradual uphill for about a mile or so. We made it to the top and then it was all downhill the rest of the way.

Our  hike was a total of 5.5 miles. Had we done the second peak, it probably would have been a 6.5 mile hike. For the most part it was an easy hike, but any portion going uphill was difficult for me. Yesterday’s hike wore me out and I haven’t fully recovered. I’m just happy to be able to show up and continue on this journey. I’m happy a few other girls from yesterday’s hike made it too. Shows how strong we really are.


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