Day 364 ~ North Mountain Preserve Phoenix, AZ

March 24th, 2017 ~ Day 364

With only one day to go on this journey, I had great intentions of doing some awesome hiking today. I had worked at our Paradise Valley office today, and I planned to do any trail I have never done before. Thinking I would end this year on an amazing exploratory adventure.

However, that didn’t happen, I was exhausted after work and didn’t really want to work for my hike today. So I decided to hike around the valley of the North Mountain Preserve instead on the easy flat trails that wouldn’t cause me too much exhaustion.

Starting out on Trail #100 from the North Mountain Visitor Center, I began my hike. I happened to be wearing all black and at 5 pm, the sun was still shining brightly. It was a much warmer hike than I had anticipated. With my clothes heating up my core, I felt ever more exhausted. At the first junction I made a right, my intent for this hike was to now get over with as soon as possible.

As I made my way around the circle, I noticed the flowers were still in bloom. I love springtime in the desert. All you need to do is get to a trail and you are in a desert wildflower botanical garden. It truly is a beautiful sight!

I followed the circle around which took me along Trail 306 leading me towards the trailhead. Capturing a view of North Mountain standing tall in the distance. I made it back to the visitor center with just over a mile and a half hike. Enough for me to continue on this journey of hiking everyday for a year. Only one day to go on this amazing journey!!!

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Day 362 ~ Dixie Mountain Loop Phoenix, AZ

March 22nd, 2017 ~ Day 362

Arriving at the Desert Vista Trailhead at sunrise, I caught sight of the beautiful colors of the sunrise coming over the mountain. They only became more vibrant as I climbed up the Hawks Nest Trail.

My plan today, was to do a loop heading up the Hawks Nest Trail to Dixie Mountain Loop, then down the Valle Vista Trail, and finally head back on the Desert Tortoise Trail. Giving me approximately a three mile hike.

As I hiked up the Hawks Nest Trail, I realized my body was sore. The Hawks Nest Trail is a tough little climb with about a 350 foot elevation gain in less than a half mile. My whole reason for coming here today was to see the momma owl and her owlets in the huge saguaro cactus that sits just off the trail. Every year, around this time, a momma owl comes to have her babies. I was blessed only to see the momma, but no owlets in sight.

The flowers were in bloom as I made my way to the top of the trail. The smell of the flowers permeated the air, a fresh fragrant smell in the desert. I continued on to the saddle, where I would make a right turn on the Dixie Mountain Loop Trail.

With the sun continuing to rise, it cast shadows on the cholla cacti, giving the white needles a soft fuzzy look. But don’t let the look fool you, these cholla are what we call, jumping cholla. If you brush up against one, the spines easily attach to your clothing, your skin or your shoes. Since the plant is covered with spines, they are difficult to remove. I see them all the time on the trail and if you get too close, they’re like a magnet. They roll their way to you and cling to your body.

The early morning sun shining on the mountain always makes the desert come alive with it’s rich colors. I came to the Valle Verde Trail turn off and decided, I wasn’t going to do the loop I had planned. Instead I stayed on the Dixie Mountain Loop until my tracker read one mile before turning around to head back the way I had come. I decided I wanted to see if the owlets were awake on my way back down the trail. The baby owls are what I really wanted to see on this hike today and my whole reason for coming to this trail.

As I headed back to the trailhead on the Dixie Mountain Loop, I was surprised to see the hot air balloons. The balloons were heading towards me and I had hoped they would come close enough I could capture a great picture.

As the balloons continued to get closer, I was heading in the direction away from them. However, I did realize the balloons were directly over the trail I had initially intended to hike. Darn my luck!

The balloons are really one of my favorite things to see on the trails. Especially on these trails. The Desert Vista Trailhead is far north of the city and the balloons fly overhead all the time. They were close enough today, that I could actually heard the roar from the heat that keeps the balloon in the air.

Heading back down the Hawks Nest Trail, only momma was was visible in the nest. I was sadly disappointed, but at least I tried and I still had a beautiful hike. Also, I did get to see an owl, so who am I to complain about that?

As I made my way downhill to the trailhead, hearing the roar of the fire, I turned around and to my surprise, I saw a hot air balloon just behind me. A little bonus to the end of my hike. What a beautiful day for an early morning hike! The balloons, an owl and the sunrise, I couldn’t ask for a more amazing day in this life and on this journey!!!

Join me on my journey of hiking every day for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook , check out my videos on YouTube, and for more photos follow me on Flick and Instagram!

Day 360 ~ Deem Hills Circumference Trail Phoenix, AZ

March 20th, 2017 ~ Day 360

An early morning sunrise hike at Deems Hill, Eric and I decided to head east on the Circumference Trail today going up the hill, avoiding the shirtless man wandering the parking lot. No idea what he was doing, but we figured we’d be safer if we didn’t find out.

It was dark out, but light enough when we began our hike, we didn’t need our headlamps. The colors of the sunrise were beginning to show their beauty as we made our way up the trail.

Climbing up to the saddle felt easier this time than the last time I had done this. The flowers were in bloom on the saddle of Deem Hills as well. The yellow flowers, mixed in with the white of the cholla cacti and the beautiful green, made for a stark contrast of colors.

Coming down the other side of the saddle we found even more flowers. Spring has sprung here in the desert and it’s such a beautiful place to be!

Making our way around the east side of the mountain, the sun was beginning to brighten up the sky with a soft shade of pink. The valley between the two hills at Deems still fully green. There weren’t as many flower in the valley, none really. Still it is gorgeous to me.

As we began to turn and head west around the hill, the sun began peaking out over the horizon. Casting it rays on the mountainside make the desert come alive with it’s beauty. If I could, I would be out here all the time!

Welcome to the first day of spring! The flower here in the desert are in their full grandeur. I can’t believe how overgrown the plants, flowers, or possibly weeds, have become. Standing almost to Eric’s shoulders, I had to snap a picture of the height they have become.

Heading back to the trailhead there were even more flowers to see on the west side of the mountain. The length of the entire Circumference Trail is 5.73 miles, but at the saddle, you can chose the skip the other half, which we did, making our hike just under 3 miles today. Another beautiful day in this life and on this journey. Only five days to go!!!

 Join me on my journey of hiking every day for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook , check out my videos on YouTube, and for more photos follow me on Flick and Instagram!

Day 356 ~ Lookout Mountain Circumference Trail Phoenix, AZ

March 16th, 2017 ~ Day 356

The moon was shining so brightly in the sky. It was so dark out. Arriving at 5:45 am, I met my friend Becky at the trailhead on 16th Street just south of Greenway. It feels like I haven’t see her in forever! She won’t be making it to my day 365, so we’re hiking one last time before this journey ends. It’s so great to get the opportunity to hike with friends who have been a huge part of this journey.

Heading west, The moon just as bright with the city lights shining across the valley. Our plan was to do the Circumference Trail at Lookout Mountain. I have a big hike tomorrow, and I didn’t want to exhaust myself by climbing up Lookout. 

As we began heading east again, the colors of the horizon started to come alive. 

The beginning of the sunrise.

My hiking buddy, I’ve missed her! Becky was one of the ladies who would be there for every one of Rene’s early morning Trail Mix Hiking Meetups last summer. That was where I met both of them. If no one else showed up, it would be us three. Two beautiful souls! I am so grateful God has put them in my life and on this journey with me. 

One last photo of Lookout Mountain with the green hillside and the moon hanging in the sky. We hiked almost the miles around the base of Lookout Mountain. It was a beautiful day for a hike and a wonderful hike with my friend! Only nine days to go!

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Day 355 ~ Mormon Trail at South Mountain Phoenix, AZ

March 15th, 2017 ~ Day 355

Heading out early in the morning, I drove forty minutes away to South Mountain. I met my friend Jamie from Colorado for a hike.  I love that we have the same passion and when either of us are visiting the other, we go hiking!

Our hike began on the Mormon Trail, using only my phone as a flashlight, we made our way up the trail in the dark. 

Starting our hike at 5:30, the sun was already beginning to shine off to the east, yet it was still dark as we hiked. The mountains, the clouds and the city lights all the makings for a perfect view!

The sun beginning to rise even brighter as we continued on. It was a beautiful morning for a sunrise hike. 

The moon, almost full, shining brightly in the early morning sky. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the moon so bright, it was almost bright enough for us to see the trail, but I continued to use the light. 

A beautiful piece of the desert. I love South Mountain, it’s just so far away from me. I’m not able to get here on a regular basis. I’m glad Jamie suggested it this morning. 

Love this girl! It’s amazing how you can meet such a kind spirit on the trail one day and become fast friends. 

The beautiful colors of an Arizona sunrise. It feels like forever since I’ve seen one so amazing. The richness of color is gorgeous. 

Jamie and I made it to the end of a ridge before deciding to head back the way we had come. Time was running out for me. I had to get to work. 

Heading back to the trailhead we were able to witness sweeping views of the city and beyond, along with pink cotton candy clouds in the sky. I don’t think I could ever get enough of this place. With 16000 acres, it’ll be awhile before I could cover all the trails. 

Just before we made it back to the trailhead, we caught a glimpse of more beautiful views, with the yellow-orange colors of the sky. 

At the trailhead there was this fence. Fences, I don’t know why, but I love them. The contrast in colors comes alive in my eyes. The older and more rustic they look, the more beautiful they are to me!

Jamie and I hiked almost three miles on our early morning sunrise hike on the beautiful South Mountain. It was great to see my friend and I look forward to many more of our adventures together!

Join me on my journey of hiking everyday for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook and for more photos follow me on Instagram!

Day 353 ~ North Mountain Preserve Phoenix, AZ

March 13, 2017 ~ Day 353

It was dark when we arrived on the trail this morning and the moon was full! Shining brightly in the sky. The early morning hike made for a chilly morning. Eric and I parked at the lot off 7th Street and Thunderbird Avenue, making our way through the unknown trails at the North Mountain Preserve. 

The moon hanging over Shaw Butte Mountain as we hiked through the valley between North Mountain and Shaw Butte towards the North Mountain Visitor Center. The skies becoming lighter made it more visible to see, we were able to turn off the headlamps. 

We made it to the Visitor Center and began hiking the trail that runs north along 7th Street. A little bit of the sun peaking over Lookout Mountain and the other mountains to the east.

It was daylight by the time we were finishing our hike. As the temperature starts to heat up in the valley, our green grass will begin to dry up. Although we do still have a beautiful green valley today. I want to enjoy this as long as I can. 

Just before I got back to my car, I noticed some wild flowers. A beautiful array of flowers. Springtime in the desert. I’m so happy that I get the opportunity to see this. Our hike, just over a mile and a half, was a quick and easy one. Just another day on this journey of hiking everyday for 365 days.

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Day 350 ~ Shaw Butte Mountain, Phoenix, AZ

March 10th , 2017 ~ Day 350

The smell of creosote permeated the air at the base of the mountain. A tiny valley where all the water collects. The smell so fresh and clean. It’s the smell of Arizona rain. 

I climbed up Shaw Butte Trail 306. I wanted to see how far I could get uphill with my limited time frame. 

The city lights glowing in the dark with the beginning of the sunrise along the horizon was the view I received as I climbed uphill. I was feeling good. Ready to conquer this mountain. I pushed myself hard going uphill. 

As I continued to climb up Shaw Butte Mountain. The sun began casting it’s golden hue across the horizon. 

I never noticed before, but today I realized, as I climbed up the mountain that you could hear the cars driving along Thunderbird Road. An irritating sound, but I guess that’s what happens when you have a mountain in the middle of the city. I’m grateful for the mountain being here, so close to home and I’m blessed to be hiking it. So how can I really complain?

The peak of the mountain, about a mile away. I wouldn’t have enough time to make it to the top of Shaw Butte. I knew I wasn’t going to make it, I just wanted to make it as far as I could. I did get almost a mile uphill before I had to turn around. 

Capturing a photo of the trail sign. The plants are alive in full bloom. The cacti are plump with all the rains we’ve received lately. Beautiful!

No need for the flashlight heading downhill. The sun had risen. The flowers are in bloom, growing out of the side of the mountain. 

Today makes a total of 999.27 miles on this journey. My original goal was 1500, then 1200, now we’ll see if I can get 1100. Whatever it is, I’ll be happy with my initial goal of hiking everyday for 365 days! It’s a beautiful day in this amazing life!

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Day 348 ~ North Mountain Phoenix, AZ

March 8th, 2017 ~ Day 348

When I hiked here last Friday, I saw a trail on the south side of North Mountain. A trail I’ve heard of as the backside, but I’ve never been. Now that everything is so green, I could actually see the trail. 

For this trail, rather than going up the paved road, you would be climbing the mountain on a dirt trail. I vowed I would do that one day this week, so here I am, setting out to climb the backside of North Mountain. 

I parked my car, and began walking down the road, while in the dark, to find this trail. I began climbing up the side of the mountain on what looked to be a trail. I wasn’t sure. I kept going up until my trail seemed to end. I stopped took in my surrounding and thought, this isn’t going to work. It was too dark for me to know where I was, so I headed back down. 

Once I was back down off the mountain I saw a sign, “area closed”. I giggled. I was no where near where I needed to be. 

I decided, instead of trying to search for the trail, I would  head up North Mountain the usual way. My time was slipping away and I needed to get a hike in. Walking along the street, I made my way to the trailhead. The city lights were brightly lit as I began my uphill climb. 

As I climbed higher, you could tell the sun was beginning to rise. The city, with its mountains, looked so beautiful. As the sun begins to rise, the city comes alive. 

I only made it part way up the mountain before my time ran out and I had to head home. Snapping a picture of the highest part of the mountain for me, before heading downhill. 

I’ve never noticed this pole before. I guess because you’re hiking up an old paved road you get interesting pieces of urban electric poles? I’m not sure what it is. Not my thing, so I have no idea what it is. To me, is just interesting, the way the lines come out of the pole. 

Flowers growing out of the side of the mountain. It’s a beautiful winter day here in the city of Phoenix. 

A final shot of the sun as it was rising over the mountains. I made my way back to my car and headed home. As I was driving out of the park, now that it was daylight and I could see, I found the trail I was looking for. I was nowhere near it. With only 17 days left in this journey, I’m going to make it back before this year is done. I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I get to see and do. Love this life!

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Day 347 ~ North Mountain Preserve Phoenix, AZ

March 7th, 2017 ~ Day 347

A freezing cold morning out on the trail. It must have been in the low forties. Eric and I met at the lot on 7th Street and Thunderbird Avenue and we began our hike through the dark desert morning on an unnamed trail heading towards the North Mountain Visitor Center. 

Hiking towards the Visitor Center, in the valley of the surrounding mountains it became even cooler. It’s always cooler in this area. My hands were freezing and beginning to get numb. I’m not used to this cold. 

Not much to see it here on the trail in the dark. A view of the silhouette of the trees again the beginning of the sunrise over the mountains. 

It became a little brighter as we hiked along 7th Street heading back to the trailhead. As we hiked, we listened to the sounds of the cars rushing by. Not as peaceful, but still grateful that we have mountains to hike in the middle of the city. I love this place!

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Day 343 ~ North Mountain Phoenix, AZ

March 3rd, 2017 ~ Day 343

Meeting my friend Jason at the parking lot off 7th Street and Peoria, we set out for an evening hike up North Mountain. We began by climbing up the rocky mountainside to get to the paved road that is North Mountain. 

As we began, the mountains off in the distance to the east, I believe one of them is Piestewa Peak, were bright and colorful from the sun casting it’s rays on the valley. 

We made it up the mountainside, a quarter mile or so, to the pavement. Looking north across the valley, the evening seemed so peaceful. 

A better view of the mountains to the east, still colorful from the sunlight. It amazes me how many mountains are here in the valley and the houses surrounding them. I wonder how many of those people actually go hiking. I wish I lived that close to a mountain, I’d continue to be out here hiking everyday. 

A view of the valley between Shaw Butte and North Mountain… so green. The air this evening had a smoggy/foggy feel. You couldn’t see some mountain ranges far off in the distance. 

Everything is coming alive! I don’t know the name of this plant, but the colors it has to offer are just so beautiful! I love the purple!

Almost to the top of the mountain the mountains to the east were turning even more red and colorful! Such an amazing sight to see. The progression of the sunlight casting is rays on the mountains as I climbed uphill. 

We skipped the gate this time and made it to the top of the peak! Just in time too, as the sun was beginning to set over the White Tank Mountain Range. It was a  beautiful evening for a hike!

Jason and I made our way downhill, faster than we had going up. It always seems that way. I’m grateful for my friend who I haven’t hiked with in months, when we used to go together all the time. 

Hiking isn’t just about the beauty of nature or the quiet peaceful moments hiking alone, it’s about sharing the experience with people as well. I think that is the best experience! I’m so grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life to share my love of hiking. Love this life!!!

Join me on my journey of hiking everyday for 365 days, to see all that I can see! Never miss out on a post and “like” me on Facebook and for more photos follow me on Instagram!