Day 324 ~ Pinnacle Peak Trail Scottsdale, AZ

February 12th, 2017 ~ Day 324

Today I get to hike the trails with my good friend Ian from Canada while he’s visiting Phoenix. Deciding on where to go, I chose Pinnacle Peak. Since I haven’t been to Pinnacle Peak in my 365 day journey, I thought today would be a perfect day.

Pinnacle Peak Trail is a trail in Scottsdale Arizona. A beautiful well maintained trail I’ve only hiked once before. It’s a 3.5 mile hike with 1188 elevation gain, a good start to get me on track with hiking with more mileage than I’ve been doing lately. Plus I get to spend time with my old friend. 

The trail begins heading uphill through some switchbacks. An easy climb with no more than 1200 feet of elevation gain, to which grants you the beautiful views across the desert landscape. The cholla, green from the recent rain, stand tall. Everything in our desert is green. It’s been an amazingly green winter. I’m loving it!

Pinnacle Peak is a very busy trail. One of the most popular in the area. The trails are winding with a lot of switchbacks and as you go up you then continue downhill. We made our way through the trail. Stopping for moments to take in the amazing beauty that surrounded us. 

We made it to the end of the 1.75 mile trail before heading back the way we had come. This side of the trail ends with and easy downhill hike. We could possibly be at the same elevation we had as we begun this hike, but I’m not positive. Now for the difficult part, of heading up the steep mountain back to the trailhead. Luckily the trail is not all uphill. 

Back at the trailhead, I saw this amazing piece of architecture. A massive covered seating area. A beautiful structure!

At the car, I snapped a picture of what I believe is Pinnacle Peak. I’m not quite sure as this is only my second time being here. 

Today was the first hike since my mom passed away that I hiked with anyone other that my family. I was excited to see my friend and I think this day was good for me to get outside of the box I’ve been building up around myself. I felt a little more joy in my life. A new beginning for me as I am coming to the end of this journey. 

  
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Day 280 ~ Scarlett Canyon Phoenix, AZ

December 30th, 2016 ~ Day 280

Located north of the 101 just off Cave Creek Road, is Scarlett Canyon tucked away at the end of a quiet road. The parking lot is a small rainbow shaped lot, that can hold maybe five cars and the trailhead sign is missing. Here the trails have absolutely no trail markers. It’s a great place to go exploring.

Darkness surrounded us on the trail as Eric and I began our hike, yet the light from the sun was beginning to rise and lit up the sky off to the east. Since the trails have no markers, we navigated our way through the desert landscape with huge boulders surrounding us.

We started heading west then south west around the base of the mountain. As the skies began to open and offer us light, we were able to manage the trail a little easier.

Once at the center of the mountain on the west side, there is a crossroad. You can continue heading north or take the trail that heads to the saddle, we decided to head to the saddle. With only a little knowledge of this trail, I have yet to explore past this junction, and of course I’m on a time restriction. It began to brighten even up more as we began to climb up the mountain.

As we were climbing up, we heard an owl hooting, and although my zoom made it blurry you can still see his shape on the rock. How amazing is that?

We climbed a little higher above the saddle to watch the sunrise. We sat on a rock enjoying the views of the valley below. The colors were so beautiful! This is what I live for! One day time will not matter, I will have no place to be and will be able to enjoy all life has to offer even more.

Once I realized the sunrise wouldn’t be for another 21 minutes, we decided to head on down the mountain.

Navigating our way down was a little difficult. We took a couple wrong turns, stopping to assess, until we could find the narrow trail again. The colors of the sunrise were becoming bolder as we made our way down. Just another reason to be outdoors hiking. We made it back to the trailhead in under two miles. It was another beautiful day for a hike.
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 204 ~ Tom’s Thumb…the long way Scottsdale, AZ

October 16th, 3016 ~ Day 204

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Almost dark when arriving at the trailhead this morning. I snapped a picture of the McDowell Mountain Range. It’s amazing to me that I am so close today. This is the range I get to see every morning I take a picture of the sunrise over the mountains to the east. I haven’t made it to this part of the McDowell’s on this journey yet, so I’m happy to be here.

It’s funny to me, the McDowell Mountain Preserve opens at 6:02 a.m. Not before, not after, just 6:02. So our meeting time is at 6:15. I’ve never seen that before.

Today’s group is with a bunch of friends who enjoy hiking. Sabrina is the one who put this together and she is just amazing! Great personality and always looking out for the people in the group. Love her! I love that she keeps the group together while hiking too. Always waiting at a crossroads for those who don’t hike as fast. Everyone has their own pace and it’s great that we can still hike at a faster pace, but still be together as one, a group.

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Starting out at the Gateway trailhead we began on the Gateway Loop Trail. I believe this is the trail we stayed on for 2.6 miles before heading to the trail that leads us to Tom’s Thumb. I don’t even know the name of that trail. The best part about being in a group like this is that I don’t have to pay attention to where in going, I just follow the leader.

I have been on the Gateway Loop before, so most of my surroundings were familiar as the hike began. Once we took the turnoff for Tom’s Thumb, I was in unfamiliar territory. The plants were abundant and beautiful! The colors of the rocks were amazing too. Everything was so new to me. Every time I see something for the first time, it’s special to me. It’s strange how I can remember a specific rock or cactus when I come back to a trail. I always remember something.

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I knew this was going to be another tough climb. We were hiking around 5.6 miles with about 2500 feet of elevation gain up to Tom’s Thumb. This is what we call the long way, because on the other side of this mountain, you can get there in about 2.5 miles. I have done that hike, but I haven’t done this one.

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The trail stayed in the shade most of the way going up. A few bits of sun peaking out every once in a while. The climb continued on and it only became more grueling the higher we were. The rocky terrain didn’t help my feet. I still felt good and I was truly amazed by the beauty surrounding me.

This is why I love hiking so much! You only get to see these amazing places by walking to them. The pictures never do justice, for to see the beauty is one thing, but to hear the sounds of nature, to smell flower and plants in the air, to feel the gentle breeze on your face. You can never experience those senses in a picture.

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Walking through the cacti, I was mesmerized! It was a sea of cacti through our trail. Something so beautiful I have never seen. I love our Arizona deserts. You never know what you’re going to find when you’re out exploring.

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We made it to the Thumb! This was definitely the long way! These girls are training for the Phoenix Seven Summits and this was a great training hike. I was tired from the climb uphill. At the top the sun was shining brightly. There was very little shade, so I just took my break in the sun. We sat there staring across the horizon at the beautiful mountains that stood even further to the east. The Four Peaks, one of which I will be climbing next weekend.

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Placing out thumbs on Tom’s Thumb, we posed for a picture before we headed down the mountain. A great group of women. It was a difficult hike up and I was looking forward to the easy hike downhill. How was I to know how wrong I would be?

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The hike down was much more difficult that I imagined it would be. Steep terrain and so many rocks!!! My hiking poles in the car, would have come in handy for this one. I should remember to grab them when doing any type of steep climbing. The rocky terrain made it hard to keep traction on the trail. I had to step cautiously with every step so as to not trip and go tumbling down. Even though I slid a few times.

The sun was directly on us as we were going down. The temperature was somewhere in the 90’s, which doesn’t seem so bad, but it was heating up out there. By the time we made it to mile eight, I was running low on water. I only had about a half liter left with at least two and a half miles to go. I had already drank 3.5 liters of water. So I rationed what I had left until I made it back to the trailhead. I was well hydrated, but I hate that feeling of not having enough. You never know what could happen.

During the last mile my stomach began to cramp. I’ve never had this feeling before. My only guess it was either from the almonds or the powerade I drank. An uncomfortable feeling when I was already tired and hot.

Finishing this hike was a great relief. I can now say I’ve done it and I don’t have to do it again, but knowing me, I’ll be back. Next time I’ll be more prepared and maybe wait till the cooler months.

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 141 ~ Tom’s Thumb Scottsdale, AZ

August 13th, 2016 ~ Day 141

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A beautiful morning on the trail. The sun was rising and instead of coming up over the McDowell Mountains like I usually see, I got the opportunity to see the sun rise over Four Peaks. Which only makes me want to continue hiking in that direction.

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Today was another Meetup, this time with 3H. We had a huge group of 30 people. Some friends and some people I’ve hiked with once or twice before.

It was a cool 81 degrees when I pulled up to the trailhead and there was a nice cool breeze.

The trail is about four miles long and immediately starts uphill. It was hard and difficult. I had to take many breaks and as the sun started rising it only got warmer. Luckily, the trail was partially in the shade.

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I made it to the top! A great feeling. I’ve hiked this before, but it’s been a couple years. I forgot how difficult this hike could be. Going down was even worse. My knees were on fire.

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The best part of this hike is the amazing views! You can see the Four Peaks, Pinnacle Peak and even Camelback Mountain. If you’re ever driving down the 101 through Scottsdale, you can see Tom’s Thumb from the highway.

Day 127 ~ Lost Dog Wash Trail Scottsdale, AZ

July 30th, 2016 ~ Day 127

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We had a huge Meetup group this morning! Lots of people showed up today, it was awesome! Some friends I haven’t seen in awhile. Love the Meetups.

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We started hiking about ten minutes before the actual sunrise. The trail was completely in the shade and the sun was covered by the mountain, so I didn’t catch the official sunrise. With the clouds from last night’s storm still lingering in the sky, I was able to catch a few good pictures.

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Once we arrived at the saddle where the hitching post was, we took a break before heading back. The views of the Four Peaks was spectacular. Someday I’ll hike the rest of those, for now one out of four isn’t bad.

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It was a cooler day out for sure, but the humidity was high. Our hike was a steep incline uphill, so anytime we stopped to wait for the rest of our group, the sweat would pour. I registered 5.2 miles on my app. Which puts me on track and a little closer to my 1500 mile goal. One day at a time ☺