Day 354 ~ Thunderbird Mountain Glendale, AZ

March 14th, 2017 ~ Day 354

A dark moonlit morning. Yet the moon was bright enough, we could see the trail. Eric and I met at Thunderbird Mountain just off 59th Avenue. I wanted something easy today. My legs were sore from my weekend adventures. 

A little bit of color along the horizon as I turned back to look while climbing up the side of the mountain. This would be the only uphill climb we would be doing this morning. 

We headed west on the mountain. At the first turn off, we took a right, which then brought us downhill. We came to another parking area and hiked down the street a short ways, heading over to the flat trails that run along the north side of the mountain. Yet another trail without a name. Looking behind me, as the day came upon us, the moon hung high in the sky. The colors a soft hue along the horizon. 

We received a more vibrant golden color along the horizon as we headed back to the trailhead. Our hike ended up being just under two miles. With only a little uphill, I felt much better getting out here. I wasn’t in the mood to hike this morning, but I’m glad that I did and now that it’s over, I feel great. Just another day in this amazing life!

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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 352 ~ Hunter Trail to Picacho Peak

March 12th, 2017 ~ Day 352

After a 15 mile hike in Tucson yesterday, Eric and I headed to Picacho Peak State Park to camp for the evening. This morning we would be hiking Picacho Peak. The beast was looming overhead as we arrived at the trailhead. 

We began our hike up the Hunter Trail. When I say up, I mean up! The elevation of Picacho Peak is 3470 ft. My tracker ended up recording a 1904 foot elevation gain. Climbing up the Hunter Trail is a tough uphill climb. It took Eric and I almost 50 minutes to get to the saddle and we hadn’t even made it a mile. 

The views were spectacular as we began to climb higher. You could see the highway below. Driving by Picacho Peak, it lays just off the I17, looming off in the distance. 

The views just kept getting better. Everything so green. I stopped to take lots of pictures and to rest my breathing. More for the opportunity to rest than to enjoy the view. Did I say this hike was tough?

Love this man, he’s such a great partner on all of these adventures. I’m grateful he’s here with me to join me on all my hikes. 

We made it to the saddle. Less than a mile, and it took us almost an hour. The views from the saddle weren’t any less spectacular. 

Once over the saddle, you then have to climb down with the help of the cables. All that elevation…gone. As we began heading downhill Eric decided he would wait for me at the saddle instead. His shoes weren’t made for this and so off I went trying to make it to the peak and hurry back to my boyfriend. 

More amazing views on the other side of Picacho Peak. This place is so beautiful!

Once you climb down, there is a short trail alongside the mountain before you have to go up. Climbing up there are more cables. Holding onto the cables as I hurried myself along. I felt rushed and energized. I was excited to be doing this hike. 

A fence, so you don’t fall off the edge. A little sketchy as I’m not sure it would hold the weight of a body. I wasn’t going to be the one to test it out. 

About to climb a ladder of rock up the side of the mountain. The most difficult part was trying to get a foothold, but I made it. Remembering from the last time I hiked this a few years ago, I knew I was almost to the peak. 

The views from the top were amazing! The colors so vibrant. I’m so happy that I made it here!!!

I made it!!! I had someone snap my picture before heading back down to meet Eric. 

As I headed downhill, just before the rock ladder, I ran into these two on the trail. At yesterday’s event Kaveh mentioned they may be doing Picacho Peak today. I’m so glad they did. I love seeing friends on the trails!

Time to continue down. The ledge over this rock ladder is a little intimidating. The views, however, are absolutely amazing!

Waiting on the side of a cliff as people climbed up, I held onto a cable, as my feet dangled off the side of the mountain. Who knows how far the drop was. Did I just come up this? I didn’t realize how difficult this may have been. I was so focused on getting to the top. 

My final climb uphill back to my love. I was exhausted. I had pushed myself harder than I have in a long time. I didn’t want Eric waiting on me so I hurried as best I could. When I made it back to him, he was fine, enjoying a relaxing time on a mountain. In some ways I wish that could have been me. 

Grateful to be heading downhill for good. No more ups and downs. It took me three hours to get just over two and a half miles in. A difficult hike that was so worth it. I’m so grateful to have completed this hike in my 365 day journey!

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Day 351 ~ Move Across Two Ranges Tucson, AZ

March 11th, 2017 ~ Day 351

One Day. Two Ranges. Challenge Accepted.

After literally falling out of bed this morning at 3 am, I got ready to head down to Tucson for the event Move Across Two Ranges. (Notice my picture is on the website😊) This will be my third time hiking this event. Last year while hiking the event, I made my decision to do this challenge and hike everyday for 365 days. I’m happy to be able to come back and do the event again 350 days later. 

I had signed up with three hiking groups, hoping I could find someone to hike with. Last year I had hiked most of the trails alone. Hiking alone gives me a lot of time to think, which I like, but I’d rather hike with friends. 

I found some of the Happy Hikers at the trailhead who had also signed up for Trail Mix. Capturing a photo of us as we were getting ready to start our hike, I was anticipating a great day. The first part of the event takes place in the Tortolita Mountain Range where we’ll hike 7 miles. 

The previous two years I hiked this event I did the Massive 22 mile hike. I decided I didn’t want to do that long boring third trail ever again, so I signed up as a  Mega Hiker, doing only 15 miles. 

We began our hike heading a different direction than we had the last two years. To my surprise, we were hiking a different trail. I never looked at a map for the event. Maybe I should have, I probably would have signed up for the 22 miles, seeing as we are hiking on a totally new trail. I was a little disappointed I wouldn’t be seeing the other five miles of beauty in this mountain range. 

I was enjoying this new trail. Especially since I have never been here. The views were breathtaking. Everything was fresh and new. So beautiful. 

We had a good climb uphill and after about two miles, we made it up to see the other side of the valley. A beautiful wash lay below. As we waited on the rest of the group, I decided I was going to go on ahead. I knew it was going to be a long hike and stopping makes it worse for my legs. I left the group and began hiking alone. 

Coming over the last of the uphill on this side on the Tortolita Mountain Range, I was excited to find more hills. Spectacular! So many more places to go hiking!!! My imagination running wild, hoping that one day I’ll have more opportunities to go exploring in this area. 

The trails here are amazing. I’m not sure if they’re more beautiful than last year’s trail or if it’s because the trail is something I’ve never seen. I just know I’m in love with this amazing trail!

After about five miles I began heading back towards the trailhead at first through the sandy wash. The one I had seen high up on the mountain range. I didn’t stay in the wash too long. Before I knew it, I was heading back uphill on the other side of the Tortolita Mountain Range.

I met a girl on the trail who I ended up hiking out with. We talked about all our awesome hiking adventures and it made the end of the trail seem to go much faster. I love meeting new people on the trails. I actually ran into a couple I had hiked with a short while during last year’s event. Of all the hikers I’ve ever met in this life, I don’t believe I’ve ever met a bad soul. Hikers are such amazing people. 

I did it! First Mountain Range, seven miles, completed. Now to drive over to the Catalina Mountain Range for the second hike of this event. 

I made it to Catalina State Park in about thirty minutes, and after parking the car I began my hike. Immediately I felt the exhaustion as I began the second mountain range. This hike is another seven plus miles on the Romeo Pools Trail. After three and a half miles or so, you arrive at a creek with pools of water scattered about. It’s a beautiful hike and the pools are the highlight, that is, if you can get there. 

Starting out on the flat trail that is just over a mile, I was feeling the heat. Holy cow, it was getting hot! My body doesn’t do well hiking in the heat. 

The grass was so tall! Where were the leaves on the trees to shade me? I felt like I was dying and this trail had only just began. 

Looking at the mountains ahead of me, not sure if I really want to do this. The heat was really getting to me. I hadn’t even hiked a mile at this point. With the sun’s rays beating down on me, there was little shade. I began to talk myself out of finishing this trail. I’ve hiked this trail twice before, so I wouldn’t be missing much. I sat down and took a break in a sliver of shade. I had to talk myself into completing this challenge. That’s what I was here for. I knew I could do it and I didn’t want to give up, so I got up and got moving. 

I crossed the wash with horses on the trails. I just love seeing horses in the trails. Maybe one day I’ll go riding. I don’t remember if there was water here last year, but with all the rain we’ve had lately, I’m  not surprised to see some today. 

As I climbed higher up on the trail, I saw more views of the mountains behind the trail. I could only think about more possibilities to go exploring. 

After a couple of miles of hiking, I met another new friend on the trail. He looked as exhausted as I felt. We talked and hiked. He was my motivator and kept my mind busy so I wasn’t thinking about quitting. 

We climbed higher, the cholla standing tall and green, beginning their blooms,while looking out over the valley below. 

After three and a half miles or so, we made it to Romeo Pools. This is what made the hike so worth it. Soaking my feel in the cold water was the most amazing feeling ever! After a snack and a foot soak, we headed back to the trailhead hiking out the way we had come in. Dreading the heat, but at least we would be heading downhill.

Heading back I ran into so many people on the trails from the hiking groups I signed up with. I didn’t really get to hike with anyone, but just saying hi was pretty awesome. To surround myself with so many people who share the love of hiking is an amazing thing. 

We came to the end, or almost the end. Jason, my new friend and Bob, an old friend and hike leader for Hiking for Hops, both finished out the Romero Pools Trail with me. We still had to hike the last mile to get to the after party, but at least the hard part was done. We hiked along eventually going our separate ways. 

Challenge Completed, and I was done! Almost 15 miles registered on my tracker. As hot as it was today, I’m so glad I only signed up as a Mega Hiker. It was a great day for a hike. This event is one of my favorites and I’m already looking forward to next year’s. Hopefully a little bit earlier so it won’t be so hot. 

I had to hike a little ways to get the after party to hang out with my fellow hiking friends. I was already feeling much better by this point, better than I had felt while climbing that last mountain. We hung out for about an hour, eating the most amazing free salad ever, before I was off to meet Eric for our overnight camping excursion at Picacho Peak. 

I made it to the campground and received a beautiful full moon. A great way to end the day!

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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 349 ~ Thunderbird Mountain Glendale, AZ

March 9th, 2017 ~ Day 349

A beautiful evening with the moon hanging over the green mountains, the sun shining brightly and me taking it all in while hiking. I parked at the first lot as you come into the park. As I began my hike I noticed new trails to the east of the drive. I’m not sure if it’s all the green plants that made the trail more noticeable, but I found it and one day I’ll head there and check it out. 

I began my hike heading east on the south side of the mountain. The flowers were blooming! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been on this section of the trail, in the daylight anyway and there was a sea of wildflowers. Mostly purple and yellow. A beautiful display of nature. Spring has sprung!

Heading west into the sunset, I was blinded by the sunlight. I followed the trail about 3/4 of a mile before heading north. Deciding to hike along the flat trails along 67th Avenue rather than going up the side of the mountain. 

It was a short half mile or so before I was headed east. Following the moon as I hiked. 

Hot air balloons were flying off in the distance, barely visible in my photo. I swear they look so big in real life. The pictures can never capture their true existence. 

Still following the moon, I headed back to the trailhead, having a total of two miles for my hike. It was a bright beautiful evening for a hike! I felt so blessed to be here. To be present. To see the beauty this life had to offer. It was another beautiful day in this 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 346 ~ Thunderbird Mountain Glendale, AZ

March 6th, 2017 ~ Day 346

Arriving at Thunderbird Mountain, starting from the 67th Avenue trailhead, I began a quick hike through the flat trails that run along 67th. I saw the hot air balloon in the sky before I even made it to the trailhead.

The balloon guided the direction I would go, as I tried to capture a decent photo. It seemed as if it was moving away from me. I continued on the trail, snapping pictures as I went along. 

The noise of rush hour traffic sang to me. I like this area, and the trails, but it’s not a peaceful quiet hike. 

Somehow, I don’t know if this is possible, but I swear our desert is even more green. Everytime I come here it seems so much more lush with green foliage. Hiking Thunderbird Mountain at least twice a week, you’d think I wouldn’t notice a difference, but it’s so green!

The moon was out. So high in the sky that it’s a tiny dot next to the cactus. 

“I see the moon and the moon sees me. God bless the moon and God bless me “. 

The skies were clear and bright blue, and as I was heading back to the trailhead, I saw the Bradshaw Mountains. I remembered how the last time I was hiking here they were covered in snow. Then I remembered, this was the hike I was on the day my mom passed away and the tears began to flow. They just come. Not the sobbing, but a slow trickle of tears streaming down my face from the memories of my mom. 

I finished my hike, less than a mile, enough to continue on this journey of hiking everyday for 365 days. Life is good. Going to make the most of everyday and live life to the fullest. We never know how much time will have her on this earth. 

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Day 345 ~ Grand Falls Waterfall Grand Falls, AZ

March 5th, 2017 ~ Day 345

After seeing so many posts online about Grand Falls, Eric and I just had to go see this beautiful place. Taking the kids with us, we made it to the Chocolate Waterfall! A 3 hour drive from home, about 30 miles outside of Flagstaff with 7 miles of rough dirt road, we were able to enjoy a 1.2 mile hike with the most amazing waterfall ever! 

Grand Falls flows from the Little Colorado River. Located on the Navajo Indian Reservation, it only flows at certain times of the year. Usually in the spring when the snow melts. Now was the perfect time to see the Grand Falls in all is glory.  

We parked up high on the hill and began hiking down below. The waterfalls became more amazing with each step. They began will small mini falls until the water rushed over the edge into its grand fall. 

As the water flows over the edge I noticed how everything here is the same shade of brown. The rocks, the plants and the water. The landscape all blends together in the most spectacular scene. 

We continued to head towards the base of the waterfall. Thousands of gallons of water pouring per second. It’s crazy to think that most of the year the river and the waterfall is dried up, but then again, this is the Arizona desert. 

An amazing piece of nature. I’m grateful we made the trek here. 

My little girl just had to touch the Little Colorado River. Just like her mommy did the first time when touching the Colorado River. 

The water flowed with such force. Raging water coming down stream. It’s pretty amazing to see the beauty, feel the water and hear the sounds.  

I’m so happy to be here!

We enjoyed the waterfall for awhile. Walking around, taking it all in. The ground was really muddy. The kind of mud that would pull your shoe off. People did have their shoes off and were walking barefoot. We on the other hand, decided to stay out of the mud. 

We had a snack while enjoying the sounds of the rushing water, before heading back the way we had come. 

This trip was so well worth the drive! I am so grateful for the opportunity to hike with my family and see an amazing piece of nature. 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!