Friday, November 29, 2013

The Climb to Picacho Peak

Down From Picacho Peak
Friday, November 29, 2013, Picacho Peak State Park, AZ, Day 2 - 0 miles, 4,515.6 For the Trip

There was a sign attached to the Dairy Queen at the I10 exit about 2 miles from the campground that said "Breakfast"! So like a fool, I decided to try it. Undercooked pancakes & undercooked bacon, although the coffee was good. There is another restaurant next to the Adult Book Store (yes, complete with truck parking) but since the roof has caved in I suspect it isn't open (the restaurant - the book store looks like it is doing business).

After breakfast I decided to take the hike to Picacho Peak. I'm not sure what possessed me, but rather than taking the 2 mile Hunter Trail Hike, I decided to take the Sunset Vista Trail, a 3.1 mile hike. It was a nice hike through the desert, but the return seemed to take forever. I was hoping for sight of the parking lot over every hill!

As the photo of the trail information states, the first 2 miles are a climb, but not too difficult. The last mile definitely meets the description as "difficult". I'd compare the overall hike and climb to going up Angels Landing in Zion National Park. I have to admit I didn't do the last .4 miles at Zion because the downhill traffic was so heavy you waited 10 - 15 minutes for every section of chain.

That said, while the drop was higher at Zion, here at Picacho it is still long enough that going over the edge would have the same result. Rather than a chain, here they have cables, which are a bit rougher on the hands, particularly if you try to slide along them rather than make new grips with each move. They recommend gloves, which I didn't bring.

The first set of cables you come to (taking the Sunset Vista Trail - Hunter Trail does not go up this section) go almost straight up with not all that many footholds. Making the climb requires mostly arm work rather than legs & feet. I almost turned back, but remembering how I kicked myself for not finishing Angels Landing, I ventured on. While the rest of the cable sections were difficult, none were as steep as the first one, although most had tricky footing.

In any case, the view from the top is great. One of the photos shows the campground - if the resolution was better (I was only carrying my 17 - 35mm lens) you could see my trailer right behind the green roofed restrooms. The return trip was uneventful, although as usual, the footing going down was more difficult than going up. At least gravity was on my side so I didn't have to stop for breath as often. All in all, a great hike, although I am pretty beat. Angels Landing was 3 years ago, and I definitely feel every one of them! Lots more photos of the hike at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Back at the campground I tried to sit outside and read, but everything I was wearing was sweat soaked and the light breeze was freezing me (I know, too much information!) so I gave up, took a shower, put on some sweats, and did manage to sit until dinner, which, by the way was a Black Angus Burger (couldn't find Bubba Burgers), Macaroni & Cheese, and a Yellow Cling Peach Del Monte Fruit Natural. These are individual servings that are kept in the refrigerator, and taste far better than canned fruit. I shot a couple more sunset photos while cooking dinner.

Until Next Time -

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