Sunday, November 24, 2013

While I can

My left ankle has been bothering me for the past few years. In the big scheme of things, it's a very minor issue. It currently limits my hikes to about 5 or 6 miles. It doesn't bother me much while I'm hiking, but the next day it may be very difficult to walk. Lately it has gotten me to thinking about some hikes I've been on in the past 10 years that I should not do now. Then I got to thinking about hikes I could do now that I may not be able to do in a few short years. I'd better do them now.

Going up to that peak is one of those "some day" hikes.

A couple of weeks ago, I had hiked off-trail near Fish Creek Hill. I turned back when the sun started getting low, but continuing to the top of a hill where I turned back was something I wanted to do "some day". I decided I had better do it while I could. It's a 1.3 mile hike to the start of the climb, then a climb of about 350 feet in 0.3 mile. That's not much of a climb, and the hike before it doesn't have a whole lot of ups and downs. Various things have kept me from hiking lately, though, so I'm not in top shape.

Based on what I had seen the last time I was out there, I was sure that the view from the top would be worth the climb.

It seemed like I had been hiking for a long time by the time I got to the start of the climb. I knew I was going to be very tired by the time I got to the top. I had to go, though. I allowed myself to believe that the false summit I saw from the base was my actual destination. The climb is only moderately steep.

This gives you an idea how steep the climb was. Unfortunately, saguaros are rare in this area so I don't know if I had my camera level for any of the pictures.

I wonder if it's possible to get on those mountains back there.

I decided that if my legs were too wobbly on the way down, there were plenty of agave and sotol flower stalks around to use as walking sticks. I was determined to make it to the top. When I finally reached the top and saw the view, I felt that it was well worth the effort. There are some beautiful sights as you drive along Apache Trail, but very few people get to see what I was looking at.

My first view from the summit. That's Tortilla Creek on the left.

After the clouds rearranged themselves.

Canyon Lake is 5.7 miles away. Stewart Mountain, on the right, is 13.5 miles away.

The ridge in the foreground is the top of the hill I'm on. I didn't walk along there. Maybe I should. Soon.

Getting back down was easier than I thought it would be, and the walk back to the truck wasn't so bad, either. I sat down a couple of times to get grass seeds out of my shoes and didn't want to get back up, though. I could still walk the next day, too.

I drove almost a mile along FR 213 to get to the start of the hike. The first quarter mile of that drive is *extremely* rough. There are parts where you feel like the truck is going up at a 60 degree angle, though I'm sure it can't really be that bad. You have to creep along at about half a mile an hour and choose your path very carefully. The road is narrow but much smoother and less steep the rest of the way. Well, it used to be. I was just about to my parking spot for this hike when I encountered some hikers walking back to the parking lot at Apache Trail. They warned me that the road gets pretty gnarly up ahead. It must have gotten washed out by some storms during the past year. Remember the MCSO helicopter that buzzed me several times the last time I was out here? Well, now I'm wondering if maybe somebody had rolled their vehicle further out that road. Click below for all of the pictures.


1 comment:

Adam Elliott said...

You know i have mysterious foot issues that limit me to about the same distance. It's extremely frustrating because sometimes it seems like they are completely gone and then the next day i find myself in pain waiting in line at Costco. So many place to go, grrr....

Nice pictures.