A hot hike in the middle of the desert.

Camelback Mountain really stands out. At 2704 feet high it is the highest mountain in Phoenix and can be seen from just about anywhere in Phoenix and Scottsdale. I took this picture while riding a bike around Scottsdale.

 

And here it is again from the other side. I took this picture from the airport.

 

Well, you know what that means. Time to bag a mountain!

 

There are two official trails up Camelback Mountain. I chose the Cholla route as I had heard it was a bit more interesting. I wasn’t expecting “Extremely Difficult” however, this should be interesting.

 

And so it begins. If you are wondering why it is so dark in the photo, it is because it is late in the evening. Camelback Mountain is in the middle of the desert. It is far too hot during the day for this frosty Canadian so I wait until just before sunset to head out.

 

I’ve never seen an “Extremely Difficult” trail with so many markers and signs. You would have to work pretty hard to get lost up here.

 

Close up of one of the trail markers. Complete with an app to help you find your way (I didn’t bother trying it). The sign also includes an elevation profile to show your progress (I’m near the top) and GPS coordinates. And yet somehow, people still get off route and require rescue I’m told.

 

Along the way there are some rocky sections that I assume give the trail its extremely difficult rating. However, they even paint these blue dots to show you the right way to go.

 

More of the rocky portion of the trail.

 

I thought this was a cool cactus. It looks dead, but has flowers on it.

 

Getting very close to the summit now!

 

Traditional Summit Selfie!!

 

View from the top. Looking north, away from Phoenix.

 

View from the top to the south. Phoenix is toward the right, Scottsdale is on the left. The rocky hills in the middle are Hole in the Rock park, which deliver exactly what it promises; a rock with a hole in it.

 

As the sun sets the mountain casts a long shadow over the city. I decide it’s time to get off this mountain before it gets too dark.

 

As the sun sets the mountain casts a long shadow over the city. I decide it’s time to get off this mountain before it gets too dark.

 

There are some unbelievably large houses near the bottom of the mountain. An estimated 700,000 people climb Camelback Mountain every year. All of them looking into your big expensive back yard.

 

Finally, on the way off the mountain I found this sign warning about the presence of rattlesnakes and what to do if you encounter them. I decide I probably should have stopped to read this sign before heading up the mountain. This information would prove very useful in the following days. File that under foreshadowing for my next set of pics.

 

 

 

 


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