A day after my sister and her husband departed again for the north country, some other friends from back home (and their three dogs) came cruising in to camp! We checked out some of the natural sights in the area, as well as a classic car dealer in Scottsdale, the Bass Pro Shop, and a couple of the local watering holes and feed spots. Then, some more old friends flew in from Ontario for their first visit to Arizona – and the Grand Canyon. Once again, more local eateries and beverages were sampled, before they got tired of my hospitality and went their separate ways.
I stopped in at the park office of Lost Dutchman State Park to get a list of the trails around the mountain on the night before. The next morning, it was not yet 10 AM (!), and I was on the trail up to the mountain. The first mile of so is a gradual climb up to the base of the mountain – from there it gets progressively more interesting, and a bit of a scramble up the steepening gully.
Impressive views open up below as you get higher and higher. Being a weekend, the trail was rather busy, with some congestion in areas that were narrow or extra steep.
Elevation gain is close to 3000 feet, and the summit is listed as about 4861.
I made it to the top in a bit over two hours. Wrangler jeans and all!
The trail was certainly good for my ego! Although I am not in that great of shape (missing hockey for the last 2 years), and never was a mountaineer extraordinaire – maybe mediocre(?), it appears that my background, combined with living at high elevations for the past several decades was an advantage over the average trail user I encountered. There was lots of huffing and puffing, and some whimpering!
I think only one or two hikers who started behind me got to the top ahead of me, and no one passed me on the way down.
What few climbing skills that I acquired while spending decades in the mountain national parks must have penetrated further than I thought. Going down is tougher than up, and I passed countless groups trying to figure out how to slide down on their butts! I would quickly down climb past them, and one group of young ladies was completely amazed that I could do it without clinging to rocks every second. I think they were calling me a mountain goat!
One poor fellow (scared of heights) was clearly out of his element. I heard him on his cell phone on while on the upper plateau, saying that he hoped he could ‘make it down’, and he had a couple guys take his photo ‘in case he didn’t make it back, he wanted to be able to prove he had made it that far’!
I quickly overtook him on the way down, and he was unsure of the route. I just told him to watch for people coming up – and go down that way! He decided that it would be better if ‘we’ went down together. Fat chance of that. I didn’t have an extra three hours to hold his hand.
If one of the cute young college gals I saw on the trail had had that problem – the answer might have been quite different!