Old. (63.5 years)
Fat. (250 pounds).
Stupid. (I left my hat at home this morning.)
Bad sense of balance. (It seems to be deteriorating. I may try to find my cane and start using it again.)
Considering all that, I probably should not have gone hiking by myself in the desert, but I had thought about showing you all what a hike in the Arizona desert was really like, and I had the time on my hands. I bought a bottle of water to take with me, and I set out on a hike I used to do every week ten years ago. Frankly, I was wondering if I could still do it.
This is where the trail starts for me.
Down a steep concrete trail into a gully.
Down, down, down. It's all uphill once you reach the bottom here.
Up the other side. Heading roughly north. Beautiful day.
Do you see how rough the ground is? Lots of small, sharp broken rocks underfoot. Treacherous footing, watch your step.
The climbing begins here.
Once past the arroyo, the real trail begins.
The terrain gets rougher. That pass in the distance is my destination.
A couple hundred hikers a day run up and down this trail. I can't run.
I take a new picture each time I reach the end of the path you can see.
The arroyo I crossed parallels the trail. I'm looking down into it here from a scenic overlook wide spot on the trail.
Looking upstream from the same spot. My original plan was to hike up the gully, but I decided not to.
Dried out Cthulhu bushes and Saguaro cacti line my path.
The trail is getting steeper.
There's a baby Saguaro on the right side of the trail. It hasn't grown any arms yet.
Onward. The trail gets rougher here.
Looking backwards. I'm a bit more than half way to my goal.
Keep walking, Ken. Starting to sweat now.
When the going gets rough, the hiker takes a break and drinks some water. Always carry water in the desert. Dehydration is all too easy out here.
The signpost shows I haven't gotten lost.
My favorite spot on the trail. A little dip to give your legs a break from climbing and a shady spot where a body can rest.
As I near the top, the trail gets steeper.
It's rougher than it looks.
Looking back. I've come a long way now. You can see the South Mountains on the other side of the valley in the far distance.
This is rough climbing for an old man.
I have reached the summit at last.
Oops! False summit. The road gets ragged and tought to walk.
Rusty rocks and Cthulhu bushes deep in the Arizona jungle.
The big quartz outcropping in the distance--my goal at last.
Quartz boulder thrusts up out of the mountain itself.
This glassy white rock is a crystal, and is often found near gold deposits. Gold is a lot rarer than quartz, however.
There is a lot more quartz higher up the hill. I was too tired to climb up there, although I have gone there in the past.
The road goes ever on, but I'm turning back now.
The trail splits. This one actually climbs Piestawa Peak from the north side.
Looking all the way back down.
My shadow on the ground proves I actually walked all the way up there today. I simply meant to show all the quartz fragments on the ground.
Up close to the big quartz outcropping. It looks like a mountain range in miniature.
Saying goodbye to the big Q now. I picked up a little piece off the ground as a memento of my hike.
After resting a little bit, I start back down the trail. It has taken about half an hour to make this hike, and it was perhaps half a mile. Want to see what it all looks like going down? Heh! I thought not. Maybe next time, I’ll share a few more shots from this hike with you.