Thursday, May 15, 2014

Camelback Echo Canyon Trail

A couple weeks ago I decided to hike Camelback again. Last year Natalie and I hiked up Camelback but we did the Cholla trail both times since Echo Canyon was closed. Since Echo Canyon is open now and the heat is coming soon I decided I need to hit the trail while I still can. I made a big mistake that morning. I got to the trail at 6:30. Sunrise was at 5:37 and if you're not there at sunrise you aren't getting parking. I asked the rangers where is the closest place to park and they said Cholla trail. I guess they didn't understand the question. So I drove over to a Wells Fargo 1.7 miles away and parked there. By the time I got to the trail head the parking lot was back open and people were allowed to look for parking. I had a strange feeling this would happen.
Now the problem I had was I brought water planning for a 3 mile hike, not a 6 mile hike. The trail is only a little over a mile but it's steep. I hiked up in about an hour feeling bad as some girls went flying by me. Made me realize just how out of shape I am. Last year I was carrying Adri up the hills, this year I'm huffing and puffing.
Now what would my blog be if I didn't complain every six months about people with gun phobia? About half way up the trail a guy walking down in a US Marshall shirt stops and ask how's it going. I said "Good how about you?" He looks at me and says "Really, you brought your gun up? Why"? Well I gave him the most obvious answer. "Because it's Arizona". He looked at me and said "You seemed to have missed the point". Now I'm willing to bet this poser was not really a US Marshall. If he was he's a complete dumbass because anyone that wears a shirt announcing they are a federal agent while unarmed is a dumbass. However I don't think he was a fed. However I wasn't going to take a chance pissing off a fed that could try to abuse power so I simply walked away shaking my head. The things I wanted to say. I wanted to tell him that CA is 160 miles to his west and if he's afraid of guns he should go there. I wanted to ask him what was his point. But I stayed quiet. Later thinking about it I thought it doesn't matter that I didn't say a word. I won that one. I pissed off someone who has gun phobia. I made my political statement of the day. Some question whether it was legal for me to carry on this trail. There's an explanation below right above the sign banning firearms.
Anyways I made it up in an hour where I relaxed and took in the view for 15 minutes. I read it's suppose to be 45 minutes down. I made it down in 30. I was running in some parts. The problem I have with my back being fused is going down hill. I start getting a little weak and shaky in the hips. So if it hadn't been for the handrail it probably would have taken me longer to get down. By the time I got to the handrail I was pretty shaky but I just grabbed on and jumped down. Of course once I got to the bottom I was out of water and still had 1.7 miles to go......
I used an app on my phone to record my hike. You can see going up slowed me down a lot. Down to a 73 minute mile. Of course hours 3-4 included my 15 minute break.
From the parking lot.

This is where it got fun going up.
This girl made me feel bad. There were two steep sections like this. By the time I made it up the first one she was already up the second.

To the left is Papago
View of the valley. The so called Sky Scrapers downtown don't look all that impressive from here.
Downtown Phoenix and South Mountain

Found this Chuckawalla on the way down.
This girl had a wipe out right in front of me. It was pretty funny, well for me at least.

Ok so here is an old sign banning guns. These signs are up in parks all over Arizona. In South Mountain they have the firearms wording and the gun scratched out. These signs were put up before the laws changed a couple years ago. They are no longer valid for lots of reasons. First off cities cannot make laws that are tougher than state laws. Which goes to the next point that state parks are no longer allowed to ban guns. And the last argument is that it did not contain the words "no firearms allowed pursuant to A.R.S. section 4-229", see my previous blog about gun laws in AZ.  The law here states that in order to ban firearms the sign must contain those words. Businesses however are still allowed to ask you to leave regardless, in which case I find somewhere else to spend my money. However anything state, federal, or public owned, they don't get the same freedom as private business. So even if the law had not changed prohibiting state parks from banning guns this sign would not be legal and I could do as I please. When I see these signs I like to go from conceal to open carry and make my political statement and remind people they are in Arizona. Maybe it will keep some of the crazy people from the state to our left from moving here too....

Grand Canyon

A couple months ago we took a quick trip to the Grand Canyon. Not that it wasn't fun, but overall it was a waste of a trip. When I got home from work that Friday my neck was on fire. I had to lay down on the floor with ice on it for an hour before packing. If it hadn't been for the fact that the hotel was non refundable I would have just called it off last minute. So we got a late start.  We stayed that night in Flagstaff and when I got there I had to ice up again.
The next day we drove over to the Grand Canyon South Rim. It had been down in the mid 20's that morning so even in the afternoon it was a little chilly. There was about an hour that afternoon where it got warm and I had to take my jacket off but other than that it was chilly in the day and it got really cold and windy at sunset. I mostly decided to do this trip that weekend so Natalie's aunt could see something new since she doesn't travel often. I had suggested to Natalie we go to Sabino Canyon that weekend so her aunt could just ride the tram and enjoy the view but Natalie didn't like that idea. So we did the Grand Canyon and her aunt last about 20 minutes. Next time the wife should listen to me.
We could have done a lot more if I had planned better too. It wasn't until we were getting ready to leave that night that I learned there is a free shuttle that drops you off at different spots along the rim. We probably could have done quite a bit if we would have known that ahead of time. So next time there will be better planning and it won't be a quick weekend trip. After just one short day at the Grand Canyon we went back to Flagstaff for the night. We did see a herd of Elk right on the side of the road on the way out. They had no fear and stayed there eating the grass for over an hour. 
Sunday morning Natalie's aunt watched the kids for us and we got to have some fun. A girl I went to highschool with lives in Flagstaff and took us to her shooting spot, an old abandoned open mine outside of town where Natalie got to shoot my Yugo AK-47 for the first time. She loved it. On the way home we drove through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. There was an amazing view going down the canyon. There were pine trees growing up cliffs and the entire canyon was green.
At South Rim. 

It only looks a mile or two wide but it's actually something like 17 miles wide at this part. The river looks tiny, where you can actually see it that is.

I got the father of the year lecture after taking this picture. It wasn't as unsafe as it looks.

Going back in. See Arizona isn't all desert.

Busting out the commie gun.