Just a Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally about his thoughts on life.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hiking Camelback Mountain, Paradise Valley, AZ

Caution: hiking Camelback Mountain during the summer is not a joke. Bring an abundance of water. Do not underestimate this hike.

Trail Description

Length: 2.6 miles round trip
Trailhead Elevation:  -- ft.
End Elevation: -- ft.
Elevation Change: 1253 feet
Difficulty Assessment: Medium
Trail Type: Out and Back

Camelback Mountain is one of the most iconic hikes in Phoenix. Located in the city of Paradise Valley, Camelback's popularity seems to stem from its centralized location in the valley, its balance between difficulty and time required to complete the hike, and of course, the view.

All throughout the week, the trail can be seen teeming with hikers of all shapes, age, and sizes.

There are two ways to approach the hike: the Cholla Trail and the Echo Canyon Trail. Which one is tougher seems to depend on who you ask. For this particular post, I will be talking about the Cholla Trail.

During the summer, the best time to hike is either in the early morning (6-8am at trailhead) or in the evening (after 5pm). But even then, you have to be careful. People underestimate how difficult Camelback is due to its trail length; but it's not the length you need to be wary about, it's the extreme heat, the lack of shade, and crowds that make this a difficult hike. Be diligent in your preparation and mindful of how much water to bring.

In the winter however, any time is fine. Remember to still bring water though. Cooler temperatures can trick you into thinking you're not as thirsty as you should be.

The Hike

To get to the Cholla Trail trailhead, you need to park on North Invergordon/N. 64th Rd (they are the same road, depending on which direction you are coming from).

Park anywhere between East Jackrabbit Rd and Camelback Rd. Pay attention to the signs.


Saturday, February 04, 2017

Bouldering at South Mountain, AZ

A few weekends past, Liz took me and Brandon to South Mountain for some bouldering. To get there, park at Pima Canyon trailhead, Maricopa Trail, Phoenix, AZ. There is a developed lot with bathrooms and picnic area. Be mindful of the time as the park gate closes between  certain hours (typically near sunset).

To get to Pima Canyon Trailhead, park at the following address:

From the parking lot, get on the National Trail. Walk along the National Trail for a mile or so until you pass the old stone Ramada. At this point, walk off the path and follow the dried river bed for another half mile towards Pima Canyon (the coordinates where you should start looking for the dried river bed: 33.360756, -112.004855). It might be best to go with someone who has been there to find the river bed path. But here's a snapshot of where I got off from the Ramada.


Why I Climb

I enjoy climbing for many reasons. And although I believe some of those reasons are subconscious, I'll try to the best of my ability to speak on the things that I can think of.

To sum it up, I love climbing because it speaks to my love for the outdoors, competition, and community.

Ever since I was young, it was a tradition of sorts for my family to go hiking on the weekends. At the time, I hated it. I hated waking up early for anything that wasn't cartoons and I especially didn't like spending my weekends hiking. Whether it was a cultural thing or simply something my parents enjoyed, it wasn't until years later that I organically took to being outdoors.

Climbing reinforces that love for the outdoors. Aside from the gym and metro locations, climbing typically takes place in the desert, forests, beaches, or mountains. Whether its sport leading, trad-climbing, top-roping, or bouldering, they all can take you off the beaten path to areas seldom explored. The journey to the start of the climb can vary. A climb can be as easy as parking and walking for 5-10 minutes, or it can involve scrambling, hiking, and even some "creative" exploring for an hour or more. It's this latter element of adventure that I enjoy.

© Willy's Outdoor Adventures

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