Sunday, May 27, 2012
What a beautiful day and what a relief after all the above normal temperatures. I didn't start hiking until 12:40 PM and even at that hour it was still cool (82) with a nice breeze. I had looked at Bell Pass before, but it's a long hike and rated difficult. Today, I said I would go as far as I could and then turn around when I got tired.
But you know how it is...the closer one gets to the top, the more one wants to go "just a little more." This is not a loop trail, so I was fully aware every step towards the top would have to be retraced. And of course one of my favorite quotes by I don't remember who is: "Getting to the top is optional, coming down is not."
The breeze was prolific and even though I was sweating a lot, I had plenty of water, blister protection on my feet, sunscreen applied before I got to the trailhead, good snack bars, and my hiking hat. So, I just kept going and I DID IT! I got to the top of Bell Pass where I enjoyed stupendous views of the valley thousands of feet below. WOOHOO!
This was the hardest hike I've done in my hiking career for two reasons. The last 1.5 miles was extremely steep and of course very rocky. As hard as it was going up (I was stopping to rest every 5-10 minutes), I think it was perhaps more difficult coming down. I found it hard to maintain my balance and because of the steepness, it was hard to control momentum. My butt, hips and toenails were screaming for mercy before I finished the first mile coming down.
This was also difficult because of the length...I don't recall having hiked 8 miles in one trip. I was very glad to get to the bottom and off the trail.
However I feel good I preserved and I burned a load of calories...1598 to be exact. Total hiking times was 228 minutes.
Warm Up/Cool Down: 53% maximum capacity
Zone 1 = 03 minutes
Hiking Up: 75% capacity
Zone 1 = 18 minutes
Zone 2 = 61 minutes
Zone 3 = 41 minutes
Zone 4 = 01 minute
Hiking Down: 73% capacity
Zone 1 = 30
Zone 2 = 74
Zone 3 - 03
Monday, May 21, 2012
A lot of things went wrong today and I didn't particularly enjoy this hike of 7 miles, BUT I persevered and did it. Wilson Canyon is in Red Rock Country in northern AZ and I wanted to hike here because it should have been cooler than the 104 degrees in Scottsdale.
I was ready to go and my husband tells me he doesn't feel like going even though we had planned our day the night before. So I finished getting my backpack ready, told him I was going and left in what he considered "a huff."
For every mile north I kept looking at my outside temperature gauge expecting it to drop, but the temperature didn't get below 82 degrees. This is okay for me if there is a breeze and the trail has shade. No shade, minimal breeze.
It's a 2 hour drive and when I got to the canyon, I called DH I was there and what trail I would be on. Then I realized my camel back was leaking from being dropped with frozen water in it. I tried to repair a small tear with an occlusive bandage from my first aid kit which helped some but didn't completely stop the leak. This meant a walk back to the ranger station to purchase two liters of water.
I take out my camera to take some pictures of the blooming prickly pear and hedgehog cacti and the battery is dead. I can't use my phone camera because I don't want to use up the charge. Bummer, bummer and you don't get to see pictures of the beautiful cacti.
It's getting hot and I stop under a tree for some shade and rest. I stepped over a rock onto a fairly steep gradient and too late realize this hillside is really just loose dirt. I fall and slid on my belly for about twenty feet before I self-arrest. My knee is cut and bleeding and I have a deep scrape on my ankle on the opposite leg. No big deal, but what was gross were all the gnats clustered in the blood. Oh, and of course there was the problem of how do I get back up to the trail? I struggled for 35 minutes trying to gain a purchase and finally was able to wriggle sideways, grab a tree branch and pull myself up. Good news...I have a first aid kit and bug spray in my pack.
I reach my turn around point and start back when I feel a blister developing on the ball of my right foot in spite of the fact I am wearing heavy hiking boots and two pairs of good socks. Under a tree again where I put Vaseline on the ball of my foot and cover it with two heavy duty Band-Aids. This seems to help for the next two miles, but I've still got two miles left back to the trailhead. Stop again and take one of the two socks off my good foot, fold up the paper map and put it inside the sock and put that sock on the foot with the blister. So, three socks, two Band-Aids and a folded paper map get me back to the car.
The numerous stops for rest and first aid have now delayed my time enough that DH will be worried I haven't called. But I'm still in wilderness and so no cell phone towers for a connection. However, I can text, but DH is texting illiterate, so I text my niece in Seattle. She will respond and call DH and tell him I am fine and about a mile and a quarter from the trailhead.
Back at the trailhead, I report trail conditions to the ranger (very hot, lots of bugs, no rattlesnake sightings), rest a bit in the shade and then start my 2 hour journey back home. I want to call DH I'm on my way home, but text has used up my remaining cell phone charge. No problem, I have a charger in the car. Oh no, phone is indicating I need a new battery and will not charge.
When I arrive home, DH is in a panic, sure I am dead, and has called the Scottsdale police, the Sedona, AZ police and the ranger station, in spite of the fact that my niece did call him. He apparently misunderstands the message even though she read it to him exactly as I texted it: This is not an emrgncy. Call Andy I'm fine and 1 1/4 mile from trailhead and d car. Very slow and too damn hot
Soooo, for the good news...I hiked 7 miles in the heat and didn't die; not that I ever thought that I would. From my perspective the most troubling aspect of this hike was avoiding the cow piles on the trail. This is open range country and apparently the cattle do not have a designated bathroom. :) There were some great views of red rocks, it was peaceful and the cacti were prolific and beautiful. Oh, and I also burned 1177 calories. WooHoo
Thursday, May 17, 2012
One of my earliest memories as a child was riding home from "town" back to our house in the country. Those were days long before child restraints or even seat belts were available as safety devices. I would be cuddled on my Mom's lap and she and Daddy would sing all of the old cowboy songs they knew by heart, of course adding all the appropriate "twang" to make the song special to me. I loved those old songs and I loved hearing them sing together although I'm not sure either one of them were singing on tune. Eventually I would fall asleep, but when we crossed the steel Tilton river bridge that rattled loud enough to wake the dead, I would rouse knowing we weren't far from home. Daddy would carry me into the house and put me to bed carefully tucking me in.
Fast forward sixty-three years and Daddy is driving his pick-up truck in heaven. Momma is now eighty-five and losing her memories at a rapid pace. Tonight as we came home from dinner Mom & I sang it loud, right along with Roy Acuff, not missing any words, 'Wreck on the Highway'.
"Who did you say it was brother?
Who was it fell by the way?
When whiskey and blood run together
Did you hear anyone pray?
I didn't hear nobody pray, dear brother
I didn't hear nobody pray
I heard the crash on the highway
But, I didn't hear nobody pray.
When I heard the crash on the highway
I knew what it was from the start
I went to the scene of destruction
And a picture was stamped on my heart.
There was whiskey and blood all together
Mixed with glass where they lay
Death played her hand in destruction
But I didn't hear nobody pray.
I wish I could change this sad story
That I am now telling you
But there is no way I can change it
For somebody's life is now through.
Their soul has been called by the Master
They died in a crash on the way
And I heard the groans of the dying
But, I didn't hear nobody pray."
This is a night to remember because Mom can still sing and remember all the words and I am so grateful for this time together.
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