Friday, April 23, 2010

Camelback Mountain: The Climb

My vacation started off on Saturday morning and the need to walk off about 10 beers. I decided to climb a local favorite in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, Camelback Mountain. The trail head was easy to locate from Scottsdale because I could see the mountain from the hotel. I got to the parking lot and had to wait about 15 minutes to get a parking spot. There were lines and lines of people walking up and down this mountain. I must admit that my initial impression of the Phoenix area was a hot muggy place with old people living in it. Ya it was hot and muggy, but the people in that area seemed to live a very active lifestyle. Anyway, the trail was about 1.2 miles one way and climbed 1,500 vertical feet in that mile. I didn't realize what this meant until I started to climb. The first section was a steady uphill climb, once you climbed about 200 feet the views already started to impress me. The next section was fenced off and so steep they needed to put in railings to help you to the top. After this section boulder scrambling was the name of the game. Very steep and rocky the rest of the way up. I had to stop a few times to catch my breathe. The other thing that spooked me was how snaky this place looked! There were so many people around I am sure that at some point snakes show their faces up this route. After about 45 minutes of climbing I finally reached the top. The views of the Scottsdale/Phoenix area were spectacular at 4,500 feet. You could see in every direction and the distant mountain ranges showed their elevation all around. This hike isn't for everyone but if you want to challenge yourself for a rewarding view take a stab at Camelback in the Scottsdale area.

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