I was hoping to have a solid summer of biking and hiking, but I just haven’t had the motivation to go out in the Phoenix heat!
For a long time I’ve been able to deal with and train through the summer, but in the past few years it has really started to effect me. I started noticing this in 2015, there were a few hot bike rides that really sent me sideways. I’m much more careful than I used to be when it comes to afternoon summer activities, always want to make home to the wife!!
I know with proper hydration and getting up early I can safely enjoy outdoor activities all year long, lots of people do it. But, sometimes when I take the dog out at 4am and it’s hot I just don’t feel like sweating it out.
As the Colorado backpacking trip approaches it’s always nice to get in a little high-altitude training, so we headed up to Flagstaff to hike Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona.
We left Phoenix just after 6am, making it to the Snowbowl parking lot around 9. The I-17 75 mph speed limit helps make the miles pass by.
We pulled into the trail-head parking lot at Arizona Snowbowl and got ready for the stroll. The Forest Service has a pop-up set up with a couple of rangers there to advise people on the trail and strenuous nature of the hike, a nice service.
Here’s the Arizona Snowbowl Webcam to give you a good view of the mountain!
We hit the trail and across the first ski run and into the trees we went. There were a number of people we started off with who we would end up yo-yoing past for most of the hike. The first half of the hike is in a beautiful pine forest, you just have step over lots of roots and rocks. After just a bit you pass the sign marking the start of the wilderness area.
About 1/3 of the way through the trees we started to run into some patches of snow, they were a little slippery but are easily crossed with the help of the trekking poles!
The steepness increases as you get closer to Agassiz Saddle, between Humphreys and Agassiz Peaks, but I love to get above treeline. It really feels like you’re in the big mountains once you get out of the trees. As long as I can remember I’ve always just trudged through the part of a hike in the trees but really get the stoke going once I’m up high!
We stopped at the saddle for lunch and a good rest break before heading up the ridge towards the summit. One thing about Humphreys is, never believe your looking at the summit until you’re standing on the top. My friend Bill was calling it Mt Liar because of all the false summits!
We hung out on top for a bit, talking with some other people up there. We all got a pic with the sign and headed out for the trek back to the truck. We saw quite a few people starting out in the later afternoon, still in the trees asking how far to the peak. I told them it was far.
It was a fun day in the mountains, unfortunately my Garmin said unsupported file format when I tried to upload, so no maps or cool data to pass along. I really wish if that was going to happen it would be on a short run around my house, not on a cool mountain adventure that took 8 hours! Overall, awesome day but it’s a haul up and back from Phoenix all in one day. Left my house at 5:30 AM, got back at 9:45 PM.
We cruised out to Canyon Lake, part of the Salt River, to hang out and so I could do a little SUPing. It’s about an hour from the house and the last part is a cool drive through some amazing desert scenery.
We brought Walter the Dog, we’re trying get him used to having people around so he can go do more stuff with us. He gets a little crazy around people he doesn’t know…
Since it was a Tuesday, and starting to get hot, I thought it would be quiet at the lake, but there were a good amount of people out there having fun. It always makes me very happy to see people out enjoying our National Forests, Parks, and public lands, they are one of our countries greatest natural resources.
The main reason we were there was just to relax in a cool outdoor spot not too far from the house, we were able to find a spot on the shore with a tree for some shade. We got a little camp set up and enjoyed the afternoon and some sandwiches. Most of the time there was a nice breeze and the water was super refreshing! Once I got the SUP inflated I took it for a cruise, paddled through some good rollers from the passing boats and almost fell in!
If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get in SUPing, this paddle board has been awesome so far!
HydroForce White Cap Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard SUP and Kayak 10′
Going Down the Trail is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I personally use and would recommend.
The yearly Colorado backpacking trip can be a challenge, mainly because of the altitude. Coming up from Phoenix, AZ (elevation 1086’), makes for a tough first few days. I like to enjoy myself as much as possible, call me crazy, so being fit is the only way to get past the altitude problem. The main challenge during the summer in Phoenix? You guessed it, it’s hot. The good news: as long as you don’t mind early mornings Phoenix is a great place to train outdoors year-round. As I’ve gotten older the heat has started to effect me more and more, and every summer the news is filled with stories of people taken down while hiking in the heat, so you need to be careful and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I’ve got another Grand Canyon hike coming up in September as well, so being hiking fit and well acclimatized to the heat is required!
I try to make it to the gym for some strength training twice a week, get in at least one swim, and a hike or bike ride. Usually on my hikes I run the flat parts and try to hike quickly up the steep sections.
I’m not really a fan of training with my pack on, I prefer to just work on overall fitness, so that I’m prepared for the adventures I have planned and anything else that might pop-up. Last year there was some suffering on the uphill hikes, perhaps my plan needs some adjustments…
I am fortunate to live right next to South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the United States, and a fantastic collection of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and in general enjoying the outdoors. I love the fact that in my neighborhood I’m surrounded by other active people who like to enjoy the excellent outdoor recreation opportunities that Phoenix provides.
The map below shows all the trails and such.
Pyramid Trail is my standard training hike, a mile of slightly up, then a mile of lots of up!
Once you get up to the top you can add some fun mileage by traversing the ridge line all the way around and descend a few different ways. The ridge is great for running, a nice rolling single track!
I try put together some videos of various adventures, check’em out!
Working in the restaurant industry in Phoenix necessitates taking vacations during the summer. While it can be a little warm in Phoenix, I’m still able to do a decent amount of outdoor activities and get away for some cool backpacking.
One of the first escapes should be a few days car camping with my wife. I just recently got us a 6 man tent, for excellent comfort in the campgrounds. While I enjoy the backpacking experience immensely, some comfy car camping is fun as well!
After that comes the Colorado backpacking trip, usually the highlight of the year for outdoor adventures. The past few years, for various reasons (impressive volumes of rain and wind or serious lack of precipitations), we haven’t been able to have a campfire. Really hoping for a few small campfires to sit around this time. Heading to an area around the continental divide, moving between some lakes. After a long hectic season of work the simplicity of backpacking and the beauty of the mountains help recharge the spirit. I feel like I can live pretty comfortably while backpacking, the REI Co-op Double Shot Press Mug doesn’t hurt (apparently it’s not available anymore, but I bet you can something similar). A real cup of coffee sure makes mornings in the mountains exceedingly nice.
Then in early September it’s back to the Grand Canyon! There will be four of us this time, should be a fun group. We’re going about two weeks later than last year, but it’s early September so it will probably still be pretty hot! As usual, i’m sure we’ll challenge ourselves. So we’ve got that goin’ for us , which is fun. The canyon is such an amazing place, around every turn is another incredible picture!
If I mix in some SUPing out at the lakes around Phoenix, it should be a good summer.
I’ve been able to continue the heading down to Tempe Town Lake for some post-work Stand-up Paddleboarding theme. I’m new to the paddling, so I’m just looking to get in some miles and a good workout. I very much enjoyed listening to an audio book and putting forth effort, it’s a great way to decompress. Much need lately.
My Garmin Forerunner has always struggled a little with elevation, obviously the website will correct after the fact, but it is always very evident when I paddle. The graph below is my elevation while paddling Tempe Town Lake,,,
My 3rd time on the Stand-up Paddleboard was pretty nice, it has become an excellent Wednesday afternoon pastime. I feel that it can become a good workout, but mainly it’s just super relaxing to cruise around Tempe Town Lake. It is unbelievable how many buildings are being built along the lake, 20 years ago when I moved to Phoenix it was a dry riverbed!
I wore the earphones today and rocked my AC/DC playlist, ripe for digging in. I definitely need to get some good technique, I feel like the main limiter in it being a cardio workout instead of just pleasure is my poor paddling stroke, so any knowledgeable tips are appreciated! Perhaps I should watch some YouTube videos. Fortunately for me, the people who’s totally awesome pics of paddling around made me want to try it are gong to start paddling around soon .
There was some actual going where I wanted!
Effort #2, so much better than the first time battling the wind.
This mess was my first SUP time, because I had decided to go and just because the winds are gusting to 25 ain’t no thing. apparently…