Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Navigating South Mountain

Before I hit the road to head to Seattle, I spent Saturday morning navigating through South Mountain, a favorite hiking spot in the Valley because of it’s vast trail options and amazing views of Phoenix.
Four of us decided on the Hidden Castle trail, a rocky 5-mile path that leads you through multiple switchbacks and forces you to ascend 2,330 feet.
To understand just how high you can get, Mike’s head was tipped back in the middle of the trail eyeing how much further we had to go. We caught a small glimpse of what we had to look forward to.

It was pretty tough, but the rewards for getting high up above the city were plenty. Once we made it to the top of the trail, the summit offered a variety of ways to experience the awesome views.
One really cool aspect of this hike was the castle, after which the trail was named. (Above is a shot of the views from one of the castle’s windows.)
The top was packed with tourists and professional photographers shooting every angle of the unlimited landscape spanning for miles.
From the castle you can spot the city skyline of Phoenix, identify the stadium where the Arizona Cardinals play and see the home of Arizona State University in Tempe.
And at the end of the hike you’re rewarded with beautiful array of wildflowers.

Spring is when all the flowers come out in the Valley and when the cactus’ bloom. What you get to see, even if it’s only for a month or two, is a breathtaking assortment of blooming desert plants sporting every color of the rainbow.
The hike was a great primer for out timed mile adventure this Thursday and my body was aching, along with my face and chest that were sporting a fresh sunburn.

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