Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The backwards approach

See how exhausted I am on South Mountain. Well, now that I've regained some of my strength, let me tell the story behind our recent hike on Sunday.
The details must be shared.
It was too much of an adventure to keep to ourselves.
We knew that after a long weekend, a hike that clocked in almost 8 miles would make for a rough morning. What we didn't realize is that we were about to make it even more difficult for ourselves.
How is this possible you wonder?
Well for starters a block on the main road to the trail head made it a challenge to find our starting point. So after a few minutes walking down a paved road, we saw a sign for the Alta Trail on the right and quickly jumped on the path.
Our guide book said it would be a rough one mile ascent.
But after at least 2.5 miles and still going up, we began to wonder if our trusted guide was dead wrong.
Here's how high up we were. Yep that's Phoenix in the distance.

The most difficult part of the hike was supposed to be behind us, but we were still going up and up, trying our best to get through a series of intense switchbacks.
Once we reached what looked like the summit, the intensity still wouldn't let up. We keep getting higher and our legs were burning.
So we stopped for lunch. And then Meghan began getting attacked by bugs. (See below) The bug attack made it even more exhausting, since she had to swat her arms around at them every few seconds.

I had almost emptied all the water in my camelback and there was still more than half of the hike left to go. We kept saying to ourselves that there must be an end to this upward trek soon.
Finally, after about 3 miles we started heading down the mountain. We soon reached a road, the road we had walked up to find the Alta trail in the beginning. Quickly after a scan of the guide book, we realized that we had actually tackled the hike backwards, which made it longer and more challenging.
To get back to our car, we had to walk more than 4 miles on this never ending road, one filled with inclines and twists.

When we finally spotted our car, it was not a second too soon. My shoulders were bright red with sunburn (I had wiped off all my sunblock at some point) and we are almost out of water.
It was intense. But we decided that by doing the hike backwards, it was actually better training preparation for when we hike out of the canyon.
Even if it was, it's Wednesday and we are both still tired and hurting.
At least there's a few more days left in the week to rest up for our next round of hikes this weekend. Our legs should be working again by then. (Hopefully!)

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