After officiating two high school basketball games Friday night in Payson, then a sit-down with my friend Michael sipping on a Clyde May’s Bourbon, I managed to get a decent night of sleep. I woke up Saturday morning as sore as I have been lately with aches and pains in the lower back, feet and ankles but managed to get out and get some coffee before heading back to the mostly cloudy Valley of the Sun. This old age and running on the hardwood floors has taken its toll on my body with multiple pains that make simple things more difficult.
I rolled out of Payson around 8:30 ready to meet up with my spouse, Carolyn who wanted to go for a hike. As part of my journey I have made it my goal to hike on the Phoenix City Park trails to explore areas close to home. I had previously been to the Sonoran Reserve Park in the northern parts of Phoenix and had completed two trailheads for hikes and now was ready to take on another new area and the third and final trailhead location for the park. The Desert Vista Trailhead is located off I 17 and is easily accessed through some newer housing areas.
My original goal was to get all the trails done in one day but that wasn’t to be. Carolyn and I didn’t start until close to noon and we had to be back at our condo by six and I was already beat up and sore so I think we did quite well.
We started out on Hawk’s Nest to Desert Tortoise to the Valle Verde, Great Horned Owl going clockwise to a side trail that is not to be missed, the Union Peak Trail. Some great 360 degree views of the valley and a very decent climb UP. We came back down, got back on the Great Horned Owl loop finished it and had to rehike part of it to get on the Cactus Wren Trail back to the Valle Verde finishing it where it meets up with the Dixie Mountain loop on over to the Hawk’s Nest and back to the trailhead.
Our hike ended up being 10 miles and we saw few hikers on our figure 8 hike and only a couple bikers. Great time spent in the desert on trails that had only one cigarette butt, some dog turds, a lost facial tissue, and no other trash. We saw two jack rabbits who were of legendary size and looked like those jackalopes. Yes they were that big.
Clearly most of the people hiking take the Dixie Mountain loop and that trail looked busy on a Saturday afternoon. The trails we hiked were harder to get to and involved longer hikes. Trails seemed suitable for trail running and the mountain bikers we encountered were courteous and not ones who would run you over.
All in all a great hiking day logging 10 miles near the city with close to 1700 feet in elevation gains. My beat up body was even more beat up but my mind was clear and my soul uplifted. Done and in time to hit happy hour at Dick’s Hideaway. It’s just a small hole-in-the-wall next to Luci’s that is hidden away with no signage but it sure is good, usually busy, and a very cool hangout. And if you haven’t tried the mashed potatoes in the green Chile, well you should.
Next up will be the Dixie Mountain Loop Trail, and several others off of the loop. So still taking trips without leaving the farm.