“Take only memories, leave only footprints”– Chief Seattle
The first time I went to Phoenix, I stayed on the hotel complex and did the canoeing but this time I wanted to climb Camel Back Mountain as it is only located 20 mins from Downtown Phoenix. The same as last time, it was just a 24 hour layover. We arrived around 9pm local time but as it was July and soaring temperatures, the only way to climb the mountain was to start around 4am before sunrise. That meant getting some rest straight away before getting up in the early hours as depending on the level of your level of fitness, it could take 2-3 hours to complete the 2,704 ft hike, although some experienced hikers can do it in half that time.
“The best-known natural landmark in Phoenix, Camelback Mountain is named for its two summits resembling the hump and head of a kneeling camel”– https://www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com/camelback-mountain/
Even at the time we began we could feel the heat so it was definitely the right choice to start before sunrise. It was actually recorded that Phoenix recorded its highest temperature of 2019 just over a week later at a staggering 115 degrees. There are 2 choices of trail to do, Echo Canyon or Cholla. The Echo Canyon trail is steeper and more intense and the Cholla trail is longer but more suitable for non-experienced hikers. The Cholla trail does become a bit more steep the further up you progress so it’s advisable to be mindful of loose gravel and rocks. This trip I knew what my plans were and although I don’t have hiking boots, my Nike trainers have a really good grip on the sole and an air bubble for comfort. I did actually buy them as running trainers when I was training for the Manchester 10K run but found they were to heavy for running and my land was to hard but for this they worked well.
As we got further up the mountain, the views were amazing so we was keen to carry on to experience them in all their glory(obviously we stopped for photographs before the top) but it was picturesque watching the night turn into day over Phoenix as all the lights from the city gradually went off and the sun came up.
As the day was becoming lighter, more people were beginning to arrive on the mountain and you could definitely tell the experienced hikers as they just flew past us and up the mountain. What I did notice though was how friendly everyone was and said ‘Hi’ or ‘Good Morning’ either on their way up or down. As if there is a real sense of a hiking community to help each other along.
I will admit, I was happy to get to the top after the trail and to have a little relax before heading back down. One thing I did learn from it though is that more water was needed. Although I had some, it was nowhere near enough so if I was to do it again, I’d probably take a backpack to fit more supplies in.
We finally began our descent back down the mountain and I actually found it a bit harder. The loose gravel and rocks are still present but there is nothing to hold onto like on the way up so it was a case of taking a few extra precautions to prevent slipping or falling.
We arrived back at the hotel around 08.30 so still a good time to get some well deserved breakfast and a good sleep & rest as we were leaving again in the evening. Even though it was a strenuous activity to do after a long flight, I’m happy I can now say I’ve climbed Camel Back Mountain ⛰