Quite a hike. Not the overall hardest hike I've done, since it was only uphill and I find going down to be much harder on the body, but this was the hardest/ most AEG I've done in a day. I have a new love for hiking uphill with descents made mostly by means other than foot. My knees loved it, that for sure! On my other hikes with similar AEG and descents, the final descent was brutal and I was beaten up for days. Not so with this as I was out the next day and felt fine.
For me, dehydration was the major issue. I needed more electrolytes and water, and food, too. This was my first time out in temps over 75 degrees since late April, and with the length of the hike, I knew it. Altitude acclimatization and training are only good for altitude, and if you get to higher elevation after fatigue has set in, it does nothing. Being pretty hot and tired for the last few miles, 9000' might as well have been 15,000'.
I would say this is Arizona's Cactus to Clouds. I rate is as one of the best hikes in the State. I would like to know if we have any other hikes that start about as low and go as high or higher.
It was neat seeing the first Rattle Snake I have seen since 2005. Yes, I gave it a wide birth, but I've seen those things jump real far. Sure, those were flying out of brush to eat a mouse, but it's still something I don't want to deal with. Snakes are all well and good, but how bout them Jack Rabbits!?!
I'd would definitely like to hike this again, and at this time of year. I would like to take more water, or bring my filter, bring more food (4 cliff bars, 2 apples, an orange and a liter of juice weren't enough), and I would budget more time. As it was, Kyle and I probably took close to an hour of breaks in the hike. I'd like more. I'm always wanting more! I think this could be a good 10 hour hike, with diner on top in Summerhaven if the restaurant is open.