Tuesday the 25th I was able to rejuvenate myself and once again stir the fires of hiking after the Reavis Ranch disaster of the 15th and 16th. With my most considerate companions, Dan and Andy, we did the eastern half of the National trail starting up Telegraph Pass. I n actuality the Reavis mess was a learning experience for me. It was a disaster for me because I did not have accurate trail information (my fault as I trusted others to describe the trail), poor guidance as to where Reavis Ranch was and some erroneous reporting of the results and procedures. Thanks to Tom my time at the camp site was very nice. Certain others also helped. Never having been on a horse or mule before the pack saddle almost rendered me a soprano in the 10 miles. I know I could have walked out but the ride out was certainly an experience. I learned a great deal. For about 4 to 5 days after that mess I decided never to hike again. Most of you have no idea what 70 plus feels like!!! Your body hurts even if you stay still and do nothing.
Dan and Andy completely changed my mind with a delightful 9 mile hike up Telegraph Pass and east on National trail to the eastern Pima Canyon trailhead. The first 1.3 miles is a scramble up hill from about 1400 feet elevation to about 2000 feet. It is a bit over 500 feet and fairly steep in spots. From there we went east and the trail rises and dips gaining another 400 feet but in bits and pieces. You pass under the TV towers and see them from different angles. At times you feel isolated and in the wilderness but you round a corner or climb a short grade and suddenly all of Phoenix spreads out before you. Several trails come into National but it is well marked all the way to the eastern trailhead.
Of course when we got to the junction with Hidden Valley we took the steep trail down to the right and then played around in the rock formations, the various tunnels and checked out both ends of Fat Man's Pass. I almost tried it but would have to take off my pack to slide through. Anyway we enjoyed playing around in Hidden Valley and reached the junction again with National Trail.
From there on it is up and down with gentle slopes until you reach near the trailhead and then there are switchbacks to get you to the road level. From there you pass the runners and bikers until you reach the car lot. From there we drove over to where had left my car at Telegraph Pass and went to lunch at a great recommended Mexican restaurant just off Baseline. Our total hike time was 5 hours or a 1.8 mph average that shows most of the trail is relatively fast for me.
I have learned so much this fall about hikes. Being very new I did not realize that all hike ratings are relative to the experience of the rating hiker. To me Flatiron is almost impossible, anything over 9 or 10 miles -even flat is very, very hard. Treasure Loop is difficult with the climbs. To my mailbox is the only rated easy hike for me! I do thank some of you for sharing ways I can rate my hikes. I now have TOPO distances and elevations. As an example I could do the 1.3 miles up Telegraph Pass by stopping several times for a minute or so. If it had been twice that distance I would have had trouble. For most of you when I see a hike rated easy to moderate I will carefully track it and it will be high moderate to difficult for me.
At least I now have one half of the National Trail completed. Oh also will get back to Reavis Ranch but completely on my terms Thank God for Dan and Andy.
Life is what is happening while you are making other plans.