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Windgate Bell Loop
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mini location map2011-10-22
36 by photographer avatartibber
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Windgate Bell LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 22 2011
Hiking10.10 Miles 2,057 AEG
Hiking10.10 Miles   6 Hrs   11 Mns   2.36 mph
2,057 ft AEG   1 Hour   54 Mns Break
Partners none no partners
Couter-clockwise. Ending temp 98 degrees! :sweat: :sweat: :sweat:

It's a great hike, one I would do again but NEVER when it's that hot. It was a bit toasty from the moment I started and the only real reprieve were a couple small sections of shade as well as the breeze I got as I hiked further up toward the Pass. I struggled a bit up the steep last 1/2 mile to Bell Pass : rambo :. The nice thing though is that you can see your destination and fortunately, it's not further away then it looks :D .

When I'm by myself, I'm much more comfortable in that I can stop when I want to re-group which is basically just catching my breath. I have the physical ability but the lung power is another story. Today I also had a little trouble finding my leg power (you know how some days your legs are stronger than others). Fortunately I had a banana along that I would eat part of as I made my way up. It's really not that bad of a hike except that last mile to the Pass. Of course, it was warmer :sweat: than I thot it was going to be... little did I know.

Anyway, I'm up at the Pass, it's breezy and I feel pretty good :) . I wanted to do the Bell Windgate Loop but that wasn't my plan today. I'm talking to one of the guys that rode/walked his bike up the Bell Pass and he said it's not that bad getting to Windgate from here except that you had to go all the way back down (east) and then up another 600 feet in a mile. He said the up was very gradual. Well, he convinced me. I reviewed the map of the connector trails that I had with me and calculated the mileage (6 1/2 from here vs the 3.6 back the way I came). I'm one of those who feels if I've struggled all the way up, I might as well go for it :wlift: .

The only thing I forgot to take into consideration was the heat; but being at the top of Bell Pass, it was really quite nice. However, as I got almost down to the bottom, it really started to get hot. It was too late to change my mind so I had no choice but to continue. I stopped a couple times which gave me a moment to take in the views. When I got to the top of Windgate Pass I rested about 10 minutes and had some of my lunch. It was mostly down hill from there but it was getting even hotter now.

I knew I might be in trouble as I would get chills and could feel the nausea coming on. About the 3 mile left mark (I had gone 7 and up two passes by this time), I was coming up a little hill but it just zapped :gun:me. Fortunately, I saw a little tree with some shade, threw down my camera pack, my backpack, pulled out my car visor and laid down on it for about 15 minutes. I thot I might just have to wait it out until it cooled but I gained my strength back and headed down the trail, stopping about every 1/2 mile in shade to rest for 5 minutes.

I kept saying to myself, it's one thing for other hikers to torture me ;) :lol: but totally a stupid dumb thing to do to myself ](*,) . But I learned a lot: #1 - really analyze extending your hike before doing so. #2 - if you feel nausea coming on, lay down to re-group. #3 - always fill your water bladder completely full just in case you decide to extend your hike (I had plenty so not a problem) and make sure to have enuf food (I had enuf and fortunately, I had picked up the apple/cheese snack pack at Q-Trip which was the perfect item to have for a hot day).

I thot it was only supposed to be 91 but when I got to the car at 2:15 it was 98 :o ! Even when I got home it took me over an hour to get cooled down.

My new camera is pretty amazing altho the outside gets dirtier looking faster cuz of the material they used on the body. I tried the 24x zoom out on Tom's Thumb from quite a distance and it's pretty impressive. I will post the pics so you can see. I was also trying out a new camera case/pack which seems to work ok. With the more expensive camera, I now feel I need to carry a bag but I wanted a bag that could also hold my GPS and snacks and such. It's a shoulder-type bag (Thx Randy and Ms Chaos)

Despite a rough time those last few miles, I want to give Tom's Thumb trail a try from Gateway... when it's MUCH cooler.

Here are a few short videos I took. I didn't realize I had the movie setting at 16:9 plus I have to remember when I'm on zoom, I need to move slower. I did use youtube's edit mode where it takes the wobbly out of the movie and that worked pretty good. I'm not too happy with the supposedly new wind cut function of the movie mode plus I thot you wouldn't hear when I took it in and out of zoom. Well you don't hear the zooming but you do hear the click when you lift your finger off of the lever.

View from Bell Pass:
View before deciding to do the whole loop looking down on the Bell Pass Trail east:
View from Windgate Pass:
Named place
Named place
McDowell Peak Thompson Peak
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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