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Windgate Bell Loop
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mini location map2012-09-29
14 by photographer avatartibber
photographer avatar
 
Windgate Bell LoopPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 29 2012
tibber
Hiking9.45 Miles 1,967 AEG
Hiking9.45 Miles   4 Hrs   45 Mns   2.48 mph
1,967 ft AEG      56 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
I have a backpack/hike next weekend and I wanted to get a good hike under my belt even though next week's backpack/hike is only 7 miles one way and 7 miles back with a mile hike to an Arch in-between.

I thot the temps would be cooler but that didn't materialize as it warmed up real fast even though I was done by 11:30. Those last few miles were hot to me.

Since my hiking partner had to bail, I did manage to get started a little earlier. I never sleep well the nite before a hike so I woke at 5:30 and was on the trail by 6:40AM. The first mile and 1/2 the air was still :yuck: ; not a breeze or a little gust to be found anywhere. I was thinking this might cause me to turn back at the pass. Fortunately, WINDgate Pass was going to live up to its mantra and as I turned the corner around McDowell(?) Mtn heading east again, a slight breeze picked up and since I was still in the shade, I got a little lilt in my step :DANCE: .

I got to the Pass in pretty good time. I like that last 1/2 mile as the grade is nice and so is the trail. At the Pass I ate 1/2 of my snack and drank 1/3 of my gatorade. I visited with 3 mtn bikers (they were riding some rough routes today). I then headed down the east side of Windgate Pass and would end up going clockwise compared to when I did this route last year. Funny that the temp would end up being somewhat similar except that this year the temp would be a few degerees less and I also got started an hour earlier. I was still ever mindful of the heat exhaustion I suffered last year out here.

I got down Windgate in no time at all and encountered another mountain biker before heading south and over to Bell Pass. I figured the elevation gain and mileage was very similar to Shaw Butte which I had done the previous weekend. The breeze was very limited on this stretch of the trail and I have to say, that last little bit before arriving at Bell Pass :sweat: , I felt like I was in slow motion.

There were quite a few folks up on the Pass during my time here. I finished off my snack and most of the gatorade before heading down. I got my poles out for this steep section. I am having trouble with my computer elbow again so using the poles kind of agitated it a bit. I was surprised how many folks were still coming up the Pass from the west side since it was now getting warm and the breeze was nearly non-existent.

I was looking forward to getting to the Gateway intersection when I could break out the Chrome Dome; so it was motivation to keep me moving briskly. Now, however, my darn hip flexors started acting up so I stopped twice to try and stretch them. Today, two days later, my flexors are still pretty sore. I've always gotten the sore flexors but it's never lingered. Finally I hit that intersection, drink the rest of the gatorade, put my poles away and unleash the chrome dome. I so much prefer body shade :) .

I finished off the last 1.5 miles and looked forward to seeing the turn to the Gateway Center. And of course, there are The Looks I get carrying the Chrome Dome though I think most people out in the heat appreciated its relevance. Other than the heat, I was pleased with how I did time wise. I really didn't expect to finish until 12:30 and I was done at 11:30. My flexors may have paid the price though.

I like this route and will want to try it again from the Bell Pass side when it's MUCH cooler. I thot I might be pushing the temps today and I did. As I tell my hiking friends, "why hike in the heat when more than likely, you will be caught in the heat and have to hike in it much to your chagrin".
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.
HAZ Member
tibber's
733 Photosets

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