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Pyramid Trail - South Mountain
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mini location map2013-09-28
12 by photographer avatarblack_toes
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Pyramid Trail - South MountainPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 28 2013
black_toes
Hiking3.20 Miles 1,350 AEG
Hiking3.20 Miles   1 Hour   37 Mns   2.49 mph
1,350 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 
Partners none no partners
The purpose of this hike was to complete the Pyramid Trail. I'd done the southern end on April 9, coming up to Gila View from Ahwatukee, then back down. I decided to hike this time from the Pyramid's northern terminus at the jct of the National Trail out on the beeline S to Gila View and return. Looking back on it, wish I'd started at Telegraph Pass rather than the Kiwanis TH at the bottom of the mountain, on the N. But I wanted a challenge and I got one.

By time I reached the summit highway, I was beat. Only 1.15 mi up on a rocky trail. It was disappointing. I sat down at the side of the road and thought of going back down to the car and home, try it another day. It was warmer than I thought, 90 F, and no breeze in the Kiwanis canyon. These cool mornings can fool you. And I hadn't eaten much, only some oatmeal and berries and lately a small chicken salad san. And the ample water in my "camel" was a lot less than cold and maybe a little less than cool. I could've kicked myself. I wasn't prepared.

I finally trudged on upward, now on the National, thinking I could turn around at any time. The moment of decision would come at the stone hut. If I could make it there . . . .At the hut, I knew there was only a short but steep section left until I reached the jct with the Pyramid and that the remaining distance out to Gila View of just over a mile was relatively flat. So I continued, trying to think about the tarantula I'd seen along this segment on another hike. At the jct I found a bonus. A refreshing breeze blew in from the south. Shadows were getting long now at 5 o'clock, and the thought of cool evening air was invigorating.

The hike out to Gila View was great. I love the Pyramid. It is my favorite trail in the park, and maybe in all of Arizona. Narrow, smooth and curvaceous, it takes me into another world far away. It snakes around peaks and over them, always with gorgeous views opening up more and more on the south and down into a deep gorge on the west. The trail's designers could've saved money and time by straightening it out, but they had the good sense not to.

A particularly nice touch came on the approach to Gila View. Rather than follow along the contour straight ahead and letting the panorama unfold gradually, the trail suddenly swings back to the north around a small peak. Then rounding a turn into Gila View, the entire magnificent Gila Valley and 50 miles beyond explode into view, all of it. What a sight! Particularly if you can look past the cookie-cutter houses below.

It was after sunset when I headed back down the Kiwanis canyon to the parking lot. Near the TH an owl began to hoot. Owls are fairly easy to find once you hear them out here in the desert where trees are few. They're not shy, and even in semi-darkness I was able to make out its silhouette with binocculars: A large bird with "horns" and, I think, a striped chest, looking for prey from a high ledge on the east. It was probably the same owl I saw last winter only on the other side. Anyway it was an added treat to a hike that almost didn't happen.
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black_toes'
242 Photosets

  2013-10-11
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  2013-10-01
  2013-09-28
  2013-09-27
  2013-08-25
  2013-08-14
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  2013-08-04
  2013-06-23
  2013-05-07
  2013-05-04
  2013-05-03
  2013-04-24
  2013-04-23
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