Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Camelback Mountain: Conquered by Day

In the words of Ice Cube, today was a good day.

First of all, it was Veterans Day, so thank you to all who fight for our country. And thanks for the day off, and making sure it landed on my worst day of the week (on campus from 8:30-3:30).

So, to celebrate the day off, I--along with Melissa--conquered my first mountain. I've hiked before. I've even hiked on, around, and up mountains. But never have I 'climbed' to the summit of a mountain. Especially not in the desert. But on this day, we conquered Camelback Mountain. (Don't let the photos fool you, the path we took did not have handrails. In fact, I'm a little annoyed we were unaware of such a path, though I would feel like I cheated if we had found it and used it.)

Our plan was to take the Summit Trail all the way up, but accidentally found ourselves on the Cholla Trail (any Spanish/Native American speakers who want to pronounce this for me?). It is 1.5 miles. Sounds laughably easy. But it is also 1,200 feet up. A little harder. Then the description says "This trail is recommended only for experienced hikers. There are steep, rocky sections with drop-offs on both sides. Difficulty: Strenuous and difficult."

You're probably thinking what I'm thinking. You can't use a word in its own description! Difficulty=difficult? C'mon. That's like wearing a Jordan Knight shirt to the NKOTB reunion tour. Really?


This hike started off pretty easy. It was a winding, beaten path with man-made steps in the rock. We had a leisurely stroll up the side of the hill for a bit. Then, once crotchety old Camelback lulled us in to a false sense of ease, the steep, craggy rock faces struck! We were on hands and knees, literally climbing sheer rock walls. Ravines on either side of us screamed imminent death (no, not imminent enough to get me that life flashing before my eyes experience I was robbed of last week). The constant danger of scorpions, rattlesnakes, desert tortoises, and chuckwalla lizards stalked us as we endured the climb. We came across a ferocious, fanged ground squirrel, who quickly scurried away to warn the others of our approach.

I took a video of the panoramic view at the summit. But apparently, my camera doesn't save videos once pictures are taken after it is recorded. Twice now, I have lost videos (one of Willie "Big Eyes", and now one of this view) as a result of this camera that I was rushed into purchasing. I'm not saying I want a video camera (digital? HD? sure!), I'm just pointing out that Christmas is around the corner.

But the views were spectacular. Tomorrow, I imagine muscles we didn't know existed will be sore beyond belief. I can't wait to sit through four hours of class in indescribable pain. Yay, exercise!


Anonymous said...

It's pronounced "Choya."

Leah said...

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