October 27, 2014 – At the conclusion of my quick work trip to Phoenix, I got a great hike in. Each time I go to Phoenix, I try to visit one of the classic hiking spots. On previous visits, I hiked up both Camelback Mountain and Piestewa (Squaw) Peak. This time, I went to the south and visited the largest city p[ark in the world – the 16,000 acre South Mountain Park/Preserve.
It gets dark early in October out in Phoenix so I only had a couple hours to hike before dark (and the sign that said the parking lot gate closed near dark as well). I intended to hike the Mormon loop and part of the National Trail, but missed my turnoff for the Mormon Loop and hiked a good ways on the National Trail, before turning back and eventually hiking back part of the way on the Pima Wash.
It was a nice hike, with nice views of the valley and its cities. I probably hiked about 6 miles in all. It was pretty gentle hiking compared to other options in town, but that was probably about what I needed this day. I had expected to see a lot more people and was surprised at how few I saw. I can say I was impressed with the terrain the bikers were tackling. A bit more true to the term mountain biking. The parking lot was empty when I got there and I took the main trail out, but a minor trail back. Thus I was really surprised to find the parking lot totally packed when I got back. I guess I managed a hike with solitude in a crowded park!
A great way to end the trip and get me ready to sleep on the red eye home!