Monthly Archives: April 2012
Since December, when Mary Ann and I hiked the CD trail from Bear Mountain Rd to a beautiful meadow and then back again (see hike #25, 12-18-11), we have wanted to do a through hike from the other side – Little Walnut Road. We finally had time to do it today with April. The negative to through hikes is that it takes time to set both cars in their proper locations. In this case, it took us an hour on each side of the hike. So our 3 hour trek took us 5 hours, door to door. No problem really, as long as you have some time for it. I will say, now that I’ve learned more about my GPS, it is cool to use the ‘mark’ function and then watch your progress as you close in on your ‘mark’ – in this case, Mary Ann’s car.
We start the hike at 9:00, once the cars have been set in place. We quickly see that this is a well used trail; we pass 3 mountain bikers and then a few minutes later, 2 runners. We are amused by both – I wouldn’t be biking since I have weak knees (and I’m afraid of private part injuries), and the thought of me running off of flat, even ground sounds like a broken ankle. But I always admire when I see people doing it. Anyone getting the idea that I’m a wee bit clumsy?
The terrain here is pine trees and hills and, oh yeah, beautiful. It’s nice and cool and we enjoy the trail. As usual, the conversations fascinate me. Today we discuss the government/education/student loans issue, the meaning of art, the art we’ve seen, budgets, finances, religion, why April is going to Germany, the price of hotels, cancer, grieving, abortion, work, and tons of other subjects. Whew! No wonder I’m always out of breath during these walks!
The topography gradually opens up to be more rolling hills with pinons and oaks. Then we climb up the east side of a mountain and finally we get to the reason I was looking forward to this hike. In the middle of this section of the CD trail is a beautiful meadow. There are several hills with open fields and you can see the mountains around it with dramatic views. I would love to come here and just ramble up and down the hills and explore the whole area.
We rest at the two hour mark and sit under a tree for a snack. Then on to the last half of the trail which brings us away from the meadow, towards Bear Mountain and up a rocky hill. This trail is so diverse; we’ve passed through so many different terrains! After Cody alerts us to a few cattle, we reach the car and head back to retrieve my car. The weather was perfect, the conversation stimulating (as usual) and now Cody sleeps at my feet. What a great Sunday!!!
5.50 miles / 3.0 hours
58 down / 42 to go
4-22-12 – Signal Peak hike
I’ve heard the name, listened to the stories, asked for directions and clarifications. And now, the hike up Signal Peak……or not.
Mary Ann, April, Cisco and I load up the car and head for the Signal Peak Trailhead on Highway 15. It’s 2.5 miles uphill – or uppeak, if you will. We enjoy crossing over Cherry Creek and head upwards. Well, I don’t know if it was the effects of two previous physical days, or the heat, but I feel off. I actually have to sit down and rest very shortly after takeoff. The altitude? Perhaps. We continue on with many stops for breath catching. I have been discouraged lately by my need to stop and catch my breath. I’m not tired; I’m just out of breath. Several of the past hikes have been more challenging and more uphill. I hope I get conditioned.
Signal Peak is a common hike and we see several other people on our way. It’s only 14 miles from town, it’s beautiful and at the top are 360 views and the fire lookout tower. Here is more information about the Signal Peak Hike:
We continue up, up, up and enjoy long range views and ponderosa and interesting boulders. Mary Ann guides April (aka Young Blood) to a geocache. There is a tree stump 20 feet off of the trail. April climbs up and tells us there’s a rock on top of it. Below that is a smaller rock, and below that a taped up tube. We’ve found our first cache. April adds a small, pink barrette to the hidey hole and we continue on.
But at the 1 mile mark, I have to turn around. It’s gotten hot and I have rolled up my jeans and my t-shirt becomes a midriff. So down we go with Mary Ann telling me I can do it; we’ll try again. I’m envisioning a beautiful downhill trek where we park one car up top and another at the bottom and hike down the darn peak! But seriously, I’ll try it again.
Mental note: Try on last year’s hiking shorts.
Note #2: No more whining allowed. This will be my last post that has any complaining, whining, or crying in it. I hope.
1.93 miles / 2.5 hours
57 down / 43 to go
Helen, Angie and I head out to explore the Gila Forest in the Little Walnut area. I had hiked up here several years ago and remember enjoying the pine forest trails. When I mention a trail behind the fire station, Helen knows of access to the CD Trail in the area that ties in to my trail, and once again, we’re off!
We walk down a dirt drive that has access to the trail, Helen points out a friend’s home, we see a nice homemade sign that says, “Forest Trail” that meanders down a hill and our hike begins lovely amongst the pines. We soon hit the CD Trail and choose to turn right onto it (the left trail will take us back towards the roads and we prefer not seeing civilization.). Onward we trek, up and down and around the hills of the Gila. As you can see from the photos, there are many striking vistas to enjoy.
As usual, as we hike, we talk about everything under the sun. It’s a warm, sunny day, with no wind – a pleasant surprise for this time of year. Eventually the conversation turns to Angie; she is taking this hike 10 days after having a mastectomy. I’m amazed that she’s not only up, but out for a hike. Angie, you totally impress me. It would be easy to be home and hiding under the covers. You choose to get out and do things. It’s no easy thing and it never fails to stun me when I hear about people’s challenges and how they overcome obstacles and how strong they are. You go woman!
All the up and down slopes are wearing me out and at the 2.5 mile mark, we turn back.
This is the time of year where there are changes needed in my gear. For one thing, it’s getting warm out and I’ll need more water; time to bring the backpack with the camel inside. Lighter clothing and layers of it too. I hate to admit this, but the chocolate may have to go. It’s making a melty, sticky mess of things.
We stop several times on the way back to rest and catch our breath. Angie is starting to tire. Towards the end, we reach the driveway/access point and Angie sits for a rest. Helen walks to the car and drives it back. We’re all tired, hot and thirsty. Luckily, my husband was working at the fire station and gave Helen cold water for us. As I sit here writing this, I’m feeling that ’empty’ feeling and know that I’ll eat good tonight – and then sleep even better!
4.76 miles / 4.0 hours
56 down / 44 to go