I love this time of year on Camelback, because someone decorates a Palo Verde tree up there.
Camelback boasts an almost cult-like following, with some patrons being crazy over-acheivers and running the mountain three times a day. Boom boom boom, up and down, being all crazy, getting ripped and offering unsolicited hiking advise to those of us urging our dogs to just pull us up. There’s one man in particular, in cargo pants and a fishing hat, who MUST be in his sixties. He will tell you to stand up straight so your lungs aren’t compressed and to step in front of your body, as opposed to right underneath. Do you know this man? Because he is my Hiking Hero.
However, Camelback is almost not worth it due to the absurd parking arrangements. (One must often park a mile or more away and take a shuttle to the mountain. Ugh.)
So, if you’re me and want a good hike elsewhere, here’s some other places for you;
Pinnacle Peak, in Scottsdale. Its basically in the fancy Troon North area, but despite its zip code its still really cool. The only downside to this hike is once you get to the end, you remember its not the end and you have to turn around, backtrack, and trudge back to the place you started from. Actually, this place sucks because its not dog-friendly.
Piestewa Peak in Phoenix. We used to call it Squaw Peak, but that was when we were racists. This is another great hike, but I can’t help but remember EVERY TIME I hike this thing that its the near birthing place of my old roommate. (Her crazy mother was hiking away at eight months. This is a great story, involving a helicopter and everything.)
Papago Park in Tempe is good if you want to do some trail running, because you’re a beast and running alone isn’t enough for your beastly thigh muscles. This is right by my house, too, so me and Kira McWiggles are frequenters.
A Mountain. I’m just kidding, this is only really when you’re drunk off Mill Ave and feel like hiking a mountain. (This happens to all of us. All it takes is someone’s slurred suggestion that hiking is the best and should happen immediately, and you already feel like a slurry superman so you’re totally game.)
…the fact is, Camelback is the best. Its difficult (or if its not, you can run up there three effing times a day like my Hiking Hero) and you feel like throwing up and crying the entire way up, but the top is worth it. You feel like Simba surveying all that he owns, for some reason. Plus you can take that stereotypical Camelback picture everyone and their mother takes up there, and its like you’re part of some special hiking club. The best part of Camelback is telling everyone sweating and weeping their ways up while you’re heading down that someone put a Jamba Juice or a snow cone machine up there. (Lies are funny.) Camelback kicks your ass and gets you coming back for more. We’ve likened it to an abusive lover. (“It’s just that he’s so passionate!”)
For real though, take advantage of this area’s awesome hiking. When you live in a state that’s eighty degrees on Christmas, you’re a bit ridiculous for not being outdoorsy.