As the heat rises here in Tucson so does the intensity of training for the Camino. This week I hiked two completely different trails as well as walking my normal roads.
The first hike was up on Mt. Lemmon. Mt. Lemmon is 9100 feet above sea level and since I live at a 2500 foot elevation, I figure the altitude training can only help me for the climbs on the Camino. I do hike with a friend because it is just plain stupid to hike trails alone.
We headed up the mountain by car with the intention of hiking the Butterfly Trail. We didn’t get too far into the trail when it became a very narrow path on the side of the mountain with a sheer drop off the mountain. We looked at each other and said “not too comfortable with this trail!”
We then headed to another trail a little further up the road – that proved to be the same type of trail, very narrow and full of vegetation. We turned around and headed by car to the Box Camp Trail. We hiked this trail for about 2-1/2 miles and suddenly my friend wasn’t feeling well. We stopped; she ate some GU Chomps and drank some water. We then hiked back out to the trailhead resting when needed along the way. Later on when I told another friend about this incident, she suggested that my friend was experiencing altitude sickness.
I love hiking up on the mountain. It is so different from the desert, reminds me of the Northeast. The trail floor is dirt and there is much lush green vegetation. I will admit though, that sometimes the altitude makes me dizzy, especially if it is windy out.
The next hike was at Sabino Canyon – the Seven Falls Trail. This hike is said to be 2-1/2 miles from the trailhead to the falls with the trailhead being 2 miles from the parking lot. However, once we hiked to the trailhead the sign said Seven Falls – 7 miles. This trail crisscrosses over Sabino Creek several times. Of course now the creek was dry. Then the trail rises up the side of Bear Canyon leveling off at Seven Falls.
We hiked for 2-1/2 hours under cloudy skies. It was delightful. The trail was quite technical since it crosses the riverbed many times. This hike was almost completely on compacted desert (called caliche), rocks, sandy riverbed and many more rocks all the while climbing (but not too steeply) up the mountain.
After 2-1/2 hours the skies cleared and the sun came blazing through. We turned around, never made it to the falls, which we were told by other hikers on their way down that wasn’t too much farther and that the falls were dry.
The heat kept building at the end of the hike back at the visitor’s center; I checked my heart rate monitor and noticed that we had walked 3 hours 40 minutes. So I guess we probably hiked about a total of 7 or 8 miles looking at the time it took us and accounting for the technicality of the hike. Anyway, when we got back to the car and were driving home the onboard outside thermometer registered 105 F.
I HATE THIS HEAT!!!!! I don’t mean to wish the summer away but I hope September arrives quickly.