For Phoenix residents, snow is this mythical entity. We know it exists elsewhere (and relatively common for many) but we don’t know how to fully grasp it when it gets SO DAMN CLOSE TO US.
When it snowed a couple of weeks back and blanketed the mountains surrounding the Valley of the Sun, a trip to the mountains was in order. It’s sort of Field of Dreams, but with snow. If it snows, we will come find it.
Alyson had wanted to hike Superstition Peak back in December (before she knew about everything going on), so I figured this would be an excellent time to do this hike which would easily get us into the snow-zone.
Distance: 7 Miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 2,490
Trail Guides: Cairns
This was also my first real hike since backpacking Yosemite in the beginning of October. I’ve been feeling quite good lately, but it still kicked my butt on the way up. The combination of not being in the best of cardio shape and having legs that aren’t used to walking uphill made for a slower hike than I’m used to.
The Way Up
The hike begins at the Wave Cave trailhead (it’s not technically called that but that’s where most of the people who park there go) and then splinters off about half a mile into the hike. Sadly, both of us thought we went up next to the Wave Cave. When we realized our error, we did the mathematically smart thing to do and made a straight line from our point to the other trail – instead of retreating and going back on the normal trail. I felt like a baby deer walking for the first time as I navigated the rocky terrain. Thankfully, Alyson’s a trooper and blazed a great path as a brought up the rear.
Nothing like a little bit of adventure to start off your first hike of 2019.
Anyways, after finally being reacquainted with the trail – and taking a quick break – we continued trekking up the trail which was now doubling as a mini river. (SNOWMELT!) This was where I fully realized how out of shape I was. We took a handful of breaks on the more strenuous parts of the trail but considering the trail wasn’t getting any drier, it kept our breaks short or else we’d be soaking wet. (Which our feet would be in less than 30 minutes.)
Once we reached the saddle, there was snow everywhere! And not just a light dusting. I’m talking tons and tons of snow. It was amazing to see. After taking a little break to take photos and bask in the wonder of it all, we continued on what was now a snowy trail of footprints.
Navigating this new environment was slow and tricky considering we were still surrounded by cacti – albeit now they were covered in snow and hidden from plain sight. *Oh Good!*
Due to the snowy disposition, we never did reach the top of the peak…we’re still not really sure where was to be honest. (We’ll be back in better conditions and when I have a fully functioning body.)
We did continue our trailblazing ways and found a sweet ledge to hang out at for a bit before we turned around. Alyson, again, took the lead and never looked back as she scampered around enjoying the heck out of the glistening, untouched snow.
Overall, we made it about 2.5 to 2.75 miles in so we were still a mile from the top but it took us nearly three hours. If we hadn’t bushwhacked early on and had to traverse a snowy trail, I think we would have been able to get there in the time span.
The first half mile going down from the summit was slightly treacherous as the trail was filling up with more water, making it slippery. After that, though, it wasn’t too bad as we made good time to the car.
Overall, this is a challenging hike – no matter if you’re going through chemo or not. Expect to feel the burn and give yourself plenty of time. Additionally, keep your eyes out for cairns as they will help keep you pointed in the right direction.
If it snows, we will come.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
You can follow along the journey on Facebook and Instagram or shoot me any questions and comments about places to go. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when new posts come out!