Sunday, March 27, 2011

SoMo Weekend March 26th-27th

Early Saturday Morning, Matt and I drove South of the valley toward Gila Bend, AZ to visit the Painted Rock Petroglyph Site. From the picture below, one could understand why this site has such an archaeological significance among the ancient peoples containing hundreds of symbolic and artistic rock etchings, or "petroglyphs," produced centuries ago. I truly was not expecting much as we drove through the barren desert landscape, after spending a few minutes studying the pictures, we were impressed to say the least.

From Painted Rock we veered Northeast with every intention of summiting Woolsey Peak, until a road closure completely derailed our plans. After a few hours in the car and backtracking several miles, we made the decision to return to the valley and get a run in at South Mountain. There are only a handful of trails left in the park I have yet to set foot on, the Alta trail being one of those, Matt and I gave it a go. Turned out to be an awesome route, mostly along a ridgeline with some serious uphill sections.

Sunday March 27th

South Mountain Park
Phoenix, Arizona
Mileage - 15.05
Time - 2:29
AEG - 2756

My marathon running group met this morning to run San Juan road on "Silent Sunday" at South Mountain. As for me, I took a left up the steep Summit road and headed for the hills. Upon reaching telegraph pass, I abandoned the road in exchange for the National Trail, opened up the legs, and let it rip. I've been dormant for the last three weeks, today I felt like an animal being freed from a cage and released back into the wild (that cage being my recent indoor gym workouts). Other than a little discomfort in my right knee, everything felt great, so much so that I re-routed to add a few extra miles and hills. The highlight of this run was definitely my long awaited encounter with a 4-pack of Javelinas barreling down the mountainside!

The fun wasn't over just yet, Matt mentioned he may want to get in a rappel Sunday evening at Papago Park, given the nearly two year hiatus I've had from canyoneering or rappelling, it sounded like a good way to cap off the weekend. Stephanie came along and Dana met us there for the practice and we each got a few raps in before sundown.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break 2011

Spring in Arizona is amazing, nearly every day for three months is just about perfect if you're into outdoor activities. My legs were in rough shape after running my last ultra, so I spent the last two weeks resting, relaxing, hanging out, and catching up with a lot of my friends. Within this time I've attended a few spring training games, gone to a couple concerts, rode bicycles around town, and even tried out a new restaurant or two. I guess the silver lining to sore knees is being social again. I cannot wait to hit the trail running though.

Saturday I joined some of my good friends to hike Superstition Peak during the day, this particular trail contians the largest concentration of petroglyphs in the entire state, which were really neat. We had a blast, and the 4000 feet of climbing over 8 miles seemed like a breeze as the group told stories and goofed off during most of the trek.

Later that evening I hiked Camelback mountain here in town with another group, under the light of the "Supermoon." What an experience that was, being able to climb the mountain in the dark without the aid of a flashlight. The big payoff at the summit was definitely the 360 view of the city lights. We also had an unexpected guest show up (the elusive Arizona Ringtail Cat), and crawl out of the rocks to see what the commotion was all about.