The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

My Camelback Hike – Being Honest, For Your Safety

I hiked Camelback Mountain yesterday morning. I’m typing this, so you can rest assured I survived it and am still alive (because ghosts can’t depress the keys on the keyboard, their fingers would just go right through, obviously. Basic Physics). I am heavily medicated, though. It was touch and go there for awhile.

Have you ever hiked Camelback? It’s one of those quintessential Metro-Phoenix experiences it seems like almost everyone who lives here has had. I’ve talked to enough people who did not look to be in peak physical condition who’ve said they just hiked it last weekend I started to think I was just having a wussy day when I did it last (10 years ago). If that girl with the bigger muffin top than my own, taking the cigarette break outside of the title company can hike Camelback the morning after she did Irish carbombs at RulaBula, I should probably be able to skip up the side of the mountain and jog back down it, right?

I actually think this mentality is pretty dangerous. I don’t know why it always sounds like everyone has done this hike, but I don’t see how that can possibly be true. I think at least 60% who claim to, have to be lying. And this lying is causing some of us to have false illusions that we can accomplish it. Lying kills, is what I’m trying to tell you. Or at least lying makes people do things that cause them to be excessively tired and sore afterward. It’s not good, People.

Rather than porta-potties and water jugs at the base of the mountain, I think there should be some kind of athletic aptitude/physical well-being test you have to pass to attempt the 1.2 mile ascent. I’m also not sure it’s a test I should have been capable of passing. Maybe it just needs to be a questionnaire:

1.       Are you 17 years old and in training to be an Olympic swimmer?

2.       Does heading out to run 6 miles at 5AM on a Saturday sound like a leisurely weekend activity to you?

3.       Do you own a hands-free hydration device that doesn’t accommodate aluminum cans attached to a batters helmet?

4.       Do you take pride in anything concerning your ‘resting heart rate’?

5.       If you were to get stranded halfway up the mountain with what you thought was impending cardiac arrest but turned out to be the breakfast burrito you ate 10 minutes before attempting to climb rebelling against the physical exertion, do you have the cash to pay for the helicopter ride to the hospital and various medical attention/emergency services you would require?

6.       Are you proud of yourself after walking 2 miles at a 15% incline on the treadmill?

7.       Did you just get winded from the mile long walk from the car to the trailhead?

8.       Are you wearing an outfit you usually wear to bed with an additional sports bra and calling it ‘exercise wear’?

9.       Did you just giggle like a five year old at the people stretching over there under the Ramada?

10.   Were you thinking this would be a quick morning activity and then you could go to brunch and have mimosas after?

After you answer the questions you’d flip the paper over and it would read, “If you answered yes to any of the first 5 questions you have been approved to attempt this hike. Please proceed to the trail to begin your morning of torture. If you have to vomit, please try to keep it to the side of the trail, as it tends to make the rocks even more slippery and difficult to maneuver than they already are. If, however, you answered yes to any of the final 5 questions, just turn around and ‘hike’ back to your car and go directly to brunch and your mimosas. Don’t feel bad. Trust me; you’re actually the winner in this scenario.”

I jest, slightly. It was worth the trip. We went early enough it wasn’t hot and the view from the top was spectacular. I’m glad I have the memory of the view. I’m pretty sure I won’t be experiencing it again very soon. I’m also pretty sure I won’t be doing a ton of walking or unnecessary moving for the next several days either.

12 Responses to My Camelback Hike – Being Honest, For Your Safety

  1. I tried it a few years ago, got to the bottom of the “here, we put metal bars in the mountain side, hope you brought your climbing gear!” bit and turned around…

  2. Did you do the Echo Canyon side or the Cholla Trail side? Cholla is definitely easier and doesn’t involved the “metal bars in the mountainside…” mentioned above.

  3. We did it as a family a few times when I was a kid. My brother used to run it. Such a show off. I huffed and puffed my fat ass all the way along. But I made it. I was 10. 😉

  4. I haven’t hiked Camelback yet – but I really want to – and of course now is the time where I’d potentially see a rattlesnake, and if I do, I’ll likely set the record for “fastest time down the mountain screaming like a 7 year old girl”…

    • Beau, I actually had a moment during Sunday’s hike where I paused to catch my breath and found myself staring directly into a hole that a snake could totally live in. I I had to actually recognize that I would rather have a snake come out of that hole and eat my face off than move at that moment. It wasn’t a pretty realization.

  5. I did Cholla when my kids were little. I had the same experience on Echo as the person who said she turned around when she saw the metal hand helds. And I was a marathon runner at the time. Climbing ain’t the same.

  6. “and ‘hike’ back to your car”

    I love the quotes around “hike”.

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