CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN FACTS
I hiked to the summit of Phoenix's Camelback Mountain yesterday via the Echo Canyon trail. It was one of those things I'd been meaning to do for years and years. Camelback is virtually in my back yard. It's the centerpiece of the view I enjoy from the desk where I'm typing these lines.
Climbing to the summit of Camelback is a lot more challenging than my more usual weekend walks. The Phoenix Camelback Mountain Trail Guide chracterizes the Echo Canyon trail as "strenuous and difficult". Climbing over Papago Butte is a piece of cake by comparison. You have be somewhat careful on both, but climbing Camelback involves an altitude gain of 1264 feet, during parts of which it's necessary to use hands and feet.
The climb took me 80 or 90 percent of way to my limits, and taught me that I need better hiking shoes. At one point during the decent my foot landed on a rock and I twisted my ankle. Just a hair more and I've have been in trouble.
I also learned not to try this again without wearing a sweatband. You can't see very well (a bit dangerous on this trail, particularly on the decent) with sweaty glasses.
The view from the top of Camelback is well worth the climb, as is the view along various parts of the trail. I particulary enjoyed the view looking back towards Echo Canyon from about a quarter of the way up. Unfortunately, my one regret is that I stupidly forgot to take my camera (even after having checked to be sure the battery was charged). I'll take my own pictures when I go again next week, but in the meantime there's always good old Google.