There are so many options on where to hike in this part of Arizona, all offering amazing experiences. I could not resist going back to South Mountain Park. It's in my neck of the woods and when I come back I will probably not be staying in this community. Once again today I had a 20 minute drive to where adventure begins. I had a plan to hike the Pyramid Trail, connect to The National, find a way off The National mid way, connect with Bursera, connect with Pyramid thus completing a big fat loop.
I got to the parking lot early to see it was already half full. I read where it can fill early on the weekend. Yet where was everyone! I thought I got an early start. I went on my merry way, paying attention to where I was going, there are many unmarked trails that veer off.
Once the sun came up the clouds began to dance nicely and created pretty picture opportunities. I followed the Pyramid Trail which was marked with a "P" every now and then, but it was obvious where I needed to go, I was aiming for a steep set of switchbacks.
The flat section was done and I was ready to ascend. There were many tall saguaros along the trail like this one. It was not until I got home that I saw the plane in the top left corner.
It was a real slow go of it, not because of the ascending but because the scenery was so captivating. I was making sure to savour every second. I could also start to see ridges with trails near the top and I was wondering would I end up there eventually.
I reached the high point along the Pyramid Trail. It was time for a break and to eat a banana but not before capturing a shot. It was still early and a bit on the cool side which I was thankful for.
I wondered would I be on that trail over there. While wondering I watched those clouds form. When I rounded the corner I could then see where I would be going for The National and it was not those Trails I had been seeing.
It was like a whole different world over here. I could see Phoenix way down below. It was crazy windy on this side.
I scrambled up to a big rocky knob and that put me on the high point of The National. I prayed my tripod would stay upright, plus I tried to myself, the wind was fierce. From up here everything was put into perspective. I could see where I had started my day, where I had been and where I needed to go. The only thing there were no trail markers of any kind but I was quite sure the trail I saw was the one I needed to take to be able to do the loop I wanted.
The trail to the right looked gentler and I could see an extensive part of it. As I descended I could then see the lost mine and also caves. It was a rough trail, steep in parts, narrow at times and winding along drop offs. It was doable and I was OK with it.
I made it down, found my way to the wash, got through that and up and out the other side. I looked back and I could see a good section of The National up above.
The trail took me back to the Pyramid Trail. I could see the switchbacks on the right side of the saguaro that took me to the top of the Pyramid earlier this morning.