Saturday, December 15, 2018

Chandler Arizona Snowbird Test - Pyramid & National & Lost Mines LoopSouth Mountain Park, Dec 15, 2018

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.  
                                 a bud ready to open soon

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.

                                           barrel cactus lined trail 
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.

                             The flower is pointing to The National.   
                                I was glad to see a trail marker with a big "N".  
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.  
I need to get to those trails down there.  When I was researching the area, I did see a map that showed a trail called The Eliminator that veered off The National mid way.  Also, there was one called the Lost Mines.  Just because of the name I did not want to attack The Eliminator.                                 
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.
                               back on the trail to the parking lot

I arrived back at the trail head in the mid day heat feeling pleased and content.  The only thing left to do is drive the 20 minutes to home, crack open a beer and laze about on my patio celebrating today's accomplishment!

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