Two weeks ago I got the chance to go down south to Arizona for a little sun. This of course necessitated a break from snowshoeing in the frosty mountains of Vancouver and Whistler, but did not prevent from hiking in general! While staying in Scottsdale AZ, I had the chance to go for a sunrise hike up camelback mountain.
I was excited for the trip to Arizona in general, but could not have anticipated how much I would enjoy the scenery. Hiking up camelback mountain (1200 foot elevation change via Cholla Trail) was completely different from hiking in British Columbia. In BC, when heading up to a mountain peak it is usually just your group and the trees – you have to wait until the end to see anything because the forest is so thick. This was not the case on camelback mountain, where the greenery consists of sparse saguaro cactuses (apparently people can’t decide if it is cacti or cactuses) and short shrubs.
Starting prior to sunrise was beneficial in avoiding the hot desert sun during a mountain ascent, and also made for fantastic views of far-off mountains and some unique views of the mountains within metro Phoenix while their shadows were long and stretched across the city.
The Phoenix area has some impressive looking mountains nearby. Camelback mountain was just a quick morning hike, but there would be plenty more hiking to be done had I stayed in the area any longer. Just as the sun was rising was a great time to look out towards the famous four-peak mountains.