5057 Peak in Superstition Mountains – AZ (9.13.15)

Carney Springs Trailhead

The alarm sounded, far too early it seemed, I slapped at the snooze button on my phone. I was pretty comfortable and was in no mood to move. My phone beckoned again; I hit the snooze and pushed it under the pillow. A third time it called to me, one eye opened I turned it off and finally succumb to the fact that, no matter how comfortable I was, morning was here and I needed to get moving.

Driving into the Sunrise, what a beautiful sight!

This morning my sights were set on the 5057 peak of the Superstition Mountains via Carney Springs trail head. I headed east from Phoenix before the sun rose, with an ice filled camelback, delicious warm java (thanks QK), and hopes to reach the summit without falter. I drove down the 60 east to the dirt Peralta road to find a nice parking spot at Carney Springs trail head (seeing I was the only one there). This time of year is a little warm for most to hike in the desert, but it didn’t deter me from packing in some ice, slathering any uncovered skin with sunblock, and heading for the top!

Push up the Canyon to the ridgeline

I set out with the sun rising heading up the tough push up the canyon that would lead me to the ridge line where I would push for summit. This morning as I reached the cattle fence I was surprised to find a pair of hikers coming from the Peralta trail head from the east. They planned to gain the ridge and heat east dropping into Fremont saddle and back to their trail head to finish out their loop. After a quite chat I said farewell and pushed on.

Hoodoos just before making ridgeline

As I hiked on I followed the sparse marked cairns which lead the way up the canyon. Up, up, and on I pushed, pausing only for pictures and gazing around to make sure I am both going the right way and not being followed by any predators. The Superstitions are very vast and have black bear, coyote packs, and (my largest paranoia out alone) mountain lions. I am always looking your scat, paw prints, and any sign of wild life. Not only because they are a beautiful rare sight, but also to be sure I don’t become their next snack! Everything in the desert is bread to survive. Just before hitting the ridge line I found a pair of wings lying in the middle of the trail. No more, no less. I looked like someone wished the body away and only the wings and connector bone remained. I snapped a quick picture, kept my head on a swivel, and trekked on.

Redbull gives you what again?

I reached the ridge line and set my eyes towards the summit. The traverse would span across some very secluded parts of the range. A fall here could be fatal especially this time of year with almost no foot traffic. Just for the record I don’t recommend hiking solo, but when there isn’t an option to go with someone else, I always carry my SPOT tracker; just in case the worst should happen. I pushed on towards the peak, skirting the ridgeline in some places and ascending others until finally I found myself at the foot of the last push to the summit. One foot in front of the other, that’s the only secret to covering the distance.

Looking back down the ascent up Carney Springs TH (click to enlarge)
Glancing north towards Weavers Needle from the ridge line (click to enlarge)

I covered the final walk up and the short scramble to the peak where I took a break for snacks and some pictures. What a beautiful morning! I signed the registry like usual, and look at old posts of past trekkers. It’s always nice to see notes from other trekkers on your posts and of course I wrote back (you’ll see next time you’re up)! After gazing into the distance and taking a nice break I picked up my pack and headed back towards the trail head.

360 View from the peak (click to enlarge)

On the trek back I came upon some prickly pears opened alongside the trail and being consumed by not only bees, but also a wasp and a moth, all on the same pear!  Each insect was more occupied with consuming the precious sweet nectar than worrying about who was eating alongside them. I have never seen this before, and was taken it back. You never know what or who you will see out there on the trail, but it’s always an adventure!


  • Up the canyon to the ridgeline
  • From the summit, Weavers Needle in the distance




  • Weather: Hi mid 100s, Low in the low 80s, Sunny
  • Water: 2.5 liters
  • Food: 1 Protien Bar, 1 Orange, 1 Bag of Cherrios
  • Time: 4.5 hours
  • Distance: ~9 miles Round Trip
  • Accumulated Gain: 2,800 feet


  • Mule Camelback backpack (3 liter bladder)


  • Cotton shirt
  • Cotton Handkerchief
  • Under Armor shorts
  • Merrell Mid Moab Hiking Boots
  • Arm Coolers
  • Darn Tough wool medium sox

Humphrey’s Peak – AZ (8.29.15)

View from the ridge line looking towards Agassiz (click to enlarge)

I woke early this morning, no alarm, just eyes popped open like my body was telling me it was ready to go. Last minute I decided, after two other trips fell through, to drive up to Flagstaff to a friend’s house (recent transplant) to borrow a couch for a nap before launching an attempt on Arizona’s high point, Humphrey peak.

From the trailhead at Snow Bowl ski area

After work and a short afternoon hike I loaded up the truck and headed up. Reached my destination in just over 2 hours and after a few IPAs and some catching up I crashed out for the early morning start. This time of year always warrants the early start with the looming threat of afternoon T storms. I threw on cloths, put my daypack together, and drank the first sip of coffee before I actually realized it was morning and I was ready to walk out the door on another great adventure.

Short section through a field before hitting woods and the ascent ahead

After I started down the road I realized that strangely enough, as many times as I had summited Humphries peak, this was the first time I was taking on the traditional 5 mile trek from Snow bowl ski area. I drove to the trailhead, parked, strapped on my gear and headed out on the trail with the sun just peaking over the ridge showing me the way. Man I love sunrise on a trail, there is nothing better, the light is just right and everything is calm and quiet. I trekked on pushing up the trail ready for a good hard push up the 5 miles trail from 9,320 feet to 12,633 feet where hopefully I would obtain summit and take in the views from the top.

Morning light pressing through the Aspen and Pines

Trekking on, the hiking groups were sparse. Some bigger groups, some in pairs, few solo trail runners, all trekking with a bid for summit.  I said hello and greetings to each group I came up on, only pausing to grab some pictures of the morning light pouring through the saturated pine forest that surrounded me. There was something magical about being at higher altitude, smelling the crisp cool air, while being hugged by the surrounding thicket of pines and aspen. Something indescribable . . .

Almost out of the woods

I pushed on; switchback after switchback, my heart was pumping from the lack of oxygen and the onset of steady altitude gain up the trail. This is one of my favorite things on the trail, feeling the exhilaration of taking on the incredible challenge pushed me forward upward. Finally I broke tree line and I could see the side of Agassiz peak with the chair lift for SnowBowl ski slope cut into its side. It wasn’t long before I was standing on the saddle and I took a quick break for cheez-its and an much needed application of sunscreen.

Finally popping out of the wood I could see the ski lift and the side of Agassiz peak

The rest of the trek to the summit would be exposed, consisting of volcanic rock, trailside tundra, and all the other hikers pushing hard to peak out. Half way to the peak from the saddle I saw a friend Jai, who had a 35 lb pack strapped to her back pushing on and upward in great stride! She was training for Mount Rainier in Washington and planned to leave in 2 weeks; she told me she had been doing high altitude training with a heavy pack to prepare her for the challenge ahead. What a warrior!!! After summiting out, she poured 2 GALLONS of water out from her pack, I could only imagine.

Jai, dumping water at the summit she carried from the trailhead

I sat at the top and took in the views, looking long and hard at what was in my back yard and making sure I had a great appreciation for it. After a few minutes of chilling out and taking down a few snacks and chatting I headed back down. I met Jai again (she headed down early because she didn’t like a dark cloud that was forming over the peak) and we hiked together the rest of the way down. Chatting about hiking, hopes, goals, lifestyles, choices, just having a really nice trail chat all the way back to the parking lot. It’s nice to chat with people on the trail; they are usually the nicest ones you will ever meet. Another awesome trek came to a close but I made sure to appreciate what I had the opportunity to hike before I left. What an awesome morning!!!

View from the peak looking East
  • Boulder field on the cusp of a switchback - rout to B52 bomber




  • Weather: Hi mid 70s, Low in the mid 60s, Sunny
  • Water: 2.0 liters
  • Food: 2 Clif Bars, Cheezits, trail mix
  • Time: 5.5 hours
  • Distance: approx 10 miles Round Trip
  • Accumulated Gain: 3,300 feet


  • Mule Camelback backpack (3 liter bladder)


  • Cotton Handkerchief
  • 195 Smart wool long sleeve shirt
  • Cotton Hoody
  • Basketball shorts
  • Darn Tough wool sox
  • Merrell Mid Moab Hiking Boots

South Mountain Loop – Dust storm – AZ (9.3.15)

Ranger Trail Head

I headed to South Mountain after work, doing a quick training session for a nice 6 mile loop. This time of year means heat, dust storms, monsoons, or other malcontent weather that could deter any hiker from their trek. I was determined though and pushed up Ranger trail like it was my job.

View from Goat Hill to the West (click to enlarge)

I peaked out on goat hill and took in the sun covered in the afternoon storm clouds, what a beautiful sight! I stopped for a moment to snap a few pictures when I turned to the south to take in the view. That’s when I saw the wall of dust, higher than the mountain headed my way. By the looks of it, (to my relief) it was a dust storm and not a monsoon that was accompanied with violent rain and lighting.

View to the south from Goat Hill – Incoming!!! (click to enlarge)

It was time to move! I trekked on, pushing through the loop I originally planned even though the threat of dust was headed my way. I figured without the treat of lightning I could put up with a little dirt in my face. I pushed hard and trail ran the whole way back to the truck (not much of a trail runner but hey a storm will give you motivation!), trying to suck down the least amount of dust as possible. Trekking on downhill I flew until I finally made it back to my truck. Dust still filled the air and I couldn’t see phoenix on the way down.

Incoming! (click to enlarge)

I love the trek here in phoenix, no matter the challenges of the weather. The storms here are an awesome force and mother nature is nothing but to be respected. Another awesome experience in the valley of the sun!


Hiking Info: Ranger Trail to National to Goat Hill to National to Kiwanis to Los Lomitas

1 liter of water


Monsoon on Squaw Peak – AZ (8.31.15)

Monsoon rolls across the Valley of the Sun (click to enlarge)

I started hiking Squaw Peak (Piestewa Peak) just before sunset. As I started up I didn’t notice the Monsoon quickly rolling in from the east, my main focus was hitting the peak before summit. I hiked as fast as I could, focusing on the sun as it fell just beyond the mountains to the west. Minutes after the sun set I gained the peak. When I finally looked back to get a full view, I was taken back by what can only be described as one epic sky.

The wave of rain and dust from the monsoon rushed across the valley swallowing the light from the sunset like some hungry bottomless monster. What a sight! Lighting surged through the cloud on rapid fire like a brain firing neutrons, i knew it was time to roll! I bolted down the mountain in a hurry trying to reach my truck before the downpour reached me. Rain in the desert is a rare incredible event, one of the only times the desert gets its thirst quenched. The monsoon would give life to the once seemingly dead wildlife browned from the summer sun. Everything here has evolved to survive, adapt to such a harsh environment. Its truly incredible to see such a beautiful thing happen. Another awesome day on the mountain!!