Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Night Hike

Started from the bottom of the hill, the last parking space on Echo Canyon Drive, just south of McDonald. As before, I was impressed that the lot was full. It was 105 and humid, with storm clouds on the horizon. I threw a flashlight in my backpack due to the late start -- 6:50 -- and fast-walked up the asphalt. Warmed up by the outings from last week, I bounded up the rocks like a kangaroo. Oh, there were a couple of times I thought my heart would explode out of my chest, and I had a head rush near the windy point that looks south near the top, but otherwise felt terrific. Pinched a nerve in my right shoulderblade while reaching around to put the iPhone earbuds in the backpack -- somethin' had to go wrong, I guess, but that cleared right up. Came down in the dark and was happy to have the flashlight. I passed a few folks coming down who were moving at a snail's pace, seemingly close to being trapped by the darkness. I didn't worry about them 'cause they were all near the eastern headwall section, where you'd have to be a complete idiot to miss the trail. Three people were still moving up with the last of the light long gone. I've been thinking a lot about the hikers who got lost, heat-exhasted and needed three fire stations and a helicopter to help them get down. I put in a public records request with Phoenix Fire and will talk to some of the guys who did the rescue. Once I get the location nailed down I'll go out there and try to rate the climbing. Seeing the video of one of the "victims" walking around the area gave me hope I'd be able to climb to the cove his buddy had to recuperate in. The firefighters rappelled to the spot, which I could always do, (using my Gibbs ascenders to come up, if need be). But I suspect it's reachable by class 3 or 4 terrain.

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