Doe Mountain – Hike #4
It is kind of ridiculous to think that my very first hike ever was just on Friday. Now I am hooked. Yesterday I finished up the day with a psychic massage (which was incredible), the steam room and then room service. This morning I started with Downton Abbey Season 2 on Hulu, a fire and watching the sunrise.
I checked the weather and watched as the temp rose from 9 degrees before the sun was up to 17. I bunded up in everything I had: fleece pants, three long sleeved tops and my northface jacket, sunglasses, my credit card, my phone and a map. My goal was to run to the Doe Mountain Trailhead (1.6 miles), hike the trail (1.6 miles), and run back.
The run was hilly. I should have expected that. But as I faced a large, long hill, I was pleasantly surprised by a hot air balloon! I know there are a lot of ballooners out here but I was so thrilled. (I have an obsession with them).
When I reached the trailhead, I paid my $5 trail pass fee and determined the route I wanted. Originally I had hoped to do the Bear Trail (which was longer and steeper) but it was so frigid on the dark side of the mountain that I opted for the .8 mile hike up Doe Mountain. The trails I had done up until this point were wide pathed, gradual inclines with plenty of wilderness on all sides. Not Doe Mountain. The elevation is only 400 feet (only!) but it gets there fast. This trail was rocky and there were plenty of times I had to be on my hands and feet for balance.
I stopped about halfway up and sat on a rock for good view.
Now I have mentioned before that I am afraid of heights and this little trail challenged that. Looking out, there was always a steep drop off and at times, it was a mere inches from where my feet stepped. I would only look down when there was a tree or shrubbery to block me from the fall.
When I got up to the top, I had no idea what to expect. It was incredible. A large plateau with all sorts of wildlife growing. I followed the now flat trail to the other side of the mountain and basked in the sun. I was dripping with sweat from the incline and my heart was racing. I went to the other side of the mountain and got as close to the edge as I could stomach (which was about 4 feet away. I was so proud of myself for being even that brave!).
What greeted me was the most incredible vista view. Miles and miles and miles of mountains. Trees so far down you could barely make them out. I sat and held my breath so that I could listen. Nothing. I could hear absolutely nothing. It was complete peace.
I was dreading leaving the sun. I knew the trek back would be difficult in a different way: it wouldn’t get my heart rate up like going up would, but it would require focus and the right footfalls to navigate the rocks and steepness. Plus it was freezing. Raynaud’s disease was in full effect.
When I reached the bottom I picked up my pace and started running again. At one point, my phone pinged a ton which meant I finally had a real phone signal for the first time since Friday!! I used the opportunity to call JD so he could tell me the score of the Arsenal v Man City match
The run back was much better as it was all downhill and my total mileage was 5 miles (3.2 of which was running). I am now back in my room, snuggled in a robe and contemplating my next plan. I don’t have to be in Phoenix for my flight to Kansas City until 5pm so I have plenty of time to relax. Though I have thought about maybe shopping in town, I can see the flute player sitting atop his rock from my window. It’s like he’s calling to me. Maybe one more time up the Vista Trail before I bid this magical place adieu.