Earlier in March Clark had an off day- which is rare. So, we decided to get outside and hike.
Now for a disclaimer, we are from South Carolina. Hiking for us looks a lot different than hiking out west. We have dense forest, moss, and an occasional view peeking through the trees every now and then showing you just how high up you actually are. Here in Phoenix, there are cacti on the mountain, dry red dirt, and large drop offs just a few steps from the trail showing you just how far you'll fall. Anyone who knows me, is aware I'm the opposite of a daredevil and have a large fear of heights. Hiking out here is just a joy....
We found Camelback Mountain online as one of the best hikes in the area, so we packed our lunches and headed on our way. After the first five minutes, I knew I was going to be sore the next day.
I've always known that hiking with Clark is like hiking with an actual mountain goat; if it were his choice we would speed race up the mountain. I tried my best to keep up and we only argued a couple times (a majority of these were because he still just can't seem to learn how to work my camera- But he's going to get it one day I just know it)! My legs were exhausted, my hands were scraped up from the rocks, and I had dust all in my nose but overall it was a strenuous, exciting hike and we both are ready to go again.
Our thoughts on the trail:
The climb up is the hardest climb I've done yet. It's more like rock climbing up and over boulders a majority of the time, instead of stepping up onto an occasional rock here and there during the path. Also at a couple points in the trail there are rails following the middle of the path to help you pull yourself up or to keep you from face planting on your way down.
The mountain is kept clean too. The parking is a bit crazy, but there are a couple different lots. Also, if you know you won't be able to do the whole mountain there are still a couple look out points on the way to the peak that are stunning. It took us around 3 hours total to complete, and we gained a 360 degree view of the city. Lastly, there are bathrooms and water fountains at the trail head.
Tips for those about to take on Camelback:
- TAKE A LOT OF WATER. I know, it seems obvious. But we brought three bottles each and we still were super thirsty on the way down. Always bring more than you need. This Arizona sun soaks the water right out of you. Another common tip about water we've heard out here is: turn around when you have used half of your water.
- Bring food. This was crucial for us. We also eat more than the average couple probably does...but still. When we finally made it to the peak, we seemed to be the only people eating. I would have been starving without a little snack. The hike and sun took my energy quick.
- Be physically smart. We passed a good amount of people who had attempted something that may have been out of their physical ability. This left them sitting on the ground, searching shade from a cactus, and trying not to pass out. If you think you may need to take a rest or turn around- that is okay!
- Don't wear any rings! I wish someone had told me not to wear my rings. I didn't expect to be using my hands so much on a hike, and I wore my wedding bands. They have some severe scratches now because you HAVE to use your hands to get down and really to get up. Those rocks aren't forgiving either.
- Go early. Not only to beat the heat, but to find parking! We arrived close to 11:00 AM on a Sunday and luckily found a spot at the upper lot. There is a lower lot as well with more parking, but you have to walk a little way to get to the trail entrance from there. That lot was packed also- so be aware of this.
- Wear the right shoes. If you have ever hiked this is a known thing. But we were shocked by the amount of people we passed who were wearing Toms and Vans while hiking! This is not a walking trail, you need shoes that grip onto the rocks here.
We took on this mountain for our first experience of hiking out west, and it kicked our butts a little bit. Let us know if you've done Camelback and your experience!
We made a short video of our trip below :)