Friday, August 27, 2004

Where's my head?

Peaseblossom is acting like a twit today because she accidentally got Omega's valium this morning. I got up at an ungodly hour so I could get in my first hike of the season before it got too hot, and was so sleepy that I gave the cats each others' food, hence, medication. I headed out to Usery Pass and got to the Wind Cave trailhead around 6:30-6:45. It was a good choice because, where it climbs the west side of Pass Mountain, the trail is in shade well into the day, and there was a good breeze keeping things cool. Not much in the way of blooming stuff this time of year, but the ocotillos were all leafed-out and the cacti looked prosperous. They must've gotten some rain out here from this month's storms.

After reaching the Wind Cave I decided out of curiosity to investigate the Summit Trail that goes on past the cave. It's unmaintained and involves a bit of scrambling over rocks and boulders (although not as strenuous as the last part of the Cholla Trail on Camelback); the trail's marked with small white arrows painted on the rocks. I didn't go all the way to the summit, but just to the point where it reaches the crest of the ridge and I was suddenly standing in blazing sunlight. Great view from here, especially to the northeast, where it's all Superstitions wilderness. To the west you can clearly see the highrises of downtown Phoenix, and the White Tanks more dimly beyond the city haze. (Brown cloud wasn't bad this morning.) Coming back down the Summit Trail I had a moment of panic when the white arrows disappeared - but pressing on I discovered I was only a few hundred yards from the Wind Cave. Knees were a bit wobbly coming back down, but that's to be expected.

There was a water line under repair nearby, so I wasn't surprised to find the restroom at the trailhead locked. However, my search for a restroom in the park that wasn't locked was turning into an epic quest by the time I found one tucked away in a near-deserted campground. Seems a bit extreme; the park's not bustling with activity Friday morning, but there were other hikers there...

Animals seen: Quail, lizards, squirrels, hummingbirds (at the cave), cactus wren.


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