Saturday, November 13, 2010


Triumphant summitteer. Note the promotional shirt.
And the fetching hat.
Yesterday I climbed a mountain - an actual mountain, not a figurative one. Yes, I scaled the lofty heights - all 400 metres of 'em anyway - of Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale Arizona. The top point is actually 825 metres above sea level, but we started from a a high base. I went out for a hike this morning with a happy throng of conference-goers, for some networking on the trail. I wore my firm's sports shirt, emblazoned with its logo, so I feel that the enterprise was in the full spirit of dedicated conference attendance. Don't you?
The happy throng prepares to tackle the trail
Camelback Mountain rises from the plain upon which are spread the twin cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale. From the top there are lovely views to the purple mountains on the horizon, and bird's-eye views into people's backyards (swimming pools, many swimming pools). We took the Cholla Trail, which is 2.5 kms long. It is considered 'difficult', but did that daunt the intrepid trade marks attorneys? Of course not.
I agree, it is only vaguely shaped like a camel...

Rest stop
Our cheerful group soon made rapid progress over the first of the camel's humps, and paused for a congratulatory water stop at the 'saddle'. However, the second hump involves rather a lot of rock scrambling and one needs one's hands, feet and strong nerves, as well as a good sense of direction. The trail is indicated by blue paint dots on the rocks, which at times don't seem to indicate any sort of passable trail at all. The wrong direction was taken on quite a few occasions. Nevertheless, it would be hard to miss the top (unless you fell off on the way - always a risk) because it is a popular hike and full of people winding their way up and down.

The steep bit begins. After this point
I didn't have any hands free to take photos.

The silent sentinels along our journey
Personally, I can take or leave rock scrambling, but I am a veteran of *ahem* The Great Baranco Wall of Kilimanjaro *slight preening motion*. I skim lightly over the fact that I would still be clinging to The Great Baranco Wall in a pale blue crash helmet if not for the considerable assistance of several expert African guides, but still - I have credentials! Read all about that adventure in "Mt Kilimanjaro & Me". Today, with that African experience under my belt, I skimmied up Camelback Mountain to the manner born, with only the odd moment of thinking about turning back.

The trail is an excellent one for those who like a good hike but don't have too much time, because only takes about an hour each way. It was wonderful to get out - long time no hike. However, this is just me. On the summit we met a local young man who climbs it two or three times a week, and added 'I like to run down'. He considers that perfectly normal. As an example of 'hard core' he told us of an old man who climbs it three times a day.

On a different camelback (last year in Uzbekistan)

In other news, I see that Google has adopted one of its new design logos today in honour of Robert Louis Stevenson's 160th birthday. I think this blog should also honour the occasion in its own small way.

Photographed on a street corner in Edinburgh in September.

Old postcard pic from:

1 comment:

  1. I recognize you, Anna and Paul, but nobody else.
    Jim Palik