Bye Bye Vacation

sunset

Sunset atop South Mountain on the last evening of vacation

I’m just taking a moment to ceremoniously say good-bye to vacation. I’ve been home a week now and still have not gotten all the way back into normal life. I’ve had a week to mourn the loss of relaxation, fun, hiking, spring training, sunshine, blue skies, colorful bright flowers, warmth, swimming, sandals, one layer of clothing, great food, smiles and laughter, new adventures. Now I will move forward and get back to reality and get on with my plan for healthy living. This is a great time for me to thank all you bloggers that provide so much inspiration and encouragement and entertainment that helps me every day on my journey. Thanks!

This is the gray-brown I came home to

This is the gray-brown cold I came home to!

Piestewa Peak

Pie-ESS-tuh-wuh.

Start elevation: 1410 feet
End elevation: 2618 feet
Trail distance: 2.4 miles round trip
Formerly known as: Squaw Peak

I climbed this peak about ten years ago and enjoyed it so much I put it on my bucket list to climb it again. I got the opportunity to do so last week. I didn’t remember it being so difficult! It was more difficult than my two previous hikes, Bishop Peak and Rocky Peak. It was a higher elevation change over a shorter distance as you can see from this simple graph.

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There were some other notable differences with this hike than the other two. The day I hiked was much warmer than before because of the location. It was also much more crowded. I think this was due to it being spring break time, but I do know this trail is very popular in the area. The crowded trail took away some of the serenity of the scenery.

The trail was much narrower than the fire road on Rocky Peak and narrower also than most of Bishop Peak. I had to keep stopping to let faster hikers past because I was one of the slowest on the trail.

This trail was similar to Bishop having rock “steps”, although there were more and most were a very high step. Unfortunately trail-makers don’t adhere to building code requirements for steps having a maximum rise of 7 3/4 inches. This is a great workout, but also hard on the knees, especially on the descent. My knees felt a lot of pain and by the end were very weak. Funny, how I think I can’t go any more. When you’re on a trail on a peak, you don’t have much choice but to keep going and, of course, I make it all the way in one piece without dying. I may have been slow and huffing and puffing, but everyone, even the athletic types were breathing very hard through the hike, it was that strenuous.

Another difference here on this trail is that a lot of the rocks were very ragged and sharp. The views were again gorgeous.

The rocky trail steps

The rocky trail steps

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Looking back down

Looking back down

I stopped frequently just off the path like this woman did. Sometimes it was just so crowded on the trail! But the reason I took the picture was to capture the beautiful Ocotillo in bloom:

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Ocotillo

Resting place early in hike

Resting place early in hike (see the sharp rocks)

Up, up, up

Up, up, up

Nice view of the saguaro cacti dotting the hillside. If you look closely, you can see the tiny parking lot where I parked (far right, middle):

Saguaros

Saguaros

Nearing the summit. The trail is getting much steeper and much rockier. We need to go up to the left peak yet:

Nearing the summit. The trail is getting much steeper and much rockier

Near the top, looking down.

Near the top, looking down.

The very top, at the summit. The top is all rocks. From this point you can see around 360 degrees. I was standing to take this picture, but I sat down for awhile in this spot. While I was sitting there I spied a squirrel scrambling in the rocks to the left of that woman sitting there. I was amazed a squirrel would be so high up in such a barren, rocky area. Maybe people leave crumbs from snacks that he was looking for?

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The summit

Weighing In

Even though I’ve been home from vacation for a few days, I can’t really say good-bye to it here on the blog because I still have one more hike to tell you about. However, I want to get back in the habit of reporting on my weekly Wednesday weigh ins. My weight was a little high when I got home from vacation. I was so thrilled to be able to eat my regular food again! With a few days of clean eating, I weighed in this morning at a pound less than my last ‘official’ weigh in three weeks ago. That was the one where I had weighed the same thing four weeks in a row. Yay! That’s a pound in the right direction finally!

I definitely had a great time eating (and drinking) some good things, so I’m happy I didn’t overdo it. I feel better now, physically, eating my normal food. I haven’t gotten back into exercising again. I’m really worried about my lack of ambition and that it will be super hard getting into the routine again. But there really is no other choice if I want to be healthy and strong and full of energy.

In my area, we are expecting a warm up this weekend. I hope everyone out there getting blasted with snow and cold will see the same warm up!