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Hot Day in Phoenix

posted Apr 26, 2019, 4:55 PM by Justin P
Saturday morning, we had a nice breakfast at the hotel then made the short drive to the Mormon Trailhead parking for South Mountain Preserve.  By 9 in the morning, it was already hot, but at least it wasn't humid.  The Mormon Trail heads straight up the mountain, but it wasn't too steep.  As we got up higher, there were great views of Phoenix and the valley.  Although the mountains were steep, the valley was almost perfectly flat.  We saw a number of lizards on the hike, including some "carrot tail" chuckwallas.  They seemed to be enjoying the 90 degree weather.  When we got to the top, we took the National Trail to Hidden Valley Loop and went left to hike in the clockwise direction.  Shortly, we came to the natural tunnel through the mountain.  There were some petroglyphs on the wall at the entrance.  Past the tunnel, we had to scramble up the rocks to the next section.  We then saw some people coming down a very steep and difficult section.  When they got down, we noticed a much easier way to get up and down.  Then we reached Fat Man's Pass and had no trouble squeezing through.  We finished up the loop and started heading back.  On the way, we stopped to climb up the small peak along Mormon Loop Trail that had more fantastic views of Phoenix way below.  Then we continued back to the car.  Our next stop was Mystery Castle.  The castle was built by Boyce Gulley who moved to Arizona in the 1930s from Seattle after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.  It was built almost entirely with local and recycled materials.  It was a really fascinating place.  After the tour, we got lunch and then headed to Papago Park and the Two Butte Trail.  It was quite hot by now, so we climbed up to the butte and took a rest in the shade.  After a rest, we headed back and drove over to the Hole in the Rock.  It was really crowded but a neat natural feature to see.  From here, we headed back to the hotel.  Embassy Suites had a happy hour with free cocktails so we took advantage.  Then we had dinner at the hotel and started packing for a very early flight home.
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