North Mountain

Phoenix Mountains Preserve

North Mountain, Phoenix Mountains Preserve
North Mountain, Phoenix Mountains Preserve

I don’t normally blog about short, local, maintenance hikes. That would be boring: “Yeah, I hiked up Camelback. Again.” Well, except Camelback is a zoo, so I have never been there. But I’ve hiked Charles M. Christiansen Trail #100 dozens of times, and random trails behind my Sunnyslope hood hundreds of times.

In the past month, for various reasons, I’ve been too busy to get out of town for a more interesting hike. Instead, I’ve been hitting North Mountain hard.

My first goal was simply to hike it seven straight days. That I did. But I noticed that each day it was a little easier. I didn’t keep time, but I think my best time may have been 18-something.

Then I did North Mountain a few more times, now tracking my time. I first set a personal best of 17:56 up. Two outings later, 17:48. Two more outings later, 17:40. I was doing well, and seeing the possibility of maybe one day breaking 17:00. 16:00 in a dream world.

Today, without even trying to, I SMASHED my best time.

I pushed the first two switchbacks — the steepest — then began pacing myself. I made the turn at the final, sixth, switchback at 13:00. I figured, with a quarter mile to go, no sense in pushing too hard. So, I just paced myself. Imagine my shock when I touched the signs at the antenna farm, and looked down at my watch to see a time of 16:57! FORTY-THREE SECONDS FASTER!!!

I was shocked. And proud. Last time I felt proud about a hike, was doing 3500-ft. Harquahala Peak back in February.

16 definitely looking likely, and maybe sooner than I think. :-)

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