Okay, I know it’s not officially hiking season yet, but several friends and I got together early Sunday morning and decided since the weather was so cool in the mornings, we would try a nice hike. My suggestion was Seven Falls in Sabino Canyon because having hiked it 3 times I am pretty familiar with that trail. One of my friends felt that the Seven Falls hike was too strenuous for a first hike of the season and that she had done the Phone Line Trail and that it was not as challenging. We opted to take her advice. (In hindsight, this may have been our first mistake of the morning). We met at the visitor’s center at 7:30 a.m. – four strong – Esther, Erika, Jackie, and me. It was a cool morning, about 69 degrees with clear skies. It was a perfect morning for hiking.
We excitedly started out down the tram road. About a mile up the tram road we came to a sign indicating the direction we should take off the road to reach the Phone Line Trail. The friend that had climbed the trail before stopped us and told that she had gone up the tram road to the end and gotten the trailhead from there. Again, we opted to take her advice. (Mistake number two).
Two of us in the group had looked up information on the Phone Line Trail and knew that depending upon which website you went to and whether or not they add in the mileage to and from the trailhead, you get total mileage of anywhere from 8 miles to 11 miles. We felt this alone was going to be quite a challenge. (Not listening to my Spidy Sense – mistake number three).
There were quite a few people out on the trails – bikers, runners, and walkers and we made pretty good time going up the road as it is all paved and easy to navigate. We made lots of stops to take pictures and enjoy the scenery – fourth mistake – it warms up pretty quickly in the afternoon.
At the top of the tram road we sat and had a snack before leaving the road and climbing up to the trailhead. The views are magnificent from the trail, but some of the footing was kind of tricky in spots and there was very little room for error so we took our time and were very careful. It was about 9:30 and we saw the first tram come down the road and pick up a group from where we had left the road….
The views were breathtaking from the heights we were and it is just impossible to show it in pictures, though that didn’t stop us from snapping away.
|Erika, Jackie, & Esther in the rear|
After climbing and zigzagging for about 2 miles we were really starting to feel the burn in our legs but there was no turning back now. We saw more trams come and go, up and down the road. We were about at the halfway mark coming down the trail and it would be more to climb up and go to get a tram so we trudged on.
We took advantage of every shady spot we came to and used them as water breaks. At about 11 o’clock it really started to heat up in the sun and we drank lots of water to stay hydrated.
The last mile and a half or so of the trail was not so bad, we were coming down pretty fast and we could always see the tram road not too far from us so we felt pretty good. It was at this point that I stated if we ever did this again, we would take the trail from the first marker for the trailhead and then come back on the tram road. That way if we were really tired we would have the option to jump on a tram if we needed to. The way we did it, walking up the tram road and down the trail, we didn’t have that luxury. We just had to keep going….
As funny as this may sound, it seems like the last mile or so after we reached the tram road heading back to the visitor’s center was the hardest. It was really pretty warm by now, about 90 degrees and we were TIRED!
Okay, so lesson learned. Make sure you do the research before starting out on an unfamiliar trail. You can’t always take someone else’s word for how the trail pans out. We found out when we got back that the person recommending the hike hadn’t done this in over 10 years. As we all know, a lot can change in that amount of time. It may have seemed pretty easy to her then, but it really was a challenge to us all.
We felt like warriors when we walked into the visitor’s center. Regardless of our mistakes, we had done it. We had conquered an 11 mile hike! No trams! No help! No accidents! NO MORE! Hahahaha!
See you on the trails…..
|Perfect little stone armchair (in the shade)|