Friday, February 4, 2022

A Tough Hike

 Sparky has been under the weather the past two days with some kind of stomach bug. But today, she felt half way normal, so time to find a hike!

There are some really great trails in Usery Mountain Regional Park, which is just like a state park. Arizona state parks charge 7.00 for admission per person. The park is just a few miles from our RV park that we are staying in right now--Viewpoint RV and Golf Resort. All Trails app lists the top hike in the state park as the Wind Cave Trail--listed as a moderate hike. Sparky has done a lot of moderate hikes, so this one seemed to fit the bill. It's listed as a 2.9 mile hike, with a gain in elevation of 807 feet, and takes an average of about an hour and a half to two hours to complete.

So off Sparky went. It was a perfect day for hiking. Not a cloud in the sky, 0% chance of rain for the next WEEK! Today's temperature high was 57, with a little breeze.

The first indication that this might be more than a moderate hike was the sign:

At first, the trail was not too bad, Sparky expected rocks.
And she got rocks....The view ahead and up was beautiful...
The rocks increased....along with the size of the boulders....
At some points, you couldn't even tell where the trail was except to follow the people ahead of you. The trail was not crowded on a weekday at 1:00 in the afternoon, but it was a cold day, barely in the fifties, and that might have kept more people away...
The Wind Cave is at the top of the mountain where the dark oval circle of shade is on the upper left of the above photo. Gotta have strong ankles, and good balance for this hike. People say the cave is not much at all when you reach it, but the views are fantastic if you make it to the top.

After about a mile and a half, Sparky started feeling a little dizzy. She thinks she was dehydrated even though she had water with her and was drinking it. Or--the steep climb of 435 feet so far with the elevation change and many switchbacks was bothering her along with struggling with stomach problems the last two days. A mile and a half in, and she started thinking maybe it's time to turn around. Down came a hiker and Sparky asked how much further to the cave outlook. He said about 30 minutes. At this point, Sparky really wasn't feeling very well, and he added that the boulders and rocks were a lot worse before leveling out as you approached the cave. Not only that, but in the last couple of days, he had seen a helicopter ferry out hikers from this hike. That sort of sealed the deal. Time to head back down. Sparky did not want to be a statistic today with balance issues and dizziness. She was super disappointed in herself for not making it all the way, especially after seeing a guy RUN the trail, another lady with gray hair speed walk it up and down while Sparky was still going up and people walking their dogs on the trail like it was no big deal. Sparky felt sorry for the dogs, it was a rough trail. But hey--this was quite the hike as far as she did get!

After coming back down, Sparky took a quick look at the trail map that the park provided and saw that the PARK rates this trail as HARD! Sparky totally agrees, especially if you are a senior. 

Sparky highly recommends a visit to Usery Mountain Regional Park. There are other trails in the park, and if Sparky gets to feeling better over what appears to be some kind of stomach/flu issues, she might try another, less difficult trail before we leave. There are very nice picnic areas with shade, a pretty nature center, awesome trails and campgrounds there. Next up, a visit to a famous organ pizza palace...Come back and see us before we leave for Yuma, AZ early next week.

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