Monday, January 10, 2011

Microadventure Bike to Hike Trail 8A in Phoenix

A rocky section of trail 8A in Phoenix

I had a couple of free hours on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, so I set out on a microadventure to ride my bicycle to the 8A trail head, and then to hike up to the bench and back down again. This not-very-taxing outing fits my definition of microadventure well: it's not something I do very often (I think I've only done it once or twice before), it's a decent workout (60+ minutes of moderate cardio), but doesn't require much in terms of preparation, planning, or special equipment. I grabbed a bottle of water, put on my trail shoes, and hopped on my bicycle. Regarding the previous sentence: if I could arrange in life to have that constitute my daily preparation for action, I would consider myself surrounded by the golden light of perfection.

A quiet walk on a rocky desert trail seemed in order today. To contemplate.

There are some much more serious workout hikes nearby: Piestewa Peak is just up the street, and Camelback Mountain is also within riding distance. Those quad-burners are planned for microadventures this winter, too. A huge advantage to biking to all of these is parking. Piestewa is probably the best in terms of car parking capacity, although some of the lots involve a bit of a hike to the hike, and it is an extremely popular and crowded trail. Camelback, at least the Echo Canyon trail, has almost no parking near the trail head. All are ideal for a bicycle: ride up to the trail, lock to a sign, giggle quietly in the general direction of the people sitting in their idling vehicles waiting for a parking spot, hike. This seems like an ideal setting for a bike rack, by the way, although this sign works great, too. I noticed that a couple of those other signs like the one behind it pull right out of the ground, though, so those, not so much.

Even here, the white Prius stalks me. Not today, my menace, not today.

Many people refer to this as a Fishhook barrel cactus. Not sure if that's an official name, though.

A small platoon of barrel cactus marching down a hill.

Wild life!

A short uphill section.

The white rock, sort of a landmark on this hike. I've stood in its shade on a hot day to cool down.

A few saguaros, and some of the hikers. It was not crowded, though.

One picture of the streets on the way there: flash flood depth marker in Cudia Wash.

Pollution and dust in the air over the city. It's hazy, but the air quality was actually pretty good today.

A successful microadventure it was. The picture above looks pretty polluted, but actually, according to the EPA site Air Now which I check regularly, it was garden variety haze, and overall we were in a "green" status today. I had hoped for a picture postcard clear day to show you, but then on the other hand it's not the evil brown cloud of nitrous oxides, PM2.5 particles, and ozone that you sometimes see, so I'm not complaining. In fact, I'm looking out at all those mountains in the haze, and contemplating the next no-planning, no-fuss microadventure. The definition of which is pretty flexible for me, although will probably typically include two crucial steps, in order to at least approach the golden light of perfection. Get up. Go ride.



  1. cool to see that microadventures have made it to Phoenix... it looks an amazing place from that last picture.

  2. Hello

    Been reading your blog for awhile now. Im also from the Valley. Tempe to be exact.

    I have lived here my whole life and It always amazes me to see things I still yet have not done even in my own city. Thanx for the reminder.

    Keep up the good work.

    - james

  3. placid casual, from some angles, at some moments, in the right mood, it can all be amazing.

    jamesjay, thanks for commenting! I noticed you following, it's good to hear from you. I agree, I always seem to learn of something new to go and see. Usually on my bicycle. :)

  4. Looks like a really interesting place.

  5. What a beautiful hike! It looks like a great time, thanks for sharing. Did a ride & hike recently and really enjoyed it.

    Great photos.


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