Morning Hike Up Camelback Mountain

This morning I went hiking on Echo Canyon Trail at Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ. The hike spawned from a conversation on Thursday morning after swim practice about hiking Camelback and how fun it is. During that conversation I realize I hadn’t fully hiked it yet and decided to go after it today.

Saguaro cacti on the Camelback mountain Echo Canyon trail.
Photo Credit: Erin Bonilla

The Echo Canyon trailhead starts at 1,424 feet above sea level with the summit at 2,704 feet. The whole trail is 1.23 miles each way with a 1,280 foot elevation gain/loss. The trail was pretty crowded with a few moments where I had to wait for people to pass by. In general it wasn’t that bad and the weather was absolutely phenomenal. The temperature was sitting in the 60-65°F range and sunny, as is usual for Phoenix this time of year. This trail was super fun because there is quite a bit of scrambling going up the trail. There are a few railings to help hikers, however most of the time it’s just climbing up rocks the entire way. Most people on the trail were super friendly and in good spirits. It was extremely motivating to watch the little kids go flying up the mountain. Some of the kids couldn’t have been more than 3-4 years old and were have no problem at all. It’s amazing how capable children are and how worried adults are about their capabilities.

This morning’s hike was a really great baseline hike to start the year making it clear that I have some work to do. I took more breaks than I thought I would need, but overall I felt really good. I have 10 months before the Everest Base Camp trek and I feel confident I will be ready to go by November. To prepare, I have quite a few hikes planned between now and November with the hopes of doing at least two a month. I recently submitted a Grand Canyon permit request for May, so hopefully that will go through. I am also thinking about hiking Humphreys Peak up near Flagstaff over the summer when it warms up. Humphrey’s Peak would give me some elevation training with the peak sitting at 12,633 feet. That hike will be a good challenge and give me a\ clearer picture of how my body reacts to higher elevations. The Everest Base Camp trek starts in Lukla, Nepal at 9,383 feet and eventually builds up to 17,600 feet. I think by doing a few hikes up in the Flagstaff area, I can get a better sense of how elevation affects my personal hiking abilities. My plan is to keep going with my triathlon training, include these hikes several times a month, and that should put me in great shape by November.

The featured image is of Erin on the summit of Camelback mountain in Phoenix, AZ.
Photo Credit: Erin Bonilla

About the author

Erin Bonilla

Erin Bonilla is pursuing a master's degree in Adventure Education with a concentration in the psychosocial components of human spaceflight selection and training. She believes that through the development of a baseline approach to behavioral health within the astronaut selection process we can minimize long term psychosocial challenges and increase participant enjoyment.

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