Last Friday’s Fitness hike was the Hog Heaven Loop, a trek up to East End Peak, the highest point in the McDowell Mountain range. This was Kevin’s description, which sounded a bit challenging, but I was confident I could handle “fairly strenuous”.“I'm thinking about doing the Hog Heaven / East End route which is steep, loose and fairly strenuous. However, the payoff is that it has some truly outstanding views.”
What he failed to mention was all the exposure, meaning there is a high risk of injury in the event of a fall. I won’t go into details of my panic attack about half the way up the mountain, but somehow I managed to get a grip and hop boulders across a chasm that definitely tested my fear of heights. After that, all the scrambling, crawling on hands and knees, and sliding on my butt were a piece of cake.
Here is Kevin, posing on the spot that nearly did me in. It never looks as bad in photos but it was two big jumps that would have resulted in serious injury or worse had any of us fallen. Out of seven of us on the hike only one other woman besides me had a bit of trouble getting up the nerve to jump across.
It was a beautiful day for a hike.
Yes we’re going up there, via the climber’s trail.
Yes, Randy, I’m taking your picture again.
Randy and Kevin checking out the view from atop a boulder.
Sunaree and Randy making their way up the granite boulders.
Nice scenery and interesting rocks.
Thompson Peak with the towers on it is just a bit lower than East End.
After two slow miles we finally made it to East End, elevation 4,069’, with about 1,600’ of rough, rocky climbing to get there.
Coming back down wasn’t much easier since there was a lot of loose rock, but we all made it unscathed.
Glass Dome, left and Tom’s Thumb, middle.
The following day I attended a talk given by a local geologist about the McDowell Mountains, where we learned that all the granite we hiked on was formed 1.4-1.6 billion years ago. It’s hard to wrap your head around numbers like that.
Although relatively short, for me this was a very challenging and strenuous hike. I’m glad I did it but it’s one I don’t ever intend to do again. Kevin has a good write up and better photos on his blog if anyone is interested.
Of course I couldn’t do a post with nothing but photos of rocks, so here are some cats we spent a bit of time with this week.
This is Elf who is new and a bit shy.
Harriet lost her home after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas.
Timid Dennis won’t let me pet him but I can get him to come out and play with the laser light.
And lastly, my buddy M&M. He was just a kitten when we were here last year but had some stomach issues that required lengthy treatment. He is doing fine now but since he’s grown up and most people want to adopt kittens he hasn’t found a home yet. He’s very affectionate and playful and I’m confident the right person will come along one of these days.