Page 19

DESERT EXPOSURE

MARCH 2017 • 19

HIGH PLACES • GABRIELLE TEICH

View from Camelback

I

f you’ve been to Phoenix you’ve seen Camelback Mountain. Proudly it rises among all the manmade structures of the gargantuan metropolis, a beacon of nature with all its ruggedness and non-conformity. It stands alone in the middle, surrounded by the pancake-flat Valley of the Sun for miles on all sides. Phoenix with its millions of inhabitants has its fair share of avid hikers as well, which makes Camelback one of the most visited peaks in Arizona. Over 300,000 people tread up those trails every year. This year we wanted to join the crowds. Parking is a major issue. With no real parking lots designated for hikers, most people try to find a spot on a stretch of Invergordon Road that allows free parking. Do not try to drive up Cholla Road, not even to be dropped off at the trail head. Signs warn all over the place that the police will ticket you if they catch you doing that. Even during the week it was tricky; on weekends everybody does what I refer to as vulture-parking (circling and waiting for a spot to free up). Two trails go up to the peak, Echo Trail and Cholla Trail. The latter has the advantage of passing a saddle point where you have a great view in almost all directions but you may spare yourself the hardest clambering part to the very top. Even up to the saddle the trail is in parts pretty steep

and rocky and in a few spots it hugs the side of the mountain on so tight a ledge that people with vertigo might have a bit of a problem. After the saddle it’s pure bouldering for twenty minutes to get to the top. Our daughter was surprised the next day about her muscle aches on her sides, stemming from all those pull-yourselfups onto the rocks. The view, needless to say, was magnificent. We couldn’t make out the edge of town even in the farthest distance. Yours truly ousted herself as a non-native when she pointed to one side and asked a fellow hiker to show her the borders between Phoenix and

during the colder months — any hiking in Arizona unless you are up in the mountains. If you go, find Invergordon Road on your GPS and follow it to the stretch where other cars are lined up. The trail is well marked. As always, take enough water, wear sturdy shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Happy trails!

Of German origin, Gabriele Teich has called Las Cruces her home for the last 19 years — and loved every minute of it, hiking the mountains in the immediate surrounding and all over this beautiful state.

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“I Feel Like I’m at Home!” Walking the trail near top of Camelback Mountain above Phoenix, Arizona. (Courtesy Photo)

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continued from page 18 la into Mexico was the last 20th Century battle with horsemen and was the first 20th Century military action using motorized equipment. The Historical Society Museum will be open and visitors can see many displays and exhibits, or watch a video on the raid. At 10 a.m. Saturday, March 11, the Cabalgantes (riders) will lead the parade for the final three miles of their 15-day ride: destination Columbus. Everyone interested is invited to bring their horses and ride with participants from the Port of Entry or call the Chamber for arrangements to meet the group at the northern end of Chihuahua, Mexico (fees involved, depending on accommodations and the number of days riding; includes a mount and amenities). All day Saturday in the Village Plaza, sample local vendors’ cuisine, watch dancers perform to traditional and authentic Mexican ballet folkloricos, and enjoy the mariachis performance. Other live entertainment will be held throughout the day. Visitors can also visit the local museums, hear historians recount the tales of the past, enjoy a documentary film, or watch the Camp Furlong 2016 re-enactors in downtown Columbus and Pancho Villa State Park. A General John “Black Jack” Pershing and Pancho Villa look-

Mesa and Gilbert, etc. With a grin he pointed out that all that side was Scottsdale and Phoenix was on the other side. He still volunteered to take our picture, calling us “old school” because we used a regular camera instead of a cell phone. That’s one advantage of the busy trail — you will always find someone to take your picture. The first part of the trail down to the saddle took another 20 minutes because it is mostly clambering over boulders as well as waiting for oncoming traffic. Overall, the hike took two and a half hours. I would rate it as moderate and because of the Arizona climate would only recommend it

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On March 11 Columbus Plaza will ring many voices as the 1916 raid on the town by Pancho Villa’s men is commemorated. Events, food and news are enjoyed and celebrated at the heart of the town.

alike contest will be held in the Tumbleweed Theater. Local artists will set up exhibits at the Columbus Public Library, aka the village’s only hot-spot to check your email with free wifi service. Pancho Villa State Park and Museum will host Camp Furlong Days; all events will be held in the Rec Hall featuring historical talks and slideshows. For more information call the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, or Pancho Villa State Park at 575-531-2711, Columbus Historical Society at 575-5312620 or the First Aero Squadron at 575-519-1100.

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