So I've been hiking quite a bit this winter. When I go out by myself, I go an hour or two, occasionally 3 hours. Every time Suzanne has a free day and thinks up a hike for us, we end up on a super long, over achiever boy scout, pack a suitcase, we are hiking into the next county, don't forget to bring some food 'cause we are going to be gone all day, kind of hike.
Last month we went all the way across the Phoenix Mountain Preserves, 11 miles. Earlier this month we walked from North Mountain to downtown, 9 miles. Yesterday we explored a trail on South Mountain and hiked 9 1/2 miles. (We only planned on 7. The extra 2 1/2 miles just about did me in!) I've got to say though, yesterday's trail was beautiful. I can see North Mountain and South mountain from my front yard, and from miles away, they look pretty much the same, but I was surprised how different the scenery and rock formations were.
Eight and a half miles were a regular foot path but we went off on a loop called the Hidden Valley. It began with a natural tunnel. We found ourselves shimmying over slanted rocks, we scooted and slid over slippery rocks. We squirmed under a rock formation on our back side. Then the loop ends with what is called "Fat Man Pass". Well, although I am most definitely fat, I am certainly NOT a man. So from that definition, we felt justified to push forward until we actually SAW Fat Man Pass. When I saw it I started laughing and realized I had to find some way up and over the pass or shimmy and slide back through the valley and back out the side where we began. It was a massive solid rock that seemingly had broken in two leaving a very narrow (VERY narrow) slit to pass through. My skinny friend Suzanne thought maybe we could fit through the pass. (I think maybe she was confident of squeezing through, and having a chuckle while I became permanently wedged between two slabs of stone). She got through and assured me the first 2 feet were the most narrow then it widened a bit. However, the narrowest part was level with the not-so-narrowest part of my body. With very real fears of becoming truly wedged, I gave it a try. Positioned sideways, bent like the letter 'S', hips forward, shoulders back I eventually emerged out the far side of Fat Man Pass. I am glad we were alone. This was a fun valley, but it would not have been a pleasant sight to any hikers traveling behind us.