Pass Mountain Trail (Attempt)— Usery Mountain Regional Park
This is not the trail we actually hiked. We couldn’t seem to locate the 7.5-mile loop that we were looking for. This may be due to our starting the hike at an alternate parking area instead of the main trailhead, or perhaps it is because Arizona parks seem to be against marking trails and/or providing any information at the start of the trails. This is frustrating.
The hike we ended up on, I believe, is still a part of Usery Mountain Park. But again, who really knows. As we were walking we started our ascent up and then up a little more until I was seriously out of breath, and Leah’s tongue was hanging out the side of her mouth. It was at this moment that I remembered the description of our 7.5-mile loop as being, “easy and flat”. This hike was neither. I mentioned this to Tyler and he more or less replied that we should just enjoy the hike we were on. Hmmm…okay. He was right, but even without the deep incline, the majority of our walking was on a wash with rocks ranging in size from small pebbles to ankle breaking. I wasn’t even sure we were on A trail. And in general I was not really having “fun”.
We ran into three separate hikers over the next half hour, who had no idea what trail they were on either (but who didn’t seem to mind). One girl pointed out the plateau close to the top of the mountain as being the culmination of the hike we were on. It ultimately was 1.7 miles up. This plateau, a beautifully picturesque spot complete with a view of the surrounding area, became Leah’s arch nemesis. I was trying to have her sit next to me for a picture but she kept refusing. It was at this point she began to lick her paw furiously, again. This would be the fourth time on the hike I pulled a small sampling of thorns from between her pads. I looked down to see patches of thorns ALL over the ground, as if dropped from a huge cactus tree, like needles from a pine. This was also the exact moment that Tyler noticed the inverted aunt hill with its army dispersing, preparing to defend this plateau with their severely scary black armor. I panicked and was mere moments from picking up Leah, who is at least 65 pounds, in order to carry her down the mountain to safety. I am not above this, and trust that it almost occurred.
Let’s just say that this is not a hike that will stand out as an all time favorite. After having a ridiculously bad chest cold for the last two weeks, hiking straight up a mountain was not my plan. This could have something to do with my disinterest. I do have to admit that I love the "saguaro forests", and the area was very pretty. As we headed to the car, we did notice what appeared to be another trail. This was left for another day, to start at the other parking lot.
Arizona Coyote Count = 8 (7 from our neighborhood walks, 1 from today near the trailhead)