Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wildflowers at Piestewa Peak

I'm on a mission to combat the effects of working at a sedentary job. It isn't always easy, but I try to get at least four days of exercise a week. This week, I decided to break up my fitness routine of running and yoga with a hike at Piestewa Peak in Phoenix.

View from the Hopi parking lot.
Many other Arizonans and tourists had the same idea on that weekday morning. I usually find a parking space near the summit trail, but this time I had to park all the way in the Hopi lot, so I got a little more exercise than I planned for. The trek up Piestewa seemed shorter than I remember, or maybe I am a faster hiker now. The 1.2-mile ascent and descent took me about an hour and 15 minutes, with time to stop for photos along the way and pose for (and take) photographs at the summit.

Besides the cool, fresh air, wildflowers and workout, I love the people-watching on the mountain. There were the snowbirds with expensive cameras hanging from their necks. There were the fitness hikers who jog past you at the first opportunity. There are the people who can't seem to get off their cellphones, discussing meetings and numbers. There are the families whose jolly kids don't even seem to be breaking a sweat. There are the couples who seem to be absorbed in a deep, fascinating conversation. I love peeking into these lives.

The scenery is gorgeous right now. I spotted orange globe mallows and other yellow, pink and purple  wildflowers (note to self: learn more wildflower names), and many plants had buds that are yet to bloom. The beauty of hiking Piestewa is now not in capturing the city views at the summit but also the colorful adornments on the way up.